Published on August 20, 2019

Down 125 Pounds: Woman Chooses Bariatric Surgery at Silver Cross to Ensure Healthy Future

More than a decade ago, Lauren Pucel was 20-something, beginning a career, hoping to start a family and thinking there were no limits to what lay ahead!

Lauren Pucel Lost 125 PoundsRecently, at 33, and following 15 years of poor diet habits, fertility treatments, two babies, and a hormone imbalance, Lauren admits her health had taken a major hit. She was suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, joint pain and sleep apnea. In fact, she was so exhausted, she took a daily nap. She also gained a significant amount of weight.

The 911 dispatcher knew there were plenty of reasons she had gained the extra weight, but now was the time to lose it. Diets and exercise had failed her in the past, so together with her husband, Scott, she explored medical assistance to lose the weight – specifically BMI Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital.

At a free weekly informational program, Lauren met bariatric surgeon Dr. Brian Lahmann of BMI Surgery.

“He was phenomenal. He explained in detail every intricate health criteria for surgery, every potential risk, every aspect on different options. He described the effort it required, beyond the initial surgery to lose and maintain the weight loss.  I was not only well informed but also extremely motivated and started my journey in September 2018,” Lauren said.

Following a battery of health screenings, Lauren discovered she was a candidate for gastric bypass surgery at Silver Cross.

“In less than a year, I’ve lost 125 lbs. but gained self-confidence, a new wardrobe and a healthier lifestyle. I am off my medications, have worked my way through some side effects and have energy to play with my kids and enjoy walks, exercising in the gym and life in general!” she commented. “I’ve never questioned my decision.”

She attributes her ongoing enthusiasm and success to support group meetings and the expert guidance of the BMI program’s nutrition classes.

“I have learned a new nutritional lifestyle, and my kids and husband are so supportive, they have learned that they also enjoy healthy foods instead of processed meals and sugary snacks all the time.”

Lauren is also grateful for the full disclosure Dr. Lahmann detailed before the surgery.

“We want patients to understand this is not a quick fix. Surgery is just a tool to start the process, and we keep in contact with our patients so they know it requires personal stamina and determination to lose the weight and start new habits with the guidance of weight management professionals, family and friends,” Dr. Lahmann explained.

Lauren agreed, “The biggest hurdle for me was hearing comments from people who thought surgery was the lazy weight loss choice.  I can tell you it was a ton of work and having a support system of friends and family is a key to continued success. My husband constantly reminds me of the conscious effort I put into being healthy and that’s not lazy!” she said.

Successful patients learn to make healthy choices in food, activities, and mental health regularly following surgery. Learning to expect temporary weight loss plateaus and keeping track of protein intake, hydration and eating at proper times is important to understand for continued success.

“Since my surgery sometimes I have to remind myself to eat and make sure I hit my meal plan markers, Lauren said. “Now, instead of using my down time as an excuse to eat out of boredom or stress, I can plan my meals, enjoy my hobbies, play with my 7- and 3-year-old kids and feel confident that I’ll be around to watch them grow up!”

For more information or to attend a free informational session, visit silvercross.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).

Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.