Jinnean Askew – Gastric Sleeve Weight-Loss Surgery

From the winter 2010 edition of Shine magazine

Jinnean AskewWithin minutes of meeting her, you know that Jinnean Askew has one of those powerhouse personalities so big that it seems entirely appropriate that she is known to many by just her first name. But being known for being big physically was not the reputation she wanted to accompany her in life.

"My weight was an ongoing thing since an auto accident left me with upper and lower back problems," Askew says. "I was in rehabilitation for a year and a half, had limited mobility, and the weight just piled on. I guess for a long time, I just felt that if the weight wasn't really bothering me, I wasn't going to bother it."

Askew has a tremendous zest for life. When not engaged in her 20-plus-year career as a neurophysiology technician, she's active as a gospel recording artist, a preacher, and teacher at the Potter's House Church, and a member of its mass choir. She also writes and produces songs and broadly outlines an array of goals ample for two lifetimes.

But being significantly overweight began to take its toll about two years ago, Askew says. It led to health problems including sleep apnea, worsened allergies and asthma, bronchitis, and sinusitis. Despite seasonal medications, she experienced shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, and her body simply "working against itself."

"I had a knee injury from a fall and an ankle problem, so even walking was not easy," Askew says. "On top of everything else, I was diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure."

Ready to find herself again

Jinnean Askew - Gastric SleeveAskew tried multiple diets with some success, losing up to 30 pounds, only to regain it. "I finally felt I was at a breaking point," she admits, adding, "I felt I was simply slowly dying.

"It felt like I had let myself go — I had lost me," Askew says. "I want to be healthy, viable, and active, so I began to look at myself as a whole."

On the road back to health, Askew talked to more than two dozen sources. "Doing your homework is very important to embracing success," she says.

She sought help from her doctor, Pamela Santone, DO, an independently practicing family medicine physician on the medical staff of Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, and through the Methodist Weight Management Institute and Preeti Malladi, MD, an independently practicing physician on the medical staff at Methodist Health System. Askew's physicians helped her consider the options, and together they determined that a gastric sleeve procedure was the best choice.

Jinnean Askew - weight lossThe gastric sleeve procedure is a minimally invasive weight-loss surgery that reduces the size of the stomach by stapling a large portion of it closed. This creates a thin stomach sleeve that reduces the amount that can be eaten, making you feel full on less food. The body digests and absorbs calories normally.

"Now I can eat anything, with minimal control; I'm off my meds; and I've lost 56 pounds in three months with a goal to lose a total of 75 to 100 pounds within a year from surgery," Askew says. And she loves the journey of passing downward through dress sizes.

Embracing change

Askew says she highly recommends the gastric sleeve procedure, as well as the care of Dr. Malladi as a physician.

"I want to encourage others to get ahead of the game — face your fears and embrace them," Askew says. "You can't hide behind your weight like a wall. You have to consciously decide to make a change.

"I have a lot more energy, enjoy my busy life more — even cut my own lawn!" she says with a broad smile. The Bible says we should prosper as good souls as we find good health. "There is no telling what I'm going to be able to do now that I'm healthy! I'm taking my life back — I have no regrets at all."