The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
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    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Carrie Joughin & Cyndee Sanders: Gastric bypass surgery

Written by David Green.


Carrie Joughin’s doctor told her she’d be in a wheelchair by the age of 50 if she didn’t lose weight. That’s when he suggested gastric bypass surgery.

Cyndee Sanders, too, decided to have the surgery to improve her health; she was struggling with diabetes. When her endocrinologist wrote “morbid obesity”  on her chart, Cyndee knew she had to do something.

For Carrie Joughin and Cyndee Sanders, gastric bypass surgery—a surgery intended to aid in weight loss— did more than improve their health; it also affected their lives.

twins They battled obesity for most of their lives, but the surgery wasn’t the first solution Carrie and Cyndee had considered to lose weight. Combined, the women tried over 10 different diets, including the Atkins diet, Weight Watchers, Formula Three, Jenny Craig, Quick Weight loss, Slim-fast, diet pills, the cabbage soup diet, the Mayo clinic diet, the TOPS diet, Richard Simmons’ diet, Metabolife, Andy’s caramel chews and hot tea and the grapefruit diet.

LIFESTYLE—But more than their health, the weight was also affecting other things in their lives, simple things that others might take for granted.

Carrie said that at her son’s basketball games she would sit in the first or second row of bleachers because she would get winded climbing the stairs, keeping her from being up in the crowd.

She would also scan the room at events for places to sit based on how close the seats were. If there was an area where there was more room between people, she would sit there.

When she drove, Carrie would avoid wearing a seat belt and could just barely touch the gas pedal.

Seats were perhaps one of the biggest issues, especially at restaurants. Both women said they would avoid booths at all costs; at a table, they could sit as far back as they needed to.

Carrie and Cyndee also hated amusement park rides because of the tiny seats. Movie theatre seats weren’t much better.

Carrie also remembers going over to friends’ houses for get togethers and looking for the sturdiest lawn chair.

The weight also hindered the women from being involved in various activities.

“I would go, but I would sit on the sidelines and watch,” Carrie said.

Cyndee said her children would often want to go for bike rides and she would tell them, “maybe later,” hoping they would forget.

“I feel like I missed out on a lot, my kids missed out on a lot,” she said.

It may seem strange that in a society characterized by obesity being a “national epidemic,” weight is still a taboo subject and one of the last accepted prejudices.

 However, Carrie and Cyndee often worried about what other people thought during this time because of society’s obsession with being thin. Cyndee said she often worried that people were watching her when she was eating or making comments about her size.

“People are still very mean to overweight people,” Carrie said.

AFTER SURGERY—The weight loss surgery changed all of that for Carrie and Cyndee. Carrie has lost 140 pounds and Cyndee has lost 110 pounds since the summer of 2001, but it hasn’t always been easy.

“People say you’re taking the easy way out—it’s not easy,” Carrie said.

Gastric bypass surgery involves two parts: first, the stomach is separated so that it is considerably smaller. In fact, the fraction of the stomach still used after surgery is about the size of an egg.

The other part of the surgery shortens the small intestine and reconnects it to the remaining part of the stomach. This procedure reduces the amount of calories absorbed by the body.

The 30-minute procedure may seem simple enough, but it is life-altering.

Cyndee explained that they have to eat six small meals a day—small meaning a half cup to a cup of food. They also have guidelines for how many grams of sugar, fat and protein they can have.

Following the guidelines is important. Too much sugar or fat can cause cramping, vomiting, pain and gas. Too little protein can cause fatigue and hair loss. Too much food can even cause death.

Carrie said she’d heard of one woman who heated a jar of Cheeze Whiz to make it a liquid because surgery patients can have more liquids than solids. However, the woman didn’t realize the Cheeze Whiz would solidify again in her stomach, which caused her stomach to rupture.

And certain foods can cause problems for certain people. Carrie said she has to avoid sausage, rice and bacon, and Cyndee has a hard time digesting cheese.

“There are so many challenges and you have to be thinking about it every day,” Carrie said.

However, the lifestyle changes have been worthwhile to Carrie and Cyndee. Throughout the process, both have had a series of successes.

For Carrie, losing the first 50 pounds was an important goal. After she reached that, 75 pounds was her goal and then 100. She also took a picture when she could cross her legs, something she hadn’t been able to do in 20 years. She’s now had her rings re-sized two or three times and needs to have it done again, she’s bought name brand shoes that are not a wide width, button down shirts and jeans with a zipper.

Cyndee, too, looked forward to buying jeans while she was losing weight, but not just any jeans; she wanted a pair of Levi’s. She also wanted to be able to buy a pair of bib overalls and walk into any store to buy a shirt and pants.

And both women were able to overcome their fear of amusement ride seats. Carrie’s family went to Disney Land where she not only rode the rides, but didn’t have to take frequent rests while walking; Cyndee’s family went to Cedar Point.

For Carrie and Cyndee, the positives far outweigh the changes they’ve made and challenges they face from the surgery. Both women said they regret only one thing—not having the surgery sooner.

-March 24,2004 

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