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Losing weight—and gaining confidence

Tammy Munoz loves long walks through her neighborhood, playing with her grandkids at the park and being on the move. However, reaching this point in her life has been a journey for Tammy.

"Since the age of 11, I have always been heavy," she says. "I have always been on some type of diet. I would lose weight, and then gain it back with a little more. It was this yo-yo, back and forth. I felt like I was just destined to be a huge person."

Tammy endured a lot of hurt through the years due to comments others would make about her appearance, but her weight also placed a burden on her health. Tammy wished she could play more with her six grandchildren, but any activity would create pain in her joints. She also began to experience heart palpitations that concerned her. Her cardiologist advised her that it was important for her to lose weight.

Making a change

"One day, my nephew's girlfriend came to the house and I noticed her weight loss," Tammy says. "I asked her what she was doing, and she told me about the sleeve gastrectomy surgery through the program at Shannon. I asked my cardiologist about it, and before I knew it, I was cleared to start the program."

At her last cardiology appointment before the surgery, Tammy weighed 357 pounds. In the first two months after surgery, she lost 80 pounds. Today, two years later, she has lost more than 215 pounds. Before the surgery, she had high blood pressure and was borderline diabetic—now, both conditions are gone. Her psoriatic arthritis also has not bothered her since the surgery.

"It's a different feeling now, and it took me a while to see myself differently," Tammy says. "You do have to change your lifestyle, but this gives you the tool to do it. I follow the manual I received before the surgery and call it my 'Bible.' I see food differently now, and I'm not as hungry anymore. I don't eat just because something sounds good."

Set up for success

She says attending all of the appointments and going through the prescribed process before and after surgery helped set her up to be successful. Tammy continues her follow-up visits with the Shannon weight loss team and contacts them often with any questions or concerns.

"Any time I have a question, they never act like it is a bother," says Tammy. "They genuinely care about their patients. They are a continued part of my life."

Tammy is excited about what lies ahead in this next chapter of her life. She is considering going back to school for a certification in the medical field.

"I'm excited for the future, and I'm not going to let any challenges bring me down," says Tammy. "Going through everything I've gone through in my life and knowing how I feel today and where I'm at, I wish I could tell everybody there's more—and you have a way."

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