Behavioral Health/Chemical Dependency
“Over the years, I tried every diet out there. I lost in excess of 100 pounds four times, but gained all the weight back and more with each time. When I turned 40 my health really spiraled downward. I developed many of the health problems associated with being extremely overweight,” said 50-year old Roxane Sanderson, Tinley Park resident. “Then one morning my knee went out. For years, I was left to drag my leg in order to walk. At this point, I became acutely aware that a lifetime of being overweight had really caught up with me.” Fortunately, Sanderson’s health has greatly improved since her REALIZE gastric band system weight loss surgery at Silver Cross Hospital in February 2008.
Prior to her surgery, she had high blood pressure and cholesterol, painful joints, and open wounds from skin folds. “Now I’m not taking any of those medications and my wounds have healed,” said Roxane, Director of Physician Recruitment for Silver Cross Hospital, who lost over 180 pounds.
Not only does she feel wonderful physically, she can now enjoy her life more fully. “The first time I went to the mall I swear angels sang in my head because I realized I could now shop for clothes in EVERY store! Also, for years I couldn’t even walk short distances. The joke was that my favorite ride at Walt Disney World was the park bench because I would have to rest all the time. I look forward to my vacation there this fall since now I have the stamina to walk the entire park and ride the attractions.”
“My weight has been a health issue my entire life,” said Roxane. “I was the chubby girl who wanted to be a cheerleader. So to be average size like the other sixth grade girls, my doctor put me on diet pills – because that’s how you dealt with overweight kids then.”
For Roxane, deciding to have weight loss surgery was for personal and professional reasons. “I’ve always been an outgoing person, but being over weight made me insecure at times. During every work presentation or physician meeting, I felt I had to put an extra effort into getting people over the fact of how big I was,” said Roxane. “Even though I still have the same skill set, I feel my confidence level at work has increased since my surgery. I am more comfortable jumping into situations now than I was years ago.”
The most difficult part for her was going to the first educational seminar. “Once I learned what my options were with the surgery, my apprehensions were alleviated,” said Sanderson. “After Dr. Joyce 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.” Sanderson feels the seminar was a great way to become educated on the entire process of bariatric surgery. Seminars are given every Wednesday night at 6 p.m. in the Specialty Care Pavilion at Silver Cross. The program also includes post operative educational seminars, an exercise program and support group.
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 2,000weight loss procedures, including laparoscopic gastric bypass, Lap-Band™ and REALIZE gastric band system. BMI Surgery is a Bariatric Center of Excellence as well as a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery.
Dr. Joyce performed the first open and laparoscopic gastric bypass procedures, and the first, Lap-Band, REALIZE Band and Sleeve Gastrectomy procedures in the area. Silver Cross also serves as a training center for the new REALIZE gastric band system training physicians throughout the nation. Over the past five years, Dr. Joyce and Dr. Lahmann have helped hundreds of people win their personal battles with obesity and enjoy happier, healthier, longer lives. BMI Surgery enjoys excellent weight loss results and an extremely low complication rate. And patients at BMI Surgery lose an average of 86% of their excess body weight four years after gastric bypass.
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," Dr. Joyce says. "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. Sanderson says "I couldn't have found a better program. Dr. Joyce and the nurses at Silver Cross were all so kind and supportive, I wouldn't have been so successful in my weight loss if it were not for their encouragement."
A relatively new medical specialty, bariatrics, offers help for those who are morbidly obese. 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, diabetes, and more.
Dr. Joyce stresses "This is a medical condition, just like heart disease or diabetes. There is a lot of prejudice against obese people, but this surgery can help them lose weight, and most importantly, keep it off."
“Roxane is a wonderful example of how life-changing bariatric surgery can be. She is one of our ‘rock stars’ of gastric band surgery. Her follow-up and discipline has allowed her to lose 187 pounds in a year,” says Dr. Joyce. “Her vibrant enthusiasm shines through when you talk with her.”
Dr. Joyce and Dr. Lahmann provide regular informational seminars on both traditional and laparoscopic surgery, every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Specialty Care Pavilion at Silver Cross Hospital. To attend, visit www.silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).