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Success at losing

Weight-loss surgery leads to improved health
Two years ago, a cardiologist told Deborah Olson, 54, the odds were stacked against her. Olson had her first heart attack in 1987 at age 31. She had a family history of sudden cardiac death, and although she couldn’t change her genetics, she improved her odds by shedding her excess weight. One year to the day after her weight-loss surgery at Sanford Health, Olson reached her goal of 140 pounds, down 125 pounds from her starting weight of 265.

“I feel great,” Olson said. “For years, I couldn’t even babysit my grandchildren or play with them because of my weight and heart problems. I feel better now than I did 30 years ago.”

Olson has struggled since she was in her 20s with health problems and obesity, managing many times to lose weight but always regaining it. She understood the importance of maintaining a healthy weight, especially considering her family history. Her grandfather died of sudden cardiac death at age 45, her mother at 53. Her father had quadruple bypass surgery, and two of his sisters died of sudden cardiac death.

During each of her three pregnancies, Olson developed pre-eclampsia, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure and gestational diabetes, which she also attributed to excessive weight gain. Between babies, she dieted back down to hover between 180 to 200 pounds.

After her heart attack, Olson’s weight crept up to 270 pounds. She said the weight gain was a result of no energy combined with medication that may have caused weight gain.

  Deborah Olson has improved health thanks the Dr. Bruderer's weight-loss surgery
Thanks to her weight-loss surgery,
Deborah Olson has dropped from
265 pounds to 140 pounds. She can now perform routine tasks like walking to the mailbox that challenged her before.
Olson endured a second heart attack in 2007 and then a third in 2008. Olson said she knew she had to lose weight permanently. She had been following the progress of two friends who had chosen different surgeons for their weight-loss surgeries. The friend who’d selected Sanford Health had been the most successful and highly recommended Sanford Health’s program. But Olson was a high-risk candidate because of her health problems.

Olson was told by her doctor that precautions would be taken for her safety. Olson closely followed the doctor's instructions before and after the surgery adn is extremely grateful to the Sanford Health staff and their expertise. I was on high blood pressure medicine for years. Now I’m off it and my blood pressure is normal.”

Once Olson achieved her weight-loss goal, she opted for a second surgery to remove the excessive skin in her midsection. Again, she turned to Sanford Health.

“I’m glad I did this surgery, too. I have less back pain, and I’m rid of that horrible apron of skin that came with my first pregnancy and never went away even when I lost weight,” she said. “Doctors tell me I probably added 15 years onto my life and that if I hadn’t taken the weight off, I probably wouldn’t be here now.”

Olson lives with her husband,Wesley, on a farm south of Medina. She has learned to enjoy the little things in life, like being able to walk to their mailbox and back without becoming breathless. She can even climb with ease up into the Peterbuilt truck Wesley drives for a trucking company, and she enjoys riding along with him on 600-mile trips that would have been impossible for her in the past.

Although she continues to live with heart problems, Olson has a positive take on life. “Where I am at now is just a wonderful feeling, and I appreciate every day. Weight-loss surgery is a wonderful tool, and I’d recommend it to anyone.”

Click here for more information about weight-loss surgery or call 701.323.5300 or 800.932.8758, ext. 5300.


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