Decatur Mom Loses 100-Plus Pounds with Weight-Loss Surgery

After losing more than 100 pounds

After losing more than 100 pounds

Sparkle Before Surgery

Sparkle before surgery

After a full day working with senior citizens and special needs kids and adults, Sparkle Hill would come home from her job at the Decatur Park District thoroughly exhausted.

Her first stop was the bedroom, where she would lie down and wait until the pain went away. She knew the culprit was her weight, an issue she had struggled with most of her life. By March 2015, she weighed 358 pounds. She was tired of being in pain. She knew something had to change.

Since her mid-20s, the 5-foot-10 Decatur woman had tried almost everything: diet pills, B12 shots, several popular diets. Nothing worked. It was time to pursue the one thing she hadn’t tried, something that had been successful for several of her family members – weight-loss surgery.

Since her surgery, she’s lost more than 100 pounds. And she plans to keep going until she reaches her goal weight of 190 pounds.

Growing up, Sparkle, who’s originally from Racine, Wisconsin, endured her fellow students making fun of her because she was the heaviest person in class. As an adult, she began to have back pain, her feet would hurt and she was exhausted by the end of the day. Fortunately, she had no other serious weight-related health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Sparkle’s doctor referred her to Memorial Bariatric Services in Springfield. Decatur Memorial Hospital partners with the Springfield-based program, where patients receive care from a multidisciplinary team including a dietitian, social worker and physical therapist before and after weight-loss surgery.

Her surgery, a gastric bypass procedure, was performed by Springfield Clinic’s Orlando Icaza, MD, in April 2015 at Memorial Medical Center. Dr. Icaza, who is the assistant medical director for Memorial Bariatric Services, “just made me feel like it was easy to talk to him about anything,” Sparkle said. “He was concerned about me.”

Her children, 12-year-old Trimarion and 11-year-old Shimaria, and her husband, Demeco, have been her strongest encouragers. “They praise me every day,” she said.

Sparkle said she wants to prepare to run a 5K. She’s been jogging and exercising more as she’s lost weight.

For others considering weight-loss surgery, Sparkle said, “Research is the key. This isn’t for everybody, but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done.

The procedure is not a quick fix, she said. “You have to be willing to change your life.”