"I’m still the same person. I’m just healthier."

September 26, 2022

Destiny HeadlyThat is what Destiny Headly, now 29, says about her weight-loss journey at Palmdale Regional Medical Center.

Patients choose to undergo weight-loss (bariatric) surgery for many reasons. Headly’s inspiration was clear. She wanted to be the hands-on mother that she knew her son, Caden, deserved.

At more than 460 pounds, Headly was ready to make a change for Caden and her health. She spoke with her doctor and chose to have a laparoscopic gastric bypass performed by surgeon John Yadegar, MD, at Palmdale Regional. Three years after surgery and lifestyle changes, she is about 280 pounds lighter.

Tired of Missing Out

Headly says that excess weight was a lifelong issue. “I was already big when I was younger,” she recalls. After losing her first son to a stillbirth in 2011, she was dealing with depression. “I was eating my feelings out a lot and shutting down to be able to cope,” Headly said.

She gave birth to Caden, her “golden child,” in 2016. As the years went on, Headly’s weight increased until she broke the 400-pound mark. Around that time, she and her son visited amusement parks. “Caden wanted me to get on rides with him, but I couldn’t because of my weight,” Headly says. “He was sad and it didn’t make me feel good as his mother that I couldn’t comfort my child on a rollercoaster.”

Surgery at Palmdale Regional

When her primary care doctor suggested weight-loss surgery, Headly was ready. She was dealing with sleep apnea and knew she had to make a big, healthy change. “By the grace of God, I didn't have diabetes, but it was going to get to that point,” Headly says. “But my heart was letting me know I needed to get healthy, with sharp pains where I had to breathe really slow.”

Headly is candid about the fact that the journey wasn’t always easy. “Going into the surgery, I struggled,” Headly recalls. “I had my trials where I wanted to give up. I was still going to the refrigerator stressed out, sneaking food.” She was also required to quit smoking before she could have the surgery.

Fortunately, the weight-loss surgery team at Palmdale Regional, including Dr. Yadegar,  supported Headly at every step — from pre-op education and preparation, to the surgery itself and recovery. They gave her the nutrition, smoking cessation and exercise resources she needed for a successful experience. “They were awesome,” Headly says. “I recommend Palmdale Regional to anyone who wants to get this surgery done.”

Living a Healthier Life

After her successful gastric bypass, Headly committed to the many lifestyle changes she needed to make. “You have to fight, fight, fight and at the end it’s going to be beautiful,” Headly says. “This is a life change every day.”

Three years after surgery, she is staying the course. While she lost a great deal of weight, Headly is focused on the greater picture. “I didn’t get this surgery to get skinny,” she explains. “I got it to get healthy and stay alive for my son.”

Speaking of Caden, he is now able to enjoy activities right along with his mother. “I took him to Six Flags and now that I lost this weight, I was able to get on that rollercoaster with him,” says Headly. “He loved it.”

Quality Weight-Loss Surgery Services at Palmdale Regional

Palmdale Regional is accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) and has earned a “Blue Distinction” designation by Blue Shield. In addition, Aetna Institutes of Quality® recognizes Palmdale Regional for consistently delivering evidence-based, quality care for bariatric surgery.

Most recently, the hospital was recognized as One of America’s Best Hospitals for Bariatric Surgery by the Women’s Choice Award™ and was designated as a Blue Distinction® Center+ for Bariatric Surgery by Anthem Blue Cross®.

Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if bariatric surgery is right for you.