Weighing Your Options

Community Member

John Stansfield, 47, knows what it’s like to be significantly overweight. With his busy  
schedule as a firefighter, an EMT and a Verizon technician, he put his own health on the  
back burner. Even when he woke up unable to see one morning, and with a blood sugar level  
above 400, he delayed the inevitable. But when an embarrassing photo of him at a sporting  
event was picked up and blasted by a national late-night talk show, John couldn’t laugh off his embarrassment anymore. Instead, he became motivated to lose weight.

“I knew I needed to do this for myself, my wife and my daughters,” he says. John went to  
the experts at Upper Chesapeake Bariatric Surgery to discuss how they could help him with  
his particular case, as well as expectations that needed to be met even before the surgery  
could take place.

“Weight loss through surgery is a very personal and long journey that individuals take  
along with their surgeons and the rest of the bariatrics team,” says Sung Kim, MD, FACS,  
medical director of Upper Chesapeake Bariatric Surgery. “They don’t come to us thinking, ‘I want to lose weight because I am obese.’ They are thinking, ‘I want to lose weight because  
I have health issues.’

“The decision to have weight loss surgery should be made only after careful consideration,  
extensive research and consultation with an experienced bariatric surgeon and  
multidisciplinary support team, who will be involved in your care both before surgery and  
in the years afterward,” Dr. Kim continues.  John was comforted by the professionalism and experience that Dr. Kim and his team, which includes a certified bariatric nurse, a licensed registered dietitian, a licensed certified behavior health counselor and a certified exercise specialist, brought forward. “I knew that if I stuck with their program and returned to the support groups, I would succeed,” he  says.

And succeed he did. With his vertical sleeve gastrectomy procedure performed in August  
2011, John has lost 133 pounds to date and went from a size 58 waist to size 42. He says  
his “energy levels are off the charts” and, even though he hates running, he regularly  
participates in 5Ks. “I used to have neuropathy in my fingers due to diabetes, and now I  
have neither issue. My sleep apnea has greatly improved and my general aches and pains - including kidney pain - are gone.”