This story about our patient Teresina Francis aired nationally on several stations.
My name is Mary Ann. My battle with weight loss began in college where I gained 40 lbs. over the four years. On my wedding day in 1983 I weighed 183 pounds. I gained 94 pounds with my first pregnancy. Over the seven years after my son's birth I was able to lose 65 of it for a weight of 212, when I became pregnant with my second child. Fortunately, I only gained 38 pounds with the pregnancy in 1991. However, by June of 1997 I was topping the scales at my all-time heaviest at 342 pounds. I was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure and put on medications.
In September of 1997 we were transferred to the San Antonio area and went down to 279 pounds through diet. I joined weight watchers and over the course of the next year and a half I went down to 222 pounds. This loss was mostly due to a bad gall bladder and being unable to eat than diet and exercise, which became evident once I had surgery and was back up to 250 by 2006. In the 10 years between 2006 and when I entered the bariatric program at Ft Sam under Dr. Harnisch I was able to keep my weight between 250 and 279.
In March of 2016 I asked for a referral to the Bariatric clinic where I met Dr. Harnisch and the staff. They were amazing. However, I was still unsure if I would be able to actually go through with having the surgery. I wanted to have it, but after so many years of feeling like a failure at weight loss I was hesitate. What if I failed at this too? What if I turned out to be one who regained? A million questions of doubt flooded my mind. However, everyone on staff encouraged me and I finally decided in November of 2016 that I was going to go for it. I'd just been given another prescription for diabetes and my A1C was almost 9. I was now on 2 different kinds of insulin, Metformin, and now Bydueron. My blood sugar levels were still over 240 fasting. I felt if I didn't do something I would be dead in another year or two.
I asked to move forward and was scheduled for surgery. On Jan 17, 2017, Dr. Harnisch performed the sleeve astrectomy and I was given back my life! I had relatively no post op pain apart from the gas pains associated with laparoscopic procedures, and went home in 2 days. Over the next few weeks I literally saw the weight begin to fall off of me. Today I weigh 175 and am still losing. My ultimate goal is 145 lbs. My BMI is now 29.8 compared to the 46 it was when I started this journey.
Today, I am off all diabetes medications as well as blood pressure medications and I haven't felt this good since I was 16 years old! I average upward of 10,000 steps per day. I am in the 20% who lose more than half of their excess weight. I do not experience hunger like I did before. My only regret is that I did not have this surgery 10 years ago!
Gut hormone-altering operation helps military mom shed 100+ pounds, 18 meds in time for son’s wedding
(San Antonio, TX, May 1, 2018) – A gut hormone-altering laparoscopic procedure performed by a local doctor is making it possible for San Antonians to lose weight and even eliminate diabetes before they reach their weight-loss goals.
Chiara McCool is a proud military daughter, wife and mom. But high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes, sleep apnea and daily body aches were holding her back from living the life she dreamed of with her energetic family. At 42, she weighed 260 pounds and was considered obese like more than 70 percent of San Antonio’s population. In 2016, she underwent a surgical procedure called the Sleeve Gastrectomy that allowed McCool to drop 115 pounds in time to fit into a new dress for her son’s wedding. Now she says she’s ready for the beach and a bikini this summer.
“I lost two to three pounds per day after my surgery,” McCool said. The five-hour Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy was performed by David Thomas, M.D., bariatric surgeon at Baptist Health System. He removed 80 percent of her stomach and left the remaining in the form of a slender tube that resembles a banana. The new stomach holds a smaller volume of food, which restricts the patient from overeating. “This minimally-invasive procedure requires less time in the operating room and recovery,” Dr. Thomas said. “There is no rerouting of the intestines or bands placed on the intestines.”
After a short two-day stay in the hospital, McCool said she was ready to start her new life. One of the most remarkable things about the procedure Dr. Thomas said is how it changes the way the stomach’s hormones behave. “After the procedure, the stomach naturally begins to alter the way it processes blood sugar and how it responds to sensations of hunger and the feeling of fullness. These changes are effective in helping patients who have type 2 diabetes to eliminate the disease even before they reach their weight-loss goals,” he said.
Prior to her surgery, McCool took 18 medications for her multiple weight-related ailments. “I was depressed and desperate, but Dr. Thomas saved my life,” McCool said. “Now I’m off my mediations, my blood sugar and cholesterol levels are perfect, I’ve got more energy, more confidence and I’m healthier than I was in my 20s. I can’t stop smiling” she said.