Ken and Patti Stenger
Bariatric Services Patient Story
Ken and Patti Stenger of Millsboro do the circuit at the gym three times a week—lifting, pulling, bending, and wiping the sweat off their brows.
“We’re hooked,” Ken says. “We feel it if we miss a workout.”
They are in their 60s and feel great. Their bodies are toned and they both possess that tanned, athletic appearance.
They rented dune buggies during a recent vacation, bouncing along a sandy beach.
Who would have thought? They’ll tell you that they used to be the type who walked around town when they were on vacation, browsing in the shops and enjoying long meals.
“We were always watching our weight,” Patti recalls. “We’d gain. We’d lose. We’d gain and lose again. Diets worked for a while, but only for a while.”
Ken’s health was deteriorating as his weight climbed. At one point, his 5′10″ frame was carrying 320 pounds. All the signs were there for heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar levels. He had developed sleep apnea and had to sleep with a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) so he could get enough oxygen.
Then, his physician suspected he might have had a heart attack. Though he had not, the scare caused Ken and Patti to think about his health, and her health as well. They heard about the bariatric surgical procedures and both attended a presentation by Michael Sofronski, M.D., Medical Director of the Bariatric Surgery program at Beebe Medical Center.
In the meantime, Patti had been focusing on her weight loss, and she had been struggling for months. She hit a plateau and feared she’d start gaining the weight back again, just as before. Then, while Ken was considering a minimally invasive gastric banding surgical procedure, she began to think about it for herself. Although she did not suffer the medical problems Ken did, her body mass index was in the at-risk range. She also wanted to learn more about being healthy and feeling better.
Both Ken and Patti entered the Bariatric program and learned about better eating habits and the importance of exercise. In March 2010, they both had the gastric banding surgical procedure.
Ken lost 100 pounds after his surgery, and Patti continued to lose weight after her surgery, also losing 100 pounds. The program has taught them how to keep it off as well.
“It’s a tool, that’s all,” says Ken, describing the procedure. “You have to change your lifestyle, and we have done that.”
Patti agrees. “People think it is an easy way out. It’s not. It’s only a tool. You have to be committed to making the change.”
They both talk about how the trainer at the Delmarva Bariatric Center gym in Rehoboth Beach has given them an exercise program and answers all their questions. The dietitian has taught them about foods and portion control.
“We eat smaller portions and enjoy our protein shakes,” Patti says.
Ken’s physician took him off his medications because his health improved. He doesn’t have sleep apnea anymore, and he doesn’t have to use the CPAP machine.
A highlight, so far, of their new lifestyle, was a recent holiday to Hawaii with their son and daughter-in-law and neighbors. They decided to take a tour in a helicopter, something they never would have done before.
“They have a weight limit, and it was so nice that we were below it,” Ken says. They climbed into the small helicopter and had the ride of their lives.
“The waterfalls were beautiful,” Patti says, “We saw 20 on one hillside alone.”
Today, the Stengers, who retired to the local area in 2003, are enjoying life and thinking about what they are going to do on their next vacation. They have become preoccupied with making new furniture out of old and broken furniture. They make cabinets out of old doors and cabinet doors out of old window frames.
“We’re having the time of our lives, and we have the energy to enjoy it,” Patti says.