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Jerred Richison living life without limits after bariatric surgery

After spending time in Bailey Medical Center’s metabolic management program (MMP), Jerred Richison decided he could use more of what Bailey Bariatrics has to offer. The 31-year-old Bristow native found some success with the program, but quickly realized he needed to make a more dramatic change for his health. 

The goal of Bailey’s metabolic management program is to create a healthy life for overweight and obese patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or greater and related health conditions like sleep apnea, diabetes and hypertension. It is a non-surgical approach to weight loss. 

“I went through the MMP for a while, and I had success through it,” said Richison. “But it became apparent that my body was broken to the point where I was like, ‘I need the surgery.’” 

In February of 2021, Richison decided to have a sleeve gastrectomy and started seeing Chika Okwufulueze, APRN, FNP-BC to prepare for surgery. They discussed his medical history, and his reasons for wanting bariatric surgery. Jerred also attended a free seminar to learn about his options. 

“We discuss their goals, their motivations, their reasons for seeking bariatric surgery in this initial consultation. For Jerred, his medical history was minimal,” said Okwufulueze. “It's good for someone to know the reason why they got into the weight loss program in the first place, so down the line if they begin to regain the weight, they can go back and look at their motivation.” 

“Talking to Chika and actually meeting my surgeon, that put me completely at ease,” said Richison. “I had no worries, no concerns, and the team really helped me prep to know what was fixing to come and how to get through it.” 

Richison had his surgery in September of 2021. The sleeve gastrectomy he received is a non-reversible procedure that involves removing approximately 80% of the stomach, leaving the remaining stomach the size and shape of a banana. Richison said the staff at Bailey made him feel comfortable and confident on the day of his surgery. 

“They were absolutely wonderful. I came with my mom, and they were incredibly nice to her, told her where she could go,” said Richison. “The pre-op team was amazing; they were fun, they were jovial, they just relaxed you and put you at ease. They explained every step of the process.” 

After his surgery, Richison finds he can no longer process certain high-fat foods or dairy products. Richison said he was warned of the risks beforehand and knew the work that the program would require. 

“We tell patients they are going to require a lifelong lifestyle modification. Bariatric surgery isn’t a 100 percent cure for obesity,” said Okwufulueze. “It’s very individualized. As part of their pre-surgery education, patients learn which food substances would not help them sustain weight loss. After bariatric surgery, your body metabolizes sugar, carbohydrates, alcohol and sometimes certain medications differently.” 

“People say, ‘That’s a really restrictive lifestyle.’ I honestly don’t tell a difference anymore,” said Richison. “It’s become my life. It’s become the habits that I have now, the healthier habits.” 

Mo Smith, YMCA-CPT, has been an exercise specialist at Bailey Bariatrics for 10 years. She helped guide Jerred through his new physical health journey while he recovered from his surgery. 

“I don’t think Jerred’s goal was to be skinny,” said Smith. “He wanted overall health and wellbeing, longevity and more energy.” 

Those healthier habits, like diet adjustments and consistent exercise, are giving Richison more energy so he can keep up with his family, including an infant niece. 

“Between her and just normal activities as a 30-year-old, I wanted to be able to play with her and not get winded too much,” said Richison. “I wanted to be able to run when she gets older.” 

Richison could also return to activities he loved, like traveling, without having to worry about restrictions caused by his weight. 

“I like to travel, being able to fit comfortably in a plane or just not have issues walking, stuff like that,” said Richison. “I traveled overseas recently, no problems whatsoever. That’s kind of living life without limits. That’s what Bailey says, ‘Life without limits’ and that was my goal, to take away the limitations that I did have.” 

Smith and Okwufulueze say Bailey Bariatrics' team approach to care makes a difference to their patients. 

“We have team meetings every week, all the providers meet,” said Smith. “And if there is something that we need to discuss a specific patient, that’s where we can get that addressed. And we can talk about it collectively, as their team.” 

“We encourage our patients to do their best in the journey,” said Okwufulueze. “We do not expect perfection. We are always here for them every step of the way, before and after surgery, for nutritional and psychological support.” 

Richison says Bailey would be his only recommended facility for others looking to get weight-loss surgery. 

“Go to Bailey. That’s where you want to go because this is what they do for a living,” said Richison “This is their passion, to get people to that healthy lifestyle, to get them off medications, off CPAP, to get them to a place where they can function day-to-day. They've got everything you need. Bailey has to be one of the most seamlessly run processes I’ve ever seen.” 

If you’d like to attend a seminar to learn more about the programs, surgeries and financial options offered at Bailey Bariatrics, click here