Surgical Weight Loss Options in 2009 Webcast January 13 ...cdn. Surgical Weight Loss Options in 2009

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  • www.patientpower.info ihealth.nmh.org © 2008 Northwestern Memorial Hospital All Rights Reserved

    Surgical Weight Loss Options in 2009 Webcast

    January 13, 2009 Alex Nagle, M.D.

    Verlina Ammon Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of Northwestern Memorial Hospital, its medical staff or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

    Introduction

    Andrew Schorr: It's no secret that obesity is an epidemic in this country. For some, weight loss is

    easy, for others it can be a lifelong battle. If you've tried everything else, how do you know if weight loss surgery is right for you? Hear the answers from a renowned expert next on Patient Power sponsored by Northwestern

    Memorial Hospital.

    Hello and thank you for joining us once again for Patient Power. I'm Andrew Schorr broadcasting live as we discuss with sponsorship from Northwestern Memorial Hospital every two weeks significant medical topics. Now, if you look around at any

    group of people in America now you will see a substantial number of people who are overweight, and some people are very overweight, more than a hundred

    pounds, and it may have come over many, many, many years. And they have tried diets, they've tried this, they've tried that, trying to lose the weight. Well, when you get to the point where a reasonable approach is to have surgery, bariatric

    weight loss surgery, to once and for all lose the weight and keep it off and maybe give you back the hope of a full life, and what about if you've developed diabetes

    can also be an approach to try to get you off a whole range of diabetes treatments. A Patient’s Story

    We're going to discuss that tonight with an expert from Northwestern Memorial

    Hospital, but as I always like to do, I want you first to meet somebody who has lived this whole situation, and that brings me to Verlina Ammon, who lives about three miles north of Northwestern Memorial Hospital on the north side of Chicago.

    She's 50 years old. She's worked at an inner city mission for years, and along the way she struggled with depression. Throughout her lifetime she had yo-yo diets.

    She tried several types. She'd lose the weight, she'd regain it. It's really been a lifelong struggle, and nothing was really working. Well, she developed the things that can go along with being overweight, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma and

    sleep apnea. And her weight got up to 363 pounds, so much so that for about four and a half years she was in a wheelchair. She could not stand up very long, no

    stamina. It was quite difficult. Well, that led her to Northwestern and a discussion about whether weight loss surgery would be right for her.

    Verlina, welcome to Patient Power. It seems like the situation you were in and the frustration you must have had, that was really tough.

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    Verlina: Yeah, it was very hard on me, just overall any daily living things that I had to do

    were just about impossible at that weight.

    Andrew Schorr: Now, I've done some programs on this topic, and when I've talked to people who have found themselves in that situation they'd feel, maybe not with family and

    friends but just with people on the street, like they were just sort of fading away, like they were becoming invisible people, so it just makes you more sad. Did you

    feel that way? Verlina:

    Yeah, I did. People wouldn't look you in the eye. They wouldn't look me in the eye or they would just kind of walk away from you. It was like you weren't even there

    anymore. I think a lot of times people don't know how to address overweight people and just realize that we're people like everybody else but we have problems with our eating for various reasons.

    Andrew Schorr:

    What do you think was at work that had you gain the weight over so many years? Was it depression, anxiety, some frustration about something? What do you think fueled you gaining the weight?

    Verlina:

    Well, I was never a person that did drugs or anything like that, and I think definitely my depression, I had a lot of losses early on in my life, and I think it was

    the way I dealt with things. I just kind of isolated and I would eat, and you know a lot of times we as parents would fix foods to make our kids feel better and I think I kind of picked up from that with my mom. And I think definitely I'm an emotional

    eater and I can also be a compulsive overeater, so those are the things that I faced.

    Andrew Schorr: All right. Now, someone doesn't go into weight loss surgery lightly, and I know at

    Northwestern, at the best programs in the country they really screen people carefully. There's a lot of discussion about is this right for you and what's going on

    emotionally, and the surgery is just part of it. Tell us a little bit about what you did with help from various players at Northwestern to try to come to a decision that surgery could help and how you prepared for it.

    Verlina:

    Well, a lot of it was definitely they have a wonderful team there between the nutritionists you meet with, you take classes to learn how to eat and the things that are important like our proteins and vitamins and things like that. And then also

    they have health psychologists on board there that will meet with you and can help you know if you are ready for the surgery psychologically too. Because if you're not

    ready to make the drastic changes and the things that you have to do it's kind of

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    silly to have surgery. So you have to go to them and actually be cleared for surgery through the psychologist as well. And they do have informational

    meetings, and now as a patient who has had the surgery I sit during the informational meetings on a panel up front, and it's all people who have had

    surgery and the people that are inquiring can ask any question they want of us, so that's another part of the team.

    Andrew Schorr: You had the surgery, and we're going to talk about which type…

    Verlina: I had the Roux-en-Y laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery.

    Andrew Schorr:

    All right. We're going to help people understand what that is. But that was in September of 2007.

    Verlina: Yes.

    Andrew Schorr: And then almost a year later you had plastic surgery where I think first I think you

    had hernia surgery and then you had other surgery maybe getting rid of some skin flaps as well, tummy tuck?

    Verlina:

    Yes. Andrew Schorr:

    So you had that. And let's talk about where you are now. What is your weight now, Verlina?

    Verlina: Right now I'm at 169 pounds, so I have a total weight loss to date of 194 pounds.

    Andrew Schorr:

    Wow. And how do you feel? Verlina:

    I feel fabulous.

    Andrew Schorr: Let's talk about one other aspect I just want to get to, and then I want you to tell us more about your quality of life. You were in serious, serious diabetes treatment

    before. So when your weight was 363 pounds, tell us about the diabetes medicines you took.

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    Verlina: At that time point I was on four shots a day, and I was taking 300 units of insulin

    per day. I was also taking 2,000 milligrams of Glucophage a day, 1,000 a.m., 1,000 p.m. And then I had also started on Actos. I don't remember the dosage of

    that, but that was the diabetes medication. Andrew Schorr:

    And now what diabetes medicine do you take?

    Verlina: Absolutely nothing.

    Andrew Schorr: Wow. We're going to hear more about that. And I interrupted you earlier when

    you just talked about generally how you feel and what you can do. Tell us about that.

    Verlina: Well, I'm absolutely not using the wheelchair anymore, and I'm able to walk to my

    appointments and walk to the bank, and I never could do that before. I couldn't imagine walking to the end of my block, let alone walking all over downtown or, you know, just in my neighborhood, so that in itself has been wonderful. I'm still

    not doing a lot of heavy exercise because of the more recent surgery, but I'm slowly working in and building up my stamina. So I'm feeling really good.

    Andrew Schorr:

    Verlina, I know you had an emotional reason among, you had a number of them but one related to a child that really propelled you to want to get well. Tell us about that child and the time you enjoy with him now.

    Verlina:

    Well, I have a godson who is six years old and part of the reason, when he was just a couple years old I thought I want to be able to watch Nolan grow up and become a man, and at that point I couldn't go to the park to play with him. I couldn't sit on

    the floor to play cards with him. There wa