Wife and Mom, Social Worker and Bariatric Surgery Patient
"I tried every gadget, gizmo, diet and pill. Nothing worked for me until I had bariatric surgery."
Bariatric Surgery Program Has Her Feeling Good
“I tried every gadget, gizmo, diet and pill,” said Deana Cramer, a 40-year-old Midland mother of two. “Nothing worked for me until I had bariatric surgery.”
“No matter how much I exercised, or how much I ate or didn’t eat, I just kept gaining until I weighed around 220 pounds,” she said. “As my cholesterol and blood pressure kept going up, my self esteem went down. I was not happy with myself anymore: I had to do something for me.”
What Deana did was to attend an informational seminar with Bariatric and General Surgeon Matthew Fourman, M.D., and the bariatric patient support team at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland. She learned that the program was not just surgery, but a comprehensive approach that offered everything she would need to succeed. In addition, it was within minutes of home.
A pre-evaluation with the team’s dietitian, social worker, bariatric nurse coordinator and exercise coaches explored whether bariatric surgery could work for Deana. “They made me aware of everything involved. The more interaction I had with them, the more it affirmed that this was exactly what I wanted to do,” she said.
Once she fully understood the process, Deana prepared for bariatric Lap-Band® surgery by making a detailed plan for success. Her husband, Mike, and her 9-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter were wonderfully supportive.
“I needed to be on clear liquids for 10 days before surgery,” she said. “My husband would make dinner for the kids, and they would eat and clean up before I got home. That way I didn’t have the visual eating cues.”
Dr. Fourman performed Deana’s minimally invasive Lap-Band® surgery at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland on a Wednesday morning. She stayed overnight and, after resting over the weekend, went back to work Monday morning. Her insurance covered the surgery and follow-up support.
Deana sees the Lap-Band as a tool to keep her on track and honest. The surgery places a band around the top section of the stomach to create a small pouch, limiting the amount of food a person can eat before feeling full. It’s known for high safety and effectiveness.
“The band is adjustable, so I can’t mess up. You should be able to eat ¼ to ½ cup of food. If you are able to eat more, you know it’s time to have saline solution added to the band to make the pouch smaller,” Deana said.
To add saline, Dr. Fourman numbs a spot on Deana’s skin and injects a little fluid through a tiny plastic port positioned under her skin. It takes about five minutes.
Following Deana’s surgery, her family continued to be sensitive to her new approach to eating.
“I found out one day that my son was afraid to ask me to get him something to eat. My daughter said, ‘Mom, what CAN you eat?’ We sat down and talked about it. They have learned about making good choices. They still eat potato chips and ice cream sometimes, but they’re more likely now to grab a piece of fruit.”
Deana, a social worker in discharge planning at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland, appreciates the strong post-surgery follow-up available to help patients make lifestyle changes, including personal counseling, a dietitian, a fitness coach and her surgeon.
“It’s nice to know that somebody is there for you,” she said. “Dr. Fourman is very attentive to his patients and very concerned with everything we do. He takes our success seriously and personally.”
Three months after the surgery, Deana had lost about 30 pounds. Even with about 50 more to go, she was feeling better than she had in a long time.
“It’s a whole package of feeling good,” she said. “I exercise every day and eat a healthy diet. I’m not indoors watching the kids play video games; we’re out riding bikes, because I’m not tired and I don’t wear out as fast as I used to.
“My daughter and I do a walk-run. I’m able to play basketball with my son. I still lose, but I’m getting better! I can play the whole court, not just shoot one or two baskets,” she said.
Next June, Deana wants to finish Midland’s Dow RunWalk with a group of other women from her department at work. “My other goal is, on vacation, to be comfortable going out in a bathing suit,” she said. “Those are my two big goals for next summer.”
“I would tell somebody who is thinking of learning about bariatric surgery not to hesitate. It has meant a total life change for me,” she said, “and totally for the best.”
Lap-Band is a registered trademark of Allergan, Inc.
At MidMichigan Health, we see weight loss differently. It’s not just about achieving a particular weight or body shape, but about improving your health and giving you more energy to do the things you love. To learn more about bariatric surgery and other weight management options, register for a free seminar by calling MidMichigan Health Line toll-free at (800) 999-3199. Or visit our Web site at www.midmichigan.org/bariatrics.