It was during her five-year-old niece’s birthday party that Courtney McDevitt decided it was time to make a life altering, lifesaving, change.
At nearly 300 pounds, she could no longer bear that her weight was preventing her from doing the things she wanted in life - including jumping in a bouncy house, with the little girl she adores.
“It absolutely broke my heart that my niece was begging me to play with her and I couldn’t because I exceeded the weight limit for the bouncy house,” said Courtney.
Heartbreak aside, Courtney was also battling a variety of serious medical issues, all linked to obesity. Each day, she took 14 medications, including five shots of insulin, to manage diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, excessive fluid and swelling, sleep apnea, and medical complications associated with a fatty liver. Simply put, Courtney, age 35 at the time, didn’t just want to lose weight. Instead, she had to, in order to save her life.
At the recommendation of her primary care physician, Kathleen York-Jordan, MD, Courtney registered to attend a free bariatric information session at Saint Agnes Hospital. She wasn’t certain if surgery was the right solution, but she knew she had nothing to lose by attending a meeting to simply listen and learn a bit more about what was involved.
“For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was part of something."
“I met a lot of people who were just like me,” recalls Courtney. “For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was part of something. I was surrounded by a grouping people who understood me. I knew it wouldn’t be a quick fix. But it inspired me to make a new and better life for myself.”
For the next eight months, Courtney religiously attended classes, support group meetings, and appointments with her doctors and a nutritionist, preparing herself physically as well as mentally and emotionally for gastric bypass surgery and the lifestyle changes that go along with it. Her surgery was performed by bariatric surgeon Isam Hamdallah, MD, at Saint Agnes Hospital on December 22, 2016.
“Every aspect of my life has changed since that day,” said Courtney, who has dropped a whopping 126 pounds, now fits comfortably into size eight clothing, and no longer takes ANY daily medications. “I used to turn to food for comfort when I was having a bad day. Now, food is my fuel. My energy level is out the roof. I swim. I take Zumba classes. I walk somewhere between 13,000 and 19,000 steps per day. I’ve never been healthier, or happier, in my life.”
With her own health and wellness fully in check, today, Courtney is focusing on a new goal: to help others who are on journey similar to her own. She continues to attend Saint Agnes Hospital’s bariatric support group meetings, often sharing her personal story to educate and motivate other patients or those who are considering the surgery.
“This is one way that I can give back,” said Courtney. “I would not have survived without Saint Agnes Hospital, Dr. Hamdallah, and all of the wonderful people who have helped me and supported me. This is the best decision I have ever made.”