Bariatric Patient - John

Patient: John

Age:  54

Height: 5’6”

Highest Weight: 334

Current Weight: 260

Goal Weight: 175

Bariatric Surgery: Gastric Bypass

Surgery Date:  November 5, 2020

Largest Size: 63” waist 4-5X

Current Size: 52” waist, 2-3X

Weight related diseases: diabetes, hypertension, liver disease, enlarged spleen, high cholesterol

Life Before Surgery

John recalls being overweight for his entire life. Due to childhood trauma, he used food as a coping mechanism to manage his emotions. Over the years, this caused excess weight gain. Known for having a sweet tooth, John would indulge in snacks such as the little Debbie snack cakes, eat lots of chips, and frequently ate fast food.

Like most patients who struggle with obesity, John made several attempts to lose the excess weight. These include: Medifast, Weight Watchers, and the exchange diet (similar to Weight Watchers where each food serving is given a numeric value). There were times when John experienced success, such as in 1989 when he lost 66 pounds following the Medifast program. Over the course of two years between 2010-2012, John lost 50 pounds following Weight Watchers. While these diets were short term fixes, they did not provide a long term solution for John. While diets address nutrition, they do not address the root of the emotional trauma that causes patients such as John to overeat. Some believe that willpower is enough to diet successfully. However, the emotional component to food is even more important.

Surgery Experience

John only started to consider undergoing weight loss surgery within the last five to six years. Before that, John had the belief that having bariatric surgery was “cheating,” and that he wanted to “lose the weight himself.”

This belief began to change when a friend of his underwent bariatric surgery a few years ago and had successful results. Another friend who was a patient of Dr. Sutker recommended seeing him. Around the same time, John’s hematologist told him he had an enlarged spleen and the only solution was weight loss.

In July 2020, John had his initial consultation with Dr. Sutker via video conference due to the pandemic. John found Dr. Sutker to be very open to communication and a great source of information. At this point John knew he was ready for surgery.

On the day of John’s surgery, while he was getting prepped, he was understandably nervous. However, one of the nurses told John that she had also undergone the gastric bypass as well, which put him at ease. John said everyone on the surgical team including the anesthesiologist, nurses, and of course, Dr. Sutker was great. After the surgery, John stayed over night and did not experience pain at the surgical site. Dr. Sutker performs the gastric bypass laparoscopically,  or minimally invasively. This technique allows for fewer incisions and decreased recovery time.

Life After Surgery

John has dealt with his childhood trauma and is able to manage his emotions which prevents him from using foods as a coping mechanism. When negative emotions do arise, John has learned to talk through them in his mind and stay present in order to prevent overeating. Before surgery, John would eat as a reaction to what he was feeling. Now, John is able to say, “why am I feeling this way?” and address it mindfully, without food.

As a music teacher at an elementary school, John now has more energy to get through the day.

Diet

Breakfast: Pure protein shake

Lunch: salad / vegetables with sandwich meat or leftovers from dinner

Dinner: soup, chili, lentils, beans, taco salad with turkey meat

Snacks: string cheese, turkey jerky stick, bell peppers

Exercise:

John walks approximately 1.5 - 2 miles per day and also incorporates short bouts of jogging. He is also involved with the Cardiac Fit program with Dr. Sutker.

Favorite Things

Pure Protein powder, listening to music while walking

Words of Wisdom

“Go ahead and do it (bariatric surgery). Weight loss surgery is not the answer to every problem in the world, but it gives you a motivation, structure. Dr. Sutker provides you with all the tools you need to be successful. Just follow everything.”

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