Big Losses, Even Bigger Gains
"We are delighting in our second childhoods," says Muriel Alexander about herself and her husband, Jack, since they lost a combined 258 pounds. She wants to go skydiving, he is wearing his Civil War reenactment uniform that hasn't fit since 1986, and together they renewed their wedding vows.
This new lease on life is thanks to weight-loss surgery and lots of hard work and determination. The Alexanders agree that the road has not been easy, but it has been worth it.
"We took this journey together and have supported one another every step of the way," Muriel says. Her surgery was in December 2008; Jack had his the following month.
Brian Cantor, MD, medical director, Bariatric Surgery Program, Holy Cross Hospital, performed Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery for both Muriel and Jack.
"This surgery creates a shortcut around a portion of the small intestine to bypass the nutrient-absorbing area," Dr. Cantor says. "This surgery helps in two ways. First, it restricts the amount of food that the patient can eat. Second, it alters the patient's ability to digest food."
Surgeons at Holy Cross Hospital also perform:
- laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery, which involves implanting an adjustable gastric band that reduces stomach capacity without stapling the stomach or changing normal digestion
- gastric sleeve laparoscopic surgery, which is the removal of a little more than half of the stomach so that it takes the shape of a tube or sleeve
Holy Cross Hospital's Bariatric Surgery Program is accredited by the American College of Surgeons Bariatric Surgery Center Network as a Center of Excellence. This means the program has met the highest standards of surgical care.
All of our laparoscopic bariatric surgeons meet the qualifications set forth by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. And the hospital has more than 20 years' experience helping bariatric patients with an outstanding team of cardiologists, anesthesiologists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, interventional radiologists and nutritionists.
Physician assistants work hand-in-hand with bariatric surgeons during and after surgery. They are available 24 hours a day in the hospital to help make each patient's stay as smooth and comfortable as possible.
Weight-loss surgery patients may lose a large amount of weight quickly after surgery. For about half of the patients, the rapid weight loss results in excess abdominal skin. These patients may be candidates for body-contouring plastic surgery to remove the extra skin.
As for Jack and Muriel, they still find support from Holy Cross Hospital.
"Muriel and I still participate in Holy Cross Hospital's postsurgical support group," Jack says. "The group is so important to us, because it gives us the opportunity to share and learn."
Two bariatric support groups meet at Holy Cross Hospital - one for people who are considering weight-loss surgery and one for people who have had it.
"It's amazing to think about all of the people whose lives have been improved and extended because they took this journey," Muriel says. "Holy Cross Hospital's program is so complete. If you are considering weight-loss surgery, use it!"