man playing guitar with granddaughter

Gastric sleeve surgery to achieve weight loss goal

March 31, 2020 | UCI Health
jay lindsey uci health employee and patient
UCI Health GI technician Jay Lindsay tried for years to lose pounds, but when he found himself regaining much of the weight, he knew needed help and also where to turn.

Jay Lindsay, 39, has worked as an endoscopic technician at UCI Medical Center for 12 years, assisting gastroenterologist Dr. Kenneth Chang as he performs various endoscopic gastrointestinal procedures.

Over the years, Lindsay began picturing himself as a patient of the executive director of the UCI Health H.H. Chao Comprehensive Digestive Disease Center.

The West Covina man, who is married and has a son, has struggled with his weight most of his life. While diet and exercise helped him drop pounds, he had difficulty maintaining the weight loss.

As he watched patients undergo weight loss surgery, including the minimally invasive endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty, Lindsay became convinced that Chang could help him, too.

Worried about the future

“I’ve been heavy most of my life,” Lindsay explains. “My highest weight was 398 pounds. I was tired of being on high blood pressure medication and going to bed with a breathing device for sleep apnea. I was so young for that.”

He had an even bigger motivation to improve his health.

“My son is 10, and I knew I had to make a lifestyle change,” Lindsay says.

“I started walking and running and dieting. Then I got a small knee injury that caused me to take time off from exercise. After that, I sort of lost my motivation. I had gotten down to 230 pounds and then started gaining weight again.”

When he found himself regaining much of that weight a few years later, Lindsay knew needed help and also where to turn.

Making the decision

“Here I was working side by side with Dr. Chang and seeing the procedures he was doing, including the gastric sleeve,” he says.

“It interested me because it’s a tool to help you restrict what you can eat. It was what I felt I needed to lose weight and then maintain the weight loss.”

After consultation with Chang, Lindsay decided to move forward.

In 2018, he underwent an Apollo endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty to reduce the size of his stomach and limit his food intake.

His health began to improve dramatically.

A new lease on life

“My back and joints don’t hurt as much and I no longer need a breathing machine during sleep,” he says.

“My blood pressure and cholesterol levels have improved. I sleep better and have more energy. Overall, I feel great now.”

It has given Lindsay a boost in other ways, too. He is able to keep up with his energetic son and feeling positive about his appearance.

“I fit into smaller-size scrubs at work, and I can purchase clothes I actually like rather than just ones I fit into,” he says. “My self-esteem is much higher. It’s been a life-changing event for me.”

Sticking to the plan

And he’s not done yet.

Lindsay, whose weight had crept up to 290 pounds before surgery, has lost 50 pounds and aims to drop another 40 pounds.

“It’s a lifestyle change,” he says of restricting calories and staying active since his surgery.

“This procedure is a tool to help you lose weight. It’s not a magic pill. It helps you maintain weight loss, but the key is still eating healthy and exercising.”

Taking cues from the boss

It was working alongside Chang as he performed the gastric sleeve procedure on other patients that convinced Lindsay to have it, too.

“I see how Dr. Chang takes his time and does a very thorough job,” he says. “Not every case is the same, and he treats every patient as an individual.”

Chang has a stake in Lindsay’s success as a patient, too.

“He’s been very supportive of me. He asks me how my journey is going. If I have any problems, I talk to him and he answers my questions. Seeing those patients and working with Dr. Chang inspires me.”

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