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Chursten Murray: FirstHealth Weight-loss Surgery Patient

| Date Posted: 7/2/2019

Chursten Murray, FirstHealth weight-loss surgery patient, shares her story with The Sway.

Let’s talk about weight: The only thing that’s 10 times as hard to take off as it is to put on. Being 30 with a family, full-time job and little time to breathe can make shedding those pounds a near-impossible task.

So, what are your options? Finding the time to make home-cooked meals and clocking more hours in the gym is a start; but if your body doesn’t respond the same as it used to, you can get discouraged. We’ve all heard about the “easy way out” — but is that really the case? And don’t most people just put it back on?

To get the skinny on bariatric surgery (weight-loss surgery), we went straight to the source.

Chursten Murray started gaining weight during her pregnancies, which stayed on afterwards. Then she hit 35. Last January, she decided to talk to her primary care doctor, who suggested bariatric surgery. Chursten was hesitant at first, but after doing her research and gaining the support of her husband, she secured a referral to FirstHealth.

On Jan. 15, 2017, she underwent the sleeve procedure and spent one night in the hospital. Since then, she’s lost 95 pounds with the guidance that the staff and support groups set in place post-op. Sounds like a dream, right?

Maybe, but it’s no walk in the park.

Immediately after the surgery, patients are placed on a liquid diet for four weeks. Oh, and you can really only take in about two ounces at a time. Yes, this means waking up several times a night to sip water, so you don’t get dehydrated. After 4 weeks, you can transition to purees and then work your way up to solid foods.

Our Biggest Question: Don’t Your Cravings Just Come Back, Returning You to Where You Started?

Chursten gets the occasional hankering for a cheeseburger, fries and shake just like the rest of us, but is able to keep her body and mind on the same page. “My body doesn’t want it anymore, and me not wanting to feel bad after eating it (physically she means) outweighed wanting the unhealthy foods,” she said.

Immediately after surgery, support groups and post-op appointments are lined up. Patients are given a free training session and consultation at the gym but aren’t micromanaged so they can find their own comfort zone. Doctors are there to help make this new lifestyle doable, because the first year after surgery is the optimal time to lose weight. And if Chursten could lose 95 pounds in one year, then clearly they’ve got it down to a science.

Obviously, Chursten didn’t go home 95 pounds lighter. She was put on a pre-operation diet for two weeks, during which she lost 5-10 pounds. She lost 12 pounds in the first month after the operation, and 3-12 pounds a month after that. 

We know what you’re thinking. The answer is no, she didn’t spend hours working out and suddenly find a love of salad.  “I don’t have any more time in the day than I did before,” she says. Between juggling a family, a full-time job and now the occasional support groups on top of it all, becoming a cardio bunny wasn’t in the cards for her.

“I realize that I go up and down the stairs at least eight times every morning, between the time that I wake up and the time I fetch the last thing one of my kids left upstairs before we head to school,” she says. Between running after a 2 and 5-year old, keeping up with her active lifestyle and making better choices she’s transitioned her life to what many would consider a healthier lifestyle. Even her husband has shed 20 pounds along the way.

So, are you thinking about bariatric surgery? Chursten’s advice to you is to just do it!

“Once it’s done, it’s done. It’s life changing for the better, so just be sure you’re ready to commit to the changes. I have zero regrets, and life is so much easier when you’re not uncomfortable all the time.”

They keys to success include following the instructions given by your doctor and being ready to take on the intense recovery period. “It seems simple, but it’s physically difficult,” she says. “But, it’s so worth it.”

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