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January 25, 2021 - Just over a year ago, Judy Cannon began a journey to all-around better health. That weight loss jump start began with learning about endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty offered at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital to achieve her goals without surgery.
Since then, she’s lost nearly 100 pounds, feels healthy and energetic, and is grateful for everyone who’s played a part in her success.
If you are struggling with weight loss and would like to learn more about several types of nonsurgical procedures, set up a personal consultation with a member of the Washington University gastroenterology team today.
In December 2019, Cannon had a procedure at Barnes-Jewish Hospital called, endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), in which Washington University gastroenterologist Vladimir Kushnir, MD, used a suturing device to reduce the size of Cannon’s stomach.
“This procedure was the beginning of my weight loss journey,” says Cannon. “I had been wanting to do gastric surgery for a long time, but the cost and insurance was always a factor — that is, until last year when my doctor told me about a fairly new procedure that is done endoscopically. I talked with my husband about it and knew that it was worth my health to do this.”
“The procedure achieves similar results to gastric surgery,” says Dr. Kushnir. “But instead of surgery, we do the procedure with the endoscope. It’s an outpatient procedure, there are no incisions and the recovery time is a few days.” An endoscope is a flexible tube with a light and a tiny camera attached that’s inserted through the throat into the esophagus.
“My ESG procedure was scheduled on Dec. 17, 2019, and I was really nervous about it,” Cannon says. “But my care team at Washington University Physicians and BJC assured me it would go just fine. They were right! Everything went so smoothly and there were no complications at all.”
“Prior to my procedure, I did a lot of reading and research on the foods I needed to have in my pantry for the liquid and soft-food diet I was going to be on for a short time. I’m glad I was prepared. Once I got home, it made everything so much easier. I definitely feel fuller faster and I don’t eat as much as I did before, which is good.”
Cannon documents everything including how she feels and activities she participates in and keeps a journal of the foods she eats.
“I do have ups and downs and daily challenges with some foods I eat and the amount of exercise I do, but my grandchildren have helped me along the way, saying to me, ‘Is that ok to eat?’ and ‘Let’s play together!’ I love how they are involved — it definitely keeps me motivated.”
“I can mow the lawn again, play with my grandchildren and I even helped my husband remodel our house this past year,” Cannon says. “The weight loss has made a big difference in my life. I have so much more energy than I did before.”
“I started out at 379 pounds and lost 90 pounds in a year,” Cannon says. “I still have a long way to go to reach my goal weight of 175 pounds, but I know I can do it, especially with everything I have learned through this process.
“The Washington University Physicians endoscopic non-surgical weight loss team on Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital campus that I worked with this past year, helped me change my relationship with nutrition. I am eating better, feeling better and happy to be on the road to better all-around health.
“The support of the team through the whole journey has been truly amazing and my family was so pleased with how everything went,” Cannon says. “The nurse practitioner, Rachel Maday, stayed with my family during my entire procedure and I just can’t thank her enough for that. And Suzanne Bell, the program coordinator, is a big help as well and continues to be a support for me in our behavior coaching groups.”
“The ESG procedure was a success and a blessing and I am so grateful for everyone who was a part of my experience,” says Cannon. “If I had to do it all over again, I definitely would.”
If you are struggling with weight loss and would like to learn more about several types of nonsurgical procedures set up a personal consultation with a member of the Washington University gastroenterology team today.
Michael Bennett, MD, is a gastroenterologist who medically monitored Judy’s success and saw her for her return office visits after her ESG procedure. He discusses any medical challenges, and reports successes to referring physicians or to the patient’s primary care physician.
“Judy has been a motivated patient from the start. ESG in conjunction with a comprehensive weight loss plan have given her the tools she needed to achieve real success and I am happy for her.”
Vladimir Kushnir, MD, is the director of bariatric endoscopy at Washington University School of Medicine who performed the endoscopic procedure on Judy.
“Endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty is a minimally invasive, outpatient weight loss procedure which offers lasting results for patients like Judy and I am happy to have been a part of her success in her weight loss goals.”
Rachel Maday, APRN, FNP-C, is the bariatric endoscopy nurse practitioner who was responsible for pre-procedure education, procedure prescriptions and medications, post-procedure symptom management, and all follow-up visits for Judy.
“I have a close relationship with every single patient, including Judy, and I am always available for patient questions and concerns related to medical issues. I'm so proud of Judy and her commitment to health. It's that type of dedication, plus the aid of an endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG) that can make real progress, even after years of failed diets.”
Suzanne Bell, MS, CTRS, is the bariatric endoscopy program coordinator and behavior coach. Suzanne uses her background as a recreational therapist, to help patients identify and incorporate behavior changes to support their weight loss goal success. Suzanne assists patients in navigating their program experience; from first phone calls, scheduling visits, offering next steps pre-procedure, and then provides a personalized protocol for each patient -including their planned return office visits, important contacts, and monthly behavior coaching groups for the next year.
“If a patient doesn’t want to make a change, they are not going to make the change.”
“Judy has been a pleasure to work with, and has been an enjoyable, insightful member of our remote, monthly behavior coaching group sessions. She has consistently incorporated realistic healthy behavior changes into her lifestyle, which support her weight loss experience. Judy continues making improvements to her health, including behavior changes which can last throughout her lifetime. Judy has demonstrated program compliance and incorporated recommended behavior changes, which impact her continued ability to reach her weight loss and healthy lifestyle goals.”
Gail Crofton, MA, RDN, LDN, CDE is the registered dietitian nutritionist who worked with Judy before and after her ESG procedure. Prior to Judy’s ESG procedure, Gail provided nutrition education on dietary and lifestyle changes required for success. The focus of follow up visits post-procedure, center on helping Judy achieve her individual goals, promote nutrition principles for health, and provide supportive tips for lasting change.
“Judy has been wonderful and a joy to work with. She has been committed and confident in making the necessary changes to restore her health, her energy, and improve her quality of life.”