Patient Stories

Berni Berni

Bernadette “Berni” Baker

Portland • Down 113 pounds
Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass

No more high blood pressure,
cholesterol, diabetes

I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2010 and put on six different medications at the time. Within three months I had gained 70 pounds and found I was one of the rare individuals who gains weight from diabetes medications. It was then that I began looking into what I needed to do to get off of all of the medication I was on. It took me two years of research to make the decision to have bariatric surgery. I went to different hospitals and open houses and chose St. Luke’s.

I had my surgery in September 2014 and ran my first 5K five weeks post-surgery. I have not stopped since. My life has become amazing and I am happier than I ever remember being. I am off all medication and my last checkup was perfect.

My biggest fear was failure but the “before” program at St. Luke’s helped me overcome that fear. By the time I had my surgery, I knew I would succeed. I am doing things I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be doing. My surgery gave me my life back and then some.


Raymond Hopkins

Souderton • Down 197 pounds
Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass


I had been unsuccessful with weight loss following weight gain that accelerated quickly in college as a side effect of medication and as the result of an injury from a work accident. I realized weight loss surgery was the best option and tool for me to be able to improve my overall health and have the outside appearance reflect what I felt the inside did.

I lost weight very quickly and it provided me the ability to become very active right away- working out five days a week and running in my first 5K. I have found the joy of running and the confidence in myself. I have found I am the person I always knew was on the inside.

To others who are struggling with their weight and thinking about having bariatric surgery I would say this is not a fix because you are not broken or defective. This is a way to help you be the best you that you can be. This is not a diet, but a lifestyle and a new lease on life.

Edwina Edwina

Edwina Drozd

Saylorsburg • Down 142 pounds
Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass

No more high blood pressure, lymphedema, venous insufficiency, asthma, headaches, painful knees, sleep apnea

The first time I was put on a diet I was in elementary school and by eighth grade I weighed 146 pounds. I lost weight over the years, 20 pounds here, 90 pounds there but was not able to keep it off despite using every gimmick out there- Dexatrim, Deal a Meal, you name it, I did it. Yo yo dieting led to my weight gain and after a while I just felt like a failure.

I couldn’t get off the couch while holding my grandkids since I needed both my arms to get up. I needed both railings while walking up stairs. I realized all of the things I couldn’t do and my daily life was limited.

I had been told for many years by different doctors that I should look into having weight loss surgery. The risk was minimal compared to the complications of being morbidly obese at 335 pounds. In January 2014 I attended a weight loss information program at St. Luke’s Anderson Campus. My husband joined me for support and has been by my side ever since.

A picture is worth a thousand words. St. Luke’s gave me the education needed to be successful. This program has changed my life. I have gained my independence back.


Jennifer Roy

Bethlehem • Down 121 pounds
Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass

No more diabetes


In 2011 I found out that I had diabetes and I cried because my grandfather and father had both died from it. One night after eating a healthy dinner, my sugar level spiked to 250 and because I was not insulin dependent I didn’t know what to do to get it down. While looking information up on the internet I saw the link to St. Luke’s Bariatric Program and that weight loss surgery had a good chance on curing diabetes.

Since having bariatric surgery my health has gotten so much better. The last time I took my Metformin was the morning of surgery and was officially cured in April 2013. I no longer worry like I did before about losing my feet or needing dialysis like my family has. I know I now have a better chance of meeting and enjoying my future grandchildren, unlike my father and grandfather did.

Weight loss surgery really is an excellent tool to get your health and your life back. Anything worth having is worth fighting for and I am worth fighting for.

Kurt Kurt

Kurt Visser

Stroudsburg • Down 131 pounds
Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass

Over the years, I tried every weight loss program on the market. I would lose weight short term, but always gained it all back. I had become frustrated with my failures. I approached almost 300 pounds, which kept me from activities that I loved. With every visit to my family physician I was warned of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. My doctor put me on medication for high cholesterol and on a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine for sleep apnea. I finally got to the point in my life where I knew if I continued on this same path that a premature death was inevitable. I did not want to die young.

After surgery, I quickly became accustomed to my new lifestyle. I have embraced eating well-balanced meals and exercising. A challenge for me was trying not to go back to old habits of eating junk and fast food. I am a sales representative and often on the road traveling for work—fast food had become a way of life for me. Now, I pack a healthy meal every day.

Weight loss surgery has improved my life in so many ways. I am able participate in activities with my three children again. It is a pleasure to do simple things without getting out of breath. Taking walks, running and sports are all activities that before surgery were not possible. I now have a renewed outlook on life.


Sarah Schoenauer

Bethlehem • Down 134 pounds
Laparoscopic Gastric Sleeve


I struggled with my weight pretty much my whole life. I was overweight as a child and through my teen years, but really gained a lot of weight in my twenties. I felt like I tried every diet out there but even when I was able to lose a little I always gained it back and then some. In my early thirties I had two pregnancies, one of them was with twins, and my weight skyrocketed. I felt like a prisoner in my own body, unhappy and self-conscious all of the time. I used to be outgoing and I got to the point where I tried to even avoid eye contact because I did not want people to see me. I felt hopeless and embarrassed. I was unhappy and I felt like my weight was stopping me from being the woman and mother that I wanted to be.

I was at a routine doctor visit and the nurse, whom I had not seen for a year, looked absolutely amazing! I asked her what she was doing and she told me that she had weight loss surgery at St. Luke’s. I literally got into my car and called for information while I was still in the parking lot.

Following my surgery I felt so good that it was easy to stay on track. I spent so many years thinking about food, and now my mind was free to think about other things. The best way to describe it was that I finally felt free. I was no longer thinking about food, I was living my life. I had energy and the confidence to hold my head up high. I could not be happier with my decision.

Bariatric surgery has completely changed my life in every way. I am no longer a prisoner stuck in a body that would not allow me to do the things I wanted to do but could not. It has made me a better mother because I have the energy to play with my children and I have the confidence now that I want them to see in their mother. When you love yourself and you have confidence it shows in everything you do. Weight loss surgery gave me my life back!

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