Mom drops pounds for her family

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (WCIV) -- Patricia Jenkins says she struggled with weight for quite some time, but didn't realize how it weighed on her children.

It was the words of her 9-year-old daughter Abbie that has changed her life.

"She would say, 'Mommy I can't even wrap my arms around you. I can't hug you. I can't play with you. You're not like a normal mom,'" said Jenkins.

Jenkins asked her daughter what a normal mom was like and quickly learned that it is what she wanted to aspire to be.

"She said, 'You know, like the moms who go on our field trips that run with us and play with us,' which really shook me and I said that's really not something I want her to view me as,'" Jenkins said.

In January of last year, Jenkins underwent gastric bypass surgery at Roper Saint Francis. She weighed 264 pounds at the time.

She didn't make the medical journey alone. Six weeks after her surgery, her husband Scott did the same. He weighed 350 pounds before getting the procedure done.

"We wanted to have the experience together," she said. "We could walk the walk together and be there to support one another 100 percent."

"I tell her she looks good. She looked good before but she looks really good now," Scott said.

Patricia said they knew from the beginning the surgery was the right choice for them.

"We were so impressed when we attended the seminar. Dr. Mitchell captivated us with his real perception of this is what you're life is going to be like he. He was personable, beyond that after we became his patients. In the office he provided us with a sense of security and treated us like family," she said.

The couple is a combined 200 pounds lighter. It's a difference their daughter notices.

"The day she hugged, me she wrapped her arms all around my waist," Jenkins said. "She looked at me and her eyes filled with tears and she said, 'Mommy, I can hug you.' It almost makes me want to cry because she couldn't before."

Roper St. Francis' bariatric and metabolic program recently became the sixth in the nation to become disease-specific certified in bariatric surgery by the joint commission.