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Robin's Journey of Discovery and Transformation
At the age of 28, Delaware native Reverend Robin Hurley had a heart attack, an event that would mark the beginning of a long journey of discovery — in relation to her health as well as her overall purpose in life.
“After my heart attack, I was put through every test and procedure imaginable and became guided by doctors. Through those experiences I discovered a calling from the Lord and that I could no longer work,” said Hurley, who was living in Florida and working as an inventory specialist at a local hospital at the time.
In 2008, Hurley returned to Delaware and started seminary and pursuing the ministry with the United Methodist Church. She became a pastor in 2015 and currently has a three-point charge, meaning she serves three local churches. Last July, Hurley did a Wesleyan pilgrimage in England. While on the pilgrimage she met a pastor from the Midwest who had undergone a gastric bypass and lost 100 pounds.
“Just seeing how he could easily walk six miles in one day motivated me. But I also watched how he was eating and asked him about his experience. What he shared was inspiring and he taught me a lot. I knew weight was always a problem for me and my heart, but it just seemed that no matter what I ate I couldn’t get a handle on it. I was so motivated and inspired by the other pastor that when I got back home I found Dr. Barnett via an online search,” said Hurley, who weighed 242 pounds at the time.
That’s when the next chapter of Hurley’s journey began. After completing the initial steps of the Bayhealth Bariatric Program, which included attending an informational seminar with Bariatric Surgeon Thomas Barnett, MD, and meeting with Bariatric Program Coordinator Patty Deer, MSM, BSN, RN, CNOR, CBN, and a dietitian, Hurley went through the other components necessary to prepare her for a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, which she had in late December.
“It was the easiest surgery I’ve ever been through, and I’ve had several heart-related surgeries,” said Hurley, when asked what the biggest surprise was during her surgical weight loss journey. “Dr. Barnett is very matter-of-fact and he helped me get my mind right about it, and Patty puts you at ease. In fact, 20 percent is about focusing on the lead-up to surgery with the nutrition programs and other steps, but 80 percent is accepting in your mind that this is a new way of life. Your waistline is also going to encourage you.”
“My biggest fear was that I would fail,” continued Hurley. “I didn’t tell anybody about the surgery. I just took the day off. Since my surgery, my congregation has helped keep me accountable to my goal, and I’ve been able to inspire others. I’m so pleased with the whole experience. I learned a lot about nutrition and the importance of focusing on protein. I’m maintaining my weight. I weigh myself morning and night and make adjustments to my diet as needed.”
Hurley says her advice to anyone contemplating bariatric surgery is this: “Reach out and take the first step. Find out what your options are. Dr. Barnett and the rest of the team will guide you through the process. They are very attentive to each patient’s needs and are very supportive.”