Published on February 19, 2021

Weight Loss Surgery at Silver Cross a Game-Changer for New Lenox Man

After dropping 210 pounds in the past year, Kris Becker, of New Lenox, said some of the strangest things stick out… literally.

“My feet,” he said. “I used to wear wide moccasin-type shoes with socks. Now, the shoes are too wide.”

A lot has changed for the 36-year-old since he had bariatric sleeve gastrectomy surgery at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox in October 2019. He went from wearing a size 5X to a medium or large.

“And I have more energy than I know what to do with. I used to think I got my energy from energy drinks, coffee and diet cola. Now, it’s just water and diet pink lemonade.”

An Unhealthy Relationship with Food

Becker said he’s been on the heavy side all of his life. But in his early 20s, he had dropped about 100 pounds by exercising and eating a lot of grilled chicken and vegetables. That was when he met his wife Stephanie, with whom he now has two young children. Over time, Becker ballooned to nearly 400 pounds on a 5-foot-10-inch frame. “I guess I fell in love with pizza.”

He tried diets, but none worked with his schedule. On the road often because of his job, Becker said it was just too easy to drive through one of the myriad of fast-food restaurants on his routes.

Luckily, Becker said, he had no health issues because of his weight. Still, he was intrigued when his wife handed him a flier announcing an upcoming bariatric surgery presentation at Silver Cross.

Free Weight Loss Seminar with BMI Surgery

He attended the program, presented by Dr. Christopher Joyce. He and Dr. Brian Lahmann have performed over 7,000 weight loss surgeries at Silver Cross Hospital, which has the only program in Will County that has been named a MBSAQIP accredited center – Comprehensive and Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery.

During a follow-up appointment with Dr. Joyce, they decided a sleeve gastrectomy would be the best option. That procedure changes the shape and size of your stomach, reducing the amount of food you eat at one-time.

To prepare his body for that shock, Becker had to go on the same diet he would be on for a couple months following the surgery: high protein, low carb and few calories.

Prospective bariatric patients also have to go through pulmonary, cardiac and psychological tests before being considered for surgery, Dr. Joyce said, “to make sure their bodies can handle the procedure.”

Post-Surgical Care Provided at Silver Cross Hospital

Surgery alone can lead to patients gaining the weight back again. That’s why Silver Cross offers a broad range of bariatric surgery care services, including inpatient care, post-operative care, outpatient follow-up care, and patient education.

“The surgery is just one facet of a multi-disciplinary approach to changing their lifestyle,” Dr. Joyce said.  

Patients go back for check-ups after one month, three months, six months, nine months and 12 months following surgery.

New, but Delicious, Normal

Becker had to make some adjustments in his eating when going back to work. Finally, he realized he could measure, vacuum seal and freeze pre-packaged meals for a month. Then he found a device similar to a hot plate he could plug in to his truck.

“A half hour later, I have a nice, hot, healthy meal.”

Because carbs and sugars are off limits, he often uses bits of steak or pork chops, mushrooms and a couple of spoons of rice for his pre-packaged meals. “And I look forward to my protein shakes every morning,” he added.

Oh, he’ll have pizza when the family orders it, “but only a two or three small squares. When I do eat a little more than I should, it feels like I had a couple plates too many at Thanksgiving.”

Meanwhile, one huge benefit of all that extra energy produced naturally is being able to keep up with his son and daughter, ages 8 and 4, respectively. “I feel like I can be a better father now,” he added.

For more information about weight-loss surgery at Silver Cross, visit silvercross.org

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.