Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Three Illinois sisters lose over 300 pounds after gastric bypss surgery

Joliet, IL
One sister bikes, one walks the trails and one works out on the treadmill.

All of them now living healthier and happier lives after undergoing bariatric weight loss surgery at Silver Cross Hospital last July. Together, the three sisters have already lost more than 300 pounds.

“One of the reasons we decided to have the surgery was because our mom was overweight and died at age 68 of congestive heart failure,” Sandra Schmidt said. “Our dad was thrilled when we told him and is so proud of all of us that we have stayed committed to losing weight.”

Inspired by a co-worker who had weight-loss surgery, Sandra told her sisters, Andrea Russell and Pamela Bricker, about it. They decided to attend a free informational seminar held at Silver Cross.

“This was a great way to learn about the entire process,” Andrea said. “Once I learned what my options were, my apprehensions were alleviated and I became more determined to live a healthier life. Plus it has been a great support having my sisters to talk to during the entire process.”

Their surgeon Dr. Christopher Joyce and his partner, Dr. Brian Lahmann, have performed over 1,000 weight loss procedures, including laparoscopic gastric bypass, Lap-Band and the new REALIZE gastric band system.

A Bariatric Center of Excellence, as well as a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery, the Silver Cross Hospital's program has a 0 percent operative mortality (death) rate and an extremely low complication rate. And patients lose an average of 86 percent of their excess body weight within four years after gastric bypass surgery.

“Our patients benefit from a multidisciplinary approach," Dr. Joyce said. "We screen them very carefully to ensure their success and safety."

Pamela says you have to be determined to stick to the program, but the support is there to help you succeed.

"We couldn't have found a better program. Dr. Joyce, his staff and the nurses at Silver Cross were all so kind, supportive and down-to-earth. We wouldn't have been so successful in our weight loss if it were not for them," Pamela said.

"Obesity is a medical condition, just like heart disease or diabetes,” Dr. Joyce stresses. “Unfortunately, there is a lot of prejudice against obese people, but this surgery can help them lose weight, and most importantly, keep it off."

“Prior to my surgery, I suffered from high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and painful joints. Now I'm not taking any of those medications,” Pamela said.

“I've lost weight that I never could lose,” added her sister Andrea.

“I should have done the surgery years ago because I wasted my 40s being overweight,” Sandra said. “My life has changed dramatically. I used to have foot problems and now I don't, and my stamina is so much stronger, enabling me to play with my 7-month-old grandson.”

“The sisters are a wonderful example of how life-changing bariatric surgery can be,” Dr. Joyce. said. “Their new passion for life truly shows when you talk with them.”

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