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The Incredible Shrinking Woman


The Incredible Shrinking Woman

How bariatric surgery at Lakewood Health improved one woman’s life.

 Heidi Windschitl got a new photo ID. It wasn’t because her driver’s license expired, or that she accidentally put it through the washer and dryer. No, Heidi needed a new card because her old ID photo no longer resembled her. That’ll happen when you lose 146 pounds.

To explain Heidi’s physical transformation and health journey, let’s go back a couple years to when her bathroom scale registered 282 pounds. She was a 29-year old busy mother of two who was struggling with her weight. At that time, Heidi faced some emotional and relationship challenges which adversely affected her self-esteem and overall confidence level.

While Heidi always enjoyed eating tasty meals and snacks as much as the next person, food had become her source for emotional comfort – and the weight increased. Physically, the extra pounds were taking their toll. Heidi was tired all day. She barely had the energy to enjoy play time with her children. Her cholesterol and BMI levels were high, and her knees hurt terribly at work, where she stood all day as a hair stylist. Something had to change.

Heidi visited with her primary care provider, certified nurse practitioner Kelly Thompson, who recommended she make some life changes – beginning with attending a bariatric surgery informational session led by Lakewood surgeon, Dr. Jay Lenz. Heidi agreed it was time to take control.

The bariatric session proved to be very informative, and Heidi was indeed a candidate for the sleeve gastrectomy procedure. However, patients are not able to simply rush in and have it done. Heidi’s six-month pre-op preparation came first. Every Lakewood Health bariatric patient receives this high level of care and education. It includes meetings with expert dietitians to discuss nutritional strategies and map out weight-loss goals, and with psychologists to fill out a psychological evaluation. Following that, Heidi received her insurance approvals. She and her Lakewood Health team were ready for action.

A sleeve gastrectomy procedure is minimally-invasive. Of all the bariatric surgeries, it has the lowest rate of complications. Dr. Lenz performed Heidi’s procedure, successfully removing a portion of her stomach to reduce its size. As a result, Heidi now feels fuller and avoids overeating. Also, the portion of the stomach which was removed is the part responsible for producing hunger hormones, which reduces Heidi’s appetite between meals. That, combined with proper nutrition and portion control, ensures Heidi will remain at a healthy, happy weight.IMG_0015 LICENSES NOBGROUND

Following her procedure, Heidi emerged from Lakewood after a couple days with some routine discomfort. However, it wasn’t long before she regained her active lifestyle. With her new stomach size, reduced appetite, and dedication to healthy meals and portions, the pounds began melting away. “My energy level shot up, and my cholesterol level dropped down,” Heidi happily reported. “Plus, I once suffered from heartburn that required acid-reflux medication. Now my heartburn is practically non-existent.”

Today, two years later, Heidi continues to enjoy good eating and the benefits of her bariatric procedure at Lakewood. She tells friends and co-workers how much easier it is to stand and style hair for her clients at Markus Hair Design & Day Spa in Motley, MN. And just the other day, she and her two children had a blast playing a rousing game of tag.

“Playing actively with the kids didn’t happen back when I weighed 282 pounds, and I’m so blessed that I can do it now – thanks to Dr. Lenz and Lakewood’s inspiration, guidance and expertise,” Heidi said with a beaming smile on her face. A smile that scarcely resembles her grin from two years ago.

If you’re interested in learning more about bariatric surgery at Lakewood, please attend one of our informational sessions. For dates, times and locations, visit our website or call us at 218-894-8623.