Marguerita hoped her own weight-loss surgery would inspire her sister to address a life-long struggle with obesity – and maybe save her life.

Margueritas Bariatric Surgery at the University of Illinois Hospital

My weight started taking a toll on my job. I was getting migraines, and I was afraid I’d have a stroke. I developed arthritis, and I couldn’t walk my dog or kneel in church. Then, in 2008, a grandbaby was on the way, and I needed to be able to pick her up. At the same time, I was trying to get my sister, who was a very large lady — weighing over 400 pounds — to do something done about her weight. People don’t listen to your words as much as watch what you do, so I figured if she saw me have surgery and be OK, she would have it, too.

When I decided on laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery, there was no question where I would have it done. I worked at UI Health until I retired last year. My doctors were there, and I knew about the Bariatric Surgery Program.

The surgery went great. I was in and out the same day, and the weight started melting off. Before long, I was able to kneel at church and take my dog for a walk. Once my sister saw how successful my surgery was, she made up her mind to have the surgery, too. Finally, she got the letter from insurance company saying they’d pay for her surgery. Unfortunately, it was too late — she passed away the next day. But I know it would have helped her, too. And I know she’s proud of me.