June 02, 2022

Gastric sleeve helps patient get control of weight, future

For Peggy Spinelli, trying to manage her weight has been a struggle most of her life. The 64-year-old resident of Totowa, New Jersey grew up one of seven children in a family where money was usually tight and meals were often scarce.

Over the years Peggy tried diet pills and various weight loss programs. Still seeing no results, she wanted to find a healthier and effective solution.

“One day I opened the newspaper and saw advertisement for a seminar about bariatric surgery at Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center with Dr. Karl Strom,” said Peggy. “I asked my sister to go with me, as we had often talked about having weight loss surgery. Together we listened to Dr. Strom and his team describe the procedures and the experiences his patients had. That’s when I made the decision to get bariatric surgery.”

Lap Band Surgery

In this procedure, an adjustable band was placed around the top third of Peggy’s stomach, which left a small area of the stomach to hold food and a larger area to digest the food. “I was very successful with the lap band and lost 65 pounds.” She had just celebrated her 51st birthday and was enjoying life. She even started playing golf.

That all changed when a car cut her off on the highway and caused her car to hit the guardrail. During the collision, Peggy was thrown from the car.

While recovering from her injuries, she lost interest in most activities and experienced frequent digestive issues which resulted in having the lap band removed.

Gastric Sleeve Surgery

With the removal of the lap band, Peggy’s pre-surgical weight returned. Fully recovered from her accident, Peggy had a discussion with a friend who shared her success with the gastric sleeve surgery. Peggy made the decision to discuss this option with Dr. Strom to see if it would be a good fit for her.

Unlike the installation of the lap band, gastric sleeve surgery involves the removal of 80% of the patient’s stomach. It keeps the stomach at the same length but with a much slimmer width, like a shirt sleeve.

After the gastric sleeve surgery, Peggy has been able to lose weight and keep it off. “I am almost 65 pounds lighter now,” said Peggy. “I’m off all medications, except for a very low dose of blood pressure medication. I’ve become more active and can take a long walk without my feet bothering me.”

Since she retired as a manager of a software system design and operations team, Peggy fills her day making quilts for local charities. “During the pandemic, my husband bought me a sewing machine so I could make more than 1,000 masks for all the local first responders.”

Even though it’s been more than 6 months since her surgery, Peggy stays connected to the Bariatrics program at Mountainside by participating in the monthly bariatric support group.

“Thanks to this group, I am making much better food choices than ever before. I’ve got 55-60 years of bad eating habits to undo. Their support and nutrition program keeps me on track. It really does make a difference.”

Peggy believes the effects of her surgery and the nutrition program will have lasting effects. “I am no longer shy about being out in public,” said Peggy. “I feel great, the best I have ever felt in my life.”

The Center for Advanced Bariatric Surgery at Mountainside

From nutrition counseling and group support to individual therapy and the latest advances in bariatric weight loss surgery, Mountainside offers a world-class program in a convenient community setting. Learn more about the Center at Mountainside or register for a weight loss seminar at www.mountainsidehosp.com/weightloss or contact the Center at 973-429-6500.

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