Susan LaMastus

Susan LaMastus had always been thin and healthy.

So imagine her surprise when she started to gain weight in 2005, going from a size 2 to 18 despite exercising two hours a day and being a lifetime member of Weight Watchers.

She suspected she had diabetes given her family history, but had been told twice by her doctor that year that she didn't have the disease.

So it was with great relief when in February 2006 she was diagnosed with diabetes by University of Kansas Medical Center staff.

"But by then I was in a diabetic coma stage and lucky to be alive," LaMastus said. "My diabetes was way out of control."

About that time LaMastus saw a television commercial featuring Turning Point Surgical Weight Loss Solutions, offered jointly between St. Francis Health Center and Tallgrass General, Vascular and Bariatric Surgery in Topeka, Kan. She did her research, attended the informational seminar and decided to have bariatric surgery despite having to pay for it out-of-pocket.

"I have no regrets," LaMastus said. "I would do it again in a heartbeat."

Besides losing 83 pounds, she no longer has diabetes, her eyesight is better and she doesn't use a C-PAP machine for sleep apnea.

"I have more energy and my outlook on life changed a whole lot," she said. "If you're seriously wanting to improve your health, do it [the surgery]."