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Gastric Bypass Surgery Patient Story — Sister Mary Catherine Stana

For years, Sister Mary Catherine Stana had trouble with weight loss.

She would lose large amounts of weight, but would later regain it through emotional eating caused by grief.

Taking Control of Her Diabetes and Her Life

Sister Mary Catherine began thinking about gastric bypass surgery when her 50-year jubilee was a year away. She wanted to plan a joyous celebration for her lifetime commitment to being a Benedictine Sister, while also showcasing her commitment to weight loss.

As a diabetic, Sister Mary Catherine was injecting herself with forty units of insulin three times a day.

Diabetes was prevalent on her father’s side of the family. Her family members suffered complications of diabetes, including blindness and limb amputation. She knew that if she did not get control of her weight, the disease could be as detrimental to her life as it was to her family members.

Between planning her jubilee and her struggle with diabetes, Sister Mary Catherine knew she needed to make a drastic change in her lifestyle.

Sister Mary Catherine's Bariatric Patient Story — A Life-Changing Decision

Sister Mary Catherine met with Giselle Hamad, MD, a bariatric surgeon at UPMC, in May 2009.

In June, she joined the bariatric presurgical lifestyle program, and lost some weight over the six months leading up to her gastric bypass surgery date of December 18, 2009.

By the time her jubilee weekend arrived, Sister Mary Catherine's surgery had been completed and she was wearing her first set of new clothes. She hadn’t seen most of her family in a few years, so they were very surprised to see what progress she had made.

She thanks Dr. Hamad for making her celebratory weekend extra special.

Winning Her Battle

The recovery has not been easy, Sister Mary Catherine admits, but she takes it one day at a time, and continues to work at it.

It has been over two years since her surgery. Sister Mary Catherine has lost 140 pounds and no longer needs to use insulin.

She still wants to continue to lose weight, and as she says, “Not find it again.”

Sister Mary Catherine serves as the liaison between the medical professionals and the nurses at her monastery. She spends a majority of her time taking sisters to doctors’ appointments, which keeps her constantly on the road.

Losing her excess weight has helped her be more mobile, making her job easier.

At her most recent birthday, Sister Mary Catherine turned 70. She is happy now, as is her family, her primary care physician, and Dr. Hamad and her staff.

Note: This patient's treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.​​​​

Considering Bariatric Surgery?

Bariatric Surgery at UPMC

UPMC offers bariatric surgery at multiple locations throughout western Pennsylvania, including:

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For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

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