Andrea Turek is half the woman she used to be and could not be happier about it.
“It’s a whole new life,” said the mother of three – 10, 5 and 3 years old. “I am so happy, so confident. I feel good. I didn’t know how bad I felt until I felt good.
For much of her life, Andrea was overweight; at times she was medically obese.
“I was miserable,” she explained. “I didn’t feel good. I didn’t look good. I didn’t want to keep living that way.”
An employee of Blessing Hospital for 18 years – the last 14 years as a registered nurse - Andrea decided to change her life when the nationally accredited Blessing Bariatric Institute opened. The Institute offers surgical and medically managed weight loss options.
The option Andrea needed to reach and maintain a healthy weight was surgery. She began the program in January 2020; learning about her relationship with food, how to change that relationship, the lifestyle changes she would need to make after surgery to maintain a healthy weight and how to make those changes successfully. Seven months later, Andrea was prepared physically and mentally for the responsibilities of her new life and had surgery, the duodenal switch procedure.
Andrea’s path to a new life
The duodenal switch procedure makes the stomach smaller through use of a sleeve and re-routes the path food takes through the digestive system to bypass three-quarters of the small intestine so the body absorbs fewer calories.
Fernando Bonanni, Jr., MD, MBA, FACS, FASMBS, board certified bariatric surgeon and medical director of the Blessing Bariatric Institute, performed Andrea’s surgery.
“The duodenal switch is the most effective surgery for weight loss – contributing to 70 – 85% excess weight loss) - and diabetes, with 95% of Type 2 diabetes patients able to stop a taking diabetes medication within 12 hours of surgery,” Dr. Bonanni said. “To achieve those benefits, must commit to a regimented diet and supplement program, and to lifelong follow-up.”
As a result of her surgery, Andrea lost 175 pounds, no longer needs to take high blood pressure medication and her heart beat, which was too fast when she was obese, has returned to normal.
“Success after bariatric surgery depends on a patient’s committed to understanding the disease of morbid obesity and taking an active role in achieving long term health and happiness,” Dr. Bonanni concluded. “Patients find the Blessing Bariatric Institute is committed to helping them succeed.”
Andrea agrees. “They want you to be healthy and successful,” she said.
The Blessing Bariatric Institute team includes surgeons, internal medicine specialists, dieticians, social workers and support staff.
Shedding pounds and shame
After years of physical and psychological suffering, Andrea now enjoys a life more fulfilling than she had known.
“I didn’t realize the things I was missing out on as a mom,” she said. “I didn’t want to go on walks with my kids, for example, because I had no energy. I felt miserable. Now, I am the one who says, ‘Let’s go!’ because you feel better and you want to do more.”
“Then there is the body self-consciousness,” she continued. “I remember being embarrassed at my daughter’s softball games and at other public gatherings. Now, I am not. It’s very freeing.”
Patients interested in surgical or medically managed weight reduction can make appointments in Quincy or at Hannibal Clinic.
For more information - including several videos, frequently asked questions and an online process to begin your bariatric journey, go to blessinghealth.org/bariatric.