Nearly two years and 140 pounds ago, Shirley Birchfield struggled with life because she was obese. She could rarely be involved in her twin sons' activities because she had too little energy. Undergoing laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery at Cabell Huntington Hospital's Center for Surgical Weight Control altered the course of Birchfield's life. She has lost her extra weight and her life has turned around.
"I was embarrassed to go anywhere," Birchfield said. "And my kids were embarrassed about the way I looked."
At one point in her life, Birchfield's weight had increased from 130 pounds to about 300 pounds. She was never able to get that weight off before her surgery. The extra weight was limiting what she could do in life so she decided to make a change.
"I tried diet pill after diet pill. Anything you can think of, I tried," she said.
She had cared for her mother before her death and knew firsthand what obesity could do to someone.
"My mother had poor health because of her obesity," Birchfield said. "I thought over and over that I was going to end up that way." Birchfield had a laparoscopic gastric bypass procedure at Cabell Huntington Hospital in June 2005. She now weighs about 160 pounds and is proud to say she is ready to take more weight off still.
"I can go out and physically do things with my kids," she said. "And my kids aren't embarrassed about me know. It's fun being able to look good."
If the surgery were an option again, Birchfield said she would make the same decision, and she is eager to share her experience with others.
"If I had it to do all over again, I would do it without a doubt, with the same doctor and staff. They have been great," she said. "I am encouraging a lot of people to have this done."