The Aulds before and after surgery, with Dr. Stelios Rekkas and Physician Assistant Julie Chorley, PA-C.
After nearly 10 years of struggling with their weight, Lesley and Crystal Aulds are excited to have their health on track.
“We tried dieting, we tried everything, but we could never get down to a healthy weight,” explains Lesley. “I had high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and pretty much was heading on a bad route health-wise.” Crystal meanwhile was coping with Crohn’s disease and fibromyalgia.
Considering weight-loss surgery was a big decision, but they were both concerned about how their weight might impact their long-term health. Together, they made an appointment with Stelios Rekkas, MD, FACS, FASMBS, Medical Director of Manatee Memorial Hospital’s Surgical Weight Loss Program, to discuss their options. Lesley is a biomedical equipment technician at Manatee Memorial Hospital, and Crystal works in nursing case management at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, so they were familiar with the program. “You can tell that Dr. Rekkas and his staff really care about what they’re doing,” Lesley says.
Lesley and Crystal both chose to have a gastric sleeve procedure, which removes about 80 percent of the stomach, restricting the amount of food that can be eaten. To prepare, they worked with the program’s dietitian, who helped them get started on the lifelong commitment they were making.
Adjusting to their new post-surgery lifestyle has required hard work and also brought great rewards. Together, they’ve lost about 210 pounds, and Lesley’s diabetes is now 100 percent under control. “Walking is super-important,” he says of their exercise regimen. They eat regular meals, but their portions are smaller and healthier.
As the parents of a 7-year-old son and two older boys – ages 18 and 24 – they’re thrilled to be feeling better and more active. Lesley is teaching their youngest to play soccer, and even simple things, like getting out of the pool, are easier. “It made us closer,” he says of experiencing this with his wife. Together, they look forward to living longer to see a lot of grandkids and “just having a better life.”
Weight-Loss Treatments Offered
- Robotic Sleeve Gastrectomy (“Gastric Sleeve”): Reduces the size of the stomach so you feel full with less while absorbing full nutrients.
- Lap-Band® System: Adjustable band to decrease the amount of food that can be consumed.
- Robotic Gastric Bypass: A small pouch from the top part of the stomach is attached to the small intestine to restrict the amount of food you can eat.
- Non-surgical Obalon® Balloon System: Swallowable lightweight balloons to help you feel full and eat less.
Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if bariatric surgery is right for you.