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Examiner
  • Getting obesity under control

  • After the closure of the Armco Steel plant, for which I worked for 34 years in the electric furnace operation, I very much enjoyed my second career, moving trucks for the Penske company.

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  • Robert Queen is a bariatric surgery patient at St. Marys Medical Center
     
     
    After the closure of the Armco Steel plant, for which I worked for 34 years in the electric furnace operation, I very much enjoyed my second career, moving trucks for the Penske company.
    A few years ago, a non-cancer scare with my prostate found me hospitalized and on medications that raised my blood pressure. The next thing I knew, I was diagnosed with diabetes and had to begin taking insulin. I was more than 6 feet tall and weighed 355 pounds, giving me a body mass index well into the obese category.
    The Department of Transportation rules for professional drivers state that drivers cannot be taking insulin and I was forced to take a leave of absence from my job. I thought it was about time to take steps to better myself. My family doctor recommended I consider LAP-BAND surgery. I’ve always jokingly said that losing weight was easy. “I’ve lost more than 700 pounds in my life,” I would say. The trouble is, I had gained 800 back.
    I attended a bariatric surgery seminar at St. Mary’s last July, and after meeting with Adam Kramer, MD, decided that while it wouldn’t be easy, I was ready to make a lifestyle change. My health insurance carrier required a six month waiting period before they would approve the surgery, along with visits to a psychiatrist and nutritionist.
    First and foremost, I wanted to be able to quit taking medication for diabetes and high blood pressure. These are two diseases that excess weight can cause and make worse.
    Through exercise, mostly walking and eating better, I managed to lose 40 pounds even before I underwent the surgery. I used to be a meat-and-potatoes and green-bean kind of guy, but have learned to like most vegetables and fruits. I also cut out a lot of breads and was very pleased with the progress.
    After my surgery on March 19, I learned pretty quickly that my eating habits would have to change. I chew my food much more carefully, eat more slowly and in general eat better. I eat more proteins, fewer carbohydrates and my serving sizes are small. The LAP-BAND limits what your stomach can hold and restricts the amount of food you are able to eat at one time.
    I’m happy to say that, with a little dedication, a lot of support from my wife and my faith, I’ve reached my first goal since starting this journey. I no longer have to take insulin and medication for high blood pressure.
    I’m down to 265 pounds. I went from a 54-inch waist to a 44. While I have a ways still to go, I’m confident that I can reach new goals. As my LAP-BAND is adjustable, I’m hoping that I can adjust my weight down even more.
    Page 2 of 2 - And though the device has worked well, it still takes a great deal of willpower. You have to change your way of thinking.
    I know I’m not alone. More than one in three of us in America are obese. Obesity-related problems include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and even some cancers. And, all of these cause deaths that are preventable.
    I’m enjoying my life right now. I have a small garden I tend. My wife and I take periodic trips to Branson and I have nice walks with my dog. She drags me the first half mile and I drag her the last half mile. I’m even thinking of going back to moving trucks a couple of days a week.
    For more information on bariatric surgery at St. Mary’s, contact the Bariatric Navigator at 816-655-5560.
     
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