Obesity put her at higher risk for COVID hospitalization, so she made a life change

covid and weight loss
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 5:48 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Rebekah Hade says six months ago it was tough for her to move around and play with her son. She weighed nearly 300 lbs and doctors considered her prediabetic.

“I don’t recognize myself in these,” Hade said as she showed pictures from a year ago. “Sometimes I feel sad for her. I mean I know it’s me, but I didn’t love myself as much as I should have.”

She was worried about her health during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the CDC, having obesity may triple the risk of hospitalization due to COVID-19.

“I saw people my size and they were hospitalized,” Hade said. ”My doctor said I was at higher risk of going to the hospital because I was so obese.”

What worried her more is what would happen to her four-year-old son if she died.

“He means everything,” Hade said. “He is the whole reason I did the surgery.”

Bon Secours bariatric surgeon Jessica Gonzalez Hernandez says she noticed a trend after COVID hit.

“I would say about three months into it, we started having a higher influx of patients wanting consults,” Dr. Hernandez said.

Patients like Hade wanted to lose weight so they weren’t at heightened risk of COVID-19 hospitalization or death. She decided to have gastric sleeve surgery.

“With the gastric sleeve we remove 80-90 percent of the stomach,” Dr. Hernandez said.

This helps patients get full quicker, but Hade says it’s not a quick fix.

“People are going to tell you that you took the easy way out and that you didn’t really lose the weight yourself,” Hade said. “I think that is wrong. This takes a lot of work.”

After the surgery she started to workout three to five times a week and changed her eating habits. Dr. Hernandez says the goal is to improve their overall health.

“The longer you have diabetes, the longer you have hypertension and high cholesterol the higher risk you have from dying from a heart attack,” Hernandez said. “If surgery will get you to a healthier weight faster and decrease your risk, why not do it.”

So far Hade has lost 106 pounds, but it’s not about the weight.

“This has now allowed me to just be a mom and have fun,” Hade said.

She can now play with her son on the trampoline or at the park. For anyone else looking to make a change she has this message.

“Don’t listen to people who say you are just taking the easy way out, you’re not,” Hade said. “You are just helping yourself get control of your life again.”

Hade says her insurance covered most of the cost of gastric bypass surgery. Dr. Hernandez says this is typical for patients over a certain BMI, but every insurance plan is different so if interested check with your provider.