Age at surgery: 52
Surgery: Gastric bypass
Weight loss: 106 lbs
"My life is completely different now," says Christine Novello who no longer suffers from sleep apnea, now has low cholesterol and high energy...
Christine Novello saw a bright side to her transient ischemic attack (TIA) or mini-stroke in 2012. "It was a wake-up call."
More than 120 pounds overweight, with high cholesterol and a family history of strokes and arteriosclerosis, doctors feared Christine might share the same fate as her father. "He died of a stroke at age 58," she explained. "At 50, I was morbidly obese and headed for the same early end."
Christine's primary care physician recommended gastric bypass surgery at Greenwich Hospital. At age 53, 10 months after her bariatric surgery, the technology management executive weighs 106 pounds less, no longer suffers from sleep apnea, has very low cholesterol and very high energy.
"My life is completely different now," noted the Harrison, NY resident. "I don't look the same, feel the same and I sure don't act the same, physically."
Before her weight loss surgery, Christine struggled on arthritic knees from her backdoor to her driveway. Christine now works out 30-40 minutes, six days a week. Walking two to three miles, biking, swimming, kayaking, "you name it and if I feel like giving it a try, I do," she added.
Christine also adheres to a strict diet. "I follow my nutritionist's guidelines to the letter," she said. "No carbs, sugar, soda, juice or alcohol." Not an easy task considering work requires traveling Monday to Thursday, away from her husband and children's encouragement.
"Being on the road is now part of my healthy lifestyle," she noted. But to make traveling fit her needs, Christine does not eat out. "I request a hotel room with a fridge and plan ahead." For exercise, Christine plays DVD-based workouts in her hotel room. If she gets bored, she uses the hotel's stationary bike or pool.
Bariatric support group meetings also play a role in Christine's success. "I routinely attend the hospital's meetings in person, online, or I'll call in. They make a huge difference." A difference that Christine credits to Greenwich Hospital as her health journey continues.
"Their program is not typical," she said. "It treats the whole person – mind and body. I receive a level of care, education and support other patients only dream about."
An easy journey? Hardly. "Weight-loss surgery isn't a magic bullet," said Christine. "I had to do all the work," from vitamins and healthy eating to counseling and exercise. "But life is now fuller and richer than I ever dreamed it could be."
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