Published on March 01, 2022

Gastric Sleeve Surgery Gives Coal City Woman Third Chance at Life

Lora Cerny was familiar with Silver Cross Hospital, having heard from her parents how the medical team there kept her alive after she was born with severe complications 32 years ago. 

Lora Cerny Beore -AfterSo when the Coal City native saw a Facebook post a few years back about bariatric and minimally invasive surgery at Silver Cross, she was excited to learn more. 

“I saw a picture of myself. I was tired of being overweight. And I wanted to be around for my children,” said the single mother of two youngsters. “I was really excited to learn more.” 

After attending one of the programs at Silver Cross, Cerny, who carried 415 pounds on her 5-foot, 6-inch frame, couldn’t wait to set up a personal appointment with bariatric surgeon Dr. Brian Lahmann. Together with bariatric surgeon Dr. Joe Northup, the weight loss surgery program at Silver Cross has transformed 10,000 lives. What’s more, Silver Cross has the only program in Will County that has been named a MBSAQIP accredited center – Comprehensive and Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery. 

About Gastric Sleeve Surgery

During the program, Cerny heard about the different options, including the gastric sleeve surgery – which changes the shape and size of your stomach, reducing the amount of food you eat at one-time – seeming less invasive. 

That was important to Cerny. Her parents had less-than-ideal outcomes with gastric bypass surgery at a Chicago hospital years ago. Because of that experience and her congenital issues, some warned her against having the surgery. 

“But I was determined. Dr. Lahmann agreed the gastric sleeve would be best for me. Then I had to go through all the testing.” 

The pre-op testing includes cardiac, pulmonary and psychological, and Cerny is happy it did. 

“They found out I had sleep apnea. So, I had to have a sleep test and then go back for the pulmonary test. 

“I’m really glad they had me talk to a psychologist. If you go in there thinking this is going to be easy, you’re going to have trouble. The surgery is just a tool. You have to make drastic lifestyle changes as well. And stick to them.” 

Lifestyle Changes are Key

Cerny knew that wouldn’t be easy. Obesity runs in her family, and they enjoyed a lot of food as often as possible. 

Not surprising then, she struggled a bit when it came time to go into her high-protein, low-carb diet several weeks before her surgery. 

“I cheated a few times. And I cried a lot. But after the surgery, it was fine. I found a protein shake I like, and I ate a lot of eggs. Once I got tired of eggs, I started snacking on string cheese and mustard.” 

Cerny admits she’s had some trials, like most of us, gaining weight during the pandemic. But she still has managed to lose 182 pounds on her way to her goal weight of 180. She believes she’d already be there if she had pushed herself to exercise more than just walking and working in the ER – the Silver Cross Hospital ER, where she was hired as a Patient Care Technician on her birthday this past August, she adds proudly.

“I wanted to work at Silver Cross. They do so many good things here. And they saved my life twice: once when I was born, and then when they helped me lose weight. It’s a wonderful place.” 

For more information on weight loss surgery at Silver Cross Hospital, visit

To attend a free informational session about weight loss surgery at Silver Cross, call BMI Surgery at 815-717-8744.

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.