Tiffany's story

Tiffany Bernabe

Where healthy leads to happy

Cabbage soup diet, pills, shakes and programs—Tiffany Bernabe had tried them all. Nothing seemed to keep the weight off.

In 2008, her struggle came down to a single choice: weight-loss surgery.

“I knew the yo-yo dieting was harder on my body than surgery would be,” she says.

Tiffany’s battle with weight had been lifelong. Before surgery, she’d been through almost two decades of weight losses and gains, at one point reaching 330 pounds.

“I didn’t have…diabetes or high blood pressure,” she says. “But having been heavy my entire life, it was just a matter of time.”

She was already experiencing serious pain in her joints and tendons, and when her new son came along she was even more motivated to lose weight. So when he was 13 months old, she attended a surgery orientation class at PeaceHealth Southwest’s Weight Loss Surgery Center.

At free classes like the one Tiffany attended, physicians who specialize in weight-loss surgery talk about the procedures and answer questions.

“We want patients to understand all of their options, to encourage them in their decision and to cheer them on to success,” says bariatric surgeon Paul Dally, MD, PeaceHealth Medical Group Surgical Specialists.

After working with a team of doctors, dietitians and counselors and with the support of her family, friends and doctor, Tiffany decided to have surgery. In 2008, Dr. Dally performed a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure on her.

“Weight-loss surgery is a big decision, but it can create significant results,” Dr. Dally says. “One year after surgery, patients are typically 100 pounds lighter. Best of all, they’re in better health.”

For Tiffany, surgery has meant weight loss, increased energy and freedom from pain. “My health is the best it’s ever been,” Tiffany says.

These days, she is careful to watch what she eats, and she continues to attend Southwest’s ongoing support group for weight-loss surgery patients. It’s all part of a new lifestyle and a new life.

“My confidence, contentment and positive self-image have allowed me to be the person I always knew I could be,” she says. “I am at peace with myself, at last.”

Learn more about the PeaceHealth Southwest Center for Weight Management