Someone You Should Know: Sioux Falls woman creates healthy lifestyle through surgery

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 4:00 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Ruthie Haag was overweight her entire life. She weighed more than 200 pounds when she was just 12 years old. It got to a point when she was older where she felt she wasn’t being the best mom she could be. She really knew it was time for a change when she weighed in at 375 pounds at an annual doctor appointment in 2016. She started dieting on her own for about one year, and it wasn’t working. So she went to the doctor to see if anything was wrong.

“Your body kind of reaches a point where it says, this is the weight you’re supposed to be and kind of fights against you to lose the weight,” she said. “So the only way to really reset that kind of weight thermostat was through surgery.”

Dr. Curtis Peery, a general surgeon with Sanford Health, did Haag’s surgery. He used a newer procedure called the SADI-S.

“This really allows us honestly to give a patient a solution that they may lose up to 85, 90% of their excess weight, resolve their diabetes. The SADI-S, 90% resolution of diabetes for those patients,” Dr. Peery said.

He said the SADI-S is an improvement from other bariatric surgeries that are done on the GI tract. But patients have to follow a program before they’re even able to get the surgery.

“Improve their health habits such as getting enough rest, following your doctor’s orders, staying hydrated, making good food choices and understanding nutrition better, and working on their relationship with food,” Dr. Peery said.

Haag lost 55 pounds going into surgery in December of 2017. She weighed 320 pounds. Now, she stays between 180 and 195 pounds.

“I say that weight loss surgery is not a magic pill. It’s not something that’s going to fix you, but it’s like a tool to help you get that jump-start,” Haag said. “Anyone can go on a diet for a little while, but it’s about changing your regular everyday habits for a long term that’s going to make anyone successful.”

Ever since changing her habits, she’s been able to run a half marathon and have the energy she needs to keep up with her 6-year-old son.

Dr. Peery said many insurance companies don’t cover the weight loss surgery, but that’s changing. Patients have to meet with an insurance specialist, the surgeon, and a nurse practitioner before they’re able to do the surgery.

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