Published on December 31, 2019

Woman Maintains 142-pound Weight Loss 16 Years after Surgery 

Nearly two decades ago, Becki Wagnon made a decision that forever changed the course of her life…and her health.

At 5 feet 10 inches and 300 pounds, with a family history of morbid obesity, the then 50-year-old Wagnon was battling serious health issues. That’s when she turned to gastric bypass surgery at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.

becki wagnon

That was in 2003. Sixteen year later, 66-year-old Wagnon has not only maintained her 142-pound weight loss, she looks and feels better than ever. In fact, the Joliet native relocated to Montana, returned to teaching and has even done missionary work in Kenya. None of it would have been possible without weight-loss surgery.

“If I didn’t have the weight-loss surgery when I did, I’m not sure I would be here today. My health issues were becoming serious, and I was relying on a lot of medications to help me,” she explains.

Wagnon was already dealing with diabetes and hypertension, problems she feels shortened the lives of her family members.

“I was taking blood pressure medicine and three medications to control my diabetes,” she added. “This was all before I turned 50. I was concerned for my health and my life. I saw how my family members struggled with these health issues.”

Making the Decision

Wagnon says she never really struggled with her weight until after she had a hysterectomy in 1989. With difficulty trying to regulate her hormone levels after surgery, she gained 90 pounds in a short amount of time.

By 2003 Becki weighed 300 pounds. She was frustrated and felt the extra weight had taken a toll on her health and career. She was a junior high teacher and a successful realtor, but her weight was affecting her ability to keep up with her students and her business. She had joint pain and trouble keeping her blood pressure and diabetes under control.

After numerous attempts trying to lose the weight on her own, she began to research other weight loss methods and met with Christopher Joyce, M.D., bariatric surgeon with BMI Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital, and officially began her incredible weight-loss journey. In 2003, Dr. Joyce was performing the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery technique and felt Wagnon would be a good candidate for the surgery.

New Lease on Life

Wagnon has maintained the majority of her original 142-pound weight-loss since her surgery. Much has changed since 2003; the former Joliet resident has moved to Montana with her husband Lamar, who she credits to supporting her throughout her weight loss journey.

She maintains an active lifestyle by walking and still follows the recommended eating plan and vitamin regimen given to her after her surgery, eating smaller portions of food. Her diet includes fresh foods, no fast food and a limited amount of meat.

“I was able to return to teaching in 2004 while I was still losing weight. The procedure gave me the confidence I needed to return to the teaching world. Today I am proud to say I am no longer taking medications for diabetes or high blood pressure. Many of my medical issues have been resolved with weight loss and lifestyle changes.

“Also, my whole life I have loved clothes and fashion - I even did some modeling in my young adult years,” she added. “It’s nice to be able to wear stylish clothes and feel good in them!”

Every Wednesday, the BMI team hosts an informational group meeting called Obesity & Your Health for individuals considering weight-loss surgery. BMI surgeons D r. Christopher Joyce and Dr. Brian Lahmann speak to patients and family members directly to answer questions.

Weight Loss Pioneers

These two highly-skilled bariatric, general and laparoscopic surgeons are pioneers in their field, performing Will and Grundy counties’ first gastric bypass, laparoscopic gastric bypass, adjustable gastric bands, and sleeve gastrectomy procedures.

As compared to other bariatric surgeons around the country, Drs. Joyce and Lahmann have extremely low complication rates and their patients lose an average of 82% of their excess body weight one year after gastric bypass. Together with Silver Cross, BMI Surgery is an accredited center to perform metabolic and bariatric surgery by MBSAQIP (Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program).  Drs. Joyce and Lahmann also consistently rank in the Top 1% of physicians in the nation for patient satisfaction.

“We believe patients benefit from a multidisciplinary approach,” said Dr. Lahmann. “Our patients see an exercise physiologist, dietitian, cardiologist, psychologist, pulmonologist, and bariatric nurse to get them ready for surgery.”

“We carefully screen everyone to ensure their success and safety.  And our comprehensive program also includes pre-and post-surgery education, exercise classes, nutritional supplements and a monthly support group,” Dr. Joyce added.

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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.