Patient Stories

two women walking

Bariatric Surgery Changes Lives for the Better

"I cannot express what a difference you all have made in my life this year. I think of you every day and I'm so thankful you do what you do-- and that I found you. Please always keep in mind the amazing difference you make every day! Bless you!" 

"Thank you for giving me a chance at living life!"

Barbara’s Story

Barbara McComsey, 56, of Pompano Beach, endured a lifelong struggle with weight. “My family was overweight. I was overweight.”

As a senior medical assistant in the Michael and Dianne Bienes Comprehensive Cancer Center a Holy Cross Health, she was literally steps away from the ultimate solution to her obesity. 

At 256 pounds, Barbara’s turning point came when, “I couldn’t walk up one flight of stairs in back of our building.  I had to stop and wait and walk up a few more steps. I thought ‘this has got to go.’ “

In November 2020, she saw Dr. Michael Perez, Bariatric Surgeon, and eventually underwent a gastric bypass surgery also known as Roux-en-Y, losing 101 pounds from her first office visit with Dr Perez -- 60 pounds with the surgery and 41 on a high-protein, low-carb diet.

Her weight loss team included a dietician and psychologist. “That really helps put your mind right,” she said.  Not only did she get her mind right for the surgery, the positive mental health effects have persisted. She has no more depression.

“I can walk further. I’m not out of breath going upstairs. I feel great.”

The weight and depression weren’t all she lost.  Gone are the blood pressure medications, two depression medications, cholesterol meds and sleep apnea machine. All gone.

In their place are a new zest for life. “I walk. I walk my dog.  I can go horseback riding now.”

Janice’s Story

Losing 160 pounds can change a woman. Just ask Janice Blohm.

“I feel like a new person, said Blohm, 58, of Pompano Beach. “I have so much energy it’s ridiculous!”

With her newfound vim and vigor, Blohm is able to help her family more – from assisting her 79-year-old Dad to helping her daughter remodel her home. She also devotes more time to self-care: working out, swimming and cycling. 

Most importantly, she has a more positive outlook on her health prospects. Being obese, while carrying a BRCA gene mutation as Blohm does, is positively linked with higher levels of damage to the DNA in normal breast gland cells.

“My brother also met with Dr Perez before I did to explore weight loss surgery. Unfortunately, he ended up with cancer and passed September 2020, at age 59. I wanted this to potentially save my life. My mother died of cancer. It’s not a matter of vanity. I did it strictly for my health. I just saw cancer destroy my family.”

Janice sings the praises of the Bariatric Team. 

“I can call and Peggy will call back the same day," she said. "When I reach Ava the dietician, she responds so quickly. The online support groups also helpful -- with Ava and Dr Heidi, the psychologist."

With guidance from the Bariatric Services team and its online support group, Blohm is enjoying her transformed life and wants the same for others. 

“If I can help somebody through this journey, it would bring me so much joy.”