Valarie’s story: ‘I feel the best’ after weight-loss surgery

Thursday, May 3, 2018

By: Femi Cole

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Lose weight or expect to live a short life.


That’s what doctors told Valarie Butrymowicz. That’s when she decided to find a way to lose weight.


“I have had weight problems all my life,” says Valarie, who lives in Mountain in Oconto County. “A lot of it has to do with mobility … I was wheelchair bound for pretty much most of my life. Just not being able to be active, I gained a lot of weight.”


Because of that excess weight, she also battled diabetes, high cholesterol and kidney issues. Consequently, she was prescribed medication – about 20 pills per day – some of which had weight gain as a side effect.


Add to that her assertion that she received little to no guidance when it came to shedding weight, and the picture becomes bleaker.


“Doctors said, ‘yeah, lose weight, lose weight, lose weight,’ but no one wanted to help me,” Valarie says.


Topping the scale at 210 pounds, and motivated by the warning from doctors, Valarie sought a weight-loss solution.


“I’m only 4-foot-6 and I have dwarf features,” she says. “I’m supposed to be at 79 pounds to 100 pounds, so that’s a lot of weight.”


A referral from her primary care physician connected her with Dr. Daniel T. McKenna, a general and bariatric surgeon with Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin.


Upon meeting McKenna, Valarie quickly realized he was the expert she needed.


“I could tell he was very, truly caring about his patients,” she says. “He wants you to reach your goals and see you succeed. … He just made me feel assured that I could get somewhere with this.”



Valarie underwent Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery in November 2016. The procedure reduced the size of her stomach to restrict the amount of food it can hold. Roux-en-Y patients notice that they feel full faster.


She surpassed her weight-loss goal of 120 pounds, reaching 118 pounds. She also shed some of the health conditions that had bothered her for years.


“As soon as I had surgery I got taken off all my diabetic meds. Two days later, I was considered diabetes free,” she says. “It’s so nice not to fill my pill box every day … what an awesome feeling that is.”


Unencumbered by weight, Valarie enjoys the outdoors – hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, cycling – and an active lifestyle. She says she’s been given a second lease on life.


“I feel the best I ever have felt in my entire life,” she says. “I can do so much more now than I’ve ever been able to do.”

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BayCare Clinic,, is the largest physician-owned specialty-care clinic in northeastern Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It is based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. BayCare Clinic offers expertise in more than 20 specialties, with more than 100 physicians serving in 16 area communities. BayCare Clinic is a joint partner in Aurora BayCare Medical Center, a 167-bed, full-service hospital. Follow BayCare Clinic on Facebook and Twitter.