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Pat's StoryMy new life began on May 22, 2001. I consider it my new birthday. I was 275 pounds the morning of my Gastric By Pass surgery. The surgery itself went well. I had a few complications following, but managed to tackle them with a positive attitude.

Once on track, following directions on food consumption, I did as instructed. I ate my protein first, then veggies and if still not full, I usually was I had a starch. I drank a lot of water between meals, not at meals.

Going to support group meetings was invaluable to me. I learned many ways to encourage myself and make myself number one, a hard lesson to learn. I will say once you do the operation, it is a tool only, then the hard part starts, the mine games, making the correct choices nutritiously, doing the physical exercise. I do walking and water exercise. I also found keeping a food journal immensely beneficial. I still do a weight loss group close to my home.

I also approached my lifestyle change one day at a time, making my health my priority, as diabetes and heart disease runs in my family. My immediate family was supportive and helped by not offering temptations. I did lose some friends as my new food choices were not to their liking. I will say that 21 years later much easier to go out to eat and have healthier choices. When out to eat, stick to baked or broiled chicken, or fish or salads with dressing on the side. I am thrilled with the new me, my way of eating has not changed, proteins first and then other food. I can buy clothes off the rack, I am happy, healthy and forever thankful I made the choice to change. It is not easy but the more you do, the easier it becomes. No thank you is part of my vocabulary besides the Bariatric vitamins and some calcium. My blood pressure is great and my blood work is good. Cannot ask for more.


WilliamSince surgery I have dropped from 320 pounds on the day of surgery to around 191-198 pounds. I wake up on Friday mornings at 192-193 and after the weekend I wake up on Monday mornings around 198. I look and feel great and the extra 5-7 pounds drop off throughout the week. My A1C is usually 5.5 with NO medication. My BP is usually 105/56 and a resting heart rate of 55-58. My testosterone levels were still low and I attribute that to a vasectomy I had back in 1998. I have resumed the T treatments but now rather than injections I am doing the daily creams. My T levels are now normal. I am still nicotine/cigarette free.

I had a long and hard journey trying to figure out how and what to eat due to Covid causing issues with me getting the pre-surgical seminars completed. Lucky for me my brother-in-law had the surgery done 9 years ago and was a great asset to me up until his untimely death in July of 2021 (that was hard, he was one of my best friends).

My daily intake of food Monday through Friday consists of basically the same thing. I know it sounds weird but “the same stuff different day” works for me. I work from 12:30 pm until 11 pm Monday through Friday. I eat for breakfast a Was a cracker bread, a slice of real Swiss cheese, 2 slices of sandwich pepperoni and once slice of roast beef. The total calorie content is around 260 cal. I eat this for breakfast, first break, lunch break and then at home after midnight I have a very light supper with the wife consisting of chicken or beef that is usually no more than 250 to 350 calories. I do have issues with dumping syndrome if I eat too much sugar, so I really have to be careful with that. I usually have a cookie or piece of cake on the weekends and stand ready with peanuts or beef stir in order to compensate for the sugar crash “low blood sugar”. It doesn’t usually happen because I only eat one cookie or a small piece of cake once on Saturday and once on Sunday. My favorite go-to cake is Hostess Sno-Balls. I buy a 2Pak and the wife and I share the 2Pak. It’s only 170 calories this way and the once slo-ball doesn’t crash my blood sugar.

I worry daily about putting the weight back on. My wife told me that she doesn’t believe I will because from her perspective I am “anal” about what, where, and when I eat, even on weekends and even though I say I ate horribly I really did not do too bad from what she sees.

I got to 191 back in the autumn of 2021. I have been in the 190’s since then. HOWEVER!!! During the Christmas/New Year holidays (2021), I got back to 211!!! Too many Christmas Cookies!!! I was also out of work for 3 weeks and home doing nothing between the old job and the new job. This way I could have the holidays off. I went back to work at the new job on January 3rd of 2022. I got back to work on eating properly. I was back down to 195 in 10 days and my dedication to the foods I told you I eat everyday was developed that first week of January in order to get a good balance of carbs v protein. I rarely crash due to low blood sugar if ever, and I have maintained my weight in the 190s since August of 2021 (expect for Christmas/New Year).

I get my gummy multi-vitamins from Walmart as well as my gummy calcium/D3 and take them when I wake up and just before bed. My labs show that my vitamin levels are where they should be.

Thank you for everything you have done for me. I would not be here today if it were not for you and your staff.

Thank you,


I’ve battled with my weight since the age of 8, I’m now 51 years old. Over those years, I’ve tried many diets with only little success, nothing sustained. At my highest weight of 476 pounds, I had many health issues including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre- diabetes, severe sleep apnea and the need of a hip replacement. Seeing my orthopedic surgeon and hearing the news that he couldn’t perform the surgery due to the high possibility of infection, I was at rock bottom. He suggested the Kane Center.

Dr Wallace gave my orientation meeting, and I felt very comfortable with his knowledge, explanations and information he gave all of us. In my consultation, Dr Wallace and I discussed all the types of surgery and witch would be best for me, the duodenal switch.

As of the 13 month post surgery, I’ve lost half my highest body weight (235 pounds), completely off cholesterol meds, lowered my high blood meds twice so far, have a normal A1-C ( not pre-diabetic) and sleep apnea is controlled. My hip replacement surgery is scheduled!

I need to thank Dr Wallace and his staff for giving me the tools to help me get healthier and begin living again, not just existing!

Dr. Wallace’s Patient
Duodenal Switch (DS)


Dr. Rantis,

I’m so grateful to have met you. You helped me have better health and a better life! I ran my first 5K and without the surgery, this would not have been possible. I have all the support to continue this journey, and I have no doubt that I chose the right person and doctor to help me with my new life.



This is a picture of my health journey in denim 🤩 My favorite pair of size 22 jeans from when I was 300lbs in late 2017 and the lighter and much much smaller pair of jeans that I got today – size 8. Still amazes me how far I’ve come on my health journey!

Karen W.
Dr. Wallace’s Patient
Gastric Bypass


I am SO proud that I chose Dr Kane for my surgery!! And hearing those encouraging words 17 years later is just affirmation that I made the right choice! Im including a photo. It was taken about 2 years ago (15 years post op) before my health issue started and I gained weight. I want to ENCOURAGE people!! Ive already lost 13 of my extra 60 lbs! So life is GOOD!! I LOVE YOUR OFFICE!

With MUCH Respect,

Nancy and Bill

Both post-op Gastric Bypass. Bill is a patient of Dr. Kane and Nancy is patient of Dr. Rantis

Duodenal Switch Patient


I decided two years ago; I needed to change my quality of life. The Kane Center did exactly that.

Being someone that was physically fit through my earlier years it was hard to admit that I could no longer do the activities I once enjoyed. The realist in me recognized hiking, biking, swimming and competitive boxing was not in the cards for someone at 400 pounds body weight and a BMI of 53. I also recognized all the medical problems that could arise if I didn’t act fast on making changes in my life.

I sat in that first introduction seminar and was greeted by Maria, guest speakers and Dr. Guske; appreciating this could be the way to make that change happen.

It is hard to imagine that I lost more weight than I currently weigh, lost 220 pounds and weigh 180 pounds, as this is my new way of life. I can say that the Suburban Surgical Care team has given me a new lease on life via gastric sleeve and I am forever grateful.


I guess it’s been a long time since my surgery and being a size 6 is just a way of life. But maybe it would be fun just to toot my horn for losing 130lbs. It was a tough life change for me, but the right decision. I am disabled. I have severe degenetive disc disease, severe stenosis, and scoliosis. (A few other things but we will leave it at that.)

2Bariatric surgery gave me a better quality of life. I would be in a wheel chair at the very least by now. Gratefully I walk with a cane, and that’s just alright by me. Dr. Kane has always been worried about the boat load of medication I take on a daily bases. I am fortune to have NWCH Doctors that completely monitor me vs. the medication vs. my pouch. I do respect Dr. Kane’s recommendations and take the least I can to keep the pain under control.

I can’t even imagine weighing 275 pounds anymore and what condition I would be now. The first year was hard, but I would do it again just to have the quality of life I have now So, thanks for listening to my story. Hooray! Today I am celebrating me.


Dr. Rantis,

I was your first gastric balloon patient and I wanted to thank you and tell you that having the procedure was the best decision I could have mode regarding my health. Before the balloon I weighed 243 pounds, was per-diabetic and my cholesterol was through the charts.jennifer-alagna_pix-%281%29-copy

I have lost 85 pounds, am no longer pre-diabetic and my cholesterol is very low! Your staff at Suburban Surgical Care and the staff at Alexian Bros Hospital were very wonderful and I would recommend you and the procedure to anyone.

I have enclosed my “after” picture. There are no “before” pictures because I never let myself be photographed before.

Thank you!

Jennifer Alagna


When I got married in Oct. 2016, my knees hurt for days afterwards from the reception dancing because I was so heavy. At 300 lbs at only 33 years old, I knew I had to put a stop to my life-long struggle with obesity. I met with Dr. Wallace in July 2017 and we agreed that gastric bypass was the best option for me.

Since surgery in Oct. 2017, I have lost around 130 lbs from my highest weight! I’ve cured my sleep apnea, and my physical fitness is the best in my life! I went from working hard to walk a 5k to running numerous half marathons, rappelling 26 stories down my office building, and running a full marathon! Life has become an adventure rather than a burden. I am already planning my next marathon for 2020 after my skin removal surgery to complete my physical transformation. The tool Dr. Wallace gave me has allowed me the chance to catch up on all the life I’d missed and I am forever grateful!

Highest weight: 300 lbs
Surgery weight: 279.4 lbs
Average current weight: 170 lbs
Average total weight lost: 130 lbs


September 26, 2023

Gastric sleeve surgery at Ascension Alexian Brothers helped this Elk Grove Village man lose 285 pounds and gain a family.

Before: 500 lbs. | After: 215 lbs. | -285 lbs.↓

In 2015, without thinking, Collin Steenken did something momentous: he bent over and picked an object up off the floor.

Before his bariatric surgery at Ascension Alexian Brothers in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, when he still weighed more than 500 pounds, this simple action would have been impossible for him. And it spurred Collin, now 45, to take more and more steps beyond what he thought possible. Doing so led him to his wife, his son and the life he has wanted.

Gaining weight on the late night shift

The IT professional’s weight troubles began while working third shift at a former job. Collin’s workday started at 11 p.m., where he sat in front of a computer for eight or nine hours in a deserted office. At 7 a.m., he’d drive home and sleep until it was time to get up for his next shift. Dinner was typically fast food, the only thing open that late at night. There was hardly anyone to talk to, and not much to do besides boredom-eat.

This took its toll on Collin’s body and mental health as his weight increased from the isolation, lack of exercise and unhealthy diet.

“I could barely walk 10 feet without my back hurting,” Collin recalled. “I was prediabetic at the time. My cholesterol was right at the edge of being a problem. I was just unhappy.”

Collin stopped doing the things he liked doing. He was no longer making much effort to see his friends or socialize. “It’s hard to do stuff when you’re that big,” he said.

Collin’s mom worked for Ascension Alexian Brothers. When she saw how miserable he was, she suggested that he look into their bariatric surgery program.

“You call them, you get an appointment, no problem,” said Collin. “They’re so good.”

Gastric sleeve and duodenal switch surgery

James Kane Jr., MD, met Collin at his initial consultation. An experienced bariatric surgeon, Dr. Kane has helped develop his practice into a multidisciplinary surgical program that has been fully robotic-assisted since 2020. Robotic-assisted surgery systems make it easier for the surgeons to perform the procedures safely and at high precision.

“We tailor the procedure to the patient and their unique health needs. We don’t try to pigeonhole them into one procedure,” said Dr. Kane. “We also perform body contouring and revisional procedures, so our patients can have all their surgery done in one place by a doctor they’ve come to trust.”

Dr. Kane asked Collin about his health history and walked him through the bariatric procedures that would be a good match for his weight loss goals. Collin selected gastric sleeve surgery, also known as sleeve gastrectomy. This procedure reduces the size of the stomach by removing a large portion of it, leaving behind a banana-shaped sleeve. As a result, the patient feels full more quickly when eating. It also causes the stomach to produce fewer hunger signals.

Collin’s body mass index (BMI) also made him eligible for duodenal switch surgery. A duodenal switch connects your stomach to the duodenum, bypassing most of your intestine. This limits how much nutrition your intestine can absorb from food, including fats and proteins, and can help lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.

“For people at Collin’s weight and BMI, I would almost always advise them to do both procedures at once,” said Dr. Kane. “Patients who only do the gastric sleeve often gain some of the weight back after losing it.”

This is indeed what happened to Collin, who returned for his duodenal switch in 2022. At the time of his gastric sleeve, Collin was hesitant about bypass procedures and the dietary restrictions involved. He had slowly gained 75 pounds back over four years prior to his duodenal switch.

“Looking back, I’m kind of mad at myself that I didn’t just have the duodenal switch done then,” Collin admitted.

Support throughout the weight-loss journey

Before Collin could undergo surgery, he had to work through his to-do list. First, he learned about the procedure and got to ask questions during a seminar. Next, he underwent a psychiatric screening, followed by a support group with people who had already gone through the surgery. There was also a sleep medicine consultation to check for sleep apnea, an endoscopy to make sure that his anatomy could handle the surgery and a dietary consultation. This prep work is required by all Ascension sites of care that perform bariatric surgery and can take four to eight weeks to complete.

Collin appreciated that the program did not sugarcoat his weight-loss journey. It would be worth it, but it would not always be easy, particularly the pre-operation diet: three weeks of liquids, followed by three weeks of purée, then three weeks of chopped foods.

“Switching from the foods I knew to that scared the heck out of me,” Collin confessed. He’s not alone in this, according to Dr. Kane; most patients have the hardest time changing their eating habits. But with guidance from his nutritional counselors, Collin learned to make oatmeal, cook chicken and more.

Collin went home from the hospital within a couple days of his procedure and soon found himself walking without back pain.

“The sleeve was amazing!,” exclaimed Collin. “I lost, like, two pounds per day. Just from the surgery.”

Soon, he was running and lifting weights again. He was also getting regular support during the tougher stretches from his dietitians and psychiatrist Adam Crane, who were all a phone call away.

“I had been so secluded in my house for so long that I didn’t know how to interact with people anymore,” Collin remembered. “The idea of meeting new people kind of scared me. Dr. Crane helped me cope with that anxiety.”

Within a year, at 250 pounds, Collin was literally half the person he’d been. And following Dr. Crane’s encouragement, Collin started going out with his friends again, one of whom texted him about a woman named Dawn. Would Collin like to meet her?

“Before the weight loss, I’d have said no because I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t do anything,” laughed Collin. Little did he know, he ended up meeting the woman he’d marry in 2018.

Keeping the weight off after surgery

These days, Collin is doing quite a lot of bending down as he chases his 18-month-old son, Cillian, around the house and the nearby playground. Collin’s weight is around 215 pounds, allowing him to physically do everything he wants to do.

He now works for an oncology office located on the Ascension Alexian Brothers campus, where he sometimes passes Dr. Kane in the hallway.

“He still says ‘Hey, Collin,’ which blows me away that he still remembers me,” said Collin. “He’s always caring and friendly, even though he’s busy.”

Some of Collin’s friends have been so impressed by Collin’s success that they’re considering the surgery themselves. Collin is encouraging but honest with them, just as the program was with him.

“It changes your life for the better,” he said. “Look at me! I met my wife. I have this beautiful son. My life is amazing, but it’s not easy.”

Dr. Kane has observed that doctors in other medical fields — including diabetes care, heart care and sleep medicine — are discovering the value of bariatric surgery, too. Orthopedic surgeons, for example, increasingly require patients above a certain BMI to get bariatric surgery before they can have their hip or knee replaced.

“Obesity goes hand-in-hand with so many health problems: diabetes, heart failure, sleep apnea, emotional health,” said Dr. Kane. “Weight loss surgery is potentially life-saving surgery.”