The Stanley Family’s Story: A Family Affair
The plaque outside the door of the Stanley family’s home reads “House of Stanley, Established October 28, 1986.” It commemorates the date when Kevin and Toni Stanley married and started a new life together.
During the next 25 years, the couple had four sons; earned college degrees while holding down jobs; moved from Dayton to a mini-farm in Brookville; gained a daughter-in-law, and… along with two of their sons, shed more than 500 pounds.
For years, Toni and Kevin waged the battle of the bulge. Toni recalls gaining 125 pounds with her first pregnancy. Over the years, she tried just about every diet out there, but was never able to lose more than 10 pounds at a time.
Kevin said he was heavy most of his life, would go on a diet and lose up to 100 pounds, only to gain it all back and more. He exercised—he is a black belt in martial arts—until his busy schedule and increasing weight made it more difficult to stick with a regular exercise program.
Both began to experience symptoms such as chronic pain in their joints, back pain and migraine headaches. Only in their early forties, they felt old and tired. Finally, in early 2009, the couple decided to investigate weight loss (bariatric) surgery.
“There is a history of diabetes and heart disease in our families,” explains Toni, “and we were setting ourselves up to be part of that history.” But, she admits, her short-term motivation was to look good at her son Adam’s upcoming wedding.
After doing some basic research and checking with their medical insurer, they attended a weight loss surgery seminar at Miami Valley Hospital (MVH).
And they did not go alone. Two of their sons, Sean, then age 18, and Andrew, then age 21, went with them. Both boys, unlike their siblings, had struggled with weight most of their lives. While their size served them well on the football field, they, too, were experiencing painful side effects such as back pain and difficulty sleeping.
|Before Weight Loss Surgery: Pictured
at Sean’s 2009 high school graduation
are (left to right) Kevin, Adam, Sean,
Toni, Andrew and Zac.
|After Weight Loss Surgery: Pictured in
2011 are (left to right) Adam, Toni, Sean
(in front), Kevin, Andrew and Zac.
At the seminar, Mujeeb Siddiqui, DO, of Premier Metabolic and Bariatric Associates, discussed the various options available to them, including a relatively new minimally-invasive (laparoscopic) procedure called sleeve gastrectomy. The procedure involves removing 80 to 90 percent of the stomach, which ends up looking like a tube or sleeve, hence the name.
As Dr. Siddiqui explained, sleeve gastrectomy is the first stage of a more complicated weight loss surgery. The second stage involves gastric bypass or a duodenal switch, surgeries which reroute the small bowel to limit food absorption.
In recent years, bariatric surgeons have learned that, for many patients, sleeve gastrectomy alone provides sufficient weight loss. Consequently, it has evolved into its own procedure. Should patients not lose the desired amount of weight after two years, they have the option to have the more aggressive second-stage surgery.
Sleeve gastrectomy has some drawbacks:
Because the surgery as a primary procedure is relatively new, long-term outcome data is not yet available. However, initial data on the procedure’s impact on weight loss and co-morbidity reduction has been positive.
- The procedure, unlike adjustable gastric band surgery
- , is not reversible.
- As with any surgery, there are risks for infection, bleeding and leakage along the staple line.
However, according to Dr. Siddiqui, who has 23 years of surgical experience including eight years in bariatric surgery, the procedure has many advantages over other kinds of weight loss surgery.
Compared to adjustable gastric band surgery, sleeve gastrectomy provides quicker and better weight loss; does not require the introduction of a foreign body into the patient; does not require frequent follow-up visits for band adjustment; and does not have the complications of band slippage or erosion.
Compared to gastric bypass or duodenal switch surgeries, sleeve gastrectomy does not involve rerouting and reconnecting the intestinal tract. The latter can result in unpleasant side effects such as “dumping syndrome” (nausea and diarrhea after eating), internal hernias and ulcers. With sleeve gastrectomy, there is less chance of malnutrition and fewer dietary restrictions.
There Is…A Time To Lose
Armed with information from their own research and Miami Valley Hospital’s weight loss surgery seminar, the Stanleys opted for sleeve gastrectomy with Dr. Siddiqui, who is a clinical assistant professor at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine.
Toni, who had first brought up the idea of weight loss surgery, went first. She entered surgery on June 23, 2009, weighing 283 pounds. She was in the hospital for four days, came home on a Saturday and went back to work as a systems analyst on Monday.
Today, the average length of hospital stay for a sleeve gastrectomy has dropped to one or two days according to Debra Anderson Gold, service line director of Bariatric Services at MVH.
Taking advantage of his summer break from teaching, Kevin, weighing 260 pounds, had surgery on June 30. Next up was son Sean on July 13; and, finally, son Andrew, on August 25. Sean’s pre-surgery weight was 360 pounds and Andrew’s was 291.
All four surgeries were uneventful, that is, without complications.
Toni and Kevin lost over 100 pounds each the first year and have maintained their losses. (Toni’s goal is to lose another 35 pounds.) Sean’s current weight is 180 pounds, and Andrew’s current weight is 170 pounds.
Debra likes to say the specialists at MVH 's Bariatric Services are “in the business of transforming lives.” The Stanleys are proof of that. The “House of Stanley” may have been established in 1986, but it was re-established in 2009.
“We got our lives back,” said Toni of herself, her husband and two of her sons. “Losing weight was the impetus for so many other positive changes in our lives.”
In March 2010, the family realized a long-term goal of moving to the country. “We now have the energy to manage our mini-farm,” remarks Kevin, who enjoys driving his all-terrain vehicle around the property…that is, when his sons are not driving it.
Sean and Andrew did not feel socially disadvantaged when they were overweight. They had many friends at school and in their church group—including girls. “Then, we had friends who were girls,” explains Sean. “Now, we have girlfriends.”
And yes, Toni looked great dancing with son Adam at his wedding in August 2010.
This July, the entire family spent a week together white-water rafting in West Virginia, something the family has always wanted to do. Until now, all family members were not up to the challenge. Now, they are.
Body Mass Index
BMI is a formula for measuring adult obesity based on height and weight. A numeric indicator from 18 to 25 is considered healthy. Visit our online calculator.
The National Institutes of Health’s criteria for weight loss surgery is a BMI of 40+ or a BMI of 35+ with co-morbidities (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, high cholesterol).
Recently the Federal Drug Administration ruled that patients with a BMI between 30 and 35 and at least one co-morbidity were eligible for adjustable gastric band surgery.