Press Releases 

An Inspired Journey: Read Deanna's Weight-Loss Surgery Story of Trust
Date: 9/16/2016
Seeing results in others drives many to make a change

 

Sometimes we need a little inspiration to change our lives. 

Bariatric surgeon Val Prokurat, DO, sees it every day. “Bariatric surgery is never a decision one comes into lightly,” he says. “So often the patients I see were inspired to come in because someone in their family, or a friend has had so much success. And something that once seemed impossible becomes possible.”
 
After watching her mother go through lap band surgery more than a decade ago, and her father and stepmother have gastric sleeve surgery within the past few years, Deanna knew a lot about bariatric surgery. Years of fighting her own uphill battles with weight led Deanna to begin considering surgery for herself. 
 
Weight as an Anchor
“My weight has always hindered me from moving the way I want to, and dressing the way I want to,” she says. “As a kid I had to shop in the women’s section because juniors didn’t fit.”

Still, Deanna was always active and even had dreams of becoming an athletic trainer. The challenge, however, was how to keep up. 
 
“I felt like ‘how can I give pointers about health to people when they will make a judgement about what I can do?’ It held me back from taking that step,” she explains.
 
Like many women, Deanna saw a marked weight gain during pregnancy. After she welcomed her two children, Deanna started to truly feel like weight loss was impossible.
 
According to Dr. Prokurat, that feeling is not uncommon. And it is our own biology that is working against us when it comes to weight loss. 
 
“Body weight is regulated by a complex system of signals in your body. When you’re overweight or obese, the body has changed its ‘normal’ or set-point,” Dr. Prokurat explains.
 
“With weight gain, your set-point increases and the body continues to store higher amounts of fat than necessary. Once that set-point is increased, the body will activate defense mechanisms to maintain body weight and fat to prevent starvation, even in those with obesity. This is why weight loss can be so challenging.”
 
Drawing Inspiration
While Deanna was facing her own weight-loss struggles, her father, Doug, and stepmother, Susan, were on a similar path. Both obese, Doug and Susan were experiencing health problems, discomfort and depression. Even simply traveling by plane to their second home in Florida was a problem for the couple.
 
“Because we were so wide-bodied, I would sit by the window and turn my body, so that my wife was comfortable,” says Doug.
 
Susan recalls one particularly embarrassing trip when she was asked by the flight attendant to leave the emergency aisle because she required an extender on the seat belt. 
 
Fed up, Doug began researching bariatric surgery, but was sidelined because he needed hip surgery. Susan was not a fan of the idea of surgery for weight loss, but when a co-worker who had bariatric surgery shared her story with Susan, she began to give surgery more thought. 

“I just couldn’t take it anymore,” she recalls.
 
She scheduled gastric sleeve surgery with Dr. Prokurat, and it was a great success. As soon as Doug was given the all clear following his hip surgery, he got right into line to get gastric sleeve surgery himself. 
 
“This was a life-changing choice for me,” says Doug. “It’s changed how I look at food, and what is appetizing for me. I used to crave carrot cake and a small piece was not enough. Now a bite is enough.”
 
For Susan, now a regular at the gym, the experience has made her more active and more fit all around. And those trips down to Florida aren’t nearly as challenging. 
 
“The first time I sat on a plane and buckled the standard seatbelt, I cried,” Susan says. 
 
Watching Susan and Doug achieve their goals made Deanna give some thought to bariatric surgery for herself. 
 
“I have two children I’m trying to live for, to set a good example for,” says Deanna. “I’m the head of the household. I can influence the people I love to make better decisions.”
 
New Technology for a Proven Surgery
Deanna met with Dr. Prokurat, who explained to Deanna that robotic-assisted gastric sleeve surgery was an option for her. 
 
Using the da Vinci® Surgical System Dr. Prokurat can perform operations through a few small incisions, similar to laparoscopic surgery. However, what sets the robotic system apart are the enhancements available to the surgeon to increase precision and view of the surgical area. These include: 
 Magnified vision system that gives surgeons a 3D HD view inside the patient’s body
 Ergonomically designed console where the surgeon sits while operating
 Patient-side cart where the patient is positioned during surgery
• Wristed instruments that bend and rotate far greater than the human hand

 Now a few months out of surgery and down 50 pounds, Deanna is feeling great. Altogether, Deanna, Doug and Susan have lost 330 pounds (and counting), thanks to their bariatric surgery and lifestyle changes.
 
“I’m excited for the journey I’m on. I feel the weight loss. I feel the stress off of my body. My body isn’t aching like it was. It’s easier to get out of bed, get up and down the steps. I can take a walk without being out of breath,” she says. 
 
Her success has also opened the door to reconsider some forgotten dreams. 
 
“I’ve always wanted to go to college and become an athletic trainer,” she explains. “Getting fit and getting into a comfortable place with my body will give me more confidence to reach out and touch my goals. I’m on the right track.”