Start Weight: 338 lbs
Current Weight: 173 lbs
Treatment start: March, 2012
Treatment type: OhioHealth Weight Management Program
Surgery: Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery
"I had no idea it would feel this good. It has changed my life completely and for the better."
Sheila S. struggled with being overweight most of her life. She tried nearly every weight loss and exercise program available but nothing helped. Each attempt to lose weight resulted in gaining more weight. Then came a medical diagnosis and news she would be lucky to live to age 50. Sheila knew she needed help and consulted with her physician, who recommended OhioHealth Surgical Weight Management as the best way to lose her weight. From that moment forward, Sheila was determined not to let anything get in her way.
Sheila began working with the OhioHealth team to prepare for Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass. Right away, she knew she would have a better experience compared to her other weight-loss attempts.
"The whole team at OhioHealth made me feel like I was important,” she said. "They made me feel like I wasn’t invisible, that I mattered, that what I said and what I did was important."
For several months before her surgery, the staff at OhioHealth Surgical Weight Management worked with Sheila to prepare her not only for the surgery but also for her life after surgery, pre-establishing important lifestyle changes. As a result, her post-surgery experience was much easier.
"The entire team helps you see where you go wrong with your lifestyle choices, and they teach you how to make better choices," she said. “They really, honestly cared about me. It was like having your family there."
Now, at nearly half her pre-surgery weight, Sheila said her perspective on life has changed, and she has endless energy. She has even started a weight-loss program at her church, counseling seven young women. "I want to inspire other people," she said. "The team at OhioHealth inspired me, and that's exactly what I want to do for others."
Start weight: 290 lbs
Current weight: 196 lbs
Treatment start: March 2012
Treatment type: Low Calorie Diet
Pre-treatment health conditions: Polycystic ovarian syndrome
Existing health conditions: unknown
Kristina B. weighed nearly 300 pounds when her primary physician referred her to the OhioHealth Medical Weight Management Program. "I didn't even know about it," Kristina said. When she got an explanatory phone call, Kristina looked at her bank account and decided, "This is an investment in myself."
At that time, Kristina had been divorced for about a year. She credits her time in the program to her drive to be a better person. "Maybe I was ok with who I was," she said, "but I wasn't happy with who I was."
Under supervision, Kristina began a low calorie diet that starts with medically nutritious shakes and gradually transitions to solid food. During the transition, however, Kristina found herself quickly slipping into bad habits. "They were really supportive," she says of the staff at OhioHealth. "It was never, 'Shame on you,' it was, 'Hey, let's try this next time.' They truly do care about every participant."
Now nearly 100 pounds lighter, Kristina says she doesn't even have words for how grateful she is to her healthcare team. "It's truly unique the way they treat you as an individual," she said. "As a fat person, you're used to being treated a certain way, and they are different, they are supportive. It's not something you're used to receiving when you're an overweight person."
Start Weight: 242 lbs
Current Weight: 184 lbs
Surgery type: Sleeve gastrectomy
Surgery Date: July 31, 2012
Pre-surgery health conditions: Sleep apnea, metabolic syndrome, asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression
Existing health conditions: Off all drugs except for cholesterol medicine
Marsha P. had "been on every diet known to man." But after helping a friend through a sleeve gastrectomy, she began to seriously consider bariatric surgery. In January 2012, she took the first steps toward having the operation.
Marsha found her pre-surgery contact with the doctors, support staff and nutritionists at OhioHealth to be very helpful. "They had a gal there who gave her testimony," she said. "It was important to me to talk to someone who had actually been through the surgery."
It meant a great deal that she liked the medical staff. "They were honest about the possibility of complications from the surgery, and I appreciated that," she said. She also found the nutritionist to be a big help, because Marsha "had no idea what to eat" in her post-surgery life.
Now, nearly 60 pounds lighter, Marsha's daughter says she walks like a thin person. "It's helped everything," Marsha said. "I feel more limber. I'm able to walk. I'm able to get up from the floor without crawling over to a chair. I can cross my legs. I can carry my three-year-old grandson if we're out shopping and he gets tired.
"I would absolutely recommend this program," Marsha said. "Do it. Don't put it off. For people like me, I would say do the surgery."
Start Weight: 220 lbs
Current Weight: 145 lbs
Surgery type: Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
Surgery Date: October 31, 2008
Pre-surgery health conditions: Knee problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthmatic, frequent pneumonia, 15 medications
Existing health conditions: occasional asthma treated with a rescue inhaler, five medications
Karen W. was usually in and out of the hospital with asthma and pneumonia several times a year. Now, thanks to Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass and her own dedication, those days are a thing of the past.
Her surgery took place in Duluth, Minnesota, under the skill of Dr. Tracy Pitt, who now practices at OhioHealth. "I went to an educational meeting where they presented both banding and the Roux-en-Y," she said. "I kept thinking I wanted the banding done.'"
But when Dr. Pitt suggested that Roux-en-Y would be the best option for Karen - because the weight would drop off more quickly - she changed her mind. Other factors that influenced her decision included, "knowing others who had the banding surgery and still had diabetes and constant insulin injections," she said. "With Dr. Pitt's help and positive outlook and confidence in improving my overall health quickly, I felt more comfortable and knowledgeable."
In addition to her new active lifestyle, Karen feels the effects of her decision in her pocketbook. Down to five medicines from about 15 a day, her expenses have been cut dramatically. That means she has more money for shopping. Since the weight loss, she finds she has had to "buy and wear more clothes to keep wrapped up." Her reduced body weight and healthier nutritional lifestyle have changed the way her body responds to cold weather. "It's harder to stay warm, but I am happy to wrap up and wear more clothes. I will take that any day."
Start Weight: 416 lbs
Current Weight: 214 lbs
Surgery type: Gastric bypass
Surgery Date: December 27, 2011
Pre-surgery health conditions: High blood pressure, borderline diabetes
Existing health conditions: Off all drugs except for cholesterol medicine
Dennis was tired of being overweight. "I was fed up with being so big, and I was ready to do something," said Dennis about his decision to undergo life-altering gastric-bypass surgery. "My health and my life were so limited."
When his family physician referred Dennis to OhioHealth for surgical weight management, Dennis felt he had found the right place for treatment. From the beginning of the program, he explained, "They are constantly there to support me, and they always return my calls."
Dennis is often asked about his weight loss journey. He's referred two or three people recently, but acknowledges it's a hard decision to make. "I tell people you have to exercise," he said. "You have to get up, and you have to do it. I listened to everything they told me to do and did everything they asked, and it worked perfectly for me."
Today, Dennis is a new man, over 200 pounds lighter and active in anything and everything. He's been to the Kings Island amusement park, the kind of activity that was improbable before the weight loss. Now though, he rarely sits down long enough to watch television. "I walk. I play with my grandson. I golf again. I'm always doing something," he said.
Start Weight: 196 lbs
Current Weight: 125 lbs
Treatment type: Very Low Calorie Diet
Pre-treatment health conditions: high blood pressure, high cholesterol
Existing health conditions: None
Cheryl has been on lots of weight loss programs in her life, but it was the OhioHealth Medical Weight Management Program that finally helped her lose nearly 75 pounds.
"I was looking for something that fit my lifestyle, and I didn't want to have to think about what I was eating and do a lot of meal-planning," Cheryl said. "I just wanted something simple."
She took part in the OhioHealth Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) Group Program that combines nutritional shakes with behavior modification and exercise for optimum weight loss. In addition, her health is tracked through regular lab work and physician visits.
Cheryl credits OhioHealth's nutritionist, exercise physiologists and overall motivational support for her success. "Everyone there seems genuinely concerned in improving your health," she said. "It was something I really hadn't seen anywhere else."
Since losing the weight, Cheryl finds she has a lot more energy and fewer aches and pains. "Plus, you feel good because you look a lot better. That boosts your confidence and feeling of well-being."
After witnessing her success, Cheryl's husband, who has diabetes and heart disease, decided to join the program, losing approximately 60 pounds. "He saw I could do it, and he went ahead and decided to join," said Cheryl. "He feels a lot better, and his glucose is under control. I think it's been great."