Annette Pickens was living in Ottumwa and just 18 years old when she started to look for options to help her lose weight. Living with Spina Bifida means Annette relies on a wheelchair full-time to go about her daily activities. Her increasing weight not only made life difficult for her, but also difficult on those she depends on for everyday needs. “I had gotten up to 258 pounds, and just trying to transfer out of my chair and into my chair was just much more difficult,” she says. “Movement was more difficult. Doing anything I wanted to do. It came to a head.”
But finding relief was not easy. Annette tried to look into weight loss options through surgery, but multiple care centers turned her away. “They claimed the risks outweighed any benefits that I could get from surgery. I had two doctors trying to help me and I couldn’t even get a consultation meeting.” But that’s when one of her doctors recommended J. Matthew Glascock, MD, F.A.C.S.
, Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Director at Sartori Memorial Hospital
in Cedar Falls.
After 14 years of searching, Annette finally achieved her first consultation at age 32. As an elite bariatric specialist, Dr. Glascock hoped to help Annette find a new life: “Unfortunately, Ms. Pickens falls into the group of patients who most are frequently denied access to bariatric surgery due to the perception that an underlying condition will complicate post-operative care. We see patients frequently who have been denied a surgical option, often by major medical centers. These are often the most difficult patients to care for safely, but are the ones who stand to obtain the greatest benefit. We provide safe care for these individuals regularly.”
Even though Annette and her family were at first hesitant to begin her journey at a hospital more than three hours away from home, ultimately Annette did have surgery on April 28, 2016. Dr. Glascock performed a sleeve gastrectomy, which causes weight loss by restricting the amount of food that is able to be consumed before feeling full. As Annette approaches the one year anniversary of the procedure, she has passed her goal weight of 140 pounds, and weighs 131.
“The surgery is a tool, and it is a necessary tool for me. But it’s still just a tool. It’s not the entire weight loss program. You still have to eat right, you still have to exercise, you still have to do the things they tell you to do,” she says. Now living in Marion, she goes to the gym six days a week with her mother Debbie. She says finding the right balance between diet and exercise is a big part of her success.
In February 2017, Dr. Glascock announced the bariatric surgical center
at Sartori has been re-accredited as a Comprehensive Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®), a joint program of the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. The MBSAQIP Standards ensure bariatric surgical patients receive a multidisciplinary program, not just a surgical procedure, which improves patient outcomes and long-term success.
“While this designation is certainly an endorsement of the quality of care we provide, what is more telling is the fact that within the walls of this rural hospital, we safely provide world-class surgical care for patients with exceptionally complex conditions. This fact is the real proof that we have a truly unique program made possible only through the dedication of our team,” he says. “We want to be a beacon of hope for the most profoundly afflicted patients.”
Annette has found that hope. “Everything is just easier. I can move easier. It’s kind of my normal now. I feel lighter. I feel better all the way around. I’m lucky – I like Dr. Glascock, and I like the program he has.”
Related Article: Sartori Memorial Hospital Achieves National Accreditation from Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program