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Kelly Radburn

Holy Name Employee Regains Her Life Through Bariatric Surgery

Holy Name Patient Stories - Kelly Radburn

Kelly Radburn can't wait for her family's annual trip to Hershey Park. She'll finally be able to ride the roller coasters with her children, as they've been begging her to do for years. Before now, she was afraid she wouldn't fit in the cars.

Kelly was overweight for most of her life, struggling to lose weight from the time she was a teen. She experimented with a variety of diets, only to regain even more weight than she lost. She exercised, including doing Zumba for the past 10 years, but not as rigorously as she would have liked because the excess pounds caused pain to her joints and left her breathless.

"I knew I needed to exercise, the strenuous kind where you really get your heart pumping, but it caused so much pain and I couldn't breathe," Kelly, 43, said. "I thought of bariatric surgery but I never had the courage to do it."

Then Kelly was diagnosed with COVID. Being overweight made her more at risk for complications and she became very ill. She had trouble breathing at times and feared being hospitalized. She realized if she wanted to see her two children grow up, she needed to lose weight.

Kelly, who is a Holy Name charge nurse and worked on hospital bariatric floors for most of her career, knew the process wasn't going to be easy. But once she made up her mind, her determination energized her efforts. She had a number of steps, including a 6-month weight loss and exercise program, she needed to accomplish before her insurance company would cover the costs.

While doing the physical work, Kelly also spent time confronting her emotional relationship with food. She ate mostly healthy foods, but she readily admits her portions were larger than they should have been and she loved her snacks. Her stomach would feel full, but mentally, it was never enough. She needed "a divorce from food" she said, and she slowly made those emotional changes.

By the time Kelly had her surgery, she was mentally and physically ready. She opted for a robotic gastric sleeve procedure, which reduces the stomach by slicing it lengthwise like a banana. This enables her body to still process nutrients. The surgery went well and she followed the prescribed diet of clear liquids, to protein drinks, to regular food, for the next several weeks.

Dr. Mikhail Botvinov, a bariatric surgeon at Holy Name, performed her procedure.

Dr. Botvinov was absolutely wonderful – he's very kind and truly cares about his patients," Kelly said. "His office staff is very accommodating and the nurses and staff at Holy Name were great, and not just because I'm an employee. That's how they treat everyone. They make you feel calm even when you don't know what to expect."

Nearly two years after her surgery, Kelly has lost almost 100 lbs. and is thrilled with the results. It's not just her appearance, though going from a size 22x to a 10/12 is momentous, she's also enjoying better health. She now exercises regularly, rides bikes and gets down on the floor to play with her kids.

"I feel like I've been reborn," she said. "It's the best thing ever. As for the roller coasters – my kids are growing taller but I'm not growing heavier, so we can go on more of them! Having bariatric surgery is a long process and a lot of work, but it's so worth it. I have my life back."

Learn more about the bariatric surgery at Holy Name