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Weight Loss Surgery Cures Knoxville Patient’s Diabetes

Procedure at Parkwest Leads to Enjoyable New Life

In the eight months since LeAnne Limburg had gastric bypass surgery at Parkwest Medical Center she’s lost 110 pounds – and cured her diabetes.

“I think I came into the world plus-sized,” Limburg, who resides in North Knoxville, said. “I knew I had to do something and take control of my health before it was going to take me.”

Through the years, Limburg, 41, tried to improve her health through standard diet and exercise, but nothing seemed to work. Her parents and both sets of grandparents had diabetes, so when she was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, she knew it was a predisposed genetic trait.

She initially began using oral medications in an attempt to gain control of her diabetes, but it wasn’t enough. Then she found herself having to check her sugar levels every few hours to gauge how much insulin she needed. As diabetes impaired her eyesight and circulatory system, Limburg’s quality of life was severely compromised.

“I had to wear special support hose to encourage blood flow and to be monitored regularly as a precaution for blood clots,” she said. “I could no longer rest peacefully because of the constant thirst and frequent trips to the restroom which are typical diabetic traits.”

Eventually her primary care physician recommended she use an insulin pump which allowed her to receive the insulin she needed via a port that connected to her waistband. Although the pump worked well at the time, it dictated what type of clothing she could wear and how she could position herself for sleeping. Showering was the only time the pump could be disconnected.

“I was constantly operating in a fog because I couldn’t think clearly,” Limburg said. “I was very shaky and always had to remind myself to focus.”

Following the loss of her mother, father and grandfather – all of whom had struggled with diabetes – within a year and a half, she made the decision to have gastric bypass surgery.

On July 28, 2008, weighing an all-time high of 318 pounds, Limburg underwent surgery at Parkwest’s Bariatric Center of Excellence.

“Gastric bypass surgery has more benefits than just weight loss,” said Dr. Stephen Boyce. “Surgery cured a disease LeAnne had battled for years and has dramatically improved her quality of life.”

Two weeks after surgery, Limburg’s glucose levels were cut in half without the assistance of insulin. She was free of diabetic medications.

Today, Limburg has successfully focused her energy into making healthy choices. Her meal plan includes breakfast, lunch and dinner with two protein shakes between meals to ensure she gets all the nutrients her body needs.

She knew traditional exercise had failed in the past, so she invested in a Wii Fit. She credits its dance and aerobic activities for keeping her on track. People who haven’t seen Limburg in awhile find themselves doing a double-take.

“Out of habit, I still find myself shopping for clothes in the plus-size section,” Limburg confesses. “I’m not the 4XL I used to be. Now, I can shop most anywhere and fit into a standard large.”

She wants others who struggle with their weight and diabetes to know there is hope. “The decision to have weight loss surgery has forever impacted my life,” she said. “Not only am I losing weight, but I’m improving my overall well being. It’s an emotional stepping stone that has also lifted me spiritually.”

Limburg has also found that weight loss surgery has helped her financially. While she’s been slimming down, her wallet has been getting fatter. She now saves $365 every three months – money she no longer spends on multiple prescriptions.

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