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Community Advocacy Organization

Bariatric Surgery Changed This Patient’s Life in Unimaginable Ways

Courtesy Photo-Alayna Wesener-Alayna holds a photo of her picture before bariatric surgery

Over the past 30 years, obesity has become the most prevalent disease in the world, and more people suffer from the health effects of obesity than from any other disease.

This was the case for Alayna Wesener, who struggled with her weight her entire life. “At 30, I felt my entire future was ruined. I felt like I was going to die young. I needed a seatbelt extender on an airplane, I could barely tie my shoes, I couldn’t cross my legs, and for years I had unexplained infertility,” said Wesener.

Courtesy Photo-Alayna Wesener-Alayna before bariatric surgery

Wesener spoke with her primary care provider about weight loss surgery a few times; however, her doctor wanted to see if she could lose the weight with diet and exercise first. “I finally decided to make the change after experiencing the loss of my older sister to heroin. I took in her young son, and I knew that I had to make a serious change with my own health so I could be there for him. At the time, I weighed 332 pounds, and I also didn’t want my parents to have to experience the loss of their other child.”

Wesener then reached out to Dr. Michael Kia, DO, FACOS, FACS, bariatric surgeon at McLaren Greater Lansing and McLaren Flint. “There is so much shame and stigma associated with being overweight or ‘taking the easy way out’ with surgery,” said Wesener. “I intentionally didn’t share with anyone that I was seriously considering having surgery besides my primary care provider.”

Wesener had a sleeve gastrectomy performed, which is one of the two most common bariatric surgeries. This surgery works by correcting the abnormal communication signals that have developed during the disease of obesity.

“Weight loss surgery has become safer in the United States than gallbladder removal, hysterectomy, or even joint replacement. It is one of the safest procedures that is performed,” said Dr. Kia. “The surgery is laparoscopic, which means we make very small incisions in the abdomen. Patients can expect a 7 to 10-day recovery before they can return to work and general activity.”

Courtesy Photo-Alayna Wesener-Alayna holds after bariatric surgery

By changing the biochemistry of how the brain thinks about food, patients no longer go through cravings and experience the feeling of being full without an emotional aspect.

“Today, I have run five full marathons, found the confidence to start my own business, and I have the most wonderful little blessing—a two-year-old little boy named Wyatt—and my handsome nephew has signed on to the Navy and leaves later this year. Without surgery, I don’t know that I would be here. I know this wouldn’t be my life,” said Wesener.

Years later, Wesener still maintains a healthy weight and lifestyle. Her passion about weight loss surgery has also led to her directly impacting five others in choosing surgery for themselves, and they are also maintaining a healthy weight years later. “I wanted to publicly share my story, the ups and the downs, with my friends and family, and truthfully anyone who would listen. This surgery not only saved my life but also completely changed my life. My biggest piece of advice is to make the appointment.”

To learn more about the bariatric program, click here.

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