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Jennifer Tornetta, 609-569-7010, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Betsy Woerner, 609-748-7539, (C) 609-385-6361, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

For Immediate Release:  August 16, 2013 

April 2, 2007, Kristine Akers – formerly of Tuckerton, NJ, was lying in a hospital bed at the Center for Surgical Weight Loss & Wellness at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Atlantic City Campus preparing for gastric bypass surgery. June 2, 2013 she completed her fifth 5K race.

Kristine Akers 5th 5k 013 lresKristine Akers celebrates completion of competing in her fifth 5K run this year.

In 2007, Akers weighed 285 pounds, the highest she had ever been. After a lifetime of struggling with her weight, plus more recently dealing with sleep apnea, high blood pressure and knee pain, she says she had decided it was time to take charge of her health and have bariatric surgery.

Kristine Akers before shot lresKristine Akers prior to making healthy lifestyle changes after having weight loss surgery at AtlantiCare. 

The procedure involves dividing the stomach so it has a small upper area about the size of a medium egg, which only allows that portion of the stomach to receive food, and then connecting it to the bypassed first portion of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

“I’m so happy for what I did for myself,” says Akers today, who now weighs 135 pounds and lives in Newfields, New Hampshire with her two sons. “My life has changed so much, and I am doing so well. It wasn’t just the surgery that did it, though—AtlantiCare also gave me the tools I needed to take control and change my life.” 
 
Akers says she is healthier, stronger and more active. January 1, 2013, Kristine Akers completed her first 5K race. She ran her fifth race June 2.

Kristine-Akers-1st-5k-Jan.-2013-medallresKristine Akers celebrates after competing in her first 5K run in January.

“I Knew I Was in the Right Place”
Akers says she remembers clearly back to 2007 when she first met Alexander Onopchenko, MD, FACS, FASMBS.

Onopchenko AlexanderAlexander Onopchenko, MD, FACS, FASMBS

Onopchenko is medical director of the Center for Surgical Weight Loss & Wellness at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Atlantic City Campus, a surgeon board certified by the American Board of Bariatric Medicine and medical director, AtlantiCare Physician Group Surgical Services. “When I met him and his staff, I knew I was in the right place,” she says.

Kristine Akers after making healthy lifestyle changes using tools AtlantiCare Center for Surgical Weight Loss & Wellness Team.

Kristine-Akers-close-upKristine Akers

In addition to gastric bypass surgery, the Center also offers laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (“lap-band”) and laparoscopic duodenal switch as well as revisional surgery.
 
More than surgery
ARMC is an American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence offering a multidisciplinary approach to the treatment of morbid obesity. Its approach is about more than surgery—it’s about support and education, aimed at helping patients not only lose weight, but also stay on track to build healthy habits for life.
 
Akers admits that prior to surgery she didn’t make any lifestyle changes. But afterward, armed with new knowledge about how to stay healthy, combined with her own determination to take charge of her health, she started walking and improving her diet.
 
“The weight just started coming off and I continued walking and getting good nutrition,” she says. “I stayed at 150 pounds for quite a few years, but recently I dropped 15 pounds by running.”

Today, she no longer has sleep apnea, high blood pressure or issues with her knees. But Akers says physical improvements aren’t the only changes that have happened in these years following her surgery.
 
“So many things have gotten better,” she says. “I have a better sense of well-being, I am more outgoing. I enjoy being able to do anything I want without being out of breath, like being active with my children. I just feel better!”
 
For More Information
For more information, call the AtlantiCare Access Center at 1-888-569-1000, visit www.atlanticare.org or find AtlantiCare on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atlanticare.

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