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Patient & nurse friendship: Tina Tucker & Cindy Turner

Published on Thursday October 5, 2023
Tina and Cindy

Beautiful inside and out

At just 18 years old, Tina found herself grappling with the loss of her mother while simultaneously caring for her own five-month-old child, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Overwhelmed by grief and the burdens of life, she turned to comfort in food, a solace that would soon lead her down a path she never expected. 

Tina TuckerTina's life became a constant battle with her weight, a struggle that escalated until she found herself weighing over 500 pounds. The realization struck hard—something needed to change. Seeking help from her primary care provider, Tina left her appointment feeling defeated when they recommended she lose weight but did not provide her with any further guidance on the best way to do so. As she also experienced debilitating back pain, she sought care with a doctor specializing in back pain but was only further discouraged when they made the exact same conclusion as her primary care provider and did not provide her with next steps.

Tina attempted to lose weight on her own by trying various pills and powders while also remaining as active as possible through activities like gardening and mowing her lawn, but she knew she couldn’t do it alone. This led to her seeking care at Centra through the CMG Neurosurgery Center. That’s where Cindy Turner enters her story.

Cindy Turner began her career in healthcare working as a CNA and an EMT before going to school later in life to become a nurse. Cindy is the first to say she loves her job and her patients, but she developed an extra special connection with Tina as soon as she called her name and led her to her exam room during her first appointment. Cindy described how she asked Tina how she was doing, and Tina answered, “I’m in a little bit of pain,” while at the same time never ceasing to smile as she explained she wanted to get better for her family so that she wouldn’t be limited by her weight or the pain she had been experiencing.

For Tina, Cindy's compassionate approach was a breath of fresh air, a stark contrast to the previous encounters where her voice had gone unheard. Throughout her two-year weight loss journey, including bariatric and hip surgeries, Cindy's unwavering support and genuine care remained steadfast. As Tina put it, " From my pre- to post-op check-ups, Cindy was always there, and she wanted to know my story. She made it her business to care about me.” 

Cindy attributes much of Tina’s success to her attitude throughout the entire process. Explaining, “it can be really hard to hear a physician say you have to lose weight and that your health won’t improve if you don’t. Tina was always upbeat and no matter the next steps, she wanted to do it.” 
As someone who never said, “I can’t do it,” Tina displayed a willingness to complete each step of the process that her care team had developed for her to be successful. She was deeply motivated because everyone at Centra cared so much. She wanted to prove to them she was extremely grateful for the unwavering support by, “holding up her end of the bargain,” and doing what they told her to do.

With Cindy as her cheerleader throughout the entire process, Tina feels that she’s made a, “friend for keeps” in her nurse, and described the entire CMG Neurosurgery Center Team as people who feel like an extended family. Today, Tina’s self-esteem has also increased as she’s become more mobile, even going on to say, “for the first time in my life, I’ve felt beautiful.” However, it’s not just losing weight or gaining mobility that have led Tina to feel this way, it’s a feeling that’s come from having supportive Caregivers like Cindy telling her, “you’re beautiful inside and out,” because of her hopeful, energetic personality.

Listen to Tina share her story on Centra's podcast, & so much more!

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