For years Diane Forsyth has battled with her weight. After trying every diet and workout in the book, Diane's looking for help getting her weight in check. Not just for herself but her family as well.
"I want to be able to do things with them and see them get married and have children and I honestly don't think, with as bad as my arthritis was, I don't think I would be here within 5 to 10 years." Said Forsyth.
Diane has Rheumatoid Arthritis, making it difficult to exercise. Her medications have only compounded her weight gain. After meeting with her doctor, surgery was her only option. Diane chose Dr. David Strand and the team of surgeons at Avera McKennan.
"I was going to do the lap band, is what I thought but with all my medication I couldn't do that so he recommended we do the Sleeve or Gastric Bypass and I decided on the Sleeve." Said Forsyth.
Most people have heard of Gastric Bypass Surgery. This is where doctors basically connect your small intestine to the top of the stomach, which means less of your food is being absorbed, helping you lose weight. Gastric Sleeve Surgery on the other hand, doctors physically make your stomach smaller.
"The Sleeve you're actually taking about 80% of the stomach out and creating a long tube so it's a long restrictive process and in addition you're taking out certain feedback cells that help curb appetite." Said Dr. Strand.
Diane's surgery is done Laparoscopically, meaning Diane doesn't have to be completely opened up. Instead, Dr. Strand will operate with a small camera and several control rods inserted through a few small incisions.
Once inside Dr. Strand gets right to work. He has been performing Gastric Sleeve surgeries for the past nine years, but improved technology continues to make the job quicker and safer.
While Dr. Strand cuts through and starts bisecting the stomach, state of the art tools allow him to suture both sides as he goes. In a matter of seconds the suture stitches unwind, revealing a clean cut and patch. Shortly after, with Diane's stomach successfully shrunk, the extra half can be removed.
Long-term research is still being done on the Gastric Sleeve but the results, so far, are encouraging.
"It appears to be less risky than the bypass and it tends to lose more weight than the (lap)band." Said Dr. Strand.
But this is not the miracle weight loss surgery patients have to put in the work to get results. For the first time in a long time, Diane is able to climb steps and work out on the treadmill. In just four short weeks, the pounds are starting to fall off.
"The Friday before my surgery I was 330 and my scale at home says I'm 301." said Forsyth.
Diane's goal is to get down to 135 pounds. While she still has plenty more work to do Diane is definitely on her way to being half the woman she used to be.
"It's like getting my life back, it's fabulous!" Said Forsyth
Diane says once she gets down to her goal weight she's going to reward herself with a trip to Australia and New Zealand.
Once again surgeries like the Gastric Sleeve are only recommended for specific patients and extreme cases. Diet and exercise should always come first.
For more information about the Gastric Sleeve or other weight loss surgeries just call 877-AT-AVERA.