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Local Woman Gains New Outlook on Life after Losing 166 Pounds with Weight Loss Surgery at Silver Cross

Joliet, IL (September 15, 2011) —In order to deal with stress, for decades Anita Thomas overate which led to weighing over 400 pounds and having to use a walker and cane to move around. “One day I looked into the mirror and something just clicked in my head,” said 67 year old Thomas.  “I was so disgusted with my weight and wanted to become healthier so I could be around to spend time with my four children and three grandchildren.”  Fortunately, Thomas’ health has greatly improved since she lost over 166 pounds after her REALIZE™ Adjustable Gastric Band weight loss surgery at Silver Cross Hospital in 2009. As Thomas began losing weight, her outlook on life dramatically changed. “Now I am motivated to live and I look forward to enjoying every day.”

anita thomasbeforePrior to her surgery, Thomas suffered from high blood pressure, severe pain in her knees and in 2003 she had to have a pacemaker implanted.  Now she walks pain-free without the assistance of a cane or walker and has no high blood pressure. “I have more energy to live each day to the fullest,” stated Thomas.

Both her cardiologist and a friend of Thomas’ referred her to Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery (BMI Surgery) at Silver Cross Hospital.  She attended her first educational seminar where weight loss surgery physicians explained how difficult it was for her body to lose weight because her metabolism was so out of sync due to a lifetime of yoyo dieting.  Thomas then felt hopeful that surgery maybe a successful option for her to become healthier. 

“After attending the seminar, many of my apprehensions with weight loss surgery were alleviated,” said Thomas. “Since I was over 60 years old, I was also concerned that my age would disqualify me from having the surgery. But when the doctor shared that he performed weight loss surgery on patients that were in their seventies, I felt more comfortable.”  Free informational seminars are held every Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. on the Silver Cross Hospital Campus in Joliet. 

anita thomasafter1Photo: Bolingbrook resident Anita Thomas lost over 166 pounds after her weight loss surgery at Silver Cross Hospital—a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence. 

Her surgeon was Dr. Christopher Joyce with Bariatric and Minimally Invasive Surgery (BMI Surgery) at Silver Cross Hospital.  Dr. Joyce and his partner, Dr. Brian Lahmann, have performed over 2,000 surgeries including laparoscopic gastric bypass, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, and Lap-Band and REALIZE™ gastric band systems. BMI Surgery is a Bariatric Center of Excellence as well as a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery. They are dedicated to helping patients win their personal battles with obesity and enjoy happier and healthier lives.

Patients benefit from a multidisciplinary approach, with the help of many different departments at Silver Cross. "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." 

"I am so appreciative for this program," says Thomas. “The BMI Surgery and Silver Cross Hospital staffs were wonderful! I felt Dr. Joyce and the hospital’s staff were extremely focused on my post-surgical care as they described everything at each step of the process.  Dr. Joyce's nurse, Cherrish, always was available to answer my many questions making it easier for me to succeed at reaching my goal weight. They all were truly a key in my success.”

But once the surgery is over, the work has just begun for the patient. They achieve their weight loss goals by adhering to a post-operative lifestyle, which includes changed eating habits and regular exercise. Thomas says "In order to be successful after the surgery you must understand that it is a process to lose the weight. Also, I've learned that it's never too late to have the surgery. Once I got used to a healthier lifestyle, I realized how bad I was feeling prior to the surgery and really was amazed at how much better I felt after losing the weight."

“Anita‘s new found zest for life is inspiring and her dedication to adhering to the program by eating well and exercising are impressive,” says Dr. Joyce.

The American Society of Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery defines the 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 BMI of 35 and higher, who are suffering the medical consequences of obesity, are often best treated with bariatric surgery as opposed to nonsurgical weight loss. Those who are morbidly obese are at a higher risk of mortality and such extreme obesity puts people at risk for numerous life threatening disease, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

To find out more about the bariatric surgery program at Silver Cross Hospital, attend a free informational session on both traditional and laparoscopic surgery on any Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. in the Specialty Care Pavilion at the hospital, 1300 Copperfield Ave, in Joliet.  To attend, visit or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895.  Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for the last seven consecutive years and as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 2,900 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 304-bed acute care hospital and 10 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Construction is well underway to build a state-of-the-art replacement hospital opening February 26, 2012 at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox.  To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).



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