IU Health North Hospital

“Mommy, are you melting?”

Patient Stories

July 24, 2019

Busy mom, beauty consultant sheds 130 pounds after bariatric surgery, giving her the confidence she used to pretend she had.

Trisha Fish was closing in on 300 pounds when she made the decision to have bariatric surgery.

The Fortville beauty consultant and mother of two young children decided weight-loss surgery was her best chance to live her best life.

Diagnosed at age 20 with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder common among women of reproductive age, Fish struggled with irregular periods, weight gain and difficulty getting pregnant because of the disorder.

She underwent fertility treatments to conceive with her husband, Jon, and now is a busy mom to a 3-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy.

But the PCOS, the pregnancies and her busy lifestyle took a toll, and her weight ballooned over the years.

Her OB-GYN was the person who first suggested that Fish would be a good candidate for bariatric surgery. But she wasn’t convinced.

“I put it on the back burner,” she said. “I thought, I have two kids, and I don’t have time for any of that madness.”

She tried a strict keto diet and lost 20 pounds, but when she went away for a weekend with her husband, she gained much of it back.

“I joked that if I just licked a cupcake I would gain 10 pounds, but it really frustrated me.”

Then one of her clients in her beauty business had weight-loss surgery, and Fish marveled at her transformation.

“Every time she came in she looked younger and skinnier. I thought if she can do this at 60, I can do this at 35.”

So Fish did her research and found Dr. Dimitrios Stefanidis with IU Health North Hospital.

At her first weigh-in when joining the program, she watched the scale hit 297. She completed the required six-month supervised diet, then had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery March 28, 2018.

During the three weeks of her recovery after surgery, Fish’s parents cared for her two kids. When her son saw her for the first time, he asked, “Mommy, are you melting?”

SIZE 24 to SIZE 10

She has lost a total of 130 pounds, settling in at just under 170, and she’s happy there, she said. She’s gone from a size 24 pants to size 10 and from a 3X shirt to a medium.

At 5 feet, 4 inches, she’s not tall, but she says she’s also not built small. “I’m more muscular. I’m worried if I lose another 20-some pounds I might start looking a little gaunt in the face.”

And her face is important in her beauty business.

Even at her heaviest, Fish projected an air of confidence that she confesses now she didn’t always feel.

“When I decided to come out and be open with my story, one of the things I posted about was that I was good at pretending I was confident. But prior to a new client coming to see me, I would stress and fret about what I looked like and if they would be turned off by my size.”

But she was good at faking it, she said. Friends told her they would never have known she wasn’t 100% confident in who she was.

Still, she turned down professional opportunities because she was uncomfortable with her size.

And now? “I love this me. Losing the weight has given me the confidence that I pretended I had.”

REGULAR WORKOUTS

At her one-year follow-up, she talked with Dr. Stefanidis about possibly losing more, but he said she looked fantastic and if she didn’t lose another pound she would still be a success story.

“I thought, OK then, I’m not going to stress about it. I’ll keep eating what I’m supposed to eat and if I lose pounds, I lose pounds.”

Fish does barre workouts two to three times a week. “I love how much stronger it makes me.” She brought her kids to a mommy and me workout class, something she could have never done before.

“Being able to do activities with them has been a highlight.”

She ignores the naysayers who suggest she took the “easy” way out. There is nothing “easy” about bariatric surgery, but she says IU North’s program is thorough and does a good job of preparing surgery candidates for the changes they must embrace.

The online support group was a lifesaver as well. When her weight loss stalled for eight weeks, she could go online and talk to others who had been on that roller coaster.

“It helps you feel not so alone.”

– By Maureen Gilmer, IU Health senior journalist

Email: mgilmer1@iuhealth.org

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