Family supports one another through weight loss surgery

David Hoistion, 46, weighs 185 pounds, down from 345 pounds before his surgery in April 2012. His wife, Tanya Hoistion (second from left) had surgery in October 2012, dropping to 140 pounds from 265 pounds. His two daughters had surgery on the same day in October 2014. Nicole Hoistion, 25, (left) has dropped to 210 pounds from 325, and Cherica, 20, (right) has dropped to 170 pounds from 272 pounds.

David Hoistion, 46, weighs 185 pounds, down from 345 pounds before his surgery in April 2012. His wife, Tanya Hoistion (second from left) had surgery in October 2012, dropping to 140 pounds from 265 pounds. His two daughters had surgery on the same day in October 2014. Nicole Hoistion, 25, (left) has dropped to 210 pounds from 325, and Cherica, 20, (right) has dropped to 170 pounds from 272 pounds.

The most successful weight loss surgery patients surround themselves with people who have had the surgery, are following the new way of eating and can support the post-operative lifestyle.

Sometimes these veteran patients are found within hospital support groups. Sometimes they are found in the same neighborhood. And in this case, the same family.

Weight loss surgery has been 100 percent life changing for David Hoistion, 46, the patriarch of a family in Calcium, outside of Watertown. He and eight of his relatives have had weight loss surgery, including his two daughters, his wife, his mother-, father- and sister-in-law, an aunt and uncle – plus the pastor and several friends from his church.

Tanya and David Hoistion before surgery.

Tanya and David Hoistion before surgery.

“They may go in and tie your stomach, but for the patient, this surgery is more mental,” Hoistion said, describing how he cried when he smelled chicken he wasn’t able to eat soon after his operation. His weight loss helped to correct his sleep apnea and high blood pressure and relieved the pressure on his knees.

Nurse Casey Hammerle, the program coordinator for bariatric surgery at Upstate University Hospital, said people often embark on weight loss surgery with a friend or family member. They arrive together at an informational session and go on to schedule their operations for the same day or several weeks apart so they can help one another recover.

“When you have that built in support, you’re able to keep each other kind of on track and accountable,” Hammerle said.

Losing weight and keeping it off can require a significant lifestyle change, and for many people, support is the key to success. The best weight loss surgery programs provide ongoing support – as Upstate’s does. Many patients also find support from friends or relatives.

Cherica Hoision, 20, who lives in Rome, had surgery on the same day as her older sister. As she shed her excess pounds, she is no longer lactose intolerant, and she feels more confident. Today her family eats smaller portions, healthier foods and water instead of soda. She said, “We’ve all kind of gotten used to eating the gastric way.”

Listen to an interview with Upstate’s division chief of bariatric surgery,

Howard Simon, MD

Sisters Cherica and Nicole Hoistion before bariatric surgery.

Sisters Cherica and Nicole Hoistion before bariatric surgery.

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