From Fort Sanders Regional Health & Lifestyles

Rex Veach, a quality representative/engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, decided a lifetime of yo-yo dieting was enough. So he chose quality over quantity, turning to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center and Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons to lose excess pounds and control his voracious appetite.

Rex says the gastric sleeve procedure “improved every aspect of my life.”

“I’ve been in quality assurance for 37 years, so I was very familiar with Covenant Health’s excellence,” said the 58-year-old Heiskell resident. “Covenant Health’s system is based on excellence, so that was the deciding factor for me.”

Veach is celebrating his own excellent achievement after shedding 98 pounds through gastric sleeve surgery. The procedure was performed at the Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery by bariatric surgeon Jonathan Ray, MD, of Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons. Dr. Ray and his partner, Mark Colquitt, MD, have helped more than 3,000 patients lose more than 300,000 pounds.

Before the surgery, Rex weighed 277 pounds, had a Body Mass Index of 40 and had trouble fitting into his size 42 pants. Potato chips, dips, pasta, rice, bread and other high-carbohydrate foods constantly called his name. He had high blood pressure and sleep apnea. He tired and became winded so easily that he would taxi to other buildings on the ORNL campus.

Rex weighed 260 before bariatric surgery.

“Some people said,’Oh you’re not that big. You don’t need to have that surgery,'” he said. “But I’m 58 years old and I didn’t want to go through my older years with all that weight on. I started thinking about how all through my life I’ve been a yo-yo. I would always keep my old clothes because I would go down to size 34, up to 42, down to 36…I just got tired of living that lifestyle.”

After attending Dr. Ray’s weight loss seminar at Fort Sanders Regional, Veach made an appointment. Dr. Ray determined Veach was best suited for a “gastric sleeve,” a surgical procedure which removes about 85 percent of the stomach, including the part that produces ghrelin, a hormone responsible for appetite and hunger. When ghrelin isn’t present, a reduction in appetite occurs. After a gastric sleeve procedure, patients lose weight because their bodies are restricting the amount of food that can be consumed and they experience less appetite cravings.

“The best bariatric surgery is the one the patient can buy into and feel they can be successful with,” said Dr. Ray. “How much a patient can exercise prior to the procedure is very important. The gastric sleeve was best for Mr. Veach because he was healthy and motivated prior to surgery. His commitment to diet and exercise assured his success.”

Veach strategically scheduled four days before Christmas to avoid the inevitable holiday food temptations. “Everything went really well, and so far, every time I’ve had bloodwork done, it has been perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better doctor. You could tell Dr. Ray was sincere. He was in it to save people’s lives.”

His size 36 pants are now loose-fitting, he has more energy, his blood pressure has fallen, he’s sleeping well and feels mentally sharper.

“I am comfortable where I am now,” said Veach, who now weighs 179 pounds. “I haven’t weighed this since the ninth grade, so this is a big, big achievement. I had my 40th class reunion a few weeks ago and I felt really good about going.”

“The surgery has improved every facet of my life. I’m more alert since I am eating healthier food. It’s made a difference not only physically but also mentally,” he said. “I’m glad I had it done – I have no regrets at all.”

If you’re considering weight loss surgery, view Foothills Weight Loss Surgeon’s free online seminar and get all the facts!  Click to view now.