Behavioral Health/Chemical Dependency
“Over the years, I tried every diet imaginable, but I always gained the weight back,” said 54-year old Robin Mathieu, a Tinley Park resident. “Then one day when I was standing on my scale, I hit a wall when it read that I was 250 pounds. Feeling frustrated from not being able to lose weight, I thought maybe weight loss surgery was the best option for me. I attended a weight loss surgery informational seminar at Silver Cross Hospital to see if I was a candidate.” Fortunately, Mathieu’s health has greatly improved since her REALIZE gastric band system weight loss surgery at Silver Cross Hospital in May 2008.
Not only does she feel wonderful physically, Mathieu can now enjoy her life more fully. “For years I couldn’t even walk short distances. When we visited relatives in Leadville, Colorado I could hardly breathe due to how the high altitude affected my overweight body,” said Mathieu. “Now after my weight loss surgery, I’m more on the go and take long hikes during our trips to Colorado. I am now living a more fun and energetic life.”
Mathieu was motivated after attending the first educational seminar. “Dr. Lahmann explained how difficult it was for my body to lose weight, since my metabolism was so out of sync due to a lifetime of dieting and large weight gain. I then felt that bariatric surgery was a good choice for me to not only lose the weight, but keep it off.” Seminars are held every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Silver Cross Specialty Care Pavilion, 1300 Copperfield Ave. Joliet.
Her surgeon was Dr. Brian Lahmann with BMI Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital. Dr. Lahmann and his partner, Dr. Christopher Joyce, have performed over 2,000 weight loss procedures, including laparoscopic gastric bypass, 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.
A few weeks after surgery, Mathieu attended the hospital’s bariatric support group. “I gained a great deal of support from the others who had the same weight issues as me. We really help each other stay motivated and realistic on how to maintain a healthy weight.”
Every month, dozens of patients get together to hear from a variety of experts on behavior modification, lifestyle and relationship issues. There is even opportunities to exchange recipes and swap clothes with others who are at different points in their weight loss journey. The comprehensive program also includes pre-and post-operative educational seminars with the surgeons and other bariatric specialists.
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. Lahmann. "We screen our patients very carefully to ensure their success and safety."
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. Mathieu says "You must be ready to commit to the work. It is a daily challenge, but my life has improved so much. I couldn't have found a better program. Dr. Lahmann and the nurses at Silver Cross were always sincerely concerned about how I was doing."
The American Association of 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. 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.
“Robin is a wonderful example of how life-changing bariatric surgery can be. Her dedication to adhering to the program by eating well and exercising often are inspiring,” says Dr. Lahmann.