2 out of 10 people in this country are considered morbidly obese. That means they are 100 pounds over their ideal body weight. Nancy Naeve Brown met a woman from Marshall who recently underwent lap band surgery at Avera McKennan to find out what motivated her to change her lifestyle and ultimately improve her health.
Mary Spoelstra is from Marshall, Minnesota, but gladly makes the drive to Sioux Falls to do her first follow up check at the Avera Bariatric Institute. Mary had lap band surgery in early December.
Mary says, "I've always had a problem with weight. I've battled it most of my life."
Like the 72 million Americans battling the bulge and losing Mary says stepping on the scale has never been an enjoyable experience until now. 9 days post surgery and she's 8 pounds down.
Mary says, "I'm hoping to lose at least 80, 100 would be ideal. It's reachable if I cooperate. I know this is a tool. I know it's not going to do it for me and that I have to change attitudes and I already have changed some."
Dr. Brad Thaemert with the Surgical Institute of South Dakota performed Mary's laparoscopic lap band surgery. A week after surgery he says her small incision wounds are healing nicely.
Dr. Thaemert says, "Lap band is a procedure we use to help people lose weight who are morbidly obese. It's a restrictive procedure where we put a band at the top of the stomach and we can control how tight it is by adding fluid to it and that makes people feel full very quickly so they take in less calories and that's how they lose weight. "
Bariatric patients like Mary come back every month to check in with Dr. Thaemert to see if their lap band needs to be tightened. If they aren't getting full after eating a cup to 1 1/2 cups of food in a sitting then he will tighten it.
Mary says, "My family has a history of cardiac problems. My dad died of a heart attack at 59 and I'm 58 right now and so with all the siblings with heart issues I knew for my health I needed to do this."
This is the beginning of a new lifestyle for Mary and the beginning of our coverage on her. We'll be following her changes over the next year. When they say "New Year, New You" it really will be for Mary!
The Avera Bariatric Institute is holding a free seminar Thursday night January 6th from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Prairie Center in Sioux Falls. It's a chance to learn about different weight loss options, insurance coverage and hear success stories. To register go to: www.AveraMcKennan.org or call 877-282-8372