On June 4, 2018, Nikki Davis, LPN, Avita Health System’s Bariatric Coordinator, went to Bucyrus Hospital to have bariatric surgery. After working in Avita’s Bariatric program for over a year, Nikki decided to participate in it herself. She struggled with weight most of her adult life, and being obese was hard on her mind and body. After working closely with bariatric patients and witnessing their health improve, she became confident this was the path she wanted to take.

Nikki before

“I watched my patients get happier and healthier. I knew if they could do it, so could I.”

Nikki worked with her colleague, Dr. Linden Karas, Bariatric Surgeon, to make a plan and pick a surgery that best fit her needs. She also had to see a psychologist, pulmonologist, and worked closely with a dietitian.

“I chose the Roux en Y gastric bypass surgery. This is a procedure where the stomach is divided into a small upper pouch and a much lower ‘remnant’ pouch and then the small intestine is rearranged to connect both.”

Now Nikki’s acid reflux has been cured, whereas prior to surgery she was taking two anti-reflux medications and eating antacids throughout the day, every day.

“Nikki delayed her own surgery, so she could be here for our patients,” Dr. Karas remarked. “She is the go-to authority for patients having pre-op or post-op questions. I cannot say enough wonderful things about her dedication to patient care,” said Dr. Karas.

Nikki after

Nikki also suffered from migraine headaches and sleep apnea, all of which have been cured. Before surgery, Nikki had so much pain in her back and feet that she could not exercise, let alone walk or stand for long periods of time. Exercising is now a part of her daily life.

As the leader of the Bariatric Support Group, Nikki helps organize and participates in group exercise, coordinates discounts with various recreational facilities, and does yoga or POUND™ classes on the weekends.

Since June of 2018, Nikki has lost 85 pounds and counting, while gaining the confidence to take charge of her life. She went from 264 pounds, a size 3XL and 24 pant, to weighing 179 pounds and easily fitting into a size XL and 12 pant. As the bariatric program coordinator, Nikki feels like she can truly relate to her patients.

“I have been through the program. I know the mental changes, what the new ‘full’ feels like, and what the discomforts are. I know now what positive encouragement I can give to help them adapt to this ‘new’ normal.”