When 46-year-old Beth Franzen of Willmar, Minn, heard gastric bypass or “weight loss surgery” could help with her diabetes, she said it was worth taking the risk. Franzen was taking insulin up to six times a day just to avoid fainting and seizures from her low blood sugar levels.
“It takes a toll on you mentally, emotionally, psychically, and it is just a constant battle,” Franzen said.
Over the years, she says she tried every diet and workout in the book, but nothing was helping her drop the weight. She made an appointment with Sanford Bariatric Surgeon Dr. Daaron McField, who says the surgery does a lot more than just help people lose weight.
“We really kind of reset the metabolism of the person, and there’s a tremendous change in the way that the gut, brain and the hormonal systems responds,” McField said.
While it was guaranteed the surgery would help Franzen with her weight, it wasn’t guaranteed it would help with her debilitating diabetes. But it has. She hasn’t taken insulin since the day before her surgery over a year ago.
“I feel like a new person,” Franzen said. “I don’t ever remember feeling this good physically, emotionally and mentally — ever,” said Franzen, who used a picture of a sculpture as her inspiration.
“I lost 143 pounds, and that’s a lot, and I don’t want to diminish that in any way, shape or form, but the amount of weight that’s been lifted of my shoulder doesn’t even compare to the physical weight that I lost,” said Franzen, who says she sees this as a second chance. Food prep, biking, hiking and kayaking are now a big part of her life.
“We train for years, we have long hours, sometimes we get called in the middle of the night, but to see folks do as well as she’s doing makes it worthwhile,” McField said.
While the weight loss surgery was successful for Franzen, the Mayo Clinic says complications such as ulcers, gallstones and hernias can occur.