Weight Loss/Bariatric Surgery

Weight Loss Patient Story: Scott Madson

Scott Madson Before

May, 2008. Approximately 4:00 a.m.

There’s no way 48-year-old truck driver Scott Madson could have known what lurked on the highway ahead as he made his way into Nashville, Tenn. It certainly was not the way anyone would want to start a work day.

“There was an accident; a straight truck rolled over from the wind and he was blocking all lanes of traffic,” Madson said. “I happened along before any emergency personnel arrived. I saw the truck had rolled over and I kind of ‘ditched it’ into the woods. I got pretty banged up.”

That’s putting it mildly.

Madson’s truck slammed into the trees and he suffered a host of injuries, including several cracked ribs, before he blacked out. “I woke up to the sound of chain saws, because they were cutting the trees down to get to me,” Scott said. “Apparently, I was losing a lot of blood out of my leg. I received stitches and still have a dandy scar. But the worst part is I broke my pelvic bone in two places. Where the seatbelt goes across your waist, I snapped that seat belt right off. I tried to get out of the truck and I couldn’t stand up. My leg was just — it was like nothing was there.”

Scott, who lives in Sheboygan Falls, Wis., was rushed to the emergency department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center where doctors treated him for his injuries and he would spend six months in recovery. He was also given the shocking news that he weighed 483 pounds. “I said, ‘Nah, I’m not that big!’ But my weight was my main issue. I could have been up in six weeks if I were a regular person.”

Doctors also determined that Scott would need a hip replacement. “They told me, ‘we’ve got your pelvic bone fixed but you’ve got to lose weight’ and they sent me home to Wisconsin,” Scott said.

In February 2009, Scott consulted with Edward Nelsen-Freund, MD, a Medical College of Wisconsin orthopaedic surgeon at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Freund explained that, before he could perform hip surgery, Scott would need to lose more weight. Though Scott shed 80 pounds during his Vanderbilt hospital stay, it wasn’t enough for safe surgery. Dr. Freund referred him to colleagues within the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Comprehensive Weight Loss Center. Scott began treatment with several team members, including an endocrinologist, a dietitian, a physical therapist and a pharmacist.

“Patients are initially seen by a physician and then follow up with a pharmacist or the nurse practitioner,” said Erika Smith, PharmD, ambulatory pharmacy clinical coordinator at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin. In Scott’s case, he followed up with Smith.

“The pharmacist works with patients who have complicated medication regimens for conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol and are interested in adding medications for weight loss,” Smith said. “By following each patient closely with appropriate clinical experts, we make sure patients understand and set reasonable goals specific to diet and exercise. We also adjust medication based on needs or, as they lose weight, we may adjust dosage.”

Scott was dealing with high blood pressure and sleep apnea and was at high risk for obesity hypoventilation syndrome. “When I first started seeing Scott, he was in a wheelchair with very limited mobility,” Smith said. “He was having issues limiting his caloric intake and didn’t have a good understanding of carbohydrates, calorie counting, and other important nutritional considerations.”

Scott Madson After

Working with the Comprehensive Weight Loss Center team, Scott was able to lose a substantial amount of weight, bringing his total weight loss to 135 pounds before having the hip replacement surgery in February 2010. He accomplished this with diet, walking 2-3 hours a day and, above all, a great attitude.

“He really came into this with an open mind and was willing to take suggestions,” Smith said. “He was honest with himself and with us. Sometimes, that’s a challenge for people — to ‘fess up’ to the quantities they are eating and the lack of activity. Scott has got a great attitude.”

The team helped Scott set small, realistic goals so he could have weight loss success and build his confidence. They taught him about journaling — writing down everything he ate. The results have been amazing.

“I can’t explain it — it’s like a snowball going downhill,” Scott said. “Once I actually saw the weight coming off it was unbelievable, and I’ve been riding this high ever since. My goal is to get under 300 pounds and I haven’t been under 300 since high school.”

The high blood pressure? Gone. No more blood pressure medications to take. As he’s lost weight, he’s also been able to cut down on the pain medications he was taking after his pelvic surgery. Scott’s feeling much better about himself and about life in general.

“I’ve lived my whole life in Wisconsin, eating a typical diet — lots of sausage and lots of beer,” Scott laughed. “Now, I’m reading labels, counting calories. Before the accident, my regular doctor had me on diets. But what I thought was dieting was nowhere even close. It means counting your calories and avoiding fast food. Being a truck driver, that’s what I lived on — fast food.”

As his confidence goes up and his weight goes down, Scott offers words of encouragement to others who are facing the weight loss battle.

“You can do it, but you’ve got to count the calories: I mean every little thing, from milk or juice to soda or even salad dressing. You’ve got to adjust what you’re eating. Let’s say you want to have a brat with ketchup, onions and pickles. That’s fine, but you’ve got to cut back somewhere else in your daily diet. You’ve just got to watch what you eat and keep a positive attitude. For me, it’s been all about the education.”