Our Customers Say It Best:

High weight: 415 lbs
Sleeve gastrectomy: February 2016
Surgery weight : 387 lbs
Current weight: 240 lbs

First, I want to say thank you for giving me the chance for a better life and a new outlook on my life and choices ahead. At my highest weight I reached 415 lbs. I have struggled with my weight throughout my life and in a few weeks I will be 50. I tried just about every diet out there and went up and down and up and up. In 2002 I hit 300 lbs. and my health started suffering because of the weight. I couldn’t even work anymore which made things bad mentally too. By 2009 I had to file for disability and that just really made things bad for me. By 2013 was in a wheelchair and was 400 lbs. My limited mobility caused even more weight gain. Then depression increased and food was my release. My back and knees were bad. I suffered tremendous pain, breathing issues, diabetes and more. Then my fiancé’s mother had the band and a year later had gastric bypass and she was my inspiration. I saw that as she lost weight, her health and happiness improved. She inspired me to change my life. I finally called and met the great ladies and staff at BVSA in Springfield, Mo. and my journey began.

I had my surgery on February 29, 2016 and I am so happy I did. I started at 387 lbs. Now, one year after surgery I have lost 175 lbs. from highest weight and 147 since surgery. I have lost enough to have total knee replacement! I had the right one done this January and left is scheduled in March, on my birthday. I am off almost all medications and inhalers. I am out of the wheelchair and walking and I am eager to join a gym soon as my knees heal. I feel like a new person! I only wish I had done this earlier in my life. I will be 50 this month and I am extremely blessed. I have had my ups and downs. I was blessed to have my mom see my new journey begin, and she was so proud. I lost her in July and emotional eating was so hard, but I pulled through. I have 3 kids and 11 grandkids. They are super excited to know I will be around for a while and able to play and join in the family fun again! Thank you BVSA for being there and helping me live my life again.

–Tina, Springfield, MO

*results may vary


High weight: 500 lbs
Surgery: January 2017
Current weight: 360 lbs

For over a year, I watched my best friend’s life change after she had Gastric Sleeve surgery. Watching her become happier, and healthier, and more beautiful, was an incredible thing. She encouraged me to look into it for a while. Eventually, I relented. I spoke to my PCP for a little advice, and he recommended “A great clinic in Springfield” and the nurse made an appointment for me.

On March 5, 2016, I left my house and traveled about an hour to BVSA Springfield for the first time. I stepped on the scale, and I weighed exactly 500 lbs. I did not have high hopes. I’ve tried to lose weight before, but I think we can all agree it’s nearly impossible to do it alone. I never really had that support. Especially in a clinical or medical setting. Doctors always made me feel so guilty for letting my weight get here. Shaming me for not doing something earlier. It’s hard to feel like doing anything when guilt and shame are all the “encouragement” you get. But, that all changed that day. EVERYONE at BVSA, from the ladies at the front desk, to the nurses who take weight and blood pressure, to the Nurse Practitioners are so unbelievably supportive. I’ve never really felt that kind of support in my life, let alone doing something this hard. But every time I come in, I hear how well I’m doing, how much better I’m looking, how much happier I seem, and how proud they are of me. No matter how discouraged I get, or how crappy I feel when I get there, I always leave BVSA feeling great about myself.

There are tons of ways to lose weight out there. Good diets. Bad diets. Surgery. Exercise. But the support I get from BVSA has been the absolute key ingredient in my journey.

It’s been about 14 months since that first visit. I have lost 140 lbs so far. I still have a long way to go, but I know that thanks to BVSA, I’m going to have all the success in the world. I love who I am now, but I can’t wait to see the person they’ve helped me become.

–Charles K., Springfield

*results may vary


I had the sleeve on 10/25 and hit six months out this April. I have no more diabetes, blood pressure is still running at around 110/60, and I am feeling great! The weight keeps coming off and I’m still sticking to my program and SO thankful for my new life! I spent Christmas with my grandkids and we played and cooked and went shopping and walking – all things I could not do with them before the surgery! I was even able to sit in the big chair with my 13 year old granddaughter beside me and she laughed at how much smaller I am.

Thank you BVSA for being the hands of God who blessed me with a new chance at a life worth living!

–Caroline, Springfield, MO

*results may vary


In 2013 my weight was over 500 pounds. I had talked to my doctor about gastric bypass, but was told that I would have to wait for surgery and I was getting frustrated. I was so tired of being overweight-I was at the point that I could hardly walk without my legs getting tired and giving out, and I definitely wasn’t able to play with my grandkids like I wanted. In April, I went to a new doctor who recommended the Lap-band. I was nervous about surgery, but this sounded like a good option.

When I went to BVSA for my consultation, the staff made me feel much more comfortable with the process and I finally found hope. I was able to schedule my surgery the next month! When I met Dr. Drahota at Blue Valley Hospital, he was great. He eased my anxiety about the procedure and actually made me laugh.

Now, two years after my surgery I have lost over 215 pounds. I’m able to do more and I’m getting ready to go back to school. I still visit the clinic for follow up and to make sure I am on track to reach my goal weight. It is hard work, but as long as you follow the program you can be successful. Exercise is the key and you have to eat the right things to keep your energy up. I love to share my story and connect with people who are going through a similar experience. There really is more to life, you just have to decide to make a change!

–Lavonda, St. Louis

*results may vary


In August 2015 I decided to it was the time to start taking care of myself. I made the decision to have the gastric sleeve procedure. I really appreciate that BVSA gives you the necessary tools to succeed. The knowledgeable staff provide coaching and support when you hit a plateau. They offer helpful tips and resources to keep you headed towards your goal before and after surgery. The surgery gives you a jump start (almost like a battery) but what you do from there depends on you because everyone is different.

I was determined, worked very hard, was compliant, and I AM becoming a SUCCESS. I still have a ways to go, but using the tools provided to me and drawing of the skilled staff’s knowledge and support I’ve lost 62 pounds. If you want something bad enough are determined & dedicated, you can obtain your goal. This is a mental and physical challenge , but I know that staying focused and motivated and making better choices, will get me to that goal. I was in the hospital one night released the next day. I never took one pain pill, and my only regret is that I didn’t do this earlier in life, instead of at the age of 65! At our annual Christmas party I danced the night away (or as they say “I got my groove on”) I held up my end with the much younger generation and was full of energy and life!

–Bobbie, Kansas City

*results may vary


My name is Douglas Palzer, I am a retired veteran with substantial back problems. I injured my back on a bad parachute jump in 1981 while serving in the US Army. I have been going to pain doctors and clinics ever since that time. I tried pain prescriptions, pain injections, radio frequency ablations (RFAs), pain needling, manipulation under anesthesia (MUA) and epidurals. Each of these treatments provided limited relief from my pain but did not address the underlying cause of my pain. I went to Blue Valley Surgical Associates (BVSA) pain clinic two years ago and finally received a referral to a BVSA spine surgeon. After seeing an orthopedic spine doctor it was determined that the cause of my pain was a severely deformed spinal column. I had herniated and ruptured discs in my neck (cervical), upper back (thoracic) and in my lower back (lumbar). I also had two discs that had completely degenerated to the point that my spine was bone on bone and putting extreme pressure on the nerve cluster at the spine.

The initial plan proposed was to have spinal fusion in my neck and lower back. Upon further exploration, I was told that this would entail fusing the spine together with metal plates that would prevent the discs from putting pressure against each other. I did not like the idea of losing my mobility as the fusion would prevent the joints from ever moving again. I asked Dr. William Reed, Jr, what he would do if it were his back and he needed to have it fixed. He stated that rather than having multiple fusions, he would have disc replacement surgery on those discs that were not too badly damaged. This surgery would allow me to have full motion at each of the levels completed. I liked this option much better and proceeded with disc replacement surgery in May. After two weeks off work and only walking for rehabilitation, I was experiencing about 70% less pain than prior to surgery. I felt so good that I went back for a neck surgery in September 2015 for one disc replacement with complete success.

After the two surgeries, I am in about 80% less pain then I was a year ago. I am very excited about the possibility of being totally pain-free after suffering for over 30 years. Going to BVSA and getting the professional help I needed was the best decision I ever made. I will be forever thankful to Dr. Reed for his help and surgical skill. I would encourage anyone suffering from back pain to get a professional opinion of the available options to address and correct the sources of their pain.

–Doug Palzer

*results may vary