Nicolle Ochoa struggled being overweight for 25 years. After having three children and trying multiple unsuccessful diets, Nicolle wanted a change. “I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, borderline diabetic, and had to have both knees replaced after tripping over gym equipment while I was working out,” Nicolle says. “I gained back all of the weight I had lost during recovery, and reached my highest weight of 363 pounds. It was horrible. My grandson asked if I could get on the slide with him, and I couldn’t because I was too big.”
Today, Nicolle has lost 144 pounds since her surgery on August 4th, 2015 at The Center for Bariatrics at Bailey Medical Center. “I am so excited, I haven’t even reached my year anniversary yet, and I only have 39 pounds left to lose until I reach my personal goal!” Nicolle exclaims. “I’m working out, I’m doing zumba and I’m really jumping on this. This opportunity is once in a lifetime, and I’m not going to stop until I get where I need to be, and I’m going to live a happy and healthy life.”
Nicolle had been researching gastric bypass surgery for over 10 years, but had wanted to try her best to lose the weight naturally. After her mother passed away, Nicolle prayed she would get an opportunity to get her life back. “That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.” Once she moved to Owasso, and found out her insurance would cover a gastric bypass surgery, she knew her life would change forever. She was so excited once she found out about the bariatric program at Bailey Medical Center program website. “Everyone was so helpful. I really like the program because it really prepares you for what you are about to do. It is a life-changing experience that you need to be prepared for, if you are to succeed.”
Nicolle had her gastric bypass surgery last August, and attends the Owasso support group every month. “I really love the program because I can go to the meetings and pay it forward. I am able to share my story with other people who are getting ready to have their surgeries,” Nicolle says. “That is what I feel is important because the more information they know from people who have had the surgery, the more successful they will be. I tell them this is a tool but you mentally are going to have to change your habits. It is a mental challenge.” Nicolle reminds them of the different resources available online and the people in the program who can answer questions and help them through the process. “I have been successful because I am not only using my tools, but following my doctor’s orders to a tee [including] changing my eating habits.” she says. “There are so many people who have gained or relapsed because they haven’t made the necessary changes, but the support from the support group is what really gets you to succeed. That is most important, having a great bariatric team for support.”
Nicolle shares the different activities she has been able to do post surgery. “I no longer have to use my sleep apnea machine, I can cross my legs, I can walk down the stairs without holding the rail, I ran a 5k color run and have received several 5k medals from virtual runs at the gym. There are so many things I can do now!” Her grandson was pleasantly surprised he could hug her and put his arms around her. “He has always known me as heavier, so that was the first time he could do that,” she shares. Nicolle also loves adventure and has big plans for the future. “I want to go zip-lining, roller skating, ice skating, camping, ride a rollercoaster and maybe even sky diving! I’m just so excited, there are endless possibilities of what I can go do now. My grandson and I are planning a trip to the park, and I’m definitely going to go down the slide with him this time.”
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