Bariatric patient chooses quality over quantity
Rex Veach, a quality engineer at Oak Ridge National Lab, decided a lifetime of yo-yo dieting was enough. So he chose quality over quantity, turning to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center to lose excess pounds and control his voracious appetite.
“I’ve been in quality for 30-something years, so I was very familiar with Covenant Health’s excellence,” said the 58-year-old Veach. “That was the deciding factor for me. You can’t just tout that – you have to achieve that and they achieve it.”
Veach is celebrating his own excellent achievement after shedding about 100 pounds through gastric sleeve surgery. The procedure was performed by Jonathan Ray, MD, bariatric surgeon at Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery. Dr. Ray and his colleague, Mark Colquitt, MD, have helped more than 3,000 patients lose close to 300,000 pounds. Before the surgery, Veach weighed 277 pounds, had a Body Mass Index of 40, and had trouble fitting into his size 42 pants. Potato chips, dips, pasta, rice, bread and other high-carbohydrate foods, constantly called his name. He had high blood pressure and sleep apnea. He tired and became winded so easily he would taxi to other buildings on the ORNL campus.
”Some people said, ‘Oh you’re not that big. You don’t need to have that surgery,’” he said. “But I’m 58 years old and I didn’t want to go through my older years with all that weight on. I started really praying about it, and I started thinking about how all through my life I’d been a yo-yo. I would always keep my old clothes because I would go down to size 34 up to 42, down to 36…and I just got tired of living that lifestyle.”
Dr. Ray determined Veach was best suited for a “gastric sleeve,” a surgical procedure which removes about 85 percent of the stomach, including the part that produces ghrelin, a hormone responsible for appetite and hunger.
“The best bariatric surgery is the one the patient can buy into and feel they can be successful with,” said Dr. Ray. “How much a patient can exercise prior to the procedure is very important. The gastric sleeve was best for Mr. Veach because he was healthy and motivated prior to surgery. His commitment to diet and exercise assured his success.”
Today, Veach weighs 179 pounds, his size 36 pants are loose-fitting, he has more energy, his blood pressure has fallen, he’s sleeping well and feels mentally sharper.
“The surgery has improved every facet of my life. I have no regrets at all for doing it,” he said. “It’s made me more effective. I’m more alert since I am eating healthier food. It’s made a difference not only physically but also mentally. Yeah, no regrets. It all comes back to no regrets.”