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Nicole's Story

Nicole Hunter

Occupation: Casino worker
Procedure: Vertical Sleeve, 2007
Surgeon: Steven Slikkers, MD
Pre-surgery weight: 265 pounds
Current weight: 149 pounds

Background: I started gaining weight in the third grade. It was terrible being a teenager – kids are mean. The heavier you get, the meaner they are. I quit weighing myself when I hit 300 pounds. I started exercising in 2000 and spent two or three hours a day at the gym for six or seven years. My job was losing weight. I wanted
to be one of those people who did it on my own.

Decision point:
My grandmother passed away and she had always been “heavy.” My mother told me I weighed more than grandma did, and it freaked me out. I made up my mind to do the surgery. I wasted all my 20s fat and miserable. I thought, ‘ Why not do something about it now and enjoy the rest of my life?’

Life after surgery: One time I sat in a chair and broke it. That was so embarrassing. Now I can pretty much do anything and not worry about, ‘Am I going to fit in there? Is there a weight limit on that kayak?’ I feel like a different person. I think about how exhausted I was all the time. Now, if I want to go for a run, I can.

Best thing: I used to wear size 26-28 stretch pants and t-shirts. The best thing is shopping, finding something cute, and knowing I can get it on.

Parting thought: Every surgery is a personal decision. Give it very serious consideration. It’s a one-time shot. It is very beneficial but only if you are determined to stick with it. Mentally, you have to commit to it 100 percent. 

After Vertical Sleeve Surgery

Before Surgery