It takes a lot of energy to be the parent of teenagers, and that energy is harder to come by if you’re morbidly obese. When Daniel and Stacey Rorie began having trouble keeping up with their kids, they decided it was time to do something about it.
The Rories, who live in Blaine, Tenn., have lost a combined total of about 250 pounds with the help of Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery. Life has changed.
Married since 1993, the Rories have two teenagers, ages 16 and 18. Before bariatric surgery, the simple task of getting the kids where they needed to go on time was exhausting.
“We couldn’t do a lot of the things we wanted to do with them, anymore,” Daniel says. “Between trying to keep up with both of them, we were just worn out.”
They tried a series of diets, but nothing worked. “We did low fat, we did low calorie, we did vegetable soup,” Daniel says. “Anything you can think of, we did it.”
The results were always the The results were always the same. They would lose several pounds, but then gain the weight back. Sometimes, they gained more than they had lost.
The turning point came in the summer of 2014 when Daniel had what he calls “a heart scare.” After being rushed to a hospital at 339 pounds, he decided it was time to go to the next level. “As a last resort, I started researching surgery,” he says.
Stacey, at 267 pounds, was still a little reluctant. “I’ve been an ER nurse for a long time,” she says, “and as an ER nurse, all you see are the patients who have complications.”
She hadn’t yet become acquainted with the high standards and success rates at the Bariatric Center of Excellence at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. “I needed to really spend some time in the literature, and see what was out there,” Stacey says.
Their research led them to the Foothills Weight Loss Specialists office of Drs. Mark Colquitt and Jonathan Ray. “I looked around all over the country, and a lot of the weight loss surgeries were done by clinics,” Daniel says. “It was important to both of us to have the surgery at a hospital, where the doctors were local, and you could actually get in touch with the surgeons.”
Stacey felt good about going to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. “We learned that Dr. Colquitt and Dr. Ray have a good reputation,” says Stacey, “and that they provide a lot of support outside of just the surgery.”
Research had also told the Rories that if they wanted surgery to be uccessful long term, they were going to need plenty of that support. Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery offers support groups, and membership agreements with Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center, among other efforts, to ensure patients’ success after checking out of the hospital.
“It’s more about focusing on that whole life change,” Stacey says. After reviewing all the options, the Rories made a decision to undergo the gastric sleeve procedure, which reduces the size of the stomach. The procedure has a high success rate and low incidence of complications.
Deciding that they would do it together or not at all, Daniel and Stacey Rorie underwent the procedure on the same day in 2014. Today, Daniel is 150 pounds lighter, and Stacey has lost more than 100 pounds.
“It was fantastic,” Stacey says of her experience with Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery. “I can’t brag on it enough.”
“I can honestly say it’s much more than I expected,” Daniel agrees. “I cannot believe how much support there is, and how involved they still are in our lives.”
Stacey is smaller now than she was in high school. Daniel says he feels 20 years younger. “It’s just a whole new world, really,” Daniel says. “I did not realize how much the weight had slowed me down.”
Stacey agrees, saying this process has made them aware of just how much morbid obesity had taken from them. Weight loss surgery has been as much about what they’ve gained as it has been about what they’ve lost.
“I don’t think we realized the things we gave up,” Stacey says. “For example, when we first got married we used to do a lot of hiking and a lot of camping, and then we realized we hadn’t done any of that in a really long time.”
“We’re now able to go out and do things that we have not been able to do in years, and we just have much more fun together,” Daniel says. “It’s definitely changed us, it’s changed the way we approach other people, and it’s made a huge difference in our lives.”
What you should know…
Daniel and Stacey Rorie did their homework before choosing bariatric surgery. If it’s something you’re considering, here’s how they say you can make sure you have the best possible experience.
Have the surgery in a facility that is an accredited center with the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP).
Find a surgeon who has experience and a good reputation. Make sure extensive support will be available after the surgery.
Be ready to change your way of thinking about food.
To learn more about the weight loss options available through Foothills Weight Loss Specialists and the Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery, visit www.foothillsweightloss.com or call 865-984-3413.