Kalandra Bearden was 26 and beginning a new journey as a single mom when she decided to pursue weight-loss surgery. Her biggest motivation was to be healthier for her two daughters and more involved in their sports and other activities. “You want to be able to participate in those things with them instead of just always standing back and looking,” Bearden says.
She was familiar with weight-loss surgery because she worked in hospital admissions at Northwest Texas Healthcare System and had gotten to know many patients who had gone through the bariatric program. She saw the success they were having and thought it might be something that could help her. “I was assessed and met all the criteria,” she says. Soon after, she had gastric sleeve surgery at Northwest.
Gastric sleeve is generally done as a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure, in which the surgeon removes part of the stomach and creates a thin vertical sleeve. This reduces the size of the stomach and restricts the amount of food that can be eaten at a time, decreasing hunger and increasing the feeling of fullness.
Bearden says her experience from before surgery through recovery was amazing, and everyone at the hospital was so supportive. In the weeks that followed, she began to lose weight and celebrated each time she lost another 10 pounds. “It really does what it’s supposed to do,” she says of her procedure.
“You still are able to enjoy food, with portion control and in a healthier way. You learn what you can handle and how much you can handle.”
Exercise is an important part of her regular regimen. “Just being able to walk a few miles was the best feeling in the world,” she says of the improved fitness she experienced as she lost the weight. “Eventually I was running. It was just kind of happening in front of my eyes.”
In all, she lost about 115 pounds. She’s thrilled to now have more energy for her “kiddos,” and she’s also happy to enjoy clothes shopping without her weight holding her back. This “boosts your self-esteem way beyond what I can tell you,” she says.
It’s been four years since her surgery, and she’s now able to give the same support she received to people who go through admissions at Northwest for a weight-loss procedure. “It’s been a really good experience for me,” she says of her personal journey. “You’re no longer hiding in that shadow anymore. You truly find yourself.”
We've been recognized
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas has recognized Northwest Texas Healthcare System with a Blue Distinction® Center designation in the area of bariatric (weight-loss) surgery as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers are nationally designated healthcare facilities shown to deliver quality specialty care based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community for patient safety and better health outcomes.
The bariatric surgical center at Northwest is also a Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®) Accredited Comprehensive Center with Adolescent Qualifications. To earn this designation, Northwest met essential criteria for staffing, training and facility infrastructure and protocols for care, ensuring its ability to support patients with severe obesity.
A bariatric support group for people considering weight-loss surgery and those who have had surgery, as well as supportive family and friends, is held the last Monday of each month.
Learn more and register online >
Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if bariatric surgery is right for you.