Growing up is full of challenges, and is even harder when you’re overweight. After struggling with her weight in her teen years, Devyn Dominick decided to take action.
“As a kid, I got made fun of. People looked at me differently,” Devyn said. “I couldn’t do some activities that other kids enjoyed. It was upsetting to compare myself to other girls. I hated shopping for clothes.”
At age 19, Devyn looked into weight-loss surgery. She suffered from hypertension and horrible migraines. Devyn was inspired by a family member and some family friends who improved their health after having weight-loss surgery.
“I tried Weight Watchers and other diets. I’d lose some weight, but later regain it. In college, I went to the gym four times a week and even that didn’t help me lose weight,” Devyn said.
Devyn came to Tulane Medical Center’s bariatric surgery program to discuss her weight-loss goals and see if surgery could be a tool to help her safely achieve them. Before having surgery, Devyn kept a food journal to document what, when and how much she was eating. She met with a dietician and learned how she would need to change what she ate after surgery.
After five months of preparation, Devyn had a sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric sleeve procedure, performed by Tulane bariatric surgeon Dr. Christopher DuCoin. This procedure created a smaller stomach that is still connected to the intestines, so it limits how much she can eat and possibly decreases appetite due to less gut hormones.
“I stayed in the hospital for two days after surgery. Everyone was amazing and very helpful. The care team was like a little family to me,” Devyn said. “I was up walking the day after surgery, and I was able to go back to school three days later. By 10 days out, I went back to work at my pharmacy technician job.”
Not long after surgery, Devyn’s hypertension resolved. After losing more than 80 pounds so far, she is able to do more in life and have confidence about it.
“Now, I’m able to enjoy playing with my younger siblings. We go to the park, and I can swing with them,” she said. She and her mom have fun shopping together. Their family enjoys festivals, and visiting the rides at City Park. Devyn is relieved not to have to worry about weight or size limits at amusement park rides. And, junk food at fairs and events is no longer tempting. She tries to eat a healthy meal before events to avoid junk food later.
While weight-loss surgery is a major step and big decision, it’s one that Devyn is very glad she made.
“It’s definitely worth it! I wouldn’t go back to my old life,” Devyn said. “At first it’s scary to see how you’ll have to change your lifestyle, but it’s so worth it. I worried about figuring out what to eat and not eat and what people would think about me having this surgery. This is not the easy way out! I still have to eat right every day and know my limits.”