News from Parkwest Health & Lifestyles

Winter days can be bleak, but Drew and Dori Howington’s home in Etowah is filled with the savory scent of a warm and freshly prepared dinner. “I’m a chef at heart,” says Drew, who loves to find new ways to prepare tasty foods for his family.

Drew has lost about 100 pounds since undergoing a gastric sleeve procedure performed by Bariatric Surgeon Dr. K.. Robert Williams at Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville in December 2019. These days he invests extra time in creating delicious meals because he can’t thrive on the unhealthy foods he used to eat.

“I’ve adapted my talents for cooking to our new lifestyle and formulated new ways of preparing foods to keep them healthy,” Drew says. “The key is to be creative.”

Wake-Up Call

With his weight hovering around 300 pounds after years of yo-yo dieting, Drew says he was living a limited life. He couldn’t walk very far, his knees hurt, going up stairs was exhausting and he couldn’t keep up with his young son. He continued to live with his weight until routine bloodwork at his doctor’s office revealed enzymes that signaled the onset of liver failure. “That was essentially my wake-up call,” says Drew.

Those liver enzyme levels were corrected almost immediately after the surgery. As he began to live a healthier lifestyle, eating less and exercising more often, the weight began to drop and his energy level increased.

“I was nowhere near the father that I should be for my child, or the husband I should be for my wife, and I definitely owed it to myself to have a long and healthy life,” says Drew.

His wife Dori, who had previously undergone a gastric sleeve procedure herself, and Drew have become enthusiastic about sharing what they’ve learned. They are actively involved in a support group sponsored by Parkwest Bariatric Center. Group members have sampled Drew’s cooking and learned from the couple about navigating health and fitness apps. Drew and Dori also are helping their support group leader plan a date night for other couples in the support group.

“It’s crucial that people realize when you’re morbidly obese, even if you’re not on medications and you think you’re healthy, you’re not,” says Dori. “Surgery is a life-changing adventure and it can be scary, but for many of us, it’s a necessity. Surgery gives you a tool that can last a lifetime. It gives you that extra push that gives you the ability to maintain the weight loss.”

The Search for Excellent Care

When Drew decided he was ready for weight loss surgery, the couple researched options far and wide before deciding Parkwest was the best choice. “We looked as far west as Las Vegas and as far so much more energy,’” Mouzon says. Patients find they can enjoy fun activities like never before. In addition, they often are able to quit taking medications for blood pressure and diabetes.

According to Dr. Williams of New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery at Parkwest, the first step is becoming well-informed about the risks and benefits of bariatric surgery. While any surgical procedure has risks involved, he says that depending on the procedure, “In this day and age the risk of having a complication around the time of surgery is only about one to three percent.”

Dr. Williams adds, “There are multiple benefits patients harvest from weight-loss surgery. Most notably, near the time of surgery there’s a great improvement in diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, hyperlipidemia and reflux.”

“In some cases improvements in lifestyle are even more important than improvements in medical problems,” Dr. Williams explains. “Patients often find that they are more likely or able to do things and participate in family and physical activities.”

Mouzon says, “These are what we call ‘non-scale victories.’ It’s like they’ve been freed.” Drew and Dori Howington are embracing that freedom with each new day. “It has definitely changed my life for the better,” Drew says.

The first step to learn more about surgical weight-loss options is to watch our free online bariatric seminar  at . Questions? Talk to our caring New Life Bariartric team at (865) 694-9676.