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News From Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center Health & Lifestyles

Tracy Shelton is a business owner and mom of two teenagers who leads a busy lifestyle. Four years ago, she underwent bariatric surgery at Fort Sanders Regional
Medical Center and has since lost 175 pounds. She works hard to maintain her habits post-operation, and encourages others who are in similar situations that there are options available.

Down and Depressed

Tracy before Gastric Sleeve

After suffering an injury that tore several ligaments in her left knee, Shelton had multiple surgeries to fix her damaged tissue. It was a devastating time that required a long recovery process. One year after knee surgery she reached her highest weight, which was about 310 pounds.

“I have always been an active person, and my weight hovered around the 200 mark,” Shelton explains. “But being inactive after my knee injury made me depressed. I was so limited in my mobility during that time. My doctor told me the extra weight I put on was putting a strain on my body, especially my knee that was trying to heal. He suggested I look into bariatric surgery, so I did.”

Tracy is 175 lbs lighter after surgery

At Fort Sanders Regional

Shelton underwent a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, known as a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. The surgeon removes a portion of the stomach through several small incisions in the upper abdomen. Limiting the size of the stomach restricts the amount of food a person is able to consume.

Mark Colquitt, MD, bariatric surgery specialist with Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons, performed the procedure in June 2018 at Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery. “We knew of Dr. Colquitt, and he was great,” she says. “I had a good experience with the nurses, too.”

She stayed one night in the hospital and went home the following day. Dr. Colquitt says many patients getting a sleeve gastrectomy tolerate the procedure very well and often go home the same day.

Dr. Colquitt explains the type of weight-loss procedure depends on the patient and their other health conditions. He emphasizes the safety of the procedures and how well his patients are able to tolerate them. “Tracy was clearly a good candidate for the sleeve,” he says.

“Physical recovery is quick,” Dr. Colquitt says. “Within a week, patients can typically get back to their usual activities.

Mark Colquitt, MD
Bariatric Surgeon

“The biggest thing for a patient right after bariatric surgery is to follow the diet progression, control their eating and drinking habits, and to wait 30 minutes after eating before drinking liquids. Otherwise, the flushing of the food with liquid could affect weight loss or cause discomfort.”

Milestones and Motivation

Shelton owns a home cleaning service and is on her feet most of the day. “Now that I’ve lost all the weight, I realize how much I struggled to move around before. With a heavier body it would hurt to be on my feet all day.”

Now weighing 135 pounds, she says it was a personal milestone to see a number on the scale read less than 200 pounds. She can also enjoy amusement parks with her two children. She says, “Before, I wouldn’t have the energy, or I was told I was too big for the ride. Now, it’s a lot more fun because I can move around easier.”

A New Way of Living

Shelton has come off her depression medication and says her mindset shift has played a major part in her weight-loss and health journey. Shelton encourages everyone who may be struggling with body image or eating habits to reach out for help.

“Anyone who has asked me how I do it, I tell them, you have to have a good doctor, good support and ask for help if you need it. If you don’t know how to meal prep, or feel you are falling behind or not making progress, just ask for help.

“I would definitely recommend Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center to a friend,” she says.

Dr. Colquitt encourages patients to attend the classes, meet with dieticians and accept the lifestyle changes indefinitely, especially related to eating and drinking, in order to keep the weight off.

“For Tracy, our first goal was to reduce her BMI from 48 to 40, then when that happens, strive for 35, then 30, so she would not be in the obese category anymore,” he says.

“It’s about creating healthy habits that help us live longer and enjoy the quality of life that we want, and she has done that. She has done great.”

If you’re considering bariatric surgery, the first step is to watch the free onliner informational seminar offered by Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons. Visit the GET STARTED page for details on how to view it.

Foothills Weight Loss Surgeons is affiliated with the Fort Sanders Center for Bariatric Surgery in Knoxville. Foothills is a division of Premier Surgical Bariatrics.