Moving Beyond the Weight Loss Roller Coaster
From the time he was 20, Drew’s weight had steadily increased. With diet plans such as Nutrisystem or Weight Watchers, he would lose some weight and then put it back on.
At his annual physical exam in late 2015, Drew’s primary care doctor suggested weight loss surgery as a more permanent way to achieve a healthy weight. Drew did some research online and attended a seminar in 2016 presented by St. Elizabeth Physicians Medical Director of Bariatric Surgery Ryan Moon, MD.
“Dr. Moon was very knowledgeable and personable,” Drew says. “He explained the process in understandable terms and answered questions.”
Drew made an appointment with St. Elizabeth Physicians Weight Management Center shortly after the seminar. During the six-month preparation period required by Drew’s insurance company, he met monthly with an advanced practice nurse, plus had separate meetings with the center’s dietitian and psychologist. He attended seminars on proper nutrition and food supplements and began losing weight on his new diet.
“It’s such a well-laid-out process,” Drew comments.
Choosing Sleeve Gastrectomy
Dr. Moon described two of the surgical options to Drew: gastric bypass surgery and sleeve gastrectomy procedure. Together, Drew and Dr. Moon decided on the sleeve gastrectomy, which reduces the stomach to about the size of a banana. The smaller stomach makes a person feel fuller more quickly and eat less. It also affects gut hormones and changes the body’s chemical pathways and metabolism, which helps the person feel satisfied with less food and improves the body’s blood sugar control.
On Friday morning, June 30, 2017, Dr. Moon performed the procedure robotically, shortening the recovery time for Drew. By mid-afternoon, Drew began drinking liquids. By 6 p.m., he was discharged from the hospital and “I did fine that night,” Drew recalls. “I work from home and was back to work on Monday.”
A Life-Altering Experience
“People say there has to be a downside to this,” Drew says. “I can’t think of a downside. For me, it was relatively easy. At worst, you have to buy a new wardrobe. That was fun. I was wearing pants with a 46-inch waist and 2XL shirts with an 18 ½-inch neck. Now I have a 34-inch waist and wear a size L shirt with a 16-inch neck. I can shop anywhere.”
Drew, who now weighs 180 pounds, says he eats proteins first and, when he is full, he stops eating. “Before, I was a huge carbs eater,” he recalls. “I loved my breads, cakes, chocolates, candies and French fries. I fill up sooner now and can’t eat that much anymore.”
He takes a one-mile walk around the neighborhood each morning and no longer needs medicines for diabetes, cholesterol and breathing. Drew takes a few vitamins and has stopped wearing a CPAP mask at night to breathe. He has more energy and his aches and pains are gone.
He is grateful to everyone at the center: “Dr. Moon really cared about me and wanted me to succeed. He was honest that he could get me started in the race and I’d have to finish it. He also was willing to do whatever it took to support me. Every time I’ve called his office, they’ve all been incredibly responsive, friendly and professional.”
Drew reflects, “My only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner. I’ve lost weight but I’ve gained so much life. It’s been a blessing.”