Growing up, Caileigh Badore was always on the heavier side. She felt like she missed out a lot, but never knew anything different. Surgical weight loss is popular in Caileigh’s family. Both of her parents had weight loss surgery 17 years ago, as did her sister, aunt and grandmother. She tried all of the fad diet and workout plans to no avail, but when Caileigh hit her heaviest, weighing in at 350 pounds, she knew she needed a change.
“I wasn’t able to enjoy simple things in the same way that others my age could,” Caileigh admits. “I wasn’t always able to go on rides at amusement parks, fit easily through turn styles, or sit in a regular airplane seat on one of my many family vacations to Disney. I even ended up dropping one of my college classes because I couldn’t comfortably fit into the desk.” Caileigh’s parents both had successful gastric bypass procedures at Tufts Medical Center. Following in their footsteps she decided to inquire for herself. From the time she attended her first support group, she knew she had made the right decision.
Caileigh’s weight loss surgery – a vertical sleeve gastrectomy – was scheduled for March 10, 2020, right as the Covid-19 pandemic began to unfold. Though she was relieved that she didn’t have to put it off any longer, Caileigh admits that her recovery was difficult. “When I woke up, I felt like my life had flipped upside down,” she says. She admits having a hard time coping with her anxiety, especially due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Things improved drastically for Caileigh after the first week after her operation. Her high blood pressure leveled almost immediately, and though she was unable to have visitors due to the pandemic, things continued to improve. Caileigh was in constant communication with her care team via telehealth and email, which helped her to progress further even though she couldn’t be seen in person. “I can attest that surgery is definitely not a quick fix,” Caileigh says. ‘It forced me to change the way I thought about my lifestyle as a whole, and not just my eating habits.” She found solace in cooking a lot with her boyfriend at home, and trying a variety of new recipes.
Caileigh bravely chose to document her weight loss journey through her Instagram account @JourneyOfCai. Almost immediately post-surgery, her account had nearly 12,000 followers. “It’s a great outlet for support, and connecting with others who have the same understanding has been really helpful.” Currently working as an educator at a high school, Caileigh is also pursuing her Master’s degree with a goal of eventually becoming a special education teacher. With her surgery and the pandemic now in her rearview, she’s looking forward to enjoying herself more and trying new things. As of July 2021, Caileigh has lost 160 pounds. “To anyone who might be considering surgery for themselves, I would say just do it. I almost wish I had done it sooner.”