Debra’s Story

Debra's StoryDebra Silver had struggled with weight her entire life.

“I was a chubby kid,” Silver says. “I went to my first weight loss meeting when I was just 10 years old. I’ve lost 100 pounds three times, but each time the pounds would creep back. I’ve tried everything imaginable—diet pills, gadgets, you name it—but I’ve never been able to maintain the weight loss, until now.”

Two years ago, Silver consulted Princeton NJ Bariatrics’s Dr. Wai-Yip Chau, a board certified surgeon who has performed more than 750 bariatric operations, including LAP-BAND® procedures, open and laparoscopic Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and revision operations. Dr. Chau recommend LAP-BAND® for Silver.

An FDA-approved system, LAP-BAND® is implanted by a surgeon around the upper part of the stomach much like a belt. The system helps restrict food intake so that individuals who are severely overweight and have not been able to lose weight and keep it off can finally achieve safe, successful weight loss.

Debra Silver - before“Debra came to see me as a young, determined individual,” says Dr. Chau. “The LAP-BAND® assists only with hunger and portion size, so the individual needs determination to achieve the best results they can following the procedure.”

“I weighed 289 pounds and was tired of not feeling like myself,” Silver explains. “It affected everything about my life.”

Silver underwent the minimally invasive laparoscopic banding procedure. Today, Silver weighs 160 pounds and is still losing. She has lost 129 pounds since October 2008.

LAP-BAND® Offers a Low-Risk Tool for Weight Loss

The LAP-BAND® is a very safe form of weight loss surgery, Dr. Chau says.

“The band fits at the top of the stomach and restricts food intake,” he explains. “It’s also adjustable, so people can be provided more or less help as they need it. The goal is lifestyle change, but lifestyle change with help.”

Silver agrees: “The band was a good tool because it forced me to eat smaller portions and to eat slower. It conditioned me to change my habits.”

Support, Diet and Exercise Are Crucial Parts of Weight Loss

The average LAP-BAND® patient loses 50 percent of his or her total excess weight, which Dr. Chau describes as the weight over an individual’s ideal weight. Dr. Chau has seen the most success from patients who are determined to make long-term lifestyle changes and those who take advantage of the support offered through his office, including monthly support group meetings.

“I think support is critical to have real success,” Silver says. “It helps to talk to at least one other person who shares similar experiences and struggles.”

Silver also credits her success to Dr. Chau and his team for offering consistent support.

“Dr. Chau is wonderful. He’s got an excellent bedside manner, and he’s always willing to talk to me if I call,” she says. “His nutritionist also helped me a lot in the beginning, as I literally had to relearn how to eat.”

Exercise has played a key part in Silver’s weight loss as well. “I have always exercised,” she explains. “Now, of course, I can ride my bike farther and swim more laps. At this size, I actually enjoy exercising every day.”

Weight Loss Gives Patient New Life

Before the weight loss, Silver was a single mom who had put her education on hold. Her outgoing personality was stifled by her weight, and she was always exhausted.

“Now, I’m my true self,” she says. “I feel so much better. If you have a positive attitude about yourself, others will have a positive attitude about you too.”

Not only has Silver lost weight, she’s earned her bachelor’s degree, enrolled for graduate classes, advanced her career and fallen in love.

“Before LAP-BAND®, it was hard to get out and do things,” she says. “Now, I’m going out there and just living!”

HealthFocus Cover Story · Nov/Dec 2010
Republished with permission from Princeton HealthCare System.

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