By Kathleen Berger, Executive Producer for Science and Technology
Taking daily walks mixed with frequent short walks have helped Tracie Mezines lose significant weight. She’s been shedding pounds for many months from this basic exercise and healthy diet ever since having bariatric, or weight loss, surgery.
In just 8 months, she lost 105 pounds. Without the surgery, Tracie doesn’t think such dramatic results would have ever been possible.
“Regardless of what I had done – eating healthy, eliminating sugars, eliminating sodas and anything like that, it’s still just wasn’t helping,” Tracie said.
Tracie had laparoscopic gastric sleeve surgery. With the gastric sleeve surgery, about 85% of the stomach is removed so that it takes on the shape of a tube or sleeve. The gastric sleeve restricts the amount of food that can be eaten at any one time.
“The only regret that I have with having the surgery is that I didn’t do it sooner,” said Tracie.
Bariatric patient Shareece Hogan is hoping to share the same feelings and hopefully similar results after her December gastric sleeve surgery. For the sake of her family, Shareece no longer wants to struggle with the hardships of obesity and high blood pressure.
“My grandkids,” Shareece said. “Just being a grandparent and having to get out there and run around with them and be alive for them. “
The gastric sleeve surgery is one of several surgeries and non-surgical weight-loss options offered at the Mercy Bariatric Center at Mercy Hospital St. Louis. Bariatric surgeon Dr. Matthew Lange, DO, at Mercy Hospital St. Louis is the medical director of the Bariatric Surgery Program.
“It’s a huge commitment. I always tell everyone coming to their first appointment that it’s one of the hardest decisions that they’ll make. Because how many times in your life do you make a decision where you have to change everything that you do that you’ve known for the last 30, 40, 50 years? Our goal is not to change who you are as a person,” Lange explained. ”Our goal is to get you healthier and to think about things differently and to change your mindset as well as changing your different habits that might be sabotaging your progress.”
In October of 2021, the center became the first and only one in the state to receive national accreditation for both bariatric surgery and obesity medicine.
“Whenever we were going through our accreditation, we have developed a medical weight loss arm of our program as well as the surgical weight loss arm of the program. What that means is everyone that comes in doesn’t have to have surgery. There’s lots of different options,” Lange said. “If surgery is not right for you, then we have a very capable and a very comprehensive medical weight loss program as well. That’s staffed by whole separate team of physicians that specialize in weight loss, medical weight loss as well as a team that will help with exercise physiology.”
Before Tracie’s surgery, she had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and sleep apnea. Tracie now stays fit and is disciplined with her diet by eating small portions and eating healthy. Along with the pounds, her health problems are gone. With every single day Tracie proves surgery can successfully be part of the solution that takes dedication and patience.