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Surgical Weight Loss: Bunny Staricka

Visiting family in another state, Sharalyn “Bunny” Staricka heard the plan was to spend a day at the zoo. Her sister-in-law, niece and nephew clamored for Bunny to go, but she had to turn them down. At 375 pounds, Bunny knew she’d never make it around the exhibits — or even across the parking lot without severe pain.

Surgical weight loss: Bunny

Bunny started thinking about weight-loss surgery in college, but insufficient insurance and financial resources kept it out of reach. Life setbacks, including a divorce, moving far from home and the end of another long-term relationship, all contributed to putting on more pounds. Then the unexpected: Bunny met the love of her life, Mathias.

“A few months before our wedding I had concerns about my health and wondered if I’d ever be able to have children,” says Bunny. “It was time to find a doctor to do the surgery. In the past I’d had such good care in Virginia Mason’s Emergency Department, that’s where I wanted to look.”

Bunny watched a video of bariatric surgeon Lily Chang, MD, and was struck by her genuine desire to improve the lives of people battling extreme obesity. Bunny learned about the different options for weight-loss surgery, ultimately deciding on the Roux-en-Y procedure. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass involves creating a small pouch from the stomach and connecting it directly to the small intestine, bypassing parts of the digestive tract that absorb calories.

In just over a year since having gastric bypass, Bunny shed 170 pounds. Now, she walks all over downtown Seattle and recently toured Japan, on a dream trip with her husband. Bunny also introduced him to rollerblading, an activity she loved as a kid. On a return visit with her brother’s family, they all got to enjoy the zoo. Bunny is living her best life now, she says, but acknowledges there will be at least some weight gain happening soon.

“One year after surgery Dr. Chang gave us the green light to start a family,” says Bunny. “We’re expecting our first child in October.”