ASHLEIGH DOTSON: A bariatric success

By: 
Carol Casebolt

Ashleigh Dotson of Prestonsburg struggled with obesity, high cholesterol and joint pain. She was borderline hyperglycemic and searching for relief.  Her health issues were constant reminders this energetic, high-spirited hairdresser was not living the life she knew she wanted. 

After extensive research she decided to reclaim her life through gastric sleeve surgery at Pikeville Medical (PMC) Wellness and Weight Loss Center. She lost 85 pounds and her health changed for the better.

Dotson said, “I struggled with my weight my entire life.  I was a yo-yo dieter, watching my weight go up and down from a size three to four, to a size 18. I had to get off the weight rollercoaster.”

“I remember meeting Ashleigh the first time.  She was so friendly, full of life and smiling. I could not wait to see what would happen to her after a life- changing sleeve,” said PMC Bariatric Surgeon Amy Johnson, M.D.  “She is a new improved and healthier version of herself.  Amazing!”

“Before surgery, I thought about weight loss surgery but decided to give weight loss on my own, one final try,” she said. “I gave myself a year to see if I could lose the weight. During that time I lost and found the same 35 pounds.”

Dotson says she had no reservations when she decided to have surgery.  As a hairdresser, she had lots of people sit in her chair. Those customers voiced their opinions, regarding her decision, and they were not always supportive.

She said, “Regardless of their motives, I think most of those negative opinions were simply uneducated comments.”

In the beginning she had countless questions.

“I actually got on YouTube and researched vertical sleeve gastrectomy and watched video blogs of other patients and their journeys,” she said. “I got to analyze the pros and cons they shared and I realized there are many common denominators.”

She says a lot of people had very similar stories and that helped her make her decision.

“It helps you keep everything in check and allows you to see their wins and their losses,” she said. “That helped ease my mind.” 

Dotson says she would have surgery again with no reservations because her life is different now.

“This morning I had zero trouble shaving my legs and putting on lotion,” said Dotson. “There are things I can do now that I could not do before. Simple things like putting shoes on, buckling a sandal and crossing my legs are now easy tasks.”

She says she had been smaller before and wanted to live that life again.

As for Dr. Johnson and her staff, Dotson says she was extremely pleased.

“I love all the people on staff.  I was already well acquainted with Sherry Blair, the dietician.  I had done her hair for a very long time and knew her well,” said Dotson. “When I walked in the door she said, ‘you are the perfect candidate.’  I had been picking her brain for a decade about nutrition so she just signed off on me.”

Dotson said Dr. Johnson was very straight forward and no nonsense and she felt comfortable in her hands.

For additional information about the PMC Wellness and Weight Loss Center or to schedule an appointment call 606-218-2205 or visit www.pikevillehospital.org.