Behind each of these patients is an incredible success story. Learn how weight loss surgery helped them to regain their lives.
“I now have a life I never knew I was missing. So much has changed for me, but even the little things are wonderful: I get in an out of the car with ease. Walking doesn’t exhaust me after 10 minutes. My mind is clear and thought processes come easier. I actually want to do physical activities I never would’ve considered before. And that’s just the beginning.”
Fear of the unknown kept the old Mike from considering weight loss surgery. Would he be able to adjust? Would he ever stop wanting to eat an entire pizza? Would he be able to walk away from the foods that were so bad for him? Would he continue to crave them? How would he adjust to being thinner again? What challenges would he face as he lost all the weight? Would he be treated differently? Would he treat other differently? Could he handle the new Mike?
He decided the surgery was a risk worth taking. He was obese and a severe diabetic, taking insulin shots and many other medications. He needed to take action to care for his body. “Plus, I knew three other people who’d found success with surgery. I wanted that for myself.”
Now, post-surgery, Mike feels amazing. His energy level has increased tremendously, allowing him to easily complete everyday tasks without tiring. His internal organs can now function normally. He knows without a doubt that he is much healthier and the quality of his life is better. “It was worth everything I went through, and I would do it all again in a second.”
What about all of his fears and doubts? “All food issues were gone after the first 30 – 45 days. Seeing the weight drop off and learning that I no longer need diabetes medications gave me great hope and determination. I still treat others the same, but I'm treated very differently than I was as an obese person. It's sad that this continues to be the case, but our society puts a lot of stock in appearances.
To others considering the surgery, Mike assures them that success is within their reach. “It’s a common phrase, I know, but if I can do it, anybody can. My willpower regarding food and a healthy lifestyle was next to nothing until I made the decision to have this surgery.” He also urges them to find the support they need, whether through a support group, an accountability partner or family and friends. “Once you’ve decided to have the surgery, find your muse. Someone who can inspire you to keep the faith and do the right things on a daily basis. It’s not an easy journey, but it’s well worth all the hardships and trials you may face.”
“I cannot put into words how this surgery has changed my life. Just being able to do things—walk, run, even cross my legs! I love that I can really be active now. That I can finally keep up with my kids. We get to do a lot more together now, and that means the world.”
Melinda was a borderline diabetic. Overweight and out of shape, she found herself faced with a lifetime of shots and medications to control her worsening condition. She knew it was time to do something about her health. But diabetes wasn’t her only motivator: She wanted to be healthy for herself and her two teenage children.
After doing the research and joining a support group, Melinda was so confident in her decision to have the surgery that she had no fears at all. No nervousness, no doubts. Now that she’s on the other side of the surgery—and 117 pounds lighter—Melinda is healthier and happier than she’s ever been.
“The surgery was worth it in so many ways. Any little problems or challenges that surfaced along the way were just tiny speed bumps. Whatever came up, I pushed through it, dealt with the hassles of paperwork and insurance approval, and just went for it. And I’m so glad that I did.”
Melinda is now able to actually enjoy exercise. She joined a gym and works out X times a week, and she often walks the neighborhood with family and friends. She’s committed to doing her part to make sure the weight stays off.
Melinda’s advice to others considering the surgery is to attend a support group. Talking with others who have been there provides a level of support that friends and family can’t. They can tell you the good, along with the bad. And according to Melinda, this face-to-face interaction was priceless. Now that Melinda is a success story herself, she plans to “pay it forward” and provide this same support to others.
Margaret & Steven
“Neither one of us felt good about ourselves before, and we always turned to food. The surgery has empowered us to take control of our lives. Now, we can go out to dinner and share a meal—and actually be full! We bought a pair of motorcycles to celebrate our weight loss success. Riding is something we’ve always wanted to do but never could’ve done before.”
Margaret and Steven are a husband-wife success story. They made a pact to have the surgery and lose the weight, once and for all. In order to help each other with post-surgical recovery, they opted to do the surgeries one at a time—and Margaret admits that she let Steven go first so that he could be the “guinea pig.” She became nervous and nearly backed out when Steven had a minor post-operative issue, but it was quickly resolved and the weight began to fall off. “He was dropping weight like crazy. I couldn’t believe it. I decided immediately to do the surgery, and it was worth it. Mine was a cakewalk, and I’ve lost 75 pounds. I used to wear a size 16; now I’m an 8.”
Steven has lost 160 pounds. A 34” waist has replaced his previously 50” frame. He now enjoys shopping because he actually feels good about himself and how he looks in new clothes. He no longer needs blood pressure medication. Margaret has said goodbye to her sleep apnea machine and diabetes medication. They made a commitment to an active lifestyle, joining a gym and walking their neighborhood often. Plus, Margaret and Steven now have a grandbaby to chase after—something they wouldn’t have been able to do prior to losing the weight. “We constantly remind ourselves that while the surgery was an amazing part of our weight loss journey, it was just a tool. In order to be truly successful, you have to do your part, too.” Margaret and Steven believe Dr. Baldwin and his team have given them the guidance they need to be successful.
They urge others who are thinking about the surgery to give it careful consideration. It requires quite a commitment, but it’s one worth making. “Invest in yourself. Literally and figuratively. We did, and we’re so glad. We celebrate our new lives daily.”
“I knew that I needed to change my life. I was unhealthy, and I wasn’t pleased with the direction my life was taking. This surgery has been the greatest thing that ever happened to me. I feel like a new person. I have an incredible amount of energy and feel like I could just keep going and going.”
Chad has always described himself as active—even before undergoing weight loss surgery. He’s always been involved in tennis and participated in Zumba classes, but not without shortness of breath, extreme fatigue and over-exertion. “Things you enjoy doing shouldn’t be so hard. I knew it was time for a change. Time to be proactive about my future and my health.”
When Chad began researching gastric bypass surgery, he had one pretty big advantage: As a Certified Surgical Technologist, he’d worked in the operating room during bariatric surgeries and seen the procedures first-hand. He knew about the risks and complications that could arise, as with any surgery. But he also knew about the success that was in store afterward. Still, he did the due diligence, attending an informational seminar and turning to obesityhelp.com for guidance and support from his peers. Once he’d determined this was the right answer for him, he set out to make it happen.
It was worth it. “The surgery didn’t just change my life. It gave me my life back. Now I play tennis twice a week, and I’m able to run down the tennis balls a lot easier. I can actually move around in Zumba without being short of breath. The things I enjoy are enjoyable again. I even take steps in the parking deck two at a time on my way to work. Life is amazing now. I’m a new man.”
Chad’s only regret is not having had the surgery sooner. He urges others who are battling their weight to do the research and determine which solution is best. Go to a support group meeting and hear the real-life experiences of others. And, he adds, do it as soon as you can. “Don’t waste another day. Plain and simple, I’m happy with my life now and can’t wait to continue living it.”
“I spent years convincing myself I was okay with ‘me.’ I was in complete denial of how unhappy I’d become. Then one day, it just clicked. I was getting ready for work and realized I could have more. I could be more. I had a chance to lose the weight and to actually go shopping and wear the clothes and the styles that I wanted to wear. I made the call that day.”
Kendal never considered weight loss surgery. She knew others who had taken the leap, but it wasn’t until her cousin and close friend decided to go for it that something changed. She found herself a bit jealous. “She was going to lose all this weight and look smoking hot; meanwhile, I was still the same ‘me’ that I was unhappy with. That was it. With trembling fingers, I made the call.”
After weeks of research and preparations, an admittedly anxious Kendal arrived for the surgery. She had never had surgery before and was nervous about the procedure, but knew it was the right decision and had no fear of making a mistake. The surgery was over before she knew it. “I couldn’t believe how easy and simple it was.”
The surgery has changed her life for the better. She’s lost 76 pounds to date and has never looked or felt better. Kendal is happier, more confident and has an overall positive outlook that was missing before. Her health has improved as well, with no sign of the depression or acid reflux she previously dealt with. She even stopped taking her preventative asthma medication. “I found a level of confidence I never knew existed. I am a new person in so many ways. I have never regretted the choice once, and I would do it over again 100 more times—but only with Dr. Bauman!” Part of Kendal wishes she would’ve had the surgery years ago, but she is confident the timing was perfect for her. She was mentally ready for this step, and she attributes her success to that.
To those considering the surgery, Kendal is adamant that being honest with yourself is the first step. “Don’t cheat yourself out of this experience. If you have made the decision to do it, then do it right. If you are hesitant and have questions, ask! There is someone out there that has the same fears and suffers the same pains as you. Make the choice to feel better. You only have one life.”