Sonja Amado lost 160 pounds - and her dependence on a walker - after bariatric surgery at Palmetto General Hospital

Sonja Amado, bariatric surgery patient, Palmetto General Hospital

As a college professor teaching crime scene investigation, it wasn't easy for Sonja Amado to teach her students how to search for pieces of evidence while weighing 348 pounds. She was constantly fatigued and had difficulty breathing, sleeping and walking.

"I suffered from a great deal of pain in my knees, and I had to use a walker to help me get where I was going," she says. "I was only in my mid-thirties and I was taking medications for high cholesterol and high blood pressure. I was tired of feeling tired; I was tired of feeling fat. My health was deteriorating and I knew it was time for a change in my life."

For years, Sonja had contemplated weight loss surgery and finally resolved to take action. After researching weight loss programs online, she learned Palmetto General Hospital was recognized as a Bariatric Center of Excellence and that they offered free bariatric seminars.

"I decided to attend one of the seminars to learn more about the options available to me and that’s where I met Dr. Jorge Sosa, my bariatric surgeon," she says. "Dr. Sosa and his team answered all my questions and provided me with the support and motivation I needed to start my weight loss journey."

In August 2012 Amado went into Palmetto General Hospital for gastric bypass surgery. 

"All of the nurses, anesthesiologists and staff that attended to me were extremely knowledgeable and made sure I was comfortable," Sonja says. "They definitely helped put my mind at ease. The surgery was quick and I was ready for a life-changing recovery."

A new life

Since the surgery, she is walking, sleeping and breathing much better. She no longer uses a walker and is off her once-necessary medications for high cholesterol and high blood pressure. She has lost more than 160 pounds and remains committed to her decision to live a healthier lifestyle to keep it off.

"Instead of sitting on the couch and watching television, my husband and I will go to the beach or for long walks together," Sonja says. "He has also been very supportive of our new healthy eating habits."

At restaurants, they both turn down the bread and look forward to eating fruits and vegetables now. In fact, since her surgery, her husband has also lost 20 pounds thanks to their new health-focused lifestyle.

"My life is amazing," Sonja says. "I would recommend Palmetto’s weight loss surgery program and Dr. Sosa to anyone who is considering making this decision. The attention and care I received was more than I expected, and it really was worth the wait."