Dana Fedoruk decided it was time to get serious about weight loss when she grew weary of watching her weight fluctuate as she tried various diets, and of tiring easily while playing with her 7-year-old son, Ethan.
Fedoruk, 47, decided to undergo bariatric surgery. She completed pre-surgery testing and counseling about six miles from home, at the Indiana Regional Medical Center.
Bariatric surgery is performed at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center, but IRMC coordinates pre-surgical appointments and testing to be completed in Indiana, which allows patients to stay close to home. IRMC staff work side by side with the staff of the Weight Management Center at Conemaugh to ensure sure all requirements and documentation are finalized.
Working with Rebecca Williamson, a registered dietitian in the Corporate and Community Wellness Department at IRMC, Fedoruk readied to change her life.
Williamson says all the preliminary testing, which includes blood work, sleep studies, upper GI, EKG and any X-rays, can be completed at IRMC. Three to five people are involved each month, and some come in before work or during lunch for their tests.
“I was a Size 24 and my heaviest weight, 279 pounds, on March 6, 2015,” Fedoruk says. “I thought I was about to be on a reality TV show.
“I knew I needed to do something. I had done diet pills, over-the-counter plans. I told my doctor I needed a different way. I needed a life-changing, healthy way of living. At the time, my son was 7. It was hard for me to play with him. I honestly didn’t think I’d live to watch him grow up.”
Fedoruk opted for the gastric sleeve procedure, which is less invasive and requires less healing time.
“It was the best choice for me,” she says of the October 2015 surgery.
She was home a few days later nearly pain-free. She doubts her recovery would have gone as smoothly without the pre-surgery assistance she received at IRMC.
“It was wonderful, Rebecca actually taught me everything I was doing wrong,” Fedoruk says. “She taught me how to read labels, what to look for and what I should be eating.”
Williamson told Fedoruk she was limited to 1,500 calories a day. Fedoruk took this further and consumed 1,200 to 1,300 calories daily, with smaller meals and snacks. One of her go-to snacks was a cup of yogurt with strawberries and granola. She also began practicing yoga daily. Having undergone eight knee surgeries since she was 15, Fedoruk appreciated the low-impact exercise.
Her weight plummeted from 279 pounds in March to 221 in October. She had demonstrated her dedication, and she was ready for the surgery.
Less than a year later, she weighs 143 pounds and has never felt better.
“I’m half-Czech and half-Italian,” Fedoruk says. “Lots of good food. When I was depressed, I’d lick the plate clean.That’s what I knew.
"To me, diets are temporary," she continues. "I made life changes.”
Fedoruk's self-confidence has increased post-surgery
“Before surgery I hid,” she says. “I never went out, and if I did, I tried to avoid people. I was always in bulky clothes and hiding my face in scarves, trying to hide my body in clothes that were way too big.
“Now I go out. I have met people. I’m definitely a lot more outgoing. I don’t hide anymore. I like wearing nice clothes and dressing up in clothes that actually fit me. I don’t nap through the day. My energy level is way up. I feel like I have improved my life and my lifestyle more than 100 percent.”