When Kristina Davis’ three children play on their backyard trampoline, go swimming or ride a roller coaster, Kristina jumps right in. “I don’t feel like I have to sit out anymore,” says Davis, a 40-year-old stay-at-home mom from Harleysville.
It wasn’t always that way. For years, Davis’ weight kept her from participating in many of the activities that brought her children joy. She figures she’s been, “heavy since puberty,” and she’s had severe acid reflux since birth.
Then, in 2018, things got serious. She began suffering severe stomach pain whenever she ate anything. “It felt like someone was putting a knife into my stomach and just twisting it,” she says.
The cause: a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus, which occurs when the tube leading from the mouth to the stomach is damaged. It’s more common in people who are overweight and those who have chronic acid reflux. If left untreated, it can lead to esophageal cancer.
At the request of her gastroenterologist, Davis consulted with bariatric surgeon Michael K. Fishman, MD, with Grand View Health Weight Management. He brought promising news: weight-loss surgery could potentially reverse her condition and eliminate her pain.
“As soon as he told me he could help me, I loved him,” Davis says. “He’s one of my favorite doctors now.”
Dr. Fishman recommended Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery. During the procedure, Dr. Fishman creates a small pouch out of a portion of the stomach, then attaches that part of the stomach directly to the small intestine, effectively bypassing the larger part of the stomach and the duodenum.
“Studies show gastric bypass surgery reduces acid reflux significantly and can prevent Barrett’s Esophagus from progressing to cancer,” Dr. Fishman says.
Davis’ surgery took place on Dec. 3, 2018. “I haven’t had stomach pain since,” she says.
Even better, she’s started living healthier. She’s gone from 222 pounds down to 141—an 81-pound difference. She enjoys eating chicken and vegetables. “I discovered that I like zucchini and squash—I had no idea because I didn’t eat them before,” she says. She now enjoys clothing shopping, too, having gone from a dress size of 22-24 to a dress size of 8-10.
But it’s those days spending time with her husband and children that mean the most to her. “I don’t have to think twice about anything,” she says. “The confidence I have is crazy.”
Now, she actively helps others transform their lives through weight-loss surgery. She participates in the “Bariatric Buddy” program, which connects patients that have had weight-loss surgery with patients currently planning a procedure. Davis has also helped three close friends by connecting them with the team at Grand View Health.
“One of my friends just had it a month ago,” she says. “I tell her what I tell everyone else—it’s life-changing. I feel like Grand View Health gave me my life back.”