Patient Credits Surgery, and Support, for Improved Health
Aug. 13, 2021
For more than a decade, bariatric patient Delorce Ferrell tried counting calories and exercising. She would lose weight, only to gain back even more. Following her second pregnancy, the 30-year-old went from a size 14 to a size 18 and felt the extra weight impacting her health and state of mind.
“I would become breathless just trying to tie my shoes,” she says. “It made me depressed.”
She finally got the courage to call Paul Lin, MD, bariatric surgeon and co-director at the GW Weight Loss and Surgery Center. What began as a phone call for weight-loss information turned into a six-month process full of encouragement from the entire GW weight-loss team.
“At first I thought six months was a long time,” says Ferrell. “But I learned so much along the way.”
The GW Weight Loss and Surgery Center offers a comprehensive program, individualized for the patient’s needs. This includes a bariatric support group, where patients can bond and learn from others on similar journeys, including those who have already had weight-loss surgery.
Dr. Lin recommended sleeve gastrectomy as the most appropriate procedure for Delorce. During this procedure the surgeon reshapes the stomach into a “sleeve,” shrinking its size so that it can hold only about one or two ounces of food at once.
Ferrell saw a cardiologist during the preoperative process and participated in a sleep study. Testing revealed conditions she was unaware she had, including asthma and sleep apnea. She also worked closely with a dietary nutritionist to lose weight prior to surgery and to practice portion control.
By the time of her procedure, Ferrell weighed 229 pounds. Now, a year later, she weighs 117 pounds. She exercises at least four days per week and enjoys participating in competitive 5K walks. She’s also better able to keep up with her two young and energetic children.
Ferrell jokes that while shopping, she often has to remind herself that she doesn’t need to look for plus sizes anymore. “I recently tried on jeans and couldn’t believe I was a size 3,” she laughs.
However, Delorce emphasizes, there are still challenges, and the commitment to better health is lifelong. To help curb food cravings, she’s thankful for replacement strategies learned from her support groups, including exercise, going to bed early or listening to music. She also has a gym membership and equipment she uses to exercise at home.
“I never imagined myself here,” she adds thoughtfully. “I actually enjoy exercising. Before the surgery, I wasn’t motivated, because I would become so breathless, and I was not seeing results. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Free bariatric informational seminars and consultations are offered weekly. Call 888-4-GW-DOCS to reserve your place.
The GW Weight Loss and Surgery Center is designated as a Comprehensive Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation Quality Improvement Program and a Blue Distinction Center for bariatric surgery by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield.