Weight Loss

Gastric Sleeve Surgery Gave Me My Life Back

I have been heavy most of my life, the result of being raised in an Italian family where food was equated with love. Despite being active, I was 232 pounds by the time I graduated college, which was way too much for my 5’6” frame.

Stress kept me eating, at all hours of the day and night. Food was a non-judgmental confidant, and we had many good conversations over the years.

Diets never worked – I would gain, then lose, then gain. I was 275 pounds when my patellar tendons ruptured in both knees at the same moment. After repair, I took physical therapy very seriously, and was eventually able to run a five-mile race. I continued to run a few miles each day and got my weight down to 245 pounds.

Then I pulled a muscle and never let it rest properly, so I injured myself enough to stop exercising. At the same time, my marriage also fell apart, and I was left with sole responsibility of my two children. I returned to the comfort of food, mostly eating dinner at 10pm or later, when the house was settled and quiet. My weight climbed to well over 300 pounds.

My personal life improved, including a happy remarriage, but my health did not. Eventually, my hips had slowly deteriorated to the point where I could barely move. I was on two canes to stay upright, coupled with heavy doses of Oxycontin and Vicodin to lessen the pain. And I ate and ate out of frustration.

After several hip surgeries, I was persuaded by my medical team to investigate weight loss surgery. I looked into it, but decided against the surgery. Then I ran into a friend who had been heavy all her life, and was surprised to find her at a healthy size.

I asked her if she had been sick, and she laughed. She told me about her gastric sleeve surgery, a procedure that removes part of the stomach and bypasses some of the intestines. She said she wished she had done the surgery earlier.

I set up an appointment with a weight loss surgery specialist. He spent upwards of an hour and a half with me describing the process and the options. We shook hands, and I began the process of getting physically ready – which wasn’t easy, but was made easier by the help of family, friends and my medical team.

My surgery went well, with no side effects. About a week after being home, I started to walk around a 1/4 mile track a few times per week. Next I started jogging up to a mile or so. Then I decided to get ready for a half marathon – my longest run so far is 7.34 miles. I’m also planning to get back on a surfboard for my 65th birthday, the first time in 40 years.

As of this writing, I am 219 pounds, with a goal of getting down to 195, and I feel like I’ve gained 40 extra years. I flew to Florida this past February without a seat belt extender for the first time in 18 years and can easily fit into theater seats. I am not on blood pressure medication, and my arthritis and my sleep apnea seemed to have cleared up. I’m always active, and feel as though I have my life back. The sleeve gastrectomy was not a magic bullet, but it was a great tool for helping me get healthy – I could not be happier or more grateful.

Type 2 Nation does not endorse one weight loss procedure over another. We provide this testimonial as one person’s perspective. Consult your medical team about the best strategy for your health.

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Kevin Fitzpatrick is a blissfully married semi-retired mathematics teacher who lives in Norwalk, Connecticut. He is the proud father of two and proud grandfather of two. He loves to swim, travel, and philosophize about life in general.

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