For Plainfield resident Tracy Campbell, being obese meant having a lower quality life. Pain while standing and walking, being constantly out of breath, having to say no to playing with her son and using a seatbelt extender were sad facts of life.
“I was unhappy and disappointed with myself for being this young and having no physical stamina,” Campbell says.
At just 47 years old, Campbell’s health – specifically her joints – paid the price. Doctors determined both of her hips needed to be replaced. But she was turned away by multiple orthopedic surgeons due to the risk of surgery at her weight.
“Bottom line was in order to have my hip replacements scheduled, I needed to have a body mass index (BMI) under 35 – no ifs and or buts about it,” Campbell says. “Pain was my motivation to lose weight. Knowing I couldn’t have the hip replacement surgeries without dropping the weight forced me to take action.”
For Campbell, this meant enrolling in Edward Elmhurst Health’s Endeavor Health Weight Management Program and undergoing bariatric surgery.
“Weight loss surgery is a more aggressive option but it’s often more effective,” says Dr. Wayne Yang, Bariatric Surgeon with Edward-Elmhurst Health. “To qualify for the procedure, you need to have a BMI of 40 or greater or a BMI of 35-39 with significant bariatric comorbidities.”
Edward-Elmhurst Health offers two types of bariatric surgery:
- Roux-en-Y gastric bypass – This procedure creates a small sleeve pouch out of the main stomach area. When a patient eats anything, the food ends up going into the smaller pouch before passing to the intestines. It works by restricting the amount of food you can eat, as well as reducing the number of calories that are able to be absorbed. It also impacts the metabolic system and affects appetite.
- Sleeve gastrectomy – This procedure removes a large portion of the stomach. It works by restricting the amount you can eat as well as lowering appetite through metabolic effects.
“When selecting a weight loss surgery, we consider health factors as well as patient preference,” Dr. Yang says. “The most rapid weight loss occurs during the first three months. In the end, gastric bypass patients often lose 60-85 percent of their excess body mass and those who opt for sleeve gastrectomy often lose 50-75 percent.”
Campbell opted for gastric bypass surgery, which meant changing her lifestyle.
“My lifestyle changed immensely,” she says. “I use 4-ounce containers to store and serve my meals and I eat from a dessert plate. I no longer drink and eat at the same time, and I chew each bite slowly and eat with purpose.”
She soon began losing significant amounts of weight, often in spurts – up to seven pounds a week. Eventually, Campbell reached her goal of a BMI under 35 and was able to schedule her first hip replacement surgery with a second one to follow.
“Overall my energy is up as is my outlook on life,” she says. “I’m no longer hot and out of breath when walking or moving around, and I’ve been taken off my high blood pressure medication and C-PAP machine at night. My family and I are traveling to Hawaii soon and I’ll no longer need a seat belt extender. This may seem insignificant to some people but for me it’s a huge breakthrough both mentally and physically.”
Campbell plans to continue with the Endeavor Health Weight Management program.
“Just because the weight comes off it doesn’t mean you are suddenly cured,” Campbell says. “The weight gain was over several years and was caused by a number of triggers. But with the help of the Endeavor Health program, I know I’ll continue to make the most appropriate and healthy choices for myself.”