January 11, 2012

Susan Burgess before and after weight loss photosSusan Burgess needed a way to get back her life, so on Dec. 20, 2004, she had gastric bypass surgery.

 “At the time of my surgery, my daughter was six years old,” Burgess said. “As she was growing up, learning to crawl and playing on the floor, I could not get down and do those things with her because of my weight.”

In addition to time with her daughter, Burgess felt like she was missing out on many things, including playing softball and volleyball.

“With the weight that I had put on over the years, I began to have problems with my knees and breathing, therefore making playing these sports nearly impossible and sometimes embarrassing,” she said.

“It wasn’t about being a certain size; it was about being an example for my daughter. I wanted her to have a positive example in me so that she would not grow up and have similar issues to deal with.”

There are many people in the area who share these feelings with Burgess. The CAMC Weight Loss Center offers both surgical and medical weight loss options to help them get back their lives.

“We offer two programs,” said Vanessa Bibbee, RN, MSN, FNP-BC. “We have a medical weight loss program where patients are seen by a nurse practitioner, registered dietician and exercise physiologist on at least a monthly basis. We also offer a bariatric surgical program. Doctors Robert Shin and Sam Rossi perform several surgeries, including the Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding and Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy procedures.”

The Weight Loss Center recently expanded to a new facility at Northgate Business Park, which ensures patients’ needs are being met at a higher standard.

“Not only are we better able to take care of our patients in this larger space, we also offer free parking, larger exam rooms that are bariatric equipped, a large waiting room with bariatric appropriate chairs and a spacious exercise facility on-site that offers free weights, weight machines and cardiovascular machines,” Bibbee said. “Everything needed to improve flexibility, develop strength, tone muscles and improve overall health and wellness is there.”

Although currently only being seen for routine checkups by Dr. Shin, Burgess is impressed with the new location.

“I think the new facility is first class,” she said. “The equipment is superb and everything is very clean with an open, airy feeling.”

The new facility makes patients more comfortable, but a new location alone cannot change lives. Individuals seeking weight loss options need to be serious about their decision. Burgess offers the following advice.

“Be sure you are ready to make a change in your life,” she said. “Weight loss surgery is not a quick fix for obesity. It is a tool to help you lose weight, but it is up to you to keep it off. You have to be ready to make healthy choices, and you have to want to do it for you and no one else. “

This is sound advice from a weight loss veteran who lost the weight and has kept it off for seven years.

“I would do it again in a heartbeat,” Burgess said. “I tried all kinds of diets, diet drugs and exercise programs, and everything worked for a short time. I would lose a little bit of weight and then I would gain it all back, plus some more. After losing 142 pounds I feel great! It wasn’t easy, but it was so worth it in the end.”

For more information about the life-changing programs at the CAMC Weight Loss Center, call (304) 388-4965 or visit camc.org/weightloss.

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