Breaking the Chain: Overcoming Obesity with Weight Loss Surgery

The Story of Susan Schroeder

Susan Schroeder, 51, of D’Iberville recalls having struggled with her weight for most of her life.

“I had always been heavy, built just like others in my family,” she says. But just because her family had a history of obesity didn’t mean that she was destined to continue the chain. “After I had my son, I didn’t want to be that ‘fat mom’ who didn’t do anything with their child,” Schroeder said. “I didn’t want to embarrass him. Yes, I was a healthy fat person – my blood pressure was normal and I didn’t have diabetes, though it runs in my family – I did have knee and back pain caused by the extra weight.”

Schroeder felt like she had tried every diet known to man, but nothing worked. “I would lose five pounds only to gain ten back,” she said. Feeling like she was out of options, Schroeder was relieved when she started hearing positive outcomes for weight loss surgery.

After meeting with one of Singing River Weight Loss physician, Dr. Avara, Schroeder knew she was in good hands. The two decided on gastric bypass surgery because Schroeder needs to lose more weight than what a gastric band would support. Her surgery was scheduled for July 31, 2007, and since that day she has lost 180 pounds.

“I’ve kept it off for 12 years,” Schroeder said. “I still have 40 pounds that I would love to lose, but I have gained confidence and the ability to do anything I want to do.” To look at her now, you’d never know that Schroeder once struggled with obesity. She is a lifeguard for the City of Biloxi, a strenuous and active position, and enjoys participating in endurance sports such as marathons and triathlons.

The South Mississippi Surgical Weight Loss Center has been helping men and women like Susan Schroeder to meet their weight loss goals since their formation in 2000. Founded by South Mississippi Surgeons (SMS), they have been providing the Coast with quality surgical care for over 30 years. To learn more about weight loss surgery, visit their website at, where you can register to receive a free information session.

Story by Kelsey Sunderman-Foster, SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living • September 2019

Dr. Avara has practiced general surgery since 1987 and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Eastern Association for Surgery of Trauma, and the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS).

Get More Information on Weight Loss Surgery

Drs. Avara, Payne, and Hall perform weight loss surgery at Singing River Health System using the latest surgical techniques and maintain a stellar record of success.

Visit Weight Loss Surgery at Singing River to discover more or register for an informational session about starting your weight loss journey.