|Bariatric surgery brings new lease on life
by Dawn Brazell
When Gay Littleton reached the 300-pound mark, she decided it was time.
She had to do something about her weight.
Noah and Gay
Littleton enjoy a special moment on a recent cruise. Both had bariatric
surgery to help lose weight and love how it has changed their lives so
they can be more active.
She and her
husband, Noah, came to an informational meeting at MUSC on bariatric
surgery and met with a psychologist to make sure it was the right step
“We didn’t think we could change our lifestyles enough,” she said of
their efforts to manage their weights through diet and exercise. “We
both had done everything. This seemed like it would have more of a
The two did have surgery, Gay in April 2008, and Noah in March 2009.
Littleton said she’s been surprised by how much it has changed their
lives. She has lost 170 pounds because of the surgery and her hard work
to make healthy behavioral changes. They wouldn’t have had the success
they’ve had, without the bariatric support team, including a
nutritionist and physician assistant, she said.
She and Noah just returned from a cruise where, for the first time,
they were able to sign up to do zip-line activities, something they
couldn’t do before because of weight restrictions. “I’m not saying I
liked it,” she said, laughing, “but I did it.”
Something else she’s enjoying more: Shopping.
“Shopping has become so much fun. I have to reign myself in sometimes.”
She’s able to be more active in her church and she’s joined clubs.
Littleton said the procedure helped her see results quickly and gave
her the motivation she needed to stay on track. “It’s definitely worth
it,” she said. “It has changed our lives in so many
Noah’s surgeon, T. Karl Byrne, M.D., said he wishes more people could
have that experience. He’s encouraged that a legislative proviso has
established a one-year pilot program offering insurance coverage for
100 people who qualify for bariatric surgery as a treatment option for
morbid obesity. These patients would have to meet certain criteria and
be insured with the South Carolina State Health Plan.
“I welcome anything that will provide access to patients who need it.
So even though it’s only 100 patients, I’m glad it happened.”
Believing in the effectiveness of the treatment, Byrne hopes this will
be the first step in achieving universal coverage. The cost potentially
carries a hefty price tag for the estimated 20,000 people on the state
health plan who have the disease.
Want to Know More?
“Facts About Weight Loss Surgery” seminars are held the first Wednesday
of the month, with the next one Dec. 1, from 5 to 6 p.m. in the first
floor auditorium of Ashley River Tower. Registration is required. Call
792-3046, option 9 to register. At the end of the seminar, there will
be discussion about issues related specifically to the State Health
Plan pilot project. If anyone is interested and unable to attend the
seminars, then call the number above.
Friday, Nov. 5, 2010