There are times in life when words resonate like no other. In April 2019, 37-year-old Nicole Ziegler of the Highlands received an unexpected ‘gut check’ from her OB/GYN, Dr. Robert Penney.
Her doctor’s statement changed her life:
“He told me that my current weight put me at higher risk of early death
than if I smoked a pack of cigarettes a day.”
Weight battles were nothing new for Nicole; obesity was prevalent in her family. In 2011, her father, Peter, had successful gastric bypass, performed by Dr. Ayotunde Adeyeri.
“I remembered that Dr. Adeyeri was patient and helpful and never spoke down to us during my Dad’s journey, “Nicole recalls. “You can tell he really cares about his patients being successful and losing weight for the long-term.”
Although Nicole is employed by another healthcare system, she chose Dr. Adeyeri to perform her gastric bypass at Raritan Bay Medical Center – Old Bridge, part of Hackensack Meridian Health, in August 2019, after the scale tipped 290 pounds.
Her weight loss journey proceeded steadily and by early 2020, she had already lost 50 pounds.
Covid-19 wreaks havoc – twice
Nicole and her husband were both frontline workers in different industries; Nicole works at a hospital and her husband works for mass transit.
Nicole’s husband was diagnosed with the coronavirus in early spring; just a few weeks later, she was also diagnosed.
Nicole was dealing with her own debilitating virus symptoms and trying to follow her weight loss plan, all while worrying about her husband’s recovery.
These extremely challenging situations could easily lead to weight regain due to stress, limited access to healthy food and food chain shortages.
But even during these dire circumstances, Nicole pushed ahead.
Slowly, she and her husband fully recovered from the coronavirus.
Months later, Nicole tested positive again for Covid-19 but was fortunate not to be hospitalized with either bout.
Dr. Adeyeri praises Nicole’s commitment
“Nicole was challenged to dispose of unhealthy eating habits that extended back to her childhood,” Dr. Adeyeri, a board-certified bariatric surgeon, explains.
“But her father, her family and her husband were a strong network of support for her and they contributed to her success.”
Dr. Adeyeri says Nicole overcame tremendous challenges during her post-op weight loss that may have defeated other people.
“I know she wants to continue losing and I have no doubt Nicole will accomplish any goal she sets for herself.”
One year after weight loss surgery
This month, at her one-year “surgiversary,” Nicole has successfully lost 90 pounds and will soon see her weight begin with the number “1.” She keeps her metabolism moving forward by walking 3-4 times a week, in addition to plenty of walking at her job.
She acknowledged this milestone with a message on social media:
Hard to believe it’s been a year already since my surgery. I couldn’t be happier or more confident. I may still have some flaws and some work to do, but I’m NOWHERE near what I used to be. I’m never going back. The surgery was the best decision I’ve ever made. This wasn’t the easy way out, either. This is a complete lifestyle change and I love it.
“Even with the challenges I’ve faced this year, my life is so much better,” Nicole explains. “I have returned to college to get my degree, I’m more confident and like socializing so much more now.”
Nicole offers advice for those weight loss surgery warriors who will follow in her footsteps:
“Don’t believe that stereotype that ‘bariatric surgery is the easy way out,’ because it isn’t,’ she advises. “It takes work, commitment and the courage to face obstacles that you are going to face during your journey.”
With that said, Nicole changes out of her work uniform and logs on to her college class, full steam ahead.
Do you qualify for bariatric weight loss surgery?
Call our friendly team of bariatric experts at (732) 217-3897 to set up a personal telehealth consultation with Dr. Adeyeri, board-certified bariatric and GI surgeon, and medical director of the Institute for Weight Loss at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge.
During the consultation, you’ll talk about your weight loss goals, any weight-related medical conditions and Dr. Adeyeri will explain the gastric surgery operations that may be right for you.
In addition, you can attend an in-person or virtual New Patient Seminar to learn more about the bariatric journey and how it can change the course of your health and your life.