Patient Story

Bariatric Surgery and Self Image

By Sacred Heart Staff July 20, 2018

Is being overweight messing with your self-confidence? That’s our question of the day for the Sacred Heart Surgical Weight Loss team in Pensacola.

These patient stories describe how bariatric surgery with immersive weight loss education and support has improved their overall health and self-image.

Karen’s Story

Karen Turner had gastric bypass surgery in July 2014. Three years later at the 2017 Sacred Heart Fashion Show, Karen was a patient-model and sharing her story. With this surgery and the education and nutrition support from the Surgical Weight Loss Center staff, she shed 150 pounds and was wearing size 14 outfits. She calls weight loss surgery her new lease on life.

Karen has been able to come off all her medications, including inhalers and blood pressure medicine. She no longer needs a CPAP machine for sleep apnea. Karen says the best part of surgery has been things most people take for granted – crossing your legs, sitting at a table at a restaurant, walking a flight of steps without running out of breath, or not having to worry if you can fit in a bathroom stall or the seat on an amusement park ride. Surgery has taken the weight off her body, mind, and soul. Karen is thankful for the people she’s met in the office or other patients in the program. She considers them family and her lean-to community.

Paulla’s Story

Paulla Harrison underwent gastric bypass surgery in August 2015. At the time of our 2017 Fashion Show two years later, Paulla had lost 170 pounds and was down from a size 28 to size 10. Before surgery, Paulla said she wasn’t comfortable "in her own skin" and shied away from doing many things. Now, Paulla loves bowling, swimming, going to the beach and spending time with her family.

Joey’s Story

Joey Fields had gastric bypass surgery in October 2014. Three years later at the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, Joey had lost 100 pounds and was down from size 24 to size 14.

Joey says that weight loss surgery has enabled her to feel good about herself, and it helped her discover that she enjoys engaging in an active lifestyle that involves lifting weights and working out.

Lawntrina’s Story



Lawntrina Belcher had gastric bypass surgery in July 2015. By the time of our 2017 Fashion Show, Lawntrina had lost 111 pounds and was down to a size 8. She loves going to the beach because she’s now comfortable enough to wear a swimsuit. Since her surgery, Lawntrina is better able to keep up with her children. Now, she can even do cartwheels alongside her cheerleader daughter. Lawntrina says seeing the pride in her daughter’s face solidified her confidence in this surgery and what it’s done for her.

The Sacred Heart Weight Loss Center in Pensacola, Florida specializes in treating obesity, especially those chronic health conditions. The doctors have extensive surgical expertise with many types of bariatric procedures, including gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and revisional procedures. By creating an individualized plan for both before and after your weight loss surgery, our patients experience successful, sustainable weight loss and can begin again to live their life to the fullest.

To learn more, call 850-416-7546 and visit Center for Surgical Weight Loss.

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