Corey Cade - When less is more

Surgical weight loss can give patients their lives back

Between them, Katrina Leonard and Corey Cade have lost more than 175 pounds since their gastric bypass procedures. What could a bariatric procedure do for you? Find a surgeon who performs these surgeries at MethodistHealthSystem.org/Mansfield-Bariatrics.

Corey Cade’s life was limited before weight-loss surgery. After returning from deployment in 2003, the former career Army serviceman had multiple surgeries for painful bone spurs in his heel. A string of complications and illnesses followed that left him hardly able to walk. As a result, he started gaining weight.

“I couldn’t exercise; I was depressed; and I just kept eating more than I should have,” Corey says.

When the formerly 220-pound, 6-foot-tall Army man topped out at 300 pounds, he decided to approach Andrew Standerwick, MD, bariatric surgeon on the medical staff at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center.

Choosing the right surgery

Dr. Standerwick determined that Corey met the requirements to undergo the gastric bypass procedure. Not only was his body mass index above 40, but his weight was contributing to other serious health conditions, including kidney disease, sleep apnea, and high blood pressure.

“Laparoscopic gastric bypass has a track record for effective long-term weight loss,” Dr. Standerwick says. Compared with other surgical weight-loss procedures, gastric bypass also traditionally produces greater weight-loss results in a faster time frame, which is helpful for treating morbid obesity.

The surgery itself involved making six incisions, each about an inch in length, which allowed Dr. Standerwick to access Corey’s stomach and small intestine. These smaller incisions — instead of one large incision used in traditional open procedures — resulted in a faster recovery time and less postoperative pain for Corey. Patients may need only two days to recover in the hospital before going home.

During the procedure, the stomach is divided into two portions: a small functional upper stomach and a lower remnant stomach. The small intestine is then rerouted to connect to the small upper stomach. Less stomach volume means that patients eat less food, plus it changes their physiological response to food.

A total health makeover

It sounds relatively simple, but potential patients should know that weight-loss surgeries are not easy fixes.

“It’s not just the surgery that determines how successful you are at weight loss,” Dr. Standerwick explains. “It takes dedication and diligence, including adopting a new diet, exercise regimen, and overall healthy lifestyle.”

For Corey, that meant more than adjusting his diet.

“Dr. Standerwick said I had to quit smoking if I wanted the surgery,” Corey says. “I quit cold turkey that day.”

Since the surgery in August 2017, Corey has lost almost half his body weight and clocks in at 175 pounds.

“I wanted to live to see my kids graduate high school and college and have their own kids,” Corey says. “It was incredibly painful to walk before, and now I can walk around the block and go to the grocery store with my family instead of waiting in the car. My kidney function and blood pressure have improved, too.”

Corey’s surgery was such a success that his wife, Katrina Leonard, had the same procedure nearly a year after he did.

“He’s her coach — and he would be a very good coach because he did great with his weight loss,” Dr. Standerwick says. “He took to heart the recommendations from me, the dietitian, and his other doctors and really acted on them. He practices what he preaches.”