For many years, Brad Schumacher, of Varna, Ill., had been successfully selling seed corn to farmers throughout north central Illinois, even though he was self-conscious about meeting people because he weighed 446 pounds.
After losing 206 pounds in 18 months as a result of his weight-loss surgery, Schumacher is more self-assured than ever before in his life.
"I have always been an outgoing person during my career as a salesman. But as a result of my weight loss surgery, I have more self-confidence now from how I look on the outside to how much healthier I feel in the inside," said the 45-year-old Schumacher. "I proudly interact with my clients and I am able to move many bags of seed with ease."
A sponsored artcile by Silver Cross Hospital
One of Schumacher’s challenges after his weight-loss surgery was to adjust his eating habits during work.
"Oftentimes I meet clients for lunch or dinner, so I had to learn to eat healthier and consume smaller portions of food," he said. "But I was determined to reach my goals, and that determination helped me stay on track."
As a result, Schumacher is able to play sports and do routine tasks that he was unable to do prior to his surgery.
"Besides walking easier after my weight-loss surgery, I can now play sports like volleyball and golf for longer amounts of time," he said. "But most of all, I am so happy to easily accomplish simple tasks like traveling on an airplane without having to ask for an extended seat belt. I always felt so self-conscious that I was invading the space of the passenger next to me on a plane."
Prior to his weight-loss surgery, Schumacher’s health was very fragile. He took around eight medications a day and suffered from high blood pressure and diabetes, which required him to take 60 units of insulin a day. In addition, Schumacher had severe aches in his feet and legs.
But his health has improved immensely since his surgery. He no longer takes any medications or suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure or foot and leg pain.
Schumacher’s friend who had weight-loss surgery was the one who introduced him to BMI Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital and encouraged him to attend a free informational session.
"I was very impressed with the program after talking with Dr. Christopher Joyce and his staff at BMI Surgery because they were all so knowledgeable and supportive,” Schumacher said. "They all made me feel so comfortable and at ease that I could actually have successful long-term weight loss as long as I was willing to follow the program."
With their support, Schumacher committed to the workout and diet plan and underwent REALIZE™ Adjustable Gastric Band weight loss surgery on July 18, 2011.
Patients benefit from a multidisciplinary approach, with the help of many different departments at Silver Cross.
"Patients see an exercise physiologist, dietitian, cardiologist, psychologist, pulmonologist, and a bariatric nurse to get them ready for surgery," said Dr. Joyce. "We screen our patients very carefully to ensure their success and safety."
"Before I had my surgery, Dr. Joyce explained that the surgery was merely a tool to lose weight and the real success depended on me taking personal responsibility of my own health," Schumacher said. "Through the entire process, Dr. Joyce and his staff were always there for me right away to answer any of my questions. Also, the nurses at Silver Cross Hospital were so accommodating to my family during my surgery and hospital stay. They made my sister feel so welcomed and constantly informed her of my plan of care."
"Brad is an excellent example of how bariatric surgery can positively enhance one’s life. His unwavering commitment to adhering to the program by eating well and exercising was critical in his ability to lose over 200 pounds," says Dr. Joyce.
The American Society of Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery defines the morbidly obese as those with a body mass of 40 or above, or, for a normal height woman, being more than 100 pounds overweight. Patients with a BMI of 35 and higher, who are suffering the medical consequences of obesity, are often best treated with bariatric surgery as opposed to nonsurgical weight loss. Those who are morbidly obese are at a higher risk of mortality and such extreme obesity puts people at risk for numerous life-threatening diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
BMI Surgery has changed the lives of nearly 3,000 patients with surgeries including laparoscopic gastric bypass, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, and Lap-Band and REALIZE gastric band systems at Silver Cross Hospital.
Board certified laparoscopic and bariatric surgeons Christopher Joyce, M.D., and Brian Lahmann, M.D., are dedicated to helping patients win their personal battles with obesity and enjoy healthier lives, which is why they dedicated themselves to opening a new office on the new Silver Cross Hospital campus at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox.
Silver Cross has been named a Bariatric Center of Excellence by the American Society of Bariatric Surgery and a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery.
"Our new office location provides patients with enhanced access to state-of-the-art technology and expanded space including more exam rooms, band adjustment rooms, and seating in the waiting area," Dr. Joyce said. "We want to help transform lives inside and out, so we used that same philosophy in the design of our new office space."
To find out more about the bariatric surgery program at Silver Cross Hospital, attend a free informational session on both traditional and laparoscopic surgery on any Wednesday at 5:45 p.m. at BMI Surgery at 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., Suite 260, New Lenox. To attend, visit www.bmisurgery.org or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).