Occupation: Snow plow driver
Procedure: Roux-en-Y, 2008
Surgeon: Roche Featherstone, MD
Pre-surgery weight: 372 pounds
Current weight: 202 pounds
Background: At 372 pounds, it was difficult to climb into the cab of my truck. I had cardiomyopathy, sleep apnea, and I was taking seven medications for blood pressure and other things. I was on my way out – I didn’t know if I’d see my kids graduate.
Decision point: I was picking up a pizza to take home and someone made a demeaning remark in front of my friends. Out of all my years of being heavy, that was the time I knew I needed to do something.
Life after surgery: I get up at 2:30 am every day to walk six miles before going to work. My heart disease is gone. My cardiologist said, ‘I very rarely ever tell anyone their heart disease is gone.’ I’m off all medications, I don’t need my CPAP machine, and my back problems have disappeared.
Best advice: It’s not magic. The surgery is a way to get the weight off quickly, but then it’s up to you to go by the rules to keep it off. You can stretch your stomach out and go back to your old ways – that scares me. I just don’t ever want to go back there again. They give you the tools and you choose to do what they tell you. You’ve got to change your way of thinking.
Parting thought: It wasn’t a piece of cake for me – I had complications and the first week in the hospital was extremely difficult, but my life has changed in so many ways. I would do it again in a heartbeat. It just changes everything.I’ve lived in Traverse City all my life and people don’t recognize me.
After Roux-en-Y Surgery