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200 pounds lighter—

and feeling good


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.

Microsurgery offers

hope for lymphedema


Plastic and

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,

Suite 250

Vancouver, WA


Leslie Cagle, MD

Bariatric and General Surgery

PeaceHealth Medical Group–

General Surgery

505 NE 87th Ave., Suite 301

Vancouver, WA



Learn about other helpful surgeries available—



Is weight loss surgery right for you? Visit

to get the skinny. See page 6 to learn about

our weight loss classes.


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