Throughout her adult life, Genia James struggled to control her weight. She tried many different diets with some success, but found they would only work in the short term. Prior to her weight loss surgery, she had been diagnosed as insulin-dependent diabetic. This diagnosis served as a wake up call and a strong motivator for her to seek out help.
Genia had a gastric sleeve procedure, also known as sleeve gastrectomy, in March of 2013. She lost 90 pounds and has maintained that weight loss ever since. One of her greatest accomplishments related to her weight loss is that she is no longer taking medication for diabetes. She can now easily get down on the floor to play with grandchildren and, more importantly, get back up! She can also enjoy hiking in the mountains with her husband.
“Bariatric surgery is a tool and if you use it as such, you can be very successful,” she says. Many people hold negative opinions about bariatric surgery, calling it the “easy way out,” but Genia couldn’t disagree more. She has had to learn to “break up with food” and sever the emotional connection that she had with eating. This was not at all easy. One of the biggest struggles that she continues to deal with today has to do with the social aspect of eating with others. Eating out with friends and going to social events can be a difficult thing when one needs to maintain a pretty strict diet.
Genia is a registered nurse at BSA in the Quality Improvement Department, so she has been in the unique position to not only experience the bariatric program as a patient, but also to observe and track aspects of the program from a quality perspective. She says that the process of earning designation as a Bariatric Center of Excellence has made a positive impact on quality for the bariatric program at BSA. A positive side effect of earning the designation is that BSA as a whole is more sensitive to bariatric-sized patients. The availability of large wheelchairs and bariatric chairs in waiting rooms, and a greater awareness and sensitivity to the issues that overweight patients deal with in their daily lives has taken hold hospital-wide as a result of the work to achieve and maintain Bariatric Center of Excellence status.
Genia says that bariatric patients in Amarillo are blessed to have great local surgeons and a quality hospital in BSA that knows how to treat bariatric patients. She says that BSA takes great care to prepare bariatric patients for success with education, support groups, outstanding dietitians and a bariatric coordinator who follows up with all patients. She says, “Even two and a half years after surgery, BSA hasn’t forgotten me and still provides resources to help me continue to maintain a healthy weight and a healthy lifestyle.”
To learn more about BSA Bariatric Surgery, please click here.