Whenever Barbara Seek would visit her primary care physician, Karyn Harkins, MD, they would have a discussion about Barbara’s weight and its impact on her health. At 250 pounds, Barbara had diabetes, high blood pressure, back problems due to spinal stenosis, congestive heart failure, fibromyalgia, and she was having difficulty walking due to pain.
Barbara had tried many ways of losing wight, from Weight Watchers to Fen-Phen. She’d lose weight for a while, but then eventually the pounds crept back.
At one visit Dr. Harkins asked her to try to achieve one goal for her: avoiding sugar, alcohol and soda for just one month. At the end of that month, Barbara came back for another visit. Not only had she lost weight, but she felt much better physically. With that success under her belt, Dr. Harkins asked Barbara to consider bariatric surgery not only to help her lose weight but also to keep it off for good.
Dr. Harkins referred Barbara to Hanafy Hanafy, MD, at the Center for Weight Loss and Wellness (CWLW). In October 2015, she attended a free weight loss surgery seminar and decided that bariatric surgery was a great option for her. After meeting with Dr. Hanafy, she chose to have a sleeve gastrectomy, during which a surgeon removes a large portion of the stomach, thereby reducing the amount that somebody can eat before feeling full.
Dr. Hanafy’s thorough and informative style helped Barbara feel very confident in the quality of care she was receiving. In addition, he fully respected her faith as a Jehovah’s Witness, including her desire not to have a blood transfusion. She also appreciated the support of the other team members from the Center for Weight Loss and Wellness including dietitians, nurses and support staff. They helped her navigate through the insurance process, complete all the steps needed before surgery and most importantly make the lifestyle changes needed to achieve and sustain her weight loss success.
The team even helped her achieve the goal of having surgery before end of the year, but just barely. Barbara had surgery on Dec. 31, 2015, and began her new year on a lighter note.
So far, Barbara has lost 102 pounds from the time she started on her weight loss journey with Dr. Harkins through mid-April 2016. She couldn’t be happier with the results so far from her surgery, which she describes as life-changing. She is much more active, and she can play with the kids she provides child care for without pain. She is also healthier and no longer needs her diabetes, blood pressure, fibromyalgia or back pain medications. Added benefit: she has exchanged her old, plus-sized wardrobe for a new, cuter clothes.
Barbara describes surgery as different from the diets she tried in the past, because the rapid weight loss and support from the CWLW team has given her the time and resources she needed to develop new lifelong behaviors. She is now much more mindful of what she eats and much more conscientious about her portion sizes.
The only regret that Barbara has is that she is losing Dr. Harkins as her primary care provider, because Dr. Harkins has chosen to dedicate herself to helping other patients as a bariatrician with the CWLW. Despite that loss, Barbara knows that Dr. Harkins will make a critical impact in helping other patients on their weight loss journey.
“It was really Dr. Harkins who set me on the path to losing weight,” Barbara says. “She is a great listener, attentive and encouraging.”