I, too, had bariatric surgery…

By: Dr. Isabelle Labonté, Internist, IUCPQ – Quebec Heart and Lung Institute.

By: Dr. Isabelle Labonté, Internist, IUCPQ – Quebec Heart and Lung Institute Why not me? That’s what I thought to myself about a year ago. I’m an internist at the IUCPQ – Quebec Heart and Lung Institute at Université Laval. I work extensively in bariatric medicine, helping patients with obesity and sharing my knowledge on its management. Over the past few years I realized that I am part of that group of patients who at risk of developing many diseases that can shorten one’s lifespan and healthy lifespan. It was a wakeup call. It’s scary to think about all those metabolic comorbidities, cardiovascular risks and the 14 cancers linked with an excess risk! Not only that. I was also feeling less and less credible in my own professional practice. But despite all my knowledge on the subject, the many medications I tried and the endless lifestyle changes I made, I couldn’t lose the excess weight. So who would believe and follow my advice? I’ve played sports my whole life. I swam competitively 24 hours a week, played soccer, cycled and did 10-k runs, all despite my obesity. I went on my first diet when I was 14, and I’ve been hungry ever since. Those darn hormones that make you hungry and increase your appetite while you deprive yourself and stay active! Obelix’s famous quote: “When you’re eating well, you’re well” doesn’t apply to everyone. My basal metabolic rate dropped so low that it almost collided with the earth’s core. Being from an obese family, my genes certainly didn’t help. I cried so many times. My childhood, teenage years and even adult life were marked with disappointments: I was bullied, judged and rejected by boys. After being around successful gastric surgery patients (including my sister) and reading more about obesity, I realized that I needed to pull on the bannister to make it up a flight of stairs. I had also started wearing a CPAP for sleep apnea. I had had enough. I decided to go for it and choose myself – to take action at 53 rather than waiting until I was 60 or 65! On November 27, 2020, with a BMI of 45, I took the plunge. I had a Roux-en-Y- bypass to regain my health. Then I had to completely relearn how to eat. This included a lot of bland and even downright unpleasant textures (I now know why babies don’t like pureed meat). I also had to adjust my quantities because one bite too many can cause reflux and regurgitation. Post-operative pain, fatigue, hair loss and excess skin were all part of my journey to a healthy weight. But, miracle of miracles, I was finally seeing results on the scale without having to starve myself. After 7 months of eating carefully and walking over 300 km, I have lost 80 pounds and my BMI is now 31. I’m still losing weight, albeit more slowly. All I need to do now is overcome my fears of gaining the weight back – something I see every week in my work. Despite it all, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to choose myself again!
Dr. Isabelle Labonté

Why not me? That’s what I thought to myself about a year ago. I’m an internist at the IUCPQ – Quebec Heart and Lung Institute at Université Laval. I work extensively in bariatric medicine, helping patients with obesity and sharing my knowledge on its management.

Over the past few years I realized that I am part of that group of patients who at risk of developing many diseases that can shorten one’s lifespan and healthy lifespan. It was a wakeup call. It’s scary to think about all those metabolic comorbidities, cardiovascular risks and the 14 cancers linked with an excess risk!

Not only that. I was also feeling less and less credible in my own professional practice. But despite all my knowledge on the subject, the many medications I tried and the endless lifestyle changes I made, I couldn’t lose the excess weight. So who would believe and follow my advice?

I’ve played sports my whole life. I swam competitively 24 hours a week, played soccer, cycled and did 10-k runs, all despite my obesity. I went on my first diet when I was 14, and I’ve been hungry ever since. Those darn hormones that make you hungry and increase your appetite while you deprive yourself and stay active! Obelix’s famous quote: “When you’re eating well, you’re well” doesn’t apply to everyone. My basal metabolic rate dropped so low that it almost collided with the earth’s core. Being from an obese family, my genes certainly didn’t help. I cried so many times. My childhood, teenage years and even adult life were marked with disappointments: I was bullied, judged and rejected by boys.

After being around successful gastric surgery patients (including my sister) and reading more about obesity, I realized that I needed to pull on the bannister to make it up a flight of stairs. I had also started wearing a CPAP for sleep apnea. I had had enough. I decided to go for it and choose myself – to take action at 53 rather than waiting until I was 60 or 65!

On November 27, 2020, with a BMI of 45, I took the plunge. I had a Roux-en-Y- bypass to regain my health. Then I had to completely relearn how to eat. This included a lot of bland and even downright unpleasant textures (I now know why babies don’t like pureed meat). I also had to adjust my quantities because one bite too many can cause reflux and regurgitation. Post-operative pain, fatigue, hair loss and excess skin were all part of my journey to a healthy weight. 

But, miracle of miracles, I was finally seeing results on the scale without having to starve myself. After 7 months of eating carefully and walking over 300 km, I have lost 80 pounds and my BMI is now 31. I’m still losing weight, albeit more slowly. All I need to do now is overcome my fears of gaining the weight back – something I see every week in my work.

Despite it all, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to choose myself again!

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New category in diabetes self-monitoring!

Abbott Freestyle

 

An innovative new category in self-monitoring has been added to the 2018 Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. According to Diabetes Canada, self-management of diabetes remains the cornerstone of diabetes care, making the addition of the “flash glucose monitoring” class an important tool to help improve patient outcomes. This new class of monitoring technology automatically measures, captures and stores glucose level data continuously so that patients and their doctors can see patterns over time and make adjustments to lifestyle, diet or treatment, when needed. The guidelines are published every five years by the top diabetes researchers and clinicians in Canada and they provide healthcare providers with the most up-to-date information on caring for people with diabetes.

Flash glucose monitoring has the unique ability to measure glucose every minute in interstitial fluid through a small filament that is inserted just under the skin and held in place with a small adhesive pad. Glucose levels are displayed on demand when the sensor is waved over, or “flashed”, with a hand-held scanner. The FreeStyle Libre system, the first-ever flash glucose monitoring system, developed by Abbott, was authorized for sale by Health Canada in 2017 and is covered by most private health insurance companies.

“Flash glucose monitoring is the next chapter in the management of diabetes,” says Tina Kader, M.D., endocrinologist, at the Jewish General Hospital and LMC Glen in Montreal. “Not only does it empower patients in their daily self-management, it also provides healthcare professionals with meaningful insights into their glucose control, which can lead to changes in their insulin dosing. Many of my patients see this as life changing and we are all very excited as we enter into this new era of diabetes management.”

Do not hesitate to discuss with your healthcare professional.
Always read and follow the label.
More information: https://myfreestyle.ca/en/
News Release 2018
Abbott Media:
Jennifer Heth, Abbott
+1 (510) 749-6469
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