At 5-foot-8 and 295 pounds, Scott Strainge knew his weight was a contributing factor to his health issues. He was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes eight years ago, which eventually progressed to a point where he needed seven different medications a day to keep his blood sugar and blood pressure under control.
When he started getting more frequent and serious skin infections, his endocrinologist at Circle Health’s Diabetes and Endocrine Center became more and more concerned. When one skin abscess looked particularly troublesome on his nose, she referred him to surgeon Dr. Wassim Mazraany to see if surgical intervention was needed.
Dr. Mazraany treated his infection and explained that morbid obesity (where a patient’s body mass index ? 40 and needs to lose 100 pounds or more) not only leads to life-threatening diseases like heart disease and diabetes, but it also compromises the immune system. This would make him more susceptible to skin infections and boils. Scott listened carefully.
A few months later, he developed another infection and had to see Dr. Mazraany again for treatment. He decided then he had been through enough. His family history also weighed on his mind quite heavily; his dad had a heart attack at 55, and his brother had suffered a stroke.
“It was all about my quality of life,” said Strainge. “I’m only 54, and realized I was only about 10 years away from being dead. I have three children in their 20s, and a wonderful wife. Now was the time.”
According to the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP®), bariatric surgery results in significant weight loss and helps prevent, improve or resolve more than 40 obesity-related diseases or conditions including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea and certain cancers.
Dr. Mazraany notes that morbid obesity decreases life expectancy up to 25 years, and drives this point home to his patients. “I ask them to think carefully about their decision to have surgery, but also give them some real-life examples to think about, too. I ask them to observe when they are in the grocery store to look around and check out all the elderly men and women in their 70s and 80s. How many of them are 300 pounds or more? None. Why? People 300 pounds or more rarely make it above 70.”
Strainge was excited to start his weight loss journey, and met with the team at the Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery in November 2019. He achieved his goal of an 18 pound weight loss and was scheduled for surgery in March.
And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
To meet the emergent needs of the pandemic, all hospitals in the state were required to postpone elective surgeries. Despite the added stress of the pandemic with his job as an assistant high school principal, Strainge made a firm commitment to stay on course with his weight loss. When he got the call, he was ready to go, and Dr. Mazraany performed his Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass surgery July 24, 2020.
Now just over a month later, his life has completely changed.
“I am now in the 250s – I haven’t seen this weight in 20 years! Even more incredible was how quickly my diabetes resolved. August 1st was the first day in eight years I didn’t have to inject myself with insulin. I’m off all my diabetes medications now, and was able to cut my blood pressure medication in half.”
Another bonus has been his improved sleep and increased energy. His wife and kids have expressed how much they love the “new him”.
“I spent so much time sick last year, and now my life has had such a radical shift. I’m not looking over my shoulder anymore worried about the grim reaper.”