Patient Story: BFFs Through Thick and Thin - Genesis Health System

Published on January 18, 2016

BFFs Through Thick and Thin

Marsha and Jess

Two best friends choose the Genesis Center for Weight Management for life-changing surgeries

Like most friends, Marsha Daufeldt and Jessica Lyon do a lot together. They work together, they shop together, and even own a craft business together. So when the duo decided to have weight loss surgery, it made sense to do it together.

Notorious yo-yo dieters, Daufeldt and Lyon had surgery in September with the Genesis Center for Weight Management, the only American College of Surgeons-accredited center in the region. They were certain Genesis would not only help them to shed the pounds, but keep them off for good.

“Nothing was working long-term. We needed help,” Daufeldt said. Both she and Lyon are employed at a Muscatine insurance and financial company, and have been co-workers since 2005. Immediately becoming friends, the two spent a lot of their time together trying to lose weight.

“We went up and down and up and down…” Daufeldt said.

Lyon agreed, adding, “But this time we’re making a life change, while a diet is just for some time.”

Choosing Surgical Weight Loss

Lyon originally explored weight loss surgery back in 2011, but opted out after discovering insurance at the time would not cover a sleeve gastrectomy. Daufeldt had also encouraged her friend to hold off, saying there were other options to consider before committing to surgery.

“I told her there were so many things we could try first. Surgery should be our last resort,” Daufeldt said.

But after four years of failed dieting, both ladies found themselves attending an introductory educational session at the Genesis Center for Weight Management. They were eager to find out if they were candidates for surgery.

“Patients are figuring out that obesity surgery works,” said Kathy Crooks, Program Coordinator with the Center for Weight Management. Crooks has worked with bariatric patients since 2005 and has seen a massive shift in how people view weight loss surgery. “Surgery helps to keep the weight off long-term, which nothing else does.”

Up and Down

Daufeldt and Lyon confessed to being overweight since childhood.

“We have both always been bigger,” Lyon said. “But it was never a serious problem. We weren’t made fun of and it never really affected our health.”

Nevertheless, both ladies were not happy with their physical appearance. From Weight Watchers to AdvoCare, Daufeldt and Lyon became connoisseurs of trendy diets.

“We tried a lot of different diets, and many of them were really expensive,” Daufeldt said. “I didn’t enjoy a lot of the meals. It was like eating meals packaged for astronauts in space.”

The diets would sometimes work, and each would lose several pounds at a time. But the hard part was keeping it off.

“You lose weight, you feel good, and then you gradually move back to the pizzas,” Daufeldt said. “We just couldn’t do that anymore.”

More than Just Surgery

Marsha and Jessica meet with Dietitian Rachel Fargher

Daufeldt, left, and Lyon, right, meet with Dietitian Rachel
Fargher at the Genesis Center for Weight Management.

After finding out they did indeed qualify for bariatric surgery, Daufeldt and Lyon began seeing their family doctor to talk diet, exercise, and general wellness. Meanwhile they also visited the Center for Weight Management, meeting with Crooks and a dietitian. All of this started in January and finally resulted in surgery nearly nine months later.

Even though insurance now covers the sleeve gastrectomy, both ladies chose Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, a procedure in which the small intestine is rerouted to a newly created stomach pouch. Roux-en-Y is the most common form of weight loss surgery.

Their surgeries were scheduled for Sept. 21, a date that not only represented the end of a very long process, but also an entirely new beginning.

“I was so excited, so nervous, and so emotional,” Daufeldt said. “After all this time it was finally here.”

A New Today

Three months later, both Daufeldt and Lyon are more than pleased with their results. Since January they’ve lost a combined 130 pounds and are feeling better than ever. They also look forward to their appointments at the Center for Weight Management where, they say, they get to see their “family”.

“Everyone at the Center for Weight Management is so nice,” Daufeldt said. “You walk in and it feels like a family.”

Crooks agrees, and she also looks forward to return appointments after such successful surgeries.

“I always say to people, ‘If I could take a video of you six months after the surgery to show you how happy you’re going to be, you’d sign up in a minute,’” she said. “It’s just so much fun to give people their lives back.”

--By Tyler Mitchell, Genesis

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