For Chris D’Elia, bariatric surgery has allowed him to do something perhaps even more important – breathe.
D’Elia needed a wake-up call. A visit from his pastor while in the hospital proved to be just that.
“I was in the hospital with pneumonia, and he told me, ‘Chris, if you want to stay alive, go to any hospital. If you want to get better and live, go to Penn Medicine.’”
Coming to PennD’Elia took his pastor's advice, though he was not a stranger to Penn Medicine. He called his dermatologist, a Penn doctor, to get a recommendation for a cardiologist and pulmonologist for his care.
“Going to Penn was the best decision I’ve made,” says D’Elia. “Not only did my health improve dramatically, but Drs. Jessup and Patterson encouraged me to lose weight and were able to recommend me to Dr. Williams."
This time, D’Elia was determined to lose the weight and get better for good.
“I’d tried other weight-loss programs – even weight loss drugs – but nothing was ever long-lasting for me,” he says.
D’Elia completed all the pre-surgical requirements including tests and nutritional support.
“Knowing everyone was at Penn and on my team felt great,” says D’Elia. “I knew that my pulmonologist, cardiologist and bariatric surgeon were all on the same page and knew how to coordinate my care.”
D’Elia had a sleeve gastrectomy in January 2014.
After Bariatric Surgery“I began eating totally differently, concentrating on lean proteins like fish, chicken and eggs,” says D’Elia. “I began walking more and more. That’s the exercise I love to do the most. I live in South Philly and walk everywhere. I walk about seven to eight miles a day!"
D’Elia began attending post-bariatric surgery support groups through Penn's program.
“I go to almost all of the support groups,” he says “We try to emphasize to the new people that you should come to as many as you can. I am still learning stuff that I didn’t know before. The support is wonderful."
Today, D’Elia is down more than 166 pounds since he started his weight-loss journey with Penn Bariatrics. And, amazingly, he’s off most of his oxygen.
“I only need two liters per minute now – almost 70 percent less than when I started my weight loss journey with Penn,” says D’Elia. “And, my doctors think I will probably be able to get off the oxygen tank completely.”
D’Elia continues to walk, eat well and attend support groups.
“I get so much support from the team at Penn, people in our support group, and my friends and family. It’s been an amazing experience for me, and I feel like a real success.”