With support and encouragement from staff and other ‘bari buddies,’ I am successful and healthier. – Kathy
Overweight her whole life, Kathy Jeanne Eckhart, 60, of Palmerton, never imagined that in her 60s, she’d feel more energetic and vivacious than she did in her 20s. But since her bariatric surgery with St. Luke’s Weight Management Center, she feels like she has a new lease on life. “I feel set free from all the health issues associated with carrying around that extra weight!” says Kathy.
About six years ago, Kathy’s health was steadily declining. At five feet tall, her weight topped out at 230 lbs., far too much weight for her small frame. Plus, as a hairstylist, she was constantly on her feet and carrying all the extra weight was causing pain in her back, knees and feet. She had high blood pressure and high cholesterol and her diabetes medication wasn’t cutting it, so she was in danger of needing regular insulin injections. Every doctor she consulted said the same thing, “If you lose weight, your health would improve.” Kathy knew the answer to her health problems, but she couldn’t quite achieve the results. She tried modifications to her diet, but it never resulted in any substantial weight loss. Her doctor told her that because she was already suffering from more than one obesity-related condition, bariatric surgery would improve and even reverse those conditions.
Her insurance company recommended St. Luke’s Weight Management Center because of its designation as a Surgical Center of Excellence. Once Kathy attended the St. Luke’s informational seminars and talked to the staff and other patients who had the surgery, she knew it was the way to get her back on the right path to good health.
Immediately after Kathy’s laparoscopic roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery, she lost over 100 lbs. and as an added bonus, her diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol issues were resolved. The cortisone shots to relieve her back, foot and knee pain were a thing of the past.
“I know it may sound like all of my health problems were magically fixed with the surgery, but it’s not quite that simple,” says Kathy. “Yes, I no longer need to take meds for diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol and yes, my back, knee and foot pain are gone, but I have to commit to a healthy lifestyle every single day. If I didn’t, all of the health benefits would be gone.”
Kathy is thankful to everyone who continues to help her with her commitment to good health. “The doctors and staff at St. Luke’s were and still are a big part of my life and my journey,” says Kathy. “They are with me when I have questions or just need motivation. Not only are they highly educated in their field, they are kind and caring and truly have a heart for their patients. With support and encouragement from staff and other ‘bari buddies,’ I am successful and healthier.”
Kathy’s advice to anyone considering weight loss surgery is to talk to people who have done it, go to seminars and support groups and find a doctor and a hospital system committed to patients long after surgery. “But most of all, be realistic about what is expected of you,” cautions Kathy. “It’s not just the surgery, you have to play an active role in what happens next.”