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The Weight Is Over

Better eating habits, more exercise and a sleeve gastrectomy procedure helped a patient lose weight and enjoy life more.

Stephanie Zellner had tried everything to lose the extra 70 pounds she was carrying. She tried all the weight loss programs around and joined various gyms but never found lasting success. Sound familiar? 

With diabetes knocking at her door—she had become prediabetic—and having battled high blood pressure for years, she knew it was time to make a change.

“I did some online research and found the ValleyCare Weight Loss Surgery Program,” Zellner says. “After reading about the program and noting all the positive comments posted about ValleyCare, I was particularly interested in the latest procedure they offered called sleeve gastrectomy.”

Ready for change

She attended a number of support group meetings at ValleyCare (part of the pre-surgery program), and after spending time with patients who had undergone the surgery, she says all her questions were answered. “There were no more barriers, and I decided the gastric sleeve procedure was right for me,” she says.

During a sleeve gastrectomy, or “sleeve” as it’s commonly known, 85 percent of the stomach is removed during laparoscopic surgery, creating a small, sleeve-shaped stomach. This reduces appetite and dramatically limits portion size.

In addition to attending the pre-surgery support groups, Zellner also participated in the required pre-counseling process with the doctors, the dietitian and a psychologist. Once she lost the required 10 pounds, her surgery was scheduled for May 31, 2012. Zellner’s maximum weight was 250 pounds. Since then, she’s lost that unmovable 70 pounds and says she feels great.

“It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Zellner says. “I had no real downtime or complications whatsoever, and everything happened exactly as the bariatric coordinator, Valerie Simler, said it would.”

Rising to the challenge

It has required lifestyle changes, however. Tough changes for Zellner, which continue to challenge her, are not eating late and avoiding fast food. “Old habits are really hard to change, but to keep off the weight you absolutely have to make them a priority,” she says.

The way she feels today keeps her motivated. “I enjoy playing tennis and attending Zumba classes. I also like to hit golf balls at the driving range,” Zellner says. “Before surgery, I was so winded and tired. Now I can easily enjoy these activities and feel good afterwards.”

As a result of Zellner’s lifestyle changes, her family is also more aware of the importance of good nutrition. “They continue to embrace the important changes in my life,” she says. “They’ve even added exercise to their daily routines, read food labels and are much more careful about what they eat.”

Zellner says she is very glad she chose ValleyCare because of the pre- and post-operative support that is offered. “The staff and patients are so knowledgeable and encouraging. They’re good at offering new ideas on how to handle situations you face. ValleyCare provides a wonderful program, with education, as well as the psychological piece that goes along with weight loss. I was well prepared for the surgery and can highly recommend ValleyCare to anyone considering weight loss surgery.”

ValleyCare’s Weight Loss Surgery Program has been accredited by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program. This designation is given to programs with a demonstrated track record of favorable outcomes. For more information, call 800-577-5030.

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