The Time is Now: Mary’s One Shot to Better Health
Authors: Maggie Dungey and Madelyne Egan
Obesity is a complex disease and one that many people struggle with. More than one-third of adults in the United States are obese. It’s a serious medical concern that increases the risk of dozens of diseases and conditions.
Those who have obesity often struggle with lifestyle choices that contribute to the deadly disease. They may have several other contributing factors, among them: genetics, illnesses, medications, age, and social and economic issues. When dietary and lifestyle intervention are not enough to achieve a healthy weight, surgery may be recommended.
Mary Moseley, 42, decided to undergo a minimally invasive weight loss procedure, endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, or ESG, that involves significantly shrinking the stomach by suturing it.
ESG would transform her life, physically and mentally. Mary had enough of the decades of being overweight and the obstacles that went along with it. She had many reasons to undergo the procedure, but No. 1 was to live as long as possible for her loved ones.
Meet Mary Mo
Mary Moseley, or Mary Mo as her friends and family know her, is a registered nurse, wife, mother of three boys and grandmother of two. She enjoys spending time with family, taking care of patients and enjoying the outdoors. However, her weight was a constant roadblock.
Mary recalls being overweight as early as the sixth grade. She spent her teens and 20s trying fad diets. Although managing to lose bits of weight, she would eventually gain the weight back. That cycle went on for years.
It only got worse. After surviving a horrific car accident in 2007 that sent her to UF Health Shands Hospital via helicopter, her health spiraled downward from broken ribs, a collapsed lung and scar tissue.
Mary knew her weight was a problem, but she never thought she was a candidate for any weight loss procedure given her health after the accident. In 2019, Mary faced a new battle: the loss of her mother. Her weight skyrocketed to 301 pounds, her BMI to 51.1.
“I’m afraid I won’t see 65,” Mary said. “My mom is my world. I want to be here for my kids. I do not want my kids to go through what I went through, losing my mom at a young age.”
Losing her mother gave Mary the motivation to take control of her health immediately.
Mary Mo’s One Shot
As she began to make lifestyle changes, Mary’s sister Felicia Corbin, a UF Health nurse, suggested she look into the ESG procedure. She recalled an abundance of support and guidance from UF Health, whether it was her primary care physician, her nurses or her doctor who performed the procedure, Dr. Bashar Qumseya. She felt confident in the outcome and that this was her “one shot” to better health.
On the morning of the ESG procedure, March 31, 2022, one tune rang true in her head on the way to UF Health. “If you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted, one moment, would you capture it or let it slip?” from the song “Lose Yourself.”
Weeks before the surgery, Mary began making serious lifestyle changes. The day before the surgery, patients must follow an all-liquid diet. Instead, Mary followed the diet for two weeks before the surgery, managing to lose 16 pounds.
The recovery time for ESG varies. For Mary, it was about one week before she returned to work. Her post-procedure regimen means working with a multidisciplinary team at UF, balancing nutrition and exercise. Today, she consumes between 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day and prioritizes meeting her fitness goals of walking and running a mile under 12 minutes. She has lost more than 100 pounds and now weighs 192 pounds with a BMI of 32.3.
“What you put in is what you get,” Mary said.
Mary Mo’s Eureka Moments
“I feel like a million bucks,” Mary said.
She had long dreamed of wearing a dress from her friend’s store, Spunky Sparrow Boutique. For her wedding anniversary, she wore a size 13 dress that made her feel her best, and she continues to shop for clothing that does — one cute boutique at a time.
After ESG, Mary returned to the springs, where she’d felt embarrassed two years before — not able to keep up with her group and hold conversation.
With loved ones in tow, this time she wore a “cute bathing suit” and was fully engaged in the outing. She floated down the river free from embarrassment or shame, enjoying the outdoors and the good company.
Mary’s youngest son, 13-year old Henry, has been one of her biggest supporters as she worked to lose weight.
“I can’t believe it. Look at you mom,” he said recently as they looked at the scale together.
Since ESG, Mary also has had many non-scale related victories, including walking with Henry’s band in his school’s homecoming parade. She eagerly raised her hand as the band director looked for parent volunteers.
“Years ago, I would not have been able to,” she said.
Mary now lives her life with a grateful heart and healthy body, knowing that given her “one shot,” she seized it.