The disease of obesity runs in Nancy’s family. She calls it a disease because it’s a lifelong battle, and she can trace it back through generations before her. Nancy remembers battling with her weight as early as fifth grade, and she remembers her mother dropping her off at her first Weight Watcher’s meeting at the age of fourteen. She has tried all different diets; and they work as long as she’s doing them, but every time Nancy went back to eating a normal diet, the weight would come back.
At her heaviest, Nancy weighed over 300 pounds. She developed bone-on-bone arthritis in both knees, which made walking more difficult. She was becoming house-bound and was looking at needing a wheel chair. Before undergoing a knee replacement surgery, her physician recommended she try to lose a significant amount of weight, to make the surgery safer and to see if that would relieve her knee pain. She lost about fifty pounds on her own and kept it off, but it still wasn’t enough. So, in September 2015, Nancy underwent bariatric surgery.
Since her surgery, Nancy feels like she’s been released from a prison. She doesn't eat the way she used to and she feels great! The surgery helped, but it’s important to remember that surgery is just a tool to weight loss and the real challenge is changing your mindset. It takes a lot of hard work, but it pays off. Nancy has become actively involved in the support groups at Wesley Long Hospital and different Facebook groups for bariatric patients to help keep her accountable and on track, and to help others who are working on themselves. Some days are harder than others, but the support she has found in her community groups has helped her make the big changes and stick with them. Now, Nancy plans her meals ahead of time and tries not to keep any food in the house that would make her stumble.
It’s also important to celebrate the non-scale victories, because it’s not all about what the scale says. Last year, Nancy could enjoy walking around the Folk Festival without worrying if she would have the energy to make it back to the car. Weight loss surgery is about getting your life back. To help patients before and after surgery, the Cone Health Bariatrics and Wellness Services holds a bariatric surgery support group on the third Thursday of every month and on the second Friday of every month, where people learn how to cope with the challenges of a new lifestyle, while receiving support from one another.
Wesley Long Hospital offer seminars to teach individuals in the community about their weight loss surgery options. We also include dietitians and psychologists in the program to help patients change their mindset about food, and help them understand what a healthy eating plan looks like day-to-day.
Laurie Deaton is the bariatric nurse coordinator for Cone Health’s Bariatrics and Wellness Services. Deaton received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2007, and she is currently enrolled in a graduate program to receive a Master of Science in nursing from UNCG in 2015. Laurie is a certified bariatric and operating room nurse.
Nancy Schloss is a local Cone Health bariatric patient.