The Sleeve Sisters: 5 Ordinary Women Take an Extraordinary Journey

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The Sleeve Sisters from left to right: Suzanne Morris, Mikaela Brylie, Holly Bell, Rebecca Graham, and Mindy Shipley

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A weight loss journey can be tiring and difficult, but our supportive team at Obesity Control Center strives to make your journey a bit easier and more rewarding. Part of that journey is seeing the incredible results of your hard work pay off, and when patients share these milestones with us, we like to share them with the rest of the #OCCFamily.

Five women came to our cutting edge facility for their procedures in July, most of them strangers. But on July 8, 2020, their journeys converged, and these women formed a family within the #OCCFamily. Based on the surgery they were all there to undergo, they dubbed themselves the “Sleeve Sisters.” Mindy, Suzanne, Mikaela, Holly, and Rebecca gave and received an extra level of support to one another as they sought to improve the overall quality of their lives together. 

With over 23,000 surgeries performed, cutting edge techniques, and a lifetime of support, Obesity Control Center is a global leader in effective bariatric surgery. 

Together, the Sleeve Sisters ate their meals, relaxed by the pool pre-surgery, and offered encouragement and support to one another. Ultimately, these women maintained a role in each other’s lives that brought about inspiration and a profound sense of motivation that made the dreaded post-op diet more bearable.

Let’s get to know the Sleeve Sisters.

Mindy: “‘Thank You’ Isn’t Sufficient Enough” 

Mindy won the OCC “New You” Giveaway, and it changed her life. Personally writing to OCC, Mindy shared, “I am usually not the winner, but now I am in a really big way.”

After receiving such incredible results, Mindy began referring anyone she thought could benefit from treatment at OCC to the center. And so became the story of the Sleeve Sisters.

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Holly (& Her Sister Hilary): “A journey can take you around the globe, but this one brought us to Mexico.” 

Holly was eager to take the next steps in her weight loss journey and brought along her sister Hilary as her companion.

While before and after photos are always a treat, we also love receiving updates from our patients about their overall experience with OCC.

Hilary got a glimpse of the OCC experience as she supported her sister Holly during Holly’s weight loss journey with the Improved Gastric Sleeve procedure. She wrote and shared this heartfelt poem about her and Holly’s experience at the center.

 “You only live once, so do what you can. Live, love, laugh…and sing with the band.”

Mikaela: “I Feel So Incredibly Lucky For The Experience I Had and the Life-Long Relationships I Gained”

Mikaela came to the center weighing 278 lbs. Using food as a coping mechanism and a source of comfort, her weight proved to be a challenge. But after scheduling her surgery with OCC, she says it has been one of the best decisions she’s ever made!

Losing 15 pounds two weeks post-surgery and now with more than 35 pounds of lost weight, we know you can relate to Mikaela’s success and new-found happiness!

Rebecca: “I Didn’t Want to Accept the Person I Had Become”

Always weighing more than others, Rebecca struggled with her weight for a long time. Outside factors, including childhood bullying and marital problems, led her to use food as a source of comfort and solace. 

“I began to notice that I would no longer look at myself in the mirror, take pictures, smile, or even go clothes shopping. I didn’t want to accept the person I had become, because it was not the person I was pretending to be to the world.”

Like many of you, Rebecca found a new sense of peace after visiting OCC. She says that OCC sets you up for success through consistent and various avenues of support, and she maintains her appreciation as she continues to strive for a better life.

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Suzanne: “I Had To Do Something For Me”

After gaining weight back that she had previously lost, Suzanne felt herself losing the outgoing and happy parts of her personality. 

After scheduling her surgery and then having to reschedule due to COVID-19, Suzanne found it hard to stay on track. 

“I figured I would have a conciliatory pasta dinner [and] that threw me off track for almost two months. I got an email from OCC’s Nutritionist, Lucia Chavez, inquiring why I hadn’t been logging into the patient portal. She was so supportive; it got me back on track. I was actually 5 pounds below my ‘projected surgery weight’ on the day of my surgery.”

Suzanne is now coming back around to who she really is, crediting OCC for their support, as well as Mindy and the Sleeve Sisters. 

Start Your Weight Loss Journey with OCC Today

If you can relate to any of these stories from the Sleeve Sisters, then be sure to watch the Sleeve Sister interview, led by Dr. Ortiz. You can also read more about this life-changing gastric surgery.

We hope hearing the testimonies of Rebecca, Holly, Suzanna, Melinda, Mikaela, and Mindy, people just like you, will inspire you in your journey. To learn more about weight loss surgery, visit ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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OCC’s epidemiologist is closely monitoring the COVID-19 status and is actively issuing updates as they are available. The Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization are the most trusted sources online.  While the CDC has announced new mask protocols for vaccinated individuals, there will be no changes for our office protocols for patients, guests, and staff members as the announcement does not apply to hospitals or medical facilities. Masks are still a requirement for all patients, guests and staff at our facility.

As we reinitiate weight loss surgery, we are constantly adapting and installing new and updated safety measures.

Weight loss surgery is medically necessary.

Bariatric Surgery and the clash of two pandemics.   

Major metabolic and bariatric surgery Societies and colleges globally are now calling for the safe resumption of bariatric and metabolic surgery before the COVID-19 pandemic is declared over. 

The sooner bariatric surgery can be safely performed, the quicker obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other diseases can be reduced or resolved as they are not only chronic they are also progressive.  Obesity is also linked to more than 40 diseases including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and at least 13 different types of cancer.

A recent statement from the ASMBS says “Before COVID-19 began, it was clear that patients with obesity were ‘safer through surgery.’ In the era of COVID-19, ‘safer through surgery’ for patients with obesity may prove to be even more important than before.” Obesity and Metabolic syndrome have been identified as an independent risk factor for adverse outcomes including death among COVID-19 patients.

See here for full COVID-19 update. 

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