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Dani Yuretich wanted to be in the stands for every one of her son’s games.

“But I was embarrassed to go to the baseball field because I was so big,” says the 42-year-old from Bemidji, Minn.

She wanted to treat her daughter to movies at the theater but was ashamed to buy the popcorn. “There are so many stigmas with being overweight,” she says. “I just wanted to hide.”

Daily life was getting difficult, too. At 263 pounds and 5 feet 7 inches tall, she had trouble sleeping because she couldn’t get comfortable. Walking caused her knees, ankles and feet to ache. A single flight of stairs winded her.

She’d tried multiple diets and all led to the same result: she could lose weight, but never keep it off.

“After a period of time, I’d fall right back into my old habits,” she says. “Emotional eating is tough to overcome.”

A new direction

The year 2010 brought monumental changes for Dani, including the loss of her mother. She’d struggled for years with diabetes, heart issues and excess weight.

“I grew very concerned when I realized that could be my destiny, too. I didn’t want that,” says Dani. “I wanted to be here for my kids and for my future grandkids. I wanted to be the healthy, active person I dreamed of being.”

Off and on over the years Dani had considered weight loss surgery, but never pursued it. “It scared me,” she says. “I always had the same questions: What if it didn’t work? What if I didn’t lose weight? What would people think of me if I had to rely on surgery to lose weight?”

In October 2010, she took a major step forward. A call to her doctor at Sanford Bemidji connected her with Sanford Weight Loss Surgery Program in Fargo.

Answers emerge

Early on, Dani and her husband Rob attended Sanford’s free weight loss surgery informational seminar in Fargo.

“We were really impressed with Sanford’s entire program and I was excited to move ahead,” says Dani. “Even though Rob was nervous for me to have surgery, he was behind me 100 percent. His support has been fantastic.”

More steps followed including a psychological assessment in Fargo, one-on-one nutrition sessions with a dietitian at Sanford Bemidji and an appointment with Dr. Matthew Fabian, one of three board-certified weight loss surgeons.

“I’m grateful Dr. Fabian was my doctor,” says Dani. “He was meticulous and explained everything thoroughly. Rob and I were very comfortable with him from the start.”

To Dr. Fabian, excellent care includes taking the time to educate patients and families. “Accurate, understandable information is key,” he says. “We want patients to know exactly what’s involved in taking the weight off and more importantly keeping it off. That’s real success.”

Fewer pounds, more life

Dani’s successful laparoscopic (minimally invasive) gastric bypass surgery took place Dec. 8, 2010. She returned home the next day and three weeks later returned to her job as a phone nurse at Sanford Bemidji.

“The weight came off quickly, but I tried not to focus on that aspect,” she says. “Instead I focused on my daily actions. Was I getting my 70 - 80 grams of protein a day? Drinking enough water? Exercising? Taking my vitamins? Dealing with stress appropriately? I knew that by faithfully following the program, I’d get the best possible benefit from the surgery. I’m very happy with my results.”

By nine months after surgery, Dani had lost more than 70 pounds. She experienced several benefits including better sleep, no more joint pain and greatly increased energy.

Her life changed, too. She eagerly participated in family activities, including cross country skiing. She got back into running and last year trained for a half-marathon. She became more interested in socializing and even invited people over.

“I wasn’t that person who wanted to crawl in my room and hide anymore. I wanted to do more things,” she says. “Even my kids have noticed I’m much happier and more attentive. It’s easier when you feel good.”

Today Dani keeps her weight between 155 and 158. And she keeps her mind on the joys of an active, healthy life, including her new nursing career in information technology.

“Years ago I never would have made that change,” she says. “Now I have the confidence and physical ability to really live my dreams. I feel amazing!”

Posted Date: December 2012