Transformation: Patrice Minix's Inspiring Journey to a Healthier Life
Not all health journeys are the same, but every so often, there comes one that's both inspiring and has a happy ending. Patrice Minix's journey is one such story, and it all started at CHRISTUS Ochsner Southwestern Louisiana Bariatric Center.
For years, Patrice's weight was taking a toll on her health and overall well-being. With a BMI of 41, she was what doctors categorized as Class III Obesity (formerly known as Morbid Obesity).
Patrice said she battled with weight issues all her life and that it negatively impacted the way people treated her. Despite numerous efforts to shed pounds through diet and exercise, she struggled to achieve long-lasting results.
"I tried Keto," Patrice said. "I tried Atkins. I tried no carbs. I tried low carb... I tried basically everything, everything I could Google. I even tried the shot, and it just wasn't working. It wasn't working."
It seemed that nothing could help her turn her life around. She was on a dark path, and with the excess weight came a host of health issues.
Issues such as high blood pressure required her to take two different types of blood pressure medications. She also suffered from osteoarthritis in her left knee, which made walking a literal pain. Sciatic nerve issues added to her challenges, making everyday activities difficult.
Time to Make a Change
But things turned dire for Patrice when she experienced a hernia.
According to WebMD, "A hernia occurs when an organ or fatty tissue squeezes through a weak spot in a surrounding muscle or connective tissue called fascia."
Hernias often happen in the groin, belly, or near scar tissue from past surgery. People who are obese have an increased risk for developing recurrent hernias. If left untreated, they can lead to more serious issues. Hernias are also known to be extremely painful, and Patrice was in a lot of pain.
She knew it was time to make a change. Following her hernia diagnosis, she was referred to Dr. Matias Nauts, a general surgeon at the CHRISTUS Ochsner Southwestern Louisiana Bariatric Center. Dr. Nauts performed Laparoscopic surgery on Patrice, a procedure in which the surgeon can access the inside of the abdomen and pelvis without having to make large incisions in the skin.
Although Patrice faced hardships in recovery after the Laparoscopic surgery, she describes the entire ordeal as a blessing in disguise.
"If I wouldn't have been in pain, if I wouldn't have had the hernia, I would have never met Dr. Nauts," she said.
Gastric Sleeve Surgery
Patrice didn't know it at the time, but her journey to a healthier life at begun. Following her hernia treatment, Dr. Nauts recommended Patrice for gastric sleeve surgery, which she met the qualifications for.
Patrice was hesitant, however, having already tried so many different diets, including a drug called Adipex, a prescription medicine used to lessen appetite. But like her various diets, Adipex yielded no results, so Patrice decided it was time to try something different—a 'last resort' of sorts.
Before her gastric sleeve surgery, Patrice received education about the whole process and was put on a two-week liquid diet. She admits to being nervous to the point where she almost canceled the surgery.
The morning of her surgery, she received troubling news. Her grandmother had passed, making her question once again if she should move forward with the procedure. She wasn't the only one who had hesitancies.
"My sister called me," Patrice said. "And she was like, you know, 'Patrice, Muddy passed, and I think it's a sign that you shouldn't do it.'"
But instead of backing out, she put her faith in God as she underwent the surgery.
The Recovery Process
Following this procedure, recovery was easier for her, and she was up and walking the next day. Recovery was easier for her following this procedure
She would soon learn, however, that the surgery was just the beginning and that the road to recovery wouldn’t be easy. She commends her support team for helping her heal with the mental process, which she says was just as important as the physical.
Patrice said her friends and coworkers checked on her after the surgery. "They were very, very supportive,” she said.
Of Dr. Nauts and his staff, she is grateful for their support and says that they went above and beyond the call of duty.
"It wasn't like you were just the patient," Patrice said. "They treated you more than just the patient if that makes sense.” She said they were and continue to be supportive after the surgery.
Transformation is Possible
Patrice's gastric sleeve surgery not only changed her physical appearance but also empowered her to embrace a healthier lifestyle. With determination, perseverance, and a strong support network, she turned her life around, proving that with the right mindset and tools, transformation is possible.
She is now down to just over 130 lbs. and says that she is feeling good and has much more energy than she used to. Even the small everyday things bring a smile to her face.
"I am able to polish my toe," she said. "Like I wasn't able to do that. I'm able to just bend down and tie my shoe. I don't have to see it and raise my leg up to tie my shoe. The first time I was able to tie my shoe, I was amazed. Like my stomach wasn't in the way, preventing me from tying my shoe or polishing my toes."
For those in the same boat she was and are questioning whether bariatric surgery may be a good option for them, Patrice has some advice.
"Just to make sure that they follow doctor's orders, follow the dieticians, and just to make sure they are doing everything to the best they can and keep at it. There are times you get discouraged because you don't see the progress right away. Because as humans we want to see like ‘microwave events’, but just stay on it, because eventually, you will see the progress."