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  Back to previous page ¦ Weight-loss stories ¦ Search stories

New life blossoms

Weight-loss surgery helps woman get back to action
Toni Devaney can now work in her garden thanks to weight-loss surgery at Medcenter One
Thanks to weight-loss surgery performed at
Sanford Health, Toni Devaney can now work in her garden.
  It’s been a long time since Toni Devaney looked down at a scale and saw the numbers she now sees.

“It’s incredible” said Devaney, who is now 130 pounds. “I weigh less than I did when I graduated high school.”

The retired Goodrich woman had gastric bypass surgery in August 2003. At her heaviest, she carried 299 pounds on her 5-foot-5 frame and wore a size 28.

Devaney, 65, realized she had a weight problem at age 16.

“I tried every diet I knew,” she said. “The
weight kept coming back.” A myriad of weight-related health problems accompanied Devaney’s obesity. She became a type 2 diabetic requiring three insulin shots a day. She had high blood pressure, joint pain and shortness of breath with exertion.

Her quality of life was also affected in other ways.

“I enjoyed canoeing, boating and water sports,” she said. “I couldn’t do those anymore. I wouldn’t humiliate myself by going to the swimming pool. I couldn’t even mow my grass or weed my garden. Two months before I had gastric bypass surgery, I had to hire someone to plant my flowers for me. I decided, ‘No, this is enough.’”

It was a decision that changed her life.

She talked to her family medicine doctor who recommended she seek help at Sanford Health. Sanford Health is a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence, a prestigious designation ensuring patients receive support, quality care and excellent results.

Devaney felt that the staff at Sanford Health was positive and able to help her achieve a healthier life.

To be eligible for gastric bypass surgery, patients must be more than 100 pounds overweight and must show they have tried and failed at conventional methods to lose weight. On average, patients lose about 50 percent to 80 percent of their excess body weight 12 to 18 months after surgery.

Devaney weighed 256 pounds before the surgery. She lost 70 pounds within four months and another 10 during the first year. She has since lost close to another 50 pounds.

Critical to success is ongoing support. Sanford Health sponsors a monthly weight-loss surgery support group. Patients also have access to various Sanford Health services to address specific needs, including nutrition counseling and physical therapy. Nurses are also available by phone to answer questions.

“The monthly support group meetings were invaluable,” Devaney said. “I could learn from others who had faced the same challenges.”

Devaney followed the program, changing her eating habits drastically and becoming more active as her weight fell.

“I stayed away from fatty foods and looked at healthier ways to prepare meals,” she said. “Food no longer was the only important thing in my life. Before, I ate anything I wanted in huge quantities.”

The response of family and friends was encouraging.

“People would say, ‘This can’t be you. You look so different,’” she said.

“It’s a positive feeling knowing I have changed both inside and out.” She is no longer insulin-dependent and has discontinued her high blood pressure medication.

Her sedentary lifestyle is history. She walks and only uses her car when she leaves town. “It’s wonderful to be able to walk around my yard, mow the lawn or pick up a bag of garbage and carry it to the street,” she said.

Devaney and her beautiful flower gardens, which she now lovingly tends herself, are living proof.

Click here for more information on Sanford Health’s weight-loss surgery.

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