Weight-Loss Surgery Transforms Lives
St. Elizabeth Healthcare Weight Management Center is transforming lives and families all over the tristate. In fact, since 2004 more than 1,000 patients have dropped more than a whopping 50 tons of weight. And with those 100,000 lost pounds came enormous gains in quality of life for all who made the transformations. Here are a few of their stories . . .
New Year is a new lease on life for Florence Woman
A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words. But two years ago, when Mary Price first saw the picture of her with her newborn grandson, Ronan, the words that crossed her mind were relatively few, but decidedly urgent.
“I got this picture and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, I am really gi-normous!’” she says, referring to the photo of her and tiny infant. “I knew I needed to do something different to lose the weight.”
For as long as Ms. Price could remember she had struggled with her weight. And, the diminutive 5-foot-tall nursing manager had a lot of successes, losing 30 or more pounds each time she dieted.
But then, she always gained those pounds back and many more, until late 2011 when she received that telling photo when she weighed 210 pounds.
It was simply far too much weight for her tiny frame. And, as a nurse who trains other nurses, Ms. Price knew all too well what all that extra fat meant for her health. In fact, she could feel it in every fiber of her being.
Every joint in her body ached. She couldn’t stand for long and became easily winded. She was pre-diabetic, and even though she took medication, her cholesterol levels were too high. Even her asthma had worsened as her stressed and overweight body worked ever harder just to breathe.
In short, the Florence mother and grandmother knew she had to do something radical about her weight or she probably wouldn’t be around – or at least wouldn’t be healthy enough – to really enjoy her three children and their five youngsters.
“So I did my research and went to all the information sessions for the different programs at the Weight Management Center,” she recalls.
“And I went to the surgical weight loss program and learned about the sleeve gastrectomy. … That’s when I just felt this huge – excuse the pun – ‘weight’ come off my shoulders because I remember thinking that this is my answer – that surgery. … And the thing that really sold me on it was that it cuts off the part of the stomach that creates most of the hunger hormone. So I just thought, ‘Bingo! This is my answer.’”
That was October 2011. By the following February, Mary Price was signed up and beginning preparation for the surgery – like all Weight Management Center patients – by undergoing several months of medically supervised dieting, nutritional and psychological counseling, physical evaluation and pre-operative education.
Both Ms. Price and the weight management experts at the center say that pre-operative preparation period -- which typically last three to six months -- is critical to long-term success with bariatric surgery.
“I think that this is a major strength of our program that is not offered at other surgical programs in the area,” said Weight Management Center Clinical Psychologist and Behavioral Therapist, Dr. Laurie Little.
“Effective weight management should address biological, nutritional and behavioral issues, and St. Elizabeth is the only center that addresses all of these areas.”… “Healthy weight management is not just about what you eat, but a great deal about how and why you eat. Although the surgery is an incredibly powerful tool that helps restrict the amount of food one can eat in one sitting, if a patient does not address any underlying maladaptive eating patterns, they will not lose the amount of weight they want to lose, or they run the risk of regaining it back over time.”
By the day of Mary Price’s Aug. 15 surgery, she said she was very well prepared and ready to dive right in to a new lifestyle. And that she did, immediately dropping 15 pounds the first month and about 10 pounds monthly after that until, by this past August, she had shed almost half of her body weight.
The procedure – the most popular bariatric surgery at St. Elizabeth – worked so well for Mary Price that today she is not only a svelte 122 pounds, but she’s much healthier and energetic. For instance, she walks everywhere she can because the pain that plagued her joints is completely gone.
She’s no longer looking to a future with diabetes because her blood sugar levels are normal. And even though cardiovascular disease runs in her family, she has been able to cut her cholesterol medicines in half. Even her asthma has greatly improved.
In short, Mary Price is on track to live a long and active life. And that’s
something that a whole lot of people in her large extended family are very thankful for this New Year.
“I can get down on the floor now and play with my grandchildren and I don’t have to look for the nearest piece of furniture to grab to get back up. I can take a walk with them and be on my feet enjoying life.
“And I just feel more confident and better about myself. In fact, I can even jump.
“I couldn’t do that before, but recently I was somewhere with my grandsons and I jumped. It’s funny, but I just remember thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, I can jump now! I can jump!’”
Bariatric Surgery: It's About Much More than Weight Loss
By the time he was 44, Mark Rose says he had tried just about every diet known in his efforts to budge the extra weight on his 380-pound frame. He never had any success.
He might have gone on that way, had it not been for a disabling health scare a couple of years ago that knocked the now 46-year-old Florence trucker off the road for four months and made it clear that he had to do something about his weight that really worked.
“It was December of 2010 when I woke up one morning with double vision,” recalls the soft-spoken father of three. “I had every kind of test, but they could never determine what caused it. It took four months to correct itself and I was out of work all that time, from December until the end of March.
“Then, when I was getting ready to take my physical to come back to work, they told me to get tested for sleep apnea … they found I had sleep apnea, high blood pressure … high cholesterol and all that stuff.
“So, I knew I had to do something,” he says, his voice cracking with emotion, “to make sure I’m there for my kids.”
After exhaustive research about weight loss surgery locally, Mr. Rose chose the St. Elizabeth Weight Management Center and veteran Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. Ryan Moon. After a thorough evaluation and individualized consultation, they decided that sleeve gastrectomy was the best option for Mr. Rose.
Mr. Rose proved to be an ideal candidate and the surgery was performed Oct. 26, 2011. He started realizing the health benefits almost immediately, such as:
- Less than two months later, his blood pressure medications were cut in half
- Three months later, he no longer needed to use a sleep apnea device
- Four months later, he was taken off all medications for high cholesterol
In Mr. Rose’s case, the surgery not only helped bring about changes in his health, but in that of his whole family. He says everybody in his home is cooking lighter and eating more fruits and vegetables these days.
He stresses though, that the surgery is not a magic cure-all. To be successful, Mr. Rose said you still have to do the work of changing your eating habits and exercising more. Today, however, he is proof that if you do invest the effort, the pay-offs can be great. He says he feels much better since his surgery and has a lot more energy to do some of his favorite things, like cheering his boys on in football and wrestling.
Those boys have also been cheering their dad on over the past year and, he says, they are “shocked” today at this amazing results. One year after surgery, Mr. Rose has dropped a total of 215 pounds, or the equivalent of 22 pants sizes, six shirt sizes, and even one whole shoe size. The best numbers though are the ones related directly to his cardiovascular health: Today his blood pressure and cholesterol are both very normal.
They are the kind of numbers that bring a smile to the face of this devoted husband and father and provide reassurance that he will, indeed, be here and healthy for a long time. And that’s also why he urges others with problems similar to those he had a little more than a year ago to consider surgery as an option. As Mark Rose puts it, “You have to do something. Our families depend on it.”
Weight Loss Success Has Helped Her “Like” Herself Again
When a plastic bar chair nearly gave way beneath her one night a few years back, Lisa Barclay says she quite literally knew she’d reached the breaking point with her weight problem.
She had to do something. Intense exercise wasn’t working. And, diet after diet had failed. So she began looking into bariatric surgery and quickly realized that the St. Elizabeth Weight Management Center in Florence offered the most comprehensive and individualized program in the region.
“The other programs were ‘Get you in, get you out and we’re done with you.’ There’s just not a lot of follow-up to them,” said the 46-year-old Lakeside Park woman.
“But at St. Elizabeth, it’s so individualized, and they really care that you succeed. I mean my bariatric surgeon, Dr. Moon, went as far as giving me his personal cell phone number and told me to call him if I had any problems. ... It’s been really good.”
Lisa said the virtually “painless” LAP-BAND® surgery she underwent late last January was followed by the speediest weight loss she has ever experienced. In fact, due to her unwavering commitment to the diet and daily exercise, she dropped an amazing 100 pounds in just nine months – well above the average of about 60 pounds in the first year after LAP-BAND® surgery.
Lisa is tickled with her newly svelte figure, but she is even more pleased by how she feels, both physically and mentally. Her blood pressure is down. She’s off her medications. And her energy level is soaring, right along with her feelings of self-confidence.
“Personally, I’m just happier with me,” she says. “I think this is the first time that I can actually look in the mirror and say I like myself...and I have not felt that way in a long, long time. This whole thing is really just not physical, it’s mental, because when you look better you feel better."
Exactly how good does she feel? Well, good enough to take on one very harrowing item on her bucket list: skydiving. But, like her weight loss journey at St. Elizabeth, she doesn’t plan to go it alone – she is hoping to take Dr. Moon right along with her on her inaugural jump.
“I challenged him that when I lost 100 pounds, to skydive with me,” she says with a sly grin.
“He said, ‘You know, this isn’t how this is supposed to work.’ He said, ‘I’m supposed to challenge you – you’re not supposed to challenge me.’ But he did say that might be something he might do.”
Well, Dr. Moon? Skydiving season reopens in March...
“The Weight Just Came Off So Well...”
Campbell County Woman Never Thought She’d Feel so “Great”
Cold Spring resident, Beverly Dansberry, has had more than her share of health crises in recent years. First, she suffered a nearfatal ruptured colon. Then, she unexpectedly lost her husband of 43 years after a tragic medication reaction. And her own parents died shortly after that blow.
Through all the pain, the 68-year-old grandmother began putting on so much weight that she was soon facing new health problems that threatened to have her taking the very medicines she says caused her husband’s sudden death.
But Beverly Dansberry is a fighter and she simply wasn’t going to settle for that. So when she read about the medically managed weight loss program at St. Elizabeth in Healthy Neighbors
magazine last year, she decided to give it a try.
“At St. Elizabeth you really lose the weight fast, but I didn’t have to worry about my health because they have a doctor and nurses there who keep checking you throughout the program,” she said.
“So I thought, this is the way to go...and the weight just came off so well and in so much larger amounts than I expected that I decided that I was going to stick with it all the way.”
Mrs. Dansberry set out originally to drop 50 pounds through the medically managed program at St. Elizabeth Weight Management last spring. But after four months, she’d not only lost that weight, but she felt so much better that she opted to continue on the program until she lost a total of 72 pounds by last Christmas. In the process, she discovered something about herself - she really likes to exercise.
“I don’t think I could have accomplished as much as I did without the exercise ... and it’s fun,” she says of the cardiovascular workout she now does almost daily.
“I never realized how dramatically this would change things, but it has. I can get up and down so much easier. The steps don’t bother me and I’m more confident because I feel healthier. I can go all day and not be exhausted and have to sit down all the time.”
Mrs. Dansberry says the center’s reputation for safety and success, and the support she received from the weight management team as she moved through the program were both critical. Today, she highly recommends the program to others and encourages all those reading this today to make the call to St.Elizabeth if excessive weight is a concern.
Beverly Dansberry says she knows what you’re going through and it just might be the hardest part of losing weight.
“The most difficult thing was deciding to do it and going in that first time and saying, ‘I’m going to try this,’” she recalls.
“It finally clicked on for me with my health – I just didn’t want to take all that medicine and I wanted to be able to do things, but I felt like I was handicapped. ... But, you need to just decide you’re worth it. Life’s short. ...Give it a try – this is a good program. I never dreamed I’d end up feeling as great as I do.”
Jon Mason Lost Nearly 70 Pounds Through the St. Elizabeth Weight Management Center Very Low Calorie Diet Program
It was important that (St. Elizabeth’s program) was medically supervised - it was clinical all the way. ... I wanted that. ... In fact, you have to meet with the clinical team every week and ... you actually look forward to that because you know there are going to be results if you truly stick to it."
“It’s not like it had been at my previous diets or weigh-ins because, with this, there was no doubt you were going to lose weight ... so there was not this dread about going to it. Plus, you’ve got all that support anyhow there. Just looking around the waiting room at everybody else on the program you see everybody in different stages. So you remember them when they had 30 pounds more on them and now they don’t and that brings up a discussion, you know? So it’s really good.”
A whole different way of thinking . . .
“It’s been a complete lifestyle change for me and my wife, too, because my wife has lost weight because she mimics what I eat. ... The best analogy I have for this diet is like when you do something for so long – whether it’s bad or good – it becomes imprinted into your brain. Like I was the person who always salted before he tried anything. Then, when you go on this diet and don’t eat, you forget what salted food tastes like. ... That’s a really good part of the diet. It really removes that imprint that was so long embedded into your brain and thought patterns you forget what (less healthful) stuff tastes like.”
Life Regained After Weight-Loss Surgery
Jacki Fischer says she contemplated weight-loss surgery for years, but finally committed after visiting St. Elizabeth, where she opted to undergo the gastric bypass procedure. “I finally chose the program at St. Elizabeth Weight Management Center because of its quality reputation. From day one, the staff at St. Elizabeth was incredible. They focus on life beyond surgery,” she says. They “offered more support before, during and after surgery than I ever imagined. The center taught me how to make healthy choices.”
Today – four years and 170 pounds after her surgery - Jacki remains vigilant about the things she needs to do to keep the weight off. For instance, she says it’s important not to allow herself to get hungry, so she follows a strict eating schedule which includes smaller portions eaten more frequently. She has also learned to recognize her “triggers” and how to control emotional eating.
“I’m not perfect and I still have bad days. The temptations and stresses didn’t go away after surgery and I still battle them every day,” she admits. “But, the important thing is that I now know how to handle them.”
Today, the results of her hard work are evident. She’s not only slim and fit, but she also has a new attitude. She’s regained her self confidence and enjoys exercise and eating more healthfully.
The staff of the St. Elizabeth Weight Management Center say Jacki is a shining example of how dramatically weight-loss surgery can affect lives. But it’s important to note that surgery is just one component of the overall program at St. Elizabeth. “We offer a comprehensive weight-loss program, which includes experienced bariatric surgeons and experts who provide nutritional, emotional and exercise support,” says Beth Taschuk, a registered dietician and nutrition counselor at the center.
“Weight-loss surgery is not an overnight process. We are committed to our patients every step of the way. Jacki became an ideal patient. She consistently adhered to her individualized exercise and nutritional regimen like clockwork.”
Today, Jacki stays busy playing volleyball, golf, and other sports. But, her most impressive achievement may be becoming a distance runner - a feat she would not have even imagined just four years ago. “When they told me to exercise following my surgery, I started by walking 10-15 minutes a night,” she recalls. “Gradually, I built up my distance, and one night I tried to jog from one driveway to the next. One thing led to another, and I decided to walk the annual Thanksgiving Day Race.”
But, she didn’t stop there. In fact, before long she was setting her sights on conquering the Cincinnati Flying Pig half-marathon. Then, after walking the “pig,” she decided to run it. It was a momentous day when she strode across the finish line. She says that’s when she really realized how much she had accomplished and how far she had come, and she broke into tears.
Jacki is overwhelmed by how greatly her life has improved. That’s one reason why she decided to give something. She now speaks monthly to participants at the St. Elizabeth Weight Management Center in an effort to encourage them through her own experiences. She also coaches and leads a Flying Pig Marathon training group for Bob Ronkers Running Spot. She’s even in training for her third triathlon in June and her second 200-mile relay race in October.
“My quality of life has improved dramatically,” Jacki says. “After my surgery, I noticed I was treated with more respect. I can buy clothes off the rack. Clerks actually wait on me. I can hold a baby up close and still have room on my lap. Men actually hold doors open for me. “Before surgery my weight held me back. Now, the sky is the limit and there isn’t anything that I can’t do.”
Kari – Mother of Three Gets a New Lease on Life
Since Kari – a 32-year-old mother of three – had her weight-loss surgery in late 2004 she has shed a remarkable 118 pounds. Kari says it’s been nothing short of a transformation – both physically and mentally.
Today, the young Union wife says she has an incredible new outlook on life. She says she is much more active since her surgery and now enjoys an array of new endeavors with her kids, like skating. And best of all, perhaps, Kari feels more confident and happy about
St. Elizabeth Healthcare Weight Management Center at St. Elizabeth Florence can do the same for you.
Our experienced staff takes a multidisciplinary approach to weight loss. And, as one of our patients, you’ll take part in group sessions and an intensive pre-operative program of surgical, medical, psychological and nutritional evaluation, to ensure optimal results. We promise to make you comfortable and confident as you go through the whole process.
Come for a Free Information Session
If you’d like to find out all the details about the various options we offer for weight-loss that transform lives, we would love to help you learn more. Make a reservation for one of our free information sessions
or call for an appointment. Here are the details:
Free Information Sessions:
St. Elizabeth Healthcare Weight Management Center located at St. Elizabeth Florence
(859) 212-GOAL (4625)
(859) 212-GOAL (4625)