What is gastric sleeve surgery? Also known as “the sleeve” this is a procedure in which the majority of the stomach is stapled off and removed. The sleeve is the fastest growing procedure for bariatric surgery in the U.S. in the last 10 years. This results in a long, slender stomach tube that doesn’t have much room to stretch. The new, smaller stomach is about the size of a banana and limits the amount of food eaten as well as reduces hunger.
Life changes such as getting a new job, moving away from home, or starting a family can very easily cause weight gain. Depending on the situation you’re in, it can also make it very difficult to shed the pounds.
Today, there are several procedures, including gastric sleeve surgery, the LAP band, and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, that can significantly help you jump-start your weight loss journey.
In this article, you’ll learn how Angie Prata struggled with her weight at a young age and the circumstances that led her to make the decision to have the surgery that would end up changing her life.
Noticing a change
Angie Prata’s weight loss struggle began in her early 20’s. She was always an active person until she moved away from home and started a new job that required her to spend most of her days confined to a desk. Soon after this life change, she also began raising a family and suffered the loss of a parent, initiating her struggle with depression.
Over the next 10 years, Angie tried various ways to lose weight. With every attempt, she became more and more disheartened. After pushing through one more round of “yo-yo” dieting and gaining more weight, she had reached her heaviest point at 250 pounds. This was around the time she had a wake-up call.
The risks of long-term obesity
Even after seeing herself at her heaviest and accepting the fact that her diet attempts were not working, making the decision to have weight loss surgery was not an easy one for Angie.
Surgery can be frightening for a lot of people. There are many risks involved when a patient goes under anesthesia, especially when they are overweight. A meeting with her primary care doctor, however, shed light on the gravity of the situation.
Her doctor explained the ways in which the risks of long-term obesity far outweigh the risk of surgery. Due to her family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, Angie’s weight put her at a high risk of going down the same unhealthy path of previous family members.
Being a wife and mother of three children, this was not an option for Angie. With her husband’s support, she decided to meet with Jeannine Giovanni, MD, director of bariatric surgery at The Center for Surgical Weight Loss at Care New England to discuss her weight loss surgery options.
Moving forward with gastric sleeve surgery
When Angie initially met with Dr. Giovanni, she unfortunately discovered she was not a candidate for weight loss procedures at the time. During their discussion however, Dr. Giovanni explained the necessary diet and lifestyle changes she needed to make to become a candidate for the procedures offered at The Center for Surgical Weight Loss.
After speaking with Dr. Giovanni, Angie decided the time had come to take active steps in becoming candidate, for both her mental and physical health.
Two years later, in June of 2014, Angie underwent gastric sleeve surgery without any complications.
Dr. Giovanni and her team helped to guide Angie on ways to best prepare for the procedure, as well as how to maintain her weight and properly care for herself post-op.
“I have had nothing but a great experience after all these years (receiving care at The Center for Surgical Weight Loss). I was always well informed and felt any questions or concerns I had were always addressed and never felt uncomfortable in any part of the process.”
She explained that during both the pre-op and post-op process, she learned that having surgery gives you the tool you need to lose weight but maintenance comes from within. It is personally up to you to put in the hard work and dedication and combine it with other tools, which in Angie’s case, included seeing a therapist and developing a regular exercise routine.
What she gained
In June of 2019, Angie reached her five-year anniversary with a total weight loss of 102 pounds.
Angie explained, although she was initially fearful, this journey allowed her to meet amazing people, gain confidence and strength, and try new things that pushed her out of her comfort zone.
Through this journey, Angie was also able to address her challenges with her bipolar disorder and depression. She’s come to recognize that her physical and mental health will be a life-long battle; losing the weight and learning to love exercise is what helps her cope with her depression during the tough times.
For those considering making a change, Angie shared this inspirational message, “What I can tell you is that each person develops different habits, routines, and strategies that work for them. This journey is about discovering what works for you. I am grateful for my journey and there’s no looking back. Best of luck to those who continue to move through their own process! Take one day at a time and continue to grow.”
About The Center for Surgical Weight Loss at Care New England
At The Center for Surgical Weight Loss at Care New England, we offer a comprehensive approach to sustainable weight loss, from the preoperative team to long-term follow up. We offer several procedures for weight loss and determine which is best for you based on your individual needs. We want you to be involved in all aspects of your care and will offer all the tools necessary for success during this life-changing journey.
To learn more about our treatment and support options at The Center for Surgical Weight Loss at Care New England, please call (401) 736-3731 or visit carenewengland.org/bariatric.