Published on May 23, 2022

Feeling Grateful for Her New Active and Healthy Lifestyle

Photo of Savannah and Justin Cavanaugh sitting on a picnic table holding a framed photo of themselves before bariatric surgery.

For Savannah Cavanaugh and her husband Justin bariatric surgery has been life changing. Together they lost a combined 350 pounds. They are grateful to be a happy, healthy and active family.

Savannah Cavanaugh, 29, has battled being overweight for as long as she can remember. When she was a teenager, her father had gastric bypass surgery. At that time, Savannah tried every major diet trend to get control of her weight, but they yielded only minor results. When she was pregnant with her son in her mid-20s, her sister underwent a sleeve gastrectomy and Savannah witnessed the incredible emotional and physical transformation her sister underwent. After her son was born, she had an “aha” moment in which she knew it was her turn, so she consulted a bariatric surgeon at MyMichigan Health.

“My pregnancy wasn’t an easy one due in part to my weight,” said Savannah. “I was on blood pressure medication and took aspirin to prevent blood clots. But shortly after Logan was born, I was bathing him and became out of breath. It really hit me that just giving him a bath tired me out, and I knew something had to change. I wanted to be the best and most active mom I could be, and I realized that just wouldn’t be possible without help.”

Savannah met with Bariatric Surgeon Jeffrey Bonacci, M.D., at the Bariatric Surgery Clinic on the campus of MyMichigan Medical Center Midland. She met the criteria for a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. A sleeve gastrectomy divides the stomach into two sections. It maintains the basic function of the stomach; however, the volume the stomach can handle is significantly less. After surgery, patients feel full quickly and therefore, consume less food at each meal. On average, patients lose about half of their excess body weight in 12 months. This has been true for Savannah as she has lost nearly 190 pounds.

“It was a quick and easy process once I met Dr. Bonacci,” she said. “Because of my age, BMI and pre-hypertension, he thought I was a good candidate for surgery. He was very easy to talk with, and I was confident he would do an excellent job.”

Savannah had a late afternoon procedure and was home the following day. “It was quick and fairly easy,” she said. “I had an incredible nurse during my short stay. She had a great balance of empathy and motivation that I really appreciated. Now, I check in at the office annually, and everyone there is welcoming.”

Savannah is happy to have made the decision to have surgery. She maintains a healthy lifestyle, being mindful of how she fuels her body. She sticks to a similar diet every day and stays very active with her son. Savannah is especially thrilled to have gone from being winded giving her son a bath to being able to crawl around on playground equipment with him. She has even shared some of her journey on social media to inspire others. “My family was very encouraging with me,” she explained. “My husband has even had bariatric surgery. We are grateful to be a healthy and happy family, and I’m glad to be able to share that excitement with others.”

MyMichigan Health offers bariatric surgery in Alma, Midland and Sault Ste. Marie. Those who would like to watch an information video or take a free weight loss assessment may visit www.midmichigan.org/weightloss.