200 pounds lighter—
and feeling good
RAY MOST E L L ER
will tell you his story isn’t special.
“I was overweight,” he says. “I lost weight. That’s it.”
But how many people lose nearly 200 pounds in two years?
His story began years ago, after the loss of his beloved father
sent him reeling into depression. Ray’s weight ballooned to
520 pounds. Then something clicked. “I wasn’t in a happy
place,” he says. “I was tired of doing what I was doing and
decided that I didn’t want to die young if I could help it.”
Achieving the impossible
He went to PeaceHealth Southwest’s Weight Loss Surgery
Program, where he was set on a plan to lose 100 pounds in
preparation for a gastric sleeve procedure.
Initially, Ray didn’t think he could lose that much, but
once he started, it got easier. “The more time I spent at the
gym, the more I wanted to go,” he says.
He credits his surgeon, Leslie Cagle, MD, and the PeaceHealth
team, as well as his family and friends, for pushing him to achieve
what he had thought impossible. “It felt good to have people
believe in me,” he says. “They were there for me 100 percent.”
Happy and loving life
He underwent the surgery in November 2015. By fall 2016,
he was down to 330 pounds. He’s happy, regardless. “The
best thing I can do is to be positive.”
Not long after surgery, Ray started feeling good about
himself. “I loved myself and thought, ‘If I can love myself
now, maybe I can find someone to love.’”
He met the love of his life, Jillian. The couple plans to
marry this summer.
hope for lymphedema
PEACEHEALTH MEDICAL GROUP
Reconstructive Surgeon Manish Champaneria, MD, is
among a select few surgeons in the Pacific Northwest
with advanced training in microsurgical reconstructive
In microsurgery, Dr. Champaneria uses specialized
surgical tools, including microscopes and miniature
surgical instruments, to work on delicate blood vessels and
lymphatic channels less than 1 millimeter in diameter.
“Advances in microsurgery have proven to be a benefit
to patients battling lymphedema, a condition caused by
blockage of the lymphatic system,” he says. “The blockage
prevents lymph fluid from draining, and the resulting fluid
buildup creates painful swelling of the arms and legs.”
Lymphedema is most commonly caused by damage to or
removal of lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment. In
microsurgery, healthy lymph nodes are taken from another
part of the body, such as the neck, and transplanted to the
area with nonfunctioning lymph nodes. The lymph node can
then create a new channel to help drain lymphatic fluid.
Dr. Champaneria also performs a microsurgical procedure
called lymphaticovenous bypass, rerouting the lymph
channels into the patient’s veins for drainage.
“Many people in our community suffer from lymphedema,”
he says. “Until now, their only relief has been the use of
compression stockings, massage, and other nonsurgical
methods. Microsurgery can give patients long-lasting relief.”
Although the procedures can greatly enhance a patient’s
quality of life, Dr. Champaneria says they are not a cure.
“These surgeries can be very successful in reducing
symptoms,” he says. “Patience is required, because this
healing process can take time—up to two years.”
Manish Champaneria, MD
Plastic and Reconstructive
PeaceHealth Medical Group
505 NE 87th Ave., Building A,
Leslie Cagle, MD
Bariatric and General Surgery
PeaceHealth Medical Group–
505 NE 87th Ave., Suite 301
P A T I E N T P R O F I L E
Learn about other helpful surgeries available—
Is weight loss surgery right for you? Visitpeacehealth.org/lp/bariatrics-vancouver
to get the skinny. See page 6 to learn about
our weight loss classes.