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Just as the reason for deciding on weight-loss surgery is personal, so is the motivation to succeed. Meet some of Dr. Nease's patients and see how they combined the knowledge and the tools they acquired through the Surgical Weight-Control Program with their own motivation to meet their goals and begin living life to the fullest!
Erin Hansen was tired of watching her daughter Kylie play and not being able to play with her. Now thanks to her Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, her four-year-old daughter might have trouble catching up with her.
“I’m a new person,” Hansen said. “My daughter sees it in my actions. I’m right there dancing and running. I can actually catch her now when we play tag.”
Hansen has lost 135 pounds. Never an athletic person before, for fear that people would laugh at her, Hansen has since run four 5Ks and she coached her daughter’s soccer team this season.
“Why not? These are things I never would have done before,” Hansen said. “I would recommend it to anybody. It has completely changed my life.”
Jeff Cline was just about to enter the police academy when a coal mining accident changed his life forever, breaking his back and neck. Ten years later, Cline had gained 100 pounds. His doctor wrote a letter to recommend him for bariatric surgery. When Cline read the letter, one sentence jumped right out at him: “Jeff Cline is morbidly obese.”
“It was the ugliest word I’ve ever heard,” Cline said. “I cried.”
Now after an adjustable gastric band procedure, Cline has lost 147 pounds and feels like a new man.
“I just feel wonderful,” Cline said. “I’m no longer embarrassed. My personality is back and I feel like me. Dr. Nease saved my life.”
Cline is now running mountains and swimming for hours at a time in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. And he no longer has to take any medication for his blood pressure.
“In my mind, I changed my birthday to August 27th, the date of my surgery, because that’s when I started living,” Cline said. “The greatest words I ever heard were when I woke up after the surgery and they said, ‘Welcome to your new life.’”
When pre-school teacher Tosha Hairston would tell her students to do criss-cross applesauce and sit cross-legged in the floor, she couldn’t do it with them. Now, thanks to her gastric sleeve resection, she can.
“I know it sounds silly, but it’s one of the things I’m most excited about,” Hairston said.
But it’s not the only thing Hairston can do now, after losing 83 pounds. “I’m able to work out and not be out of breath,” she said. “I can jog now. I can ride my bike at least two miles a day. I’m able to get on a roller coaster and be comfortable.”
Hairston said she would recommend the procedure to anyone. “It’s really changed my life,” she said. “I know that sounds like one of those things people always say, but it really has. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life besides giving my life to Christ and marrying my husband.”
Jimmy Sommersville was always an active person until he started working 16-hour days, which didn’t allow him to eat as he should. Then an older man he worked with was diagnosed with diabetes. Sommersville got scared and decided to have his blood sugar tested. He was not diabetic, but he knew he was headed in that direction.
“It kind of scared me,” Sommersville said. “I had never been in the hospital before. I didn’t have a family doctor. I didn’t want to end up like that.”
Sommersville has now lost 180 pounds after his Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. “It’s really a chance to start over in life again. Before, you’re ashamed of what you wear. Now you’re proud to tuck your shirt in.”
When you have 18 grandchildren, you need a lot of energy. Darlene Newman now has that energy, thanks to her adjustable gastric band procedure.
“I can keep up with them better than they can keep up with me,” Newman said. “I have the energy of a 20-year-old.”
Newman has lost 117 pounds and has been able to give up both her blood pressure and cholesterol medicines.
“People think I’m my children’s sister now,” Newman said. "I feel like I’m another person. It’s like a miracle.”
In addition to an increase in energy, Newman has also seen an increase in her social life. “It’s just been a rebirth,” she said. “I’ve been really enjoying myself and I’m just thankful for it.”
Barbara Collier always had a healthy lifestyle and she worked out at the YMCA three to five days a week. But after a year of trying really hard to lose weight, Collier had only lost six pounds. And her blood pressure was still not responding to her increase in medication. Now, after her gastric sleeve resection, Collier has lost 78 pounds and is no longer on any kind of medications, other than for her allergies.
“I have a new lease on life,” Collier said. “My very excited side has come back. This was the woman that was covered up by the weight.”
Collier did a great deal of research before having her surgery so she could make a really informed decision. And she is very happy with the choice she made.
“I couldn’t find a more helpful group of people anywhere,” Collier said. “They make a great team. They really are about their patients and it shows. As they say, the proof is in the pudding. In this case, I’m the pudding.”
Mary Sayre’s kids were getting tired of hearing the same thing over and over again from her—Mom’s tired. But after losing 173 pounds with the help of her Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, her kids tire out before she does.
“I’ve got a lot more energy,” Sayre said. “I’m able to get more active with the children and the dogs. I feel like I can keep up with the masses.”
Adding to Sayre’s exhaustion before she lost the weight was the depression she was feeling. “I was really, really depressed. I’d get more exhausted just thinking about trying to lose the weight,” Sayre said. “It kept kicking me in the rear end. The surgery gave back a whole sense of pride and self-esteem.”
Sayre said another side effect of the weight loss is a lot more shopping. “Clothes are a little cheaper,” she said. “I shop a lot more because there are so many more things in my size range.”
Chella Price’s family was pretty hesitant about her having a gastric sleeve resection. But after seeing her progress in just the first 12 weeks, they had a total change of heart. Price lost 124 pounds, but gained the energy she had been missing.
“I was always pretty active, but I tired easy,” Price said. “I’m definitely a lot more active and I’m able to do more with my kids.”
One of the biggest reasons why Price had the surgery was that after the birth of her second daughter, she didn’t lose the weight. But the surgery helped her get back to normal.
“You feel better about yourself,” she said. “It’s the best decision I’ve ever made.”
Just like any hair salon, there’s always a lot of conversation in Studio 52 in Gilbert, W.Va. And these days, the conversation focuses on owner Didena Belcher’s adjustable gastric band procedure and the 138 pounds she’s lost.
The decision to have the surgery was one Belcher debated for two years. “I had never had any kind of surgery,” she said. “I was scared of the surgery part of the procedure.”
However after attending her first surgery weight control seminar, Belcher’s fears were eased and everything went quickly and smoothly. “I don’t regret it,” Belcher said. “I would drive the two hours and 45 minutes to Huntington every day if I had to. I would.”
Belcher said she always had a “whatever” attitude about life, but now it’s a happy "whatever." “Everybody says I’m a little more outgoing. I’m in less pain. I can do more things,” she said. “I have a deeper outlook on life.”
Pam Ramey can immediately recall her happiest day after her adjustable gastric band surgery. It was the day her two children were able to wrap their arms around her.
“My son said, ‘I can really hug you now,’” Ramey said. "That’s why I did it. To be a better mom and live longer with them now.”
Ramey lost 97 pounds, going from a size 26 to a size 10. “Everything has been changed for the good,” she said. “I’m a much happier person. I love life. I hate to see the dark come because it means I have to lie down to sleep. I’m afraid I’ll miss something.”
Among the things that Ramey can do that she couldn’t do before are tie her own shoes and polish her own toenails.
“I have so much more self-confidence,” Ramey said. “I was hiding in my shell. Now I love life again. Besides having my two children, it’s the most wonderful thing I’ve done.”