Genesis Health System Blogs - Bariatric Surgery

Tammy Shipman

Tammy Shipman of Burlington Iowa.

After years of battling her weight, Tammy Shipman, a nurse and supervisor for Great River Home Health Care and Hospice in West Burlington, Iowa is hoping that the life-changing surgery will give her a new lease on life and restore her to good health.

Shipman, who is married with two teen-age daughters, has been researching gastric bypass surgery for five years. Her interest in the surgery increased, however, after she attended an informational meeting at the Genesis Center for Bariatric Surgery. She liked the center’s multidisciplinary approach and the fact that it offered laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.

“Last November, I stopped smoking and gained 30-40 pounds,” Shipman said. “It just put me over the edge, and since then, I’ve been overwhelmed with physical symptoms because of my weight. For years, I had never seen myself as a heavy person, but now the effects of my weight were in my face. I have sleep apnea; horrible back and neck pain; extremely high cholesterol; and high blood sugars. I haven’t been feeling well.

“Last June, I went to a pulmonologist for shortness of breath even though I had stopped smoking. When I got on the scale, I weighed 347 pounds and was horrified. It was a deciding factor.”

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Robin SchneidermanRobin Schneiderman before weight-loss surgery.

Robin Schneiderman has been overweight most of her life, especially her adult life. Yet, despite chronic arthritis, high blood pressure and sleep apnea, she refused to admit her problems were weight-related. But it’s easier to confront your own health issues when your younger brother is diagnosed with cancer and your father dies of a massive stroke. A 50th birthday and frank talk from your physician don’t hurt either.

“My doctor asked me, not quite so bluntly, if I was trying the kill myself,” says Schneiderman. “She wanted me to go for a bariatric surgery consultation.”

Schneiderman, who carried 295 pounds on a 5-foot-2-inch frame, made up her mind to at least learn more about weight loss surgery.  Her visit to a Genesis Center for Bariatric Surgery education session in May sold her on the idea and put her on a path that will culminate with surgery August 21, 2006.

“If I can just help one person realize their dream of getting healthy,” says Schneiderman, “I’ll have felt like sharing my experience is worth it.” 

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Ellis KellEllis Kell before weight-loss surgery.

Local blues musician Ellis Kell, whose weight-loss journey has been chronicled in “Genesis Today,” has decided against having gastric bypass surgery. Energized by losing 40 pounds, he says he will continue to pursue weight loss through proper diet and exercise.

Kell, who has lost about 40 pounds on the OptifastTM meal replacement program and is down two pants sizes, said: “Gastric bypass surgery is a wonderful procedure that has helped hundreds and hundreds of people. Right now, I just wasn’t ready for it,”

Kell added, “I feel like a different person already. The Genesis Center for Bariatric Surgery has provided me with the confidence and initiative to continue to lose weight through proper diet, nutrition and exercise.

“Before I started out with the Genesis program, I didn’t want to get out of the easy chair to walk around Sunset Park with my wife, daughter and grandchild -- and now I do. I didn’t want to tag along with them to the mall, but now I go along because I actually enjoy walking again. I use the stairs instead of the elevator, and I park farther away to fit a few more steps into my daily regimen wherever I go. I seriously doubt I would have ever gotten to this point on my own – without the help of the Genesis Center for Bariatric Surgery.”

Read Ellis' blog.

Yvonne WigantYvonne Wigant

Read about Yvonne's journey through weight-loss surgery. A registered nurse who is concerned not only for her health, but the health of others who are severely overweight, Yvonne was willing to share her weight-loss surgery experience in this unusual way with the hope of motivating others to reach their own decisions and feel comfortable with them. Yvonne's entries cover a period of time from February, 2004 to her surgery anniversary date of March, 2005.

Read Yvonne's blog.

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