Tyrone Fields in June 2019. Fields is training to return to the theater after weight loss revision surgery.
Tyrone Fields was only 20 when he first had gastric bypass near his home in Fayetteville, NC. He lost 150 pounds but gained some of it back over the next 15 years. Fields also developed so many medical problems that his local doctor referred him to Duke, where experts successfully performed a revision of his original surgery despite his increased surgical risk. Now 36, Fields is feeling and looking great.
Time for a Change
When Fields sees a photo of himself as the Cowardly Lion in a 2016 production of “The Wiz,” he remembers how painful it was to perform. His voice was hoarse from severe acid reflux, and knee pain made standing difficult.
Fields had gained back about 45 pounds since losing significant weight after his 2001 gastric bypass. In addition to the acid reflux and knee pain, Fields had a hernia, was pre-diabetic, and was taking medication to control asthma and blood pressure. His local doctor recommended he undergo revision weight loss surgery.
This time, however, Fields was at higher surgical risk. His first gastric bypass, performed with a large abdominal incision, had altered his anatomy and left behind considerable scar tissue. Fields needed a surgeon experienced at performing complex bariatric procedures. His doctor referred him to Dr. Daniel Guerron, MD, a weight loss surgeon at Duke.
“We perform complicated weight loss revision surgeries,” Dr. Guerron said. When patients who are at higher risk for surgery come to him, Guerron relies on a careful and thorough patient evaluation, combined with his years of experience performing these procedures, to minimize some of that risk. “We know what to do and how to do it well,” Guerron said. “If we don’t do these procedures, nobody else will.”
A Bump in the Road
After evaluating Fields’ medical condition, Guerron recommended a technique called distal gastric bypass to shorten the distance between Fields’ stomach and intestine. Unlike with the first procedure, Dr. Guerron used small incisions.
Just a few days after Fields returned home, however, his stomach felt bloated and hard. “It got to the point where I couldn’t move. We knew something was wrong.”
Back at Duke, doctors discovered Fields had developed a blockage in his digestive tract, possibly due to inflammation or scar tissue. Guerron performed successful emergency surgery to clear the blockage.
Complications can occur, explained Guerron, especially in patients like Fields who have higher surgical risks. However, when complications arise, “we are ready to deal with them safely so that we can achieve success and have happy patients.”
Healthy at Last
Today, Fields’ acid reflux is gone and his digestive problems have resolved. His asthma is under control and his knees barely hurt. In the eight months since the revision surgery, he has also gone from a size 46 to a size 38 pants.
Fields credits the Duke team for his good health. “Dr. Guerron was there for me. Whenever I had a question, I got an immediate response. They also kept my family informed every step of the way. With all the attention I received, I thought I was the only patient in the hospital.”
These days, Fields has a lot going on. He loves spending time with his family, especially his young nieces, and he’s training to return to the stage. He’s also working in behavioral health as a transition support specialist and serving as the music director at his church in Fayetteville.
“My quality of life has altogether changed,” Fields said. “I’m healthy now. It took a while, and the journey was a little longer than anticipated, but it was well worth it.”