Age at surgery: 51
Surgery: Gastric bypass
Weight loss: 125 lbs
"It's still a daily task to make food choices, take required vitamins and supplements, exercise and pay attention to my emotional and psychological needs," she says. "The difference is now, when I work hard and give it my all, I'm successful!"
Depression. A constant companion for Dianna Shattuck in her daily struggle with extreme weight gain. A battle the Stamford veterinarian waged for nearly 30 years – until her bariatric surgery at Greenwich Hospital at age 51.
"My depression has virtually disappeared, now that I've lost 125 pounds," said Dianna. "And my surgeon says I've probably added five years to my life."
Dianna started seeking medical help for weight loss when, "I progressively gained so much weight that I was constantly embarrassed, worried and tired," she recalled. "It was affecting my social relationships, marriage, self-worth and obviously my health."
Online research and insurance requirements led her to bariatric surgeons at Greenwich Hospital. "That's where I began preparing."
Key steps included getting approvals from her primary care physician, a cardiologist, pulmonologist and psychologist. Dianna also attended a mandatory pre-operative seminar so that she would be fully informed about bariatric surgery options, plus six months of nutritional counseling, and support group meetings. "Those involved in Greenwich Hospital's bariatric program ensure you are mentally and physically ready to undergo the surgery, so your success is maximized."
Unlike most bariatric patients, Dianna did not suffer from illnesses that can result from being extremely overweight, like diabetes and high blood pressure, which made her path to surgery and recovery simpler.
Of the three primary bariatric procedures, Dianna's surgeon recommended gastric bypass. This involves creating a small pouch at the top of the stomach connected to the upper intestine. Less space means less food to make a person feel full. Bypassing the larger stomach portion and rerouting the path to the intestine mixes food with digestive juices for a short time, absorbing fewer calories.
Dianna lost 125 pounds in one year and plans to lose another 50. "But if I didn't, it would all be worth it!" That worth comes from renewed self-esteem and being healthy enough for kickboxing, yoga, swimming, hiking -- or just walking.
"Bariatric surgery was not an easy choice," noted Dianna. "People who think it's cheating or taking the easy road to weight loss don't understand the process and commitment required," including regular visits with her surgeon, a nutritionist and support group.
"It's still a daily task to make food choices, take required vitamins and supplements, exercise and pay attention to my emotional and psychological needs," she added. "The difference is now, when I work hard and give it my all, I'm successful!"
Still, Dianna harbors one regret: "I only wish I had the surgery 10 years ago."
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