2 Your Health Weigh It Forward - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

2 Your Health Weigh It Forward

2 Your Health Weigh It Forward

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CHARLESTON, SC -

Shanta Failey says she made the decision to have weight loss surgery because the numbers were adding up.

She knew that a person who is 40 percent overweight is twice more likely to die prematurely than a person of average weight person.

And at her heaviest -- she weighed more than 400 pounds.

"At my highest weight was I 410 my current weight now is 379" Failey said.

Her excess weight has also caused her to battle chronic and debilitating diseases. 

 "Being that i am overweight i suffer from sleep apnea diabetes and high cholesterol" Failey said.

Failey decided to undergo a sleeve gasterectomy at the Medical University of South Carolina to bring her weight under control.

"If I had to pay out of pocket the surgery normally pays 25-26 thousand dollars" Failey said.

But she will not pay thousands of dollars, in fact she wont pay anything.  Her powerful essay to the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America focused on the fact that though she had a life-threatening problem insurance would not pay for this life saving procedure.

"In my essay i just explained how i have been doing research for 10 years about bypass surgery but i can not afford it." Failey said.

Her words made a difference and a team led by Dr Karl Byrne at the Medical University of south Carolina agreed to do surgery.

"After surgery i am just looking forward to being healthy being able to keep up with my nieces and nephews." Failey said

Dr Karl Byrne, says 200 thousand people will have this life-improving surgery this year.

"A close examination of the numbers compared to the people who would benefit from it its 1 percent so 1 percent of the patients who need the surgery are actually having them." Dr Byrne said.

In the operating room,  Dr Byrne makes 2 small incisions in Shanta's abdomen and then inserts a tiny camera or laparoscope through trocars

He will take out 80 percent of her stomach and leave a long thin tube of stomach rather than a large sac

"She will eat much more slowly and she will feel full quickly. The area of the stomach that we take out contains many of the hormones that cause hunger so there are many different ways that this works"  Dr Byrne said.

Shanta is expected to gradually lose at least 150 pounds after the procedure that took a little more than an hour-- What Shanta hopes to gain is a new healthier life.

Surgery grant recipients will receive the funds they require, a year of follow up care from the bariatric practice who performs their surgery, surgery complication insurance, a years worth of bariatric supplements and community support form the wlsfa. grant recipients agree to raise 10% of the funds they request and to "pay it forward" after receiving surgery by supporting the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America.

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