Bariatric Screening Detected Lung Cancer
Hortense Brignola couldn’t walk 50 feet to her mailbox without getting out of breath. She couldn’t tie her shoes, reach down to pet her dog or help family during celebrations because of her obesity.
After months of staring at the brochure about the Cooper Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, she finally made the call. She was 385 pounds and was ready to live again.
Hortense struggled her whole life with weight problems, and after each child she had, she put on more and more weight. By the time her children were grown and she had grandchildren, she struggled to play with them and interact in their lives the way she wished she could.
“I knew it was time when I was using a rescue inhaler to simply walk down the block,” commented Hortense. “I needed to be ready for this, and I finally said to myself, now is my time to do this before it’s too late.”
Rohit A. Patel, MD, Director of the Cooper Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, met with Hortense and the team scheduled all of her pre-surgical testing for any cardiac or pulmonary issues. She had a chest X-ray of her lungs and soon after received a life-changing phone call from Dr. Patel’s office. They had found an area on her lung they believed to be cancer and she would need to see the thoracic surgeon.
“I was stunned,” said Hortense. “I thought to myself, ‘This is it, I’m done.’”
She was immediately put in touch with Frank W. Bowen, III, MD, Director of the Lung Cancer Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper.
“Hortense had a lesion that was growing and we needed to have it surgically removed,” said Dr. Bowen.
She was quickly scheduled for minimally invasive, robotic lung cancer resection surgery. The surgery removed the tumor and damaged lung tissue and the team had her quickly recovering with no need for additional chemotherapy or radiation treatments.
“When Dr. Bowen told me that I was now clear to proceed with my bariatric surgery I was so excited. I knew this was the next step to get a hold of my life. I was so grateful, and having the cancer diagnosis made me even more determined to have the surgery and take control,” said Hortense.
Hortense’s surgery was scheduled for August 2013.
“It wasn’t easy, but I listened to everything Dr. Patel and his team said about the proper nutrition I was getting and allowing my body to heal. Every day I was making changes and I saw it starting to make physical changes in my life.”
Just one year later, Hortense has lost 165 pounds.
“I lost a person!” she exclaims.
She now enjoys spending more time with her grandchildren, even picking up a game of volleyball with them. She also enjoys cleaning her house – because before surgery, just vacuuming her home would take all her energy.
“I’m a different person, and so grateful to my family for their support and the team at Cooper. They saved my life – twice!”
To make an appointment with the Cooper Center for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, please call 1.800.8. COOPER (1.800.826.6737).