Featured Patient Story
Woman Steps Off the Rollercoaster Ride of Weight Management After Successful Gastric Bypass Surgery
Judy Connelly in 2009 (left) and 2010 (right)
Judy Connelly, 56, cried the first time she mounted a bike in her adult years and the tires didn’t go flat. “I cried for the entire ride, I was so proud and happy,” she recalls. It had been nearly a year since Judy had undergone a surgical weight loss procedure at Abington Memorial Hospital’s Institute for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (IMBS). Weighing 120 pounds less than she had the previous summer, she was able to participate joyously and confidently in activities that for years had caused shame and insecurity.
Judy’s new lease on life began in January 2010, as the result of hard work, medical compliance, and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RGB) – the most common surgical treatment for morbid obesity in the U.S. today. Judy, who lives in Holland, PA, attended an information session about the surgical options offered at IMBS and eventually met with Bariatric Surgeon Gintas Antanavicius (Dr. G.), MD. Based on her particular circumstances and after a comprehensive pre-surgical exam and testing, Dr. G. recommended a laparoscopic RGB. During this procedure, he would also remove Judy’s diseased gall bladder.
Dr. G. performed Judy’s surgery laparoscopically, using specialized instruments to operate through several tiny incisions in the abdomen. Next, he created a small gastric pouch at the top of the stomach and separated it from the main stomach. Dr. G. then created a new digestive path, bypassing the rest of the stomach and the part of the small intestine. With her small, egg-sized stomach, Judy feels full faster, so she eats less food and consumes fewer calories, which leads to weight loss.
“In addition to improving quality of life through weight loss, gastric bypass procedures reduce or eliminate obesity-related metabolic problems such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, joint pain, and most importantly, diabetes,” explains Dr. G. Take Judy for example. Since surgery, her sleep apnea has improved, she no longer takes prescription pills for high blood pressure, and has greatly reduced the frequency of cortisone injections for her knee and lower back pain. “Furthermore, I don’t sweat like I did prior to surgery; I glow now,” she says. “No more seatbelt extender when I fly. I can fit in the seat on the boardwalk pirate ship ride. I’m no longer confined to life in a chair.”
Judy’s success is no secret. “I followed every part of the Institute’s extensive program to a T,” she stresses, “from pre-surgical testing, to preparation for the procedure, and the vitamin and nutritional requirements after surgery.” Judy notes, too, how valuable it has been for the treatment team at IMBS to keep her primary care physician informed every step of the way.
She has been so pleased with her results, Judy now volunteers as an angel with the program’s bariatric surgery support group. “I’m a lifer here,” she says, committed to the monthly meetings. “I struggled with my weight my entire life. I could not do this on my own and I don’t have to. I want others to know they are not alone.”