Weight Loss Surgery Saves Sabrina Kershaw’s Life

My name is Sabrina Kershaw and this is my story. I come from a family of thick and full African-American woman of “butts, hips and tits,” the famous slogan of the “Brown” family. I have been overweight in all honesty since the day I was born, weighing in at 9 pounds and 6 ounces. Over the years, my weight increased, especially after I had my children. I have always been addicted to food liking the taste and the comfort that it would bring me. Certain contributors led to my obesity such as childbirth, poor nutrition, depression, and sickness.

Through the years, I have gone up and down on the scale trying everything to low calorie diets, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, you name it, I tried it. But later when all the attempts failed I found myself resulting to diet pills in hopes of blocking or burning the fat until this 15-year addiction began causing problems with my colon. I found myself constantly constipated and could not have a normal stool without taking laxatives. So not only was I addicted to diet pills but also to laxatives to help lose the unwanted pounds. I was miserable and uncomfortable in my own skin and frustrated that I was so out of control. Although the weight never stopped me from pursuing my dreams in life, I knew I was unhealthy and needed help.

About two years ago, I began suffering from high blood pressure and arthritis in both of my knees which made it very difficult to walk and climb stairs. I got a wake-up call when I was sitting one day in the kitchen having a nice conversation with my daughter, when all of a sudden the room starting spinning furiously around so much so that I almost fell to the floor. I had to do everything to prevent myself from hitting my head on a hard tiled floor. Not being able to control what was happening in my body was a very scary thing for me and I knew I had to lose the weight. I thought about family members who had gone before me dying from many of the illnesses that plague many African-American people like sugar diabetes, high blood pressure, strokes, cholesterol, and heart attacks. Many of the illnesses run rampant in my family alone and have claimed the lives of many, including my father who died at age 57 from a massive heart attack. It seemed as though my body started breaking down after I hit age 40 and I knew I had to change or sucumb to the statistics of unhealthy living.

I remember seeing a commercial on Lap-band and gastric bypass and decided to attend one of the meetings held by Dr. Craig Floch of Fairfield Bariatrics in Connecticut. The seminar was very informative and I continued a years worth of research on gastric bypass and lap band before electing to have the surgery. When I went in for my first appointment with Dr. Craig, I was floored to find that my weight had ballooned to a hefty 270 pounds and my BMI was at 40. I was told that with a BMI of 40+ I was extremely high risk of weight-related disease and premature death. I knew for the sake of my health that it is was very important to work with the specialists if I was going to help my condition.

I consulted with my husband and children who supported me the entire way of the weight loss journey and in March of 2009, I had bariatric surgery. I continued to follow my doctor’s instructions and advice post surgery with proper nutrition, fitness, and support to a healthier and happier me. Now, I am 110 pounds thinner and have gone from a size 22W to a size 6/8. With only 20% body fat I am looking and feeling great about myself! I have developed new healthy eating habits and adhere to a fitness regimen to tone, strengthen, and maintain my goal weight. I cannot say how proud I am of ‘myself’ that I elected to have this surgery to help me to get back on track.

Please know that the operation is just a tool to help you lose weight and is perhaps only 35% of the journey, the rest is mental and emotional. You have to be at that crossing road in the battle of weight and if you are sick and tired of being ‘sick and tired’ and truly ready to make a change, gastric bypass is a great way to start. But mentally you must reprogram your mind towards food and face the things that contribute to your overeating as I had to do in order to take control of my life again. Emotionally, you will need a good support system, if its not in your inner circle then in support groups with like-minded people who share in the weight loss battle.

I thank God each and every day for my second chance at life and since the journey, mant opportunities have opened up for me as a Model, advocate of WLS, health and fitness coach and even as an Entertainer. I am a new person today and aspire to help others in their weight loss goals as one who understands the challenges of it all. I continue to strive for excellence each and every day and embrace this journey with a whole new approach to life, health and a better and happier me!

13 Responses

  1. Pauline Rodriguez

    God is good and your doing a great job sabrina.. May God keep giving you the strength to keep going…… : )

  2. Deb

    Great job Sabrina. You look wonderful. I am encouraged by your example.
    God Bless.

  3. Angel Austin

    This is an awesome opportunity! I am so glad that you’ve made this step and I (for one) have been so inspired by your journey. I’ve posted this story on FB so that others can be inspired, as well.

  4. Paula

    hello. may i know when did u undergo this procedure? pls. thanks a lot

  5. susan

    Great Job and thank you for the inspiration! You have done a fabulous job and I appreciated the honesty you have revealed in this story. You are so right that the surgery is only a small fraction of it but this is about a lifestyle change. Something I didn’t realize until after my surgery. God Bless You.

  6. Tara

    Thank you for sharing your story! and thank you for your daily Inspirational thoughts for the day, they help keep me going. You look great and as in all things, to God be the Glory!

  7. Jan

    You are amazing and beautiful! You have done a wonderful job and should be proud of yourself. My story is similar, I had the arthritis in my knees, I am a diabetic, had high blood pressure. After my surgery, I had the BPD with DS 8-09-10, my knee pain is gone–all than occasional achiness if it is rainy–I am off all my pain and arthritis meds, BP meds. I am now able to walk and get up and down without difficulty. I have lost 75#. I am still on my insulin, due to a little set back post op of having pancreatitis, but I am hopeful that once my pancreas starts producing insulin on it’s own again I can come off it. It could take up to 6 months they tell me. I know it is not easy so I know how hard you have worked to achieve your goal! Congratulations on your new life!

  8. Stacey

    You look amazing and you are a true inspiration to others! May God continue to enrich your life with abundance!

  9. Tamara House

    What an AWESOME TESTIMONY!!!! As I have recently began my own journey towards WLS; this inspires me to know that I can achieve similar results as you! Do you have a facebook or twitter page? I’d love to friend you if possible?