Healthy after weight-loss surgery

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Before: Regina Howard, of Plainfield, before having weight-loss surgery at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. | Supplied photo

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For most of her adult life, Regina Howard suffered from obesity, sleep apnea, pain in her joints and an irregular thyroid. The thought of running seemed unthinkable. However, after losing over 80 pounds in 24 months as a result of weight-loss surgery at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, Howard’s prior health issues no longer exist and she is competing in 5K races.

“I am a different person,” said the Plainfield resident. “When I was overweight, I never wanted to spend time outside, but after my weight loss, I love being outdoors. I enjoy running throughout my neighborhood and have more energy and motivation to stay committed to a healthy lifestyle. ”

One of Howard’s challenges after her surgery was to find an exercise that she liked.

“After not exercising for many years, it was a challenge. Once I started walking on the treadmill and running outside, I became interested in pushing my limits,” said Howard. “The key to my exercise success was doing a routine that I really enjoyed.”

Howard’s physician, Dr. Ananda Pillai, encouraged her to attend a free weight-loss surgery informational session.

“I was so impressed with Dr. Christopher Joyce’s inspiring presentation,” Howard said. “It truly changed my life and I was instantly hooked to have the weight-loss surgery. After talking with Dr. Joyce and his staff at BMI Surgery, I felt reassured because they were all so knowledgeable and supportive,” shares Howard.

With their support, Howard committed to the workout and diet plan and underwent REALIZE Adjustable Gastric Band weight-loss surgery on June 4, 2010.

A team approach

Weight-loss surgery patients at Silver Cross benefit from a multidisciplinary approach.

“Patients see an exercise physiologist, dietitian, cardiologist, psychologist, pulmonologist, and a bariatric nurse to get them ready for surgery,” says Dr. Joyce. “We screen our patients very carefully to ensure their success and safety.”

“Before I had my surgery, Dr. Joyce explained that surgery was merely a tool to lose weight and the real success depended on me being accountable for my own health,” stated Howard. “Through the entire process, Dr. Joyce and his staff were always there for me to answer any of my questions. Also the nurses at Silver Cross were wonderful during my hospital stay. They made me feel so cared for and constantly informed me of my treatment plan.”

“Regina is an excellent example of how bariatric surgery can positively enhance one’s life. Her dedication to the program by eating well and exercising was critical in her ability to lose over 80 pounds,” says Dr. Joyce. “And her ability to run a 5K is truly inspiring for others.”

The American Society of Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery defines morbidly obese as those with a body mass of 40 or above, or, for a normal height woman, being more than 100 pounds overweight. Patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 and higher who are suffering the medical consequences of obesity are often best treated with surgery as opposed to nonsurgical weight loss. Those who are morbidly obese are at a higher risk of mortality and life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

BMI surgery has changed the lives of over 3,300 patients with laparoscopic gastric bypass, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, and Lap-Band and REALIZE gastric band systems at Silver Cross Hospital. Board certified bariatric surgeons Christopher Joyce, M.D., and Brian Lahmann, M.D., are dedicated to helping patients win their personal battles with obesity and enjoy healthier lives. Silver Cross has been named a Bariatric Center of Excellence by the American Society of Bariatric Surgery and a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery.

To find out more about weight loss surgery, attend a free Obesity & Your Health informational session any Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. at Silver Cross Hospital. Register to attend at or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

Provided by Silver Cross Hospital