Changing Lives One Pound at a Time

Stefanie Bailey-DeskSandy Jennings, Bandera County Courier Staff Writer, interviewed Stefanie Bailey of Bariatric and Surgical Assistance and the article was printed in the June 2, 2016, paper.

When registered nurse Stefanie Bailey decided to open her business, Bariatric and Surgical Assistance, she brought 25 years of personal and professional experience with her.

When I had my surgery in 2002, the FDA had just approved the lap-band, although other countries had already approved and performed the surgery for eight to 10 years, Bailey said.

Following her surgery, Bailey found there was not a support system in place to help guide her from surgery to successful weight loss and healthy living so she started one.

In 2005, Bailey created the Surgical Weight Loss Manual and started a full program in Bryan, College Station. The program took the patient from pre-op, to surgery, to lifestyle changes necessary for maintaining a healthy weight.

I can guide clients through the process, from informing them of the requirements for insurance coverage, to preparing them for the surgery itself, to helping them make necessary lifestyle changes to guarantee success. I will be there for them, Bailey said. I believe there’s nothing we do in the medical field that improves lives and health as much as weight loss surgery.
In fact, Bailey hopes consistent research will show the successful correlation between ending diabetes through bariatric surgery with reconstruction to the digestive system, Most diabetic patients see results immediately after surgery before even leaving the hospital.

If you tell me I have a 90 percent chance of winning the lotto, I’m buying a ticket, Bailey said.

Bailey has watched bariatric surgery evolve from gastric bypass in the 1950s, through the lap-band in 2002, to the newest and most common weight loss surgery used as of 2015, the sleeve gastrectomy, which began in 2007.

A sleeve gastrectomy is another form of restrictive weight loss surgery. In the operation, the surgeon removes about 75 percent of the stomach. What remains of the stomach is a narrow tube or sleeve, which connects to the intestines. Because the intestines aren’t affected, a sleeve gastrectomy doesn’t affect how the body absorbs food, so patients are not likely to fall short on nutrients.

Bailey excitedly cites story after story of her clients all over the world that are experiencing incredible weight loss success following the sleeve gastrectomy surgery. Two of those clients, married couple Jason and Brandy Clark, live here in Bandera.
stefanie-bailey-sandy-jennings-jason-clarkThe Clarks, who were skeptical at first, watched their friends journey with Bailey through the process and were convinced. Stephanie did everything, Clark said. I called her and two weeks later I was there, having surgery.

Like many candidates, the Clarks traveled out of the country for their surgery since the cost averages 60 percent less than that in the United States.

In the last few years, with all the new changes in healthcare, insurance companies are not covering weight loss surgeries like they used to Bailey said. Over the years, she has teamed up with board certified surgeons with specialized experience and training in bariatric and metabolic surgery, in the United States and across the world.

Just to have somebody like Stefanie, who is educated in the field and has direct connections back to the doctors, is a tremendous help, Clark said. She’s there if we have any questions or if we run into hard spots. My only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner. Bailey’s enthusiasm and developed friendship towards the Clarks is apparent as she discusses their success.

Jason just had his surgery in March and has already lost 85 pounds, Bailey said. That’s why I enjoy what I do because he changes every time I open the door and see his face. I can’t stop smiling. I want to help people live healthier, happier lives.

Brandy, who completed surgery this past month has shed 35 pounds and their son, Jake, could not be happier for his parents. I’m so happy and proud of my parents, Jake said. My dad and my mom are constantly wanting to go and do stuff their new energy level is great. The family, who plans on celebrating with a vacation and a shopping trip for new clothes, shared a poignant moment. Last night, Jason found a pair of pants in the closet that hasn’t fit him in 12 years. He tried them on and they were baggy, Clark said. We all had to fight back the tears.

Bariatric and Surgical Assistance has two upcoming events, including a couples retreat and an informational conference “Is Weight Loss Surgery For Me”? For more information call Bailey at 888-624-4092, or visit the website at www.bariatricassistance.com.

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