25 Aug Patient Spotlight: Tarah Gaines
Tarah is a mother of two and a medical records analyst. She always worked hard to care for her health, but ever since the birth of her son in 2021, she often felt too tired to keep up with her kids. The diets and exercises she tried didn’t seem to last. When a friend described the procedures offered at the Kentucky Bariatric Institute, the supportive staff, and their system of lifetime follow-up, Tarah knew it was what she was looking for.
“I thought, that’s something that I really need, to be held accountable,” Tarah said. “So I gave them a call one day and got everything started.”
From the moment she met them, Tarah felt welcomed by her team of nurses, many of whom had been through bariatric surgery themselves. Going into the procedure, Tarah worried about her recovery afterward – would she be too tired to care for her children? Would the scarring be visible? But thanks to the non-invasive surgical technology used by Dr. Smith and his team, the entire procedure was completed through a few small incisions. Her recovery went smoothly, and when she took off the bandages, she was surprised to find she could barely see the marks.
Since the surgery, Tarah’s life has changed in many ways, big and small. Tarah thinks about food differently now; she avoids empty nutrients and goes after protein and vitamins. She exercises again and can play with her two children without getting out of breath. Whenever she goes back to the Institute for a check-up, her provider congratulates her on her progress.
“He’s like a huge cheerleader each time: ‘Oh my gosh, look how much you’ve lost!’” Tara said. “You can tell they really love what they do and want to see their patients succeed, and that shows in everything they do and say.”
Tarah weighed 284 pounds on the day of the surgery. Today she weighs 209, and her weight-loss journey still isn’t done. She advises other weight-loss patients to remember that bariatric surgery isn’t the “easy way out” – diet and exercise are still essential, but thanks to her treatment, Tarah no longer struggles to keep off the excess weight.
“In the future, I’m just looking forward to not thinking about, ‘Am I going to be able to do this?’” Tarah said. “‘Is there going to be some weight limit on this that I’m going to exceed?’ That’s all improving as each day goes on, but I’m really excited for that day when I get to that point.”