Over 18 months, Debra Hinson, 50, lost nearly 100 pounds. The Sevierville resident said she has revamped not only her body, but her mind and spirit as well.
“I have been on every diet that you can possibly think of my whole life,” Hinson said. “I’ve tried cutting my food in half, diet plans and programs, Fen-Phen, just about anything,” she said. “At one point I was up to 267 pounds.”
Facing sleep problems, depression, arthritis and a very high body mass index, Hinson turned to Jonathan H. Ray, MD, a surgeon at the Center for Bariatric Surgery at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. After reviewing her case, Dr. Ray recommended sleeve gastrectomy, a minimally invasive weight loss procedure in which the stomach is reduced to about 25 percent of its original size. The surgery is performed with laparoscopic in
struments, typically through five small incisions in the abdomen. He performed Hinson’s procedure in September 2014.
Dr. Ray said most patients lose a significant amount of weight and keep it off with a sleeve gastrectomy. “They can do well with surgery if they will change their living habits. They need to become accountable and more active, eat better and exercise,” he said.
And that’s what Hinson has done. Always an exerciser and runner, she still runs three or four days each week and adds that her eating habits have undergone the biggest change.
“Portion control has been an issue. Now I don’t have a choice,” she said. “Once you have this surgery your portion control is made for you. If I eat more than I should, I’ll be sick.”
Hinson acknowledges the weight could come back if she overeats, because her stomach could enlarge again. “I could graze all day and gain the weight back, or I can eat the way I should eat. My choice is to eat the right way,” she said.
Most patients, Dr. Ray said, are successful in their weight loss goals. “Our biggest thing is, if you’re ready to live it out and be supported by other patients who have walked the walk, you can do it. Our commitment to you is that we will be with you through your entire journey.”
The Center for Bariatric Surgery offers a number of support groups for patients after their bariatric surgery. Hinson attends a monthly group at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center.
“I go to a monthly support group,” said Hinson. “It’s always informational. They ask whether you’re having problems or pain, and we swap recipes. This month they went shopping to read food labels, which is great. It’s always a learning process.”