Less invasive surgery is helping local patients lose weight, ditch diseases

Syracuse, Ind. Most of us have had to battle the bulge here and there during our lifetime, but for a growing number of Americans, too much weight can be downright deadly.

In fact the latest numbers show two out of three adults is considered overweight or obese and it's a problem that's even affecting our kids.

“I think it hit me the hardest when I went on a college visit with my son and I couldn't make it up the stairs, they were giving a tour of the building,” says Victoria Hays of Syracuse. “My son came back and said 'that's ok mom we don't have to go on the tour' and I was humiliated, I thought how horrible for this.”

That was a year ago, when Victoria Hays, 54, was at her heaviest, 300 pounds.

A mom, wife and teacher, diets never worked, and Victoria had developed diabetes which runs in her family.

She also had cholesterol issues and high blood pressure.

That, and her son’s college visit, convinced her she needed help.

Victoria heard about IU Health Goshen Hospital and Dr. Denise Murphy, who performs roughly four laparoscopic gastric bypass surgeries every week.

Now 125 pounds lighter Victoria says she can hardly describe how the surgery has changed her life.

“I have so much more energy, my husband calls me the energizer bunny because I am constantly going,” she says.

Victoria says her husband and son are proud and the family eats a lot healthier, ditching cookies and white bread and working out together at the gym.

Bypass surgery has been around for roughly 40 years and Dr. Murphy herself has heard her share of horror stories, but she says in the last 15 years the safety of this surgery has really improved.

“It's close to what you would expect for gall bladder surgery.”

“Smaller incisions mean less infections at those incisions, less risk for hernias or defects in the belly wall that may require another surgical incision,” explains Murphy.

And Murphy says a look at Victoria's blood test are proof of how much healthier she now is.

“Since surgery she's lost over a hundred pounds, an excellent result,” says Murphy. “Resolving her diabetes completely, resolving her triglyceride or cholesterol issues. Also her hypertension, so she has made significant improvements in her health.”

Dr. Murphy says there's no doubt Victoria's decision to have surgery and make lifestyle changes will lengthen her life.

Victoria is thrilled with that knowledge but also by how happy her husband and son are now that she's healthy, even if her husband does poke fun at her.

“He keeps looking for my feathers coming out of my back because I eat so much turkey and chicken,” she says.

But she's not complaining.

“My husband thinks he has a whole new wife.”

Dr. Murphy says the National Institutes of Health guidelines to qualify for bariatric surgery are that a person be 100 pounds or more above their normal weight, a body mass index greater than 35, with two medical issues, or an otherwise healthy person with a BMI over 40.

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