“I feel amazing, I can do anything and am just enjoying my life,” said 28-year-old Dianne Hamilton of Onamia who underwent bariatric surgery at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby this past July. In just six months, she dropped 110 pounds, went from a size of 4X to large, and substantially improved her health and well-being.
“It’s phenomenal, people notice me and tell me I really look good,” exclaimed the woman with renewed self-confidence whose health continues to improve both physically and mentally.
The Lab Assistant had been a borderline diabetic and was experiencing back and hip pain which is now gone. She says she has not been at the weight she is now since she was in high school.
“It feels so good to not have to wear my ‘big girl’ scrubs, I work three jobs yet I’m never tired.”
Hamilton, who says she has struggled with her weight her entire life, decided to undergo surgery because her size was limiting what she could do, and she had no energy. She knew losing weight would allow her to have children and keep up with her two- and four-year-old nephew and niece.
“I was disappointed how big I got, how I let myself go.” Hamilton gave the example of the 42-pound of dog food she purchases saying she used to carry three of those bags on her body.
With a much more active lifestyle, Hamilton now uses a Fit Bit to track at least 10,000 steps daily. Instead of riding the elevator, she climbs the stairs without panting, works out at a gym, tries to walk her two dogs daily, and has fun playing with her energetic niece and nephew. She even went on a hiking trip in Duluth which she thoroughly enjoyed. The woman is careful about what she eats using only one plate, drinks ample water, and rarely goes out to restaurants.
“I am no longer super self-conscious, embarrassed by myself, nor sad and depressed. My friends say I am more upbeat and have a better attitude and personality.” Hamilton is sure to celebrate her little wins to help keep herself going. “My friends and family encourage me and keep me going every day, they helped me gain a new sense of confidence that I never thought was possible.”
Originally scheduled for the surgery four years earlier, Hamilton delayed undergoing the procedure because it was “super scary,” and she was too nervous. However, with the encouragement and support of her grandma and dad, she followed through. Both stayed with her through surgery, and she recovered at her grandma’s home. “It was pretty good after surgery, grandma helped with food prep and keeping track of what I could and could not eat. She encouraged me about food choices and reminded me to drink water, take vitamins, and walk. Grandma even lost 10 pounds because she wouldn’t eat in front of me.”
Appreciative of the staff who did not give up on her when she first cancelled the surgery and then coached her through the program, Hamilton says she continues to rely on them to help her stick to her changes. At 50 pounds away from her goal, she regularly checks in with the team and participates in a monthly support group.
“The surgeon, anesthesiologist, dietitians, and nurses were amazing,” Hamilton said. “They really prepare you, telling you all about the procedure, recovery, and the diet I would have to follow for life. Thank you so much to all those who participated in my journey, your support truly is the reason I have a better life.”