Mel Viney, APRN, FNP-BC, ENP-C
Melvin (Mel) Viney APRN, FNP-BC, ENP-C, has come a long way in just a few years.
Flashback to nine years ago, Mel was disabled for a year due to obesity, thoracic surgery, and radiation treatments. He couldn’t exercise. And it was difficult to get around. All of this made losing weight nearly impossible. Mel’s health was on a downward slope. He knew something had to be done.
Weight-loss surgery became Mel’s only hope. It was a challenge finding a physician who would consider Mel as a candidate for the risky procedure. But he was determined.
A Life-Changing Surgery
Mel underwent biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch (BPD/DS), often referred to as the duodenal switch, in 2015. This bariatric surgery results in more weight loss than the more commonly known gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy procedures.
The procedure is complex and involves three main steps:
- A sleeve gastrectomy removes part of the stomach.
- Food is rerouted away from the upper part of the small intestine, limiting the amount of calories the body can absorb.
- The body’s normal process for using bile and digestive juices to break down food is altered, limiting more calorie absorption.
After the surgery, the weight began to fall off. This allowed Mel to finally get active, so he started walking. He gradually worked his way up to bike riding two to three hours at a time, burning as much as 2,000 calories.
And while surgery limited the amount of food he could eat at one time, he started making healthier food choices.
Over a year and a half, Mel lost a total of 250 pounds.
Maintaining His Hard-Fought Health
Today, Mel continues to live an active lifestyle. He rides his bike 20 to 30 minutes during lunchtime, and 30 to 40 minutes after work, four to five times a week. He continues to lose weight.
But that’s not to say he doesn’t face challenges.
“My biggest challenge is working long hours as a nurse practitioner and having the right diet while working,” said Mel. “Being able to pack healthy foods is ideal, otherwise I’m eating out of vending machines.”
His new lifestyle and health improvements have done more than change Mel’s life: They’ve inspired those around him. He’s motivated several coworkers to work on their weight or have weight-loss surgeries. His patients are inspired, too.
“The bulk of my patients have issues with something diet-related, like high blood pressure, obesity, or high cholesterol,” said Mel. “My motivational strategy is to lead by example as far as what’s possible for them.”
From disabled and obese to physically active and healthy, Mel’s strategy is working. It doesn’t get more motivational than that.
Melvin Viney, APRN, FNP-BC, ENP-C, is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse at Southeast Colorado Hospital System.
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