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HCA Midwest Health

Jason Purinton

Jason lost 120 pounds and is getting back to living a life that he used to only be able to dream about.

February 22, 2024
Jason Purinton walks through his neighborhood in both images, showing him before and after weight loss surgery.

Not long ago, Jason Purinton felt like a man trapped inside his own body. The vocational rehabilitation counselor from Leawood, Kansas, was carrying around so much excess weight that it sapped his energy, preventing him from participating in the activities he loved like SCUBA diving, playing pickleball and traveling.

The reason Jason couldn't lose weight wasn't due to a lack of desire on his part to be healthier. Over the years, he had tried and failed at countless weight loss strategies and was an eager participant in many of the fad diets or food crazes that came along promising to help drop the pounds.

Jason's physical frustrations eventually spiraled his mental state into a dark funk that colored his daily life with a noticeably negative outlook. He recognized that he had a serious problem but struggled to find lasting answers. For the past six or seven years, Jason had been having on and off conversations with his primary care doctor about what a heavy toll carrying the extra weight was having on his physical and mental well-being. It was during these conversations that the name of Dr. Nicole Fearing, a board-certified general and bariatric surgeon at Bariatric and Metabolic Specialists at Menorah Medical Center — a part of HCA Midwest Health, kept regularly popping up.

Jason’s downward spiral continued until finally one day when he was working out with his doctor at the Jewish Community Center, he reached rock bottom. “We were on the track, and I was telling him how lousy I felt and how I just kept gaining weight," he recalls. "Nothing was working. Finally, my doctor made one more suggestion, 'Call Nicole Fearing, and she'll fix it,' he said. I just needed to hear that one more time. So, I called her office on my way home from the gym."

That call changed Jason's life for the better. In June 2023, Dr. Fearing performed gastric bypass surgery on Jason, and by the eight-month mark following the procedure, he had lost 120 pounds. And, more importantly, he was getting back to living a life that he used to only be able to dream about.

"Now that I'm eight months post-surgery, I wish I had done this sooner," Jason says. "That being said, it's like a lot of things in life; I wasn't ready, until I was ready."

"Jason was a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery,” says Dr. Fearing. “He was highly motivated and engaged in his health, and he had realistic expectations. He can expect to lose 50 to 70% of his excess weight, and as a result he should feel better, have less pain, more energy and it should help improve his other health conditions."

So far, the surgery and recovery has gone just as Dr. Fearing and her team had explained before surgery, Jason reports. The learning curve to figure out how much and what to eat can be steep, but it's manageable. His eating has become more intentional because with a reduced stomach size, he needs to concentrate on getting the right amount of nutrients delivered in smaller proportions.

“Working with Dr. Fearing and the crew is great,” Jason says. “They have a unique understanding of the issues, and they know just how to talk about the issues. One of my biggest concerns before starting the process was how I would feel talking about all these personal issues. But Dr. Fearing and the crew at the hospital have been trained to understand the unique circumstances.”

‘We have a supportive staff who understand the needs and fears of the patient,” Dr. Fearing says. “We discuss all the procedures, not just gastric bypass. We review their health history and expectations, and we try to make it a team decision with us and the patient.”

Early on after his procedure, Jason struggled to drink four ounces of water every hour, which is expected. But he reports that things have continued to improve steadily each day. Following surgery, he used medications to manage the pain and supplemented that with frequent walks to gently stretch out the incision areas. He adds that the learning process is ongoing as his body continues to adjust, but all told, he feels like having the surgery has been well worth it.

"My patients often say, 'I wish I had done it sooner,' because they feel so much better," Dr. Fearing says. "I encourage people who are considering weight loss surgery to come into the office and hear the options. If you’re not ready for surgery, consider starting with medical weight loss through a local bariatrician. In the end, surgery is the best tool there is for significant sustained weight loss."

The journey to controlling your weight and well-being can be daunting, but at HCA Midwest Health you don’t have to face this challenge alone. Our network of compassionate bariatric surgeons are here to guide you step by step on your journey toward reclaiming your health.

February 22, 2024
Menorah Medical Center