Weight loss surgery inspires career change

A nurse's weight loss success

Missy Bagshaw, R.N., had struggled with her weight for years. When she was pregnant with her second child, she developed gestational diabetes and was placed on a 2,500-calorie diet to control the condition. She gained only 17 pounds during her pregnancy but gained another 60 pounds afterward. By the time her son was 4 years old, she weighed 317 pounds.

“My insurance required that I try weight loss alternatives before surgery,” Bagshaw said. “I tried every diet out there, even diet pills, which made me sick. But I couldn’t lose the weight.”

Surgery was her last resort, but it was her lifesaver. Immediately after the surgery, she lost 65 pounds and continued to lose about 1 to 2 pounds per week. Now, six years later, she’s lost 166 pounds.

Would she recommend weight loss surgery to others?

“Only if you are committed to continuing to lose weight until you reach a healthy weight and then maintaining that weight loss; it’s not a quick fix,” Bagshaw said.

For more than five years she saw her doctor every six weeks. Now she sees him only if she is having problems. She said the surgery has changed her life.

“Before the surgery, I couldn’t go up and down stairs. I had problems with my feet and joints. I was diabetic, had high blood pressure and my cholesterol was almost 300,” Bagshaw said. Those issues have disappeared.

“Once you lose the weight, it’s easier to be active,” she said. “I’m thrilled that I can go outside and play with my son!”

Bagshaw wears a Fitbit Flex activity tracker and has it synced with NGoodHealth.com. She consistently takes about 10,000 steps a day. Her eating habits also have changed. She eats smaller portions and no bread.

She focuses on eating protein first, then vegetables, carbohydrates and fat, and she stops eating as soon as she feels full.

“I have no desire for empty calories,” she said. “I haven’t eaten a Pop-Tart since my surgery.”

Bagshaw decided to give back by becoming a nurse and working with weight loss surgery patients. She earned an associate degree in nursing and now works the night shift on the bariatric floor at Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

“I am so grateful for the care I received. I want to provide that same care to others,” she said.

Bagshaw has been accepted at Indiana University Southeast and plans to complete her bachelor’s degree in nursing. Her goal is to be a certified bariatric nurse.


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