Ever since Ashley Howard gave birth to her daughter seven years ago, she has struggled with her weight. “I tried different weight loss pills and exercises, but I would lose a little and gain it back, and then gain a little extra,” says Howard, now 27. “I was tired all the time and had no energy, and I wanted to be able to play with my daughter.”
Howard decided to try Weight Loss Solutions, Saint Francis Medical Center’s bariatric surgery program. She had heard good feedback about the program, and she wanted to make sure she did not follow in her older brother’s footsteps and receive a diabetes diagnosis.
On Dec. 6, 2012, Howard underwent a vertical gastric sleeve procedure, in which a surgeon removes about 85 percent of the stomach so it takes the shape of a sleeve. While the initial healing period was challenging, Howard says the results she has been seeing have been worth it. So far, she has lost more than 60 pounds. “Everybody says I look like a completely different person,” she says.
Howard has especially appreciated Weight Loss Solutions’ comprehensive follow-up program for all bariatric surgery patients. “Even before I left the hospital after the surgery, I set up my first appointment with the dietitian,” she says. “Every three months, I have a follow-up appointment. These are people who are going to be helping me for the rest of my life.”
“Our bariatric surgery program is much more than just the surgery,” says Ryan A. LeGrand, MD, the bariatric surgeon who leads Weight Loss Solutions. “We are teaching our patients how to live healthier lives through proper diet and exercise.”
“The eating plan does not feel like a diet,” says Howard. “It is more of a lifestyle change. Once you start seeing the results, that encourages you to try harder with every choice you make.”
Howard loves shopping for new clothes with her daughter now. “She says, ‘Mom, you are getting so skinny,’” says Howard.
“Bariatric surgery can make a life-changing difference for many patients who are serious about weight loss,” says LeGrand.
For more information, call 573-331-3000.