What was the motivator(s) for you to seek out bariatric surgery? Tell a bit about your life prior to surgery.
I was always a big guy my whole life and at 44 years of age, I started realizing my own mortality. I'd already had two knee surgeries on the same knee, and was told it might have to be completely replaced. My son's wife announced she was pregnant and the thought of not being around for my grandchild or being able to get up and down off the floor made me realize I had to do something. My wife had already been approved for bariatric surgery and she had talked to one of the nurses at Grand Health Partners about me and they told her to send me in. I am so glad I did.
What type of bariatric procedure did you have and why did you select that particular one?
I had the duodenal switch procedure. I did a lot of research online and knew that I wanted the greatest "Bang for my Buck". After hearing about this procedure and based on the weight I wanted to lose, it was the one procedure that seemed to have the best overall results both short and long term. I did hours of online research on the procedure itself and reading forums of people online who had done this particular procedure and knew it was the one for me. I could eat NORMALLY and not have the dumping syndrome of the RNY procedure. I used to eat too much, now I get yelled at for not eating enough! How cool is that?
What did you want to achieve by getting bariatric surgery?
Being able to fly comfortably on a plane with my wife and living a normal life without people pointing and laughing at me.
How has having bariatric surgery changed your life? (physically, emotionally, socially, etc.) What are some of the small wins that most people take for granted?
Oh my goodness... just being able to walk three miles along the beach and keep up, I feel great! I am more comfortable in public now, I don't feel like a side show exhibit, and it's so cool that people I haven’t seen in 11 yrs don't recognize me except for the sound of my voice.
How was your experience with Saint Mary's, your surgeon and the bariatric team? How did you choose the SM program?
The short stay I had at Saint Mary's was great. The staff was attentive and sensitive to my needs as a bariatric patient. The facilities were clean and the rooms were set up for the bariatric patient. Dr. Kemmeter was my surgeon and I cannot say enough good things about the guy. He made sure I was mentally prepared for what was going to happen to me. He has a great sense of humor...I like that! He saved my life, or at the very least, gave it back to me. For that I will always be thankful.
Why should others choose the Saint Mary's program?
The facilities are beautiful, the staff is caring and sensitive, Saint Mary's definitely has the competition beat hands down when it comes to the care of their patients.
What advice or thoughts would you like to share with someone who is considering bariatric surgery?
Do your research! The surgery is not in and of itself a miracle cure for obesity. My success is not just because of the procedure itself, I am successful because I prepared myself mentally and emotionally for this lifestyle. I set my mind to having to do this and failure was not an option. I followed the directions of the doctors and nurses prior to the surgery and afterward. I watch what I eat religiously; I know what I can have and what will make me feel bad afterwards. It's more about the mental preparations than the surgery itself. You have to want to do this, and not be constantly thinking about ways to cheat the system and eat the way you used to.