By Justin Mitchell
The Sun Herald
The year 2013 was a life-changing year for Christina Lawless.
She graduated from the nursing program at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in May, landed a job as a nurse at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport and got engaged to her longtime boyfriend, Chris Hendry.
Her biggest accomplishment of the year, however, was losing nearly 130 pounds.
In November 2012, Lawless, of Kiln, had weight-loss surgery, and she said the results have been astonishing.
Before surgery, she weighed 329 pounds. She rang in 2014 at 202 pounds.
Lawless, 24, said she has been heavy her entire life.
“I’ve always been big,” she said. “I’ve tried every diet under the sun.”
Frustrated, she decided to start looking at other weight-loss options in early 2012.
Lawless said she wanted to waste no time in making a commitment for a healthier lifestyle.
Lawless said a friend told her to look into weight-loss surgeries, specifically the vertical-sleeve gastrectomy, more commonly known as the “sleeve.”
She started her research on obesityhelp.com where she read and replied to message boards. After talking to others about the weight-loss surgery, Lawless consulted a physician.
She attended a free class her doctor offered weight-loss surgery. She and her doctor decided the “sleeve” would be the best option.
She said a vertical-sleeve gastrectomy involves cutting off much of the stomach and stapling it back to look almost like a cube. The “sleeve” doesn’t bypass intestines, and the valve on the bottom of the stomach isn’t removed.
“I liked the fact that I would keep the valve on the bottom of my stomach,” she said.
In order for her surgery to be covered, her insurance provider required her to participate in a weight-loss plan for four months to prove she was serious and mentally able to undergo a major surgery.