I want to offer a special thanks to Gary
Reno for sharing his story.
I wanted to share my success story with you. I read your newsletter
with great interest twice a month and find the information to be
quite useful. I had the pleasure of meeting you in Denver in 2002
when Dr. Michael Snyder of Denver Bariatrics called me and asked me
to attend your seminar. I have shared your book with others
considering this life changing procedure. They too have found it to
be very informative. You are truly an inspiration.
Now for my story:
I came into this world at just over 11 pounds
in 1950. From that moment on, obesity would be my worst enemy. I
remember not being able to do other things that the other kids were
doing because of my weight. I was constantly ridiculed, teased, and
made fun of.
This humiliation continued into my adult life
until one day in mid June of 2002 while at work, I was on the
internet and found an article with the headline that read "Woman
loses over 100 pounds." This truly caught my attention, and I went
to the site and this is where I first heard of weight loss surgery.
Up until this time I had been on Nutri-System on two different
occasions and lost over 100 pounds both times only to gain back what
I had lost plus. I have been on Jenny Craig also successfully, but
again when I went off it, you guessed it, I gained it all back plus
a little more. My personal physician put me on two
different medically supervised diet plans both of which were not
very successful. I have also tried Weight Watchers without much
After learning about weight loss surgery that
day on the internet I went home that evening and told my wife that I
was going to pursue getting this surgery done and her reply was, "No
you are not.” Well after talking with her, I convinced her to at
least look into it with me and learn more. She agreed. We spent a
great deal of time researching this procedure on the internet and
where ever else we could learn more.
After becoming more informed I contacted my
personal doctor and informed him of my desire and asked him if he
knew of any surgeons doing this procedure. He referred me to a
surgeon and I later learned he did not accept our insurance program.
We then conducted more research on our own and this is when we
learned of Dr. Michael Snyder of Denver Bariatrics. We called and
made reservations to attend one of his lectures.
After attending his lecture and learning even
more about this procedure I was ready to move forward to the next
step as well as my wife. The very next day I called Dr Snyder's
office to make my initial consultation appointment and was told that
they were scheduling appointments for April of 2003. I was so
disappointed but scheduled my appointment for then. This allowed me
to do even further research on weight loss surgery.
In November of 2002, Dr Snyder's office called
and informed me that you were going to be in Denver and invited me
to attend your seminar. I found you not only very interesting but to
be very inspiring and once again found myself overly anxious to get
this surgery. It was at your seminar that I first met Dr. Snyder. I
expressed my desire to him to have weight loss surgery and he
suggested that I contact his office to get scheduled for an initial
appointment. I told him that I was scheduled to meet with him in
April 2003. I informed him that if he could see me anytime earlier I
would be available. He told me to write him an e-mail the following
day and remind him of our meeting and he would see what he might be
able to work out.
The next day I wrote that e-mail and sure
enough he followed through. In January of 2003 during the Super Bowl
I received a phone call from Dr Snyder's office wanting to know if I
could come in and meet with Dr. Snyder on Tuesday of that week. I
was so stunned that I could hardly contain myself.
I met with Dr. Snyder that following Tuesday
and was totally impressed with him and his staff. I knew that this
was the doctor that was going to be the one to help me rid myself of
this horrific problem I had been trying to overcome for the last 53
years of my life. Dr. Snyder informed me at this initial
consultation that I was an excellent candidate for this surgery. I
had no other health problems. I cannot put into words how I felt. My
wife and I made it out to the car and I just broke down and cried. I
know men are not supposed to cry but I finally felt there was hope
and I was determined to make this work.
At the time of this initial consultation I
weighed 517 pounds at 5' 10" tall with a BMI of 74.2. I could barely
walk, had dislocated my knee while standing up months earlier and
could do little of anything. My lovely wife never said a word about
my weight and I could clearly see that my weight was taking a toll
not only on me but more importantly on my wife and my family as they
were the ones who had to do all the things that I could not.
The humility associated with being overweight
is just beyond words. If we wanted to go out and eat my family would
have to call the restaurant to find out if they had a table and
chairs for us to sit at because I could not sit in a booth. I
deprived my family from doing a lot of things that we should have
been doing. Instead I was married for the most part to a recliner.
Not much of a life and one I was very tired of.
I made it through all of my evaluations without
any problems. I thought the major setback would be with the
insurance company. Dr. Snyder's staff applied to my insurance
company on a Tuesday and much to my surprise they received approval
by Thursday of the same week. I attribute all this to my personal
doctor as well as Dr. Snyder and his staff for preparing all of the
necessary documentation for this procedure. Do your home work.
will make life a lot easier.
With all of that behind me I was now scheduled
for surgery on April 14, 2003. I was so excited, however I still had
one other problem. No one other than my wife, daughter and
son-in-law knew anything about my surgery. I did not want any other
family members or friends to know. I was afraid of failing yet
On April 14, 2003 into the hospital I went for
this life changing surgery. Dr. Snyder had told me prior to the
surgery that he would try and do my surgery laparoscopically.
But because of my size, Dr. Snyder had to do my surgery open which in
turn meant a few more days in the hospital. All went well with no
complications. I came out of the hospital 35 pounds lighter than I
did when I went in. What a wonderful start for a new beginning.
In June of 2004, having lost 225 pounds, I was
ready to have a tummy tuck as I had a very large apron. I first went
to my personal doctor and consulted with him about a tummy tuck and
he determined that it was medically necessary for me to have this
procedure. I then met with Dr. Snyder and he too agreed that this
was a necessary procedure. It was also determined that I had
developed another hernia that needed to be repaired. I then met with
a plastic surgeon recommended by Dr. Snyder. Her name is Dr. Tanya
Atagi, another wonderful individual in my life. All three doctors
wrote letters indicating that a tummy tuck was medically necessary
and the paperwork was sent to my insurance company for approval.
I was first rejected and the first thing I did
was write an appeal letter asking for another review of my case. A
couple of weeks later I received a phone call from my advocate at my
insurance company and he informed me that they were going to pay for
tummy tuck. I said, “You mean I won my appeal?” He told me; no I had
not won my appeal. He had reviewed my case and based on my success
he went directly to the medical review officer. The medical review
officer approved me rather than a review panel. He felt that it
would not be prudent for them to have paid for the surgery and not
pick up the tab for the tummy tuck after all of my hard work and
success. So on July 14, 2004 I had my tummy tuck and I look and feel
so much better.
It wasn't until people starting noticing that I
was getting smaller that I finally confessed to having had weight
loss surgery. Unfortunately my dad became ill a couple of weeks
after my surgery and passed away. He never knew what I had done. He
was always concerned about my weight problem but never preached to
me to do anything. My mom passed away in June of 2004. When she
learned of the surgery she became one of my biggest supporters (next
to my loving wife). My mom understood my frustrations and why I did
some of the things the way I did. She was heavy during my growing up
years, but managed to take the weight off herself and maintain her
weight loss until her passing.
I am almost three years post-op and at one
point weighed 165 pounds. My original goal was to get down to 220
pounds. As you can see I met and exceeded my goal to which I am very
proud. I have however increased my intake of food because at 165
pounds neither my wife nor I was happy with the way I looked. I
currently weigh 206 pounds and feel better than I have my entire
life. I have managed to maintain that weight for the last 10 months.
I am able to enjoy life and be a part of society. However the most
important thing to me is that I have given my wife her life back.
She no longer has to wait on me hand and foot as I am perfectly
capable of taking care of myself.
God Bless her and all of those who have
contributed to my well being.
I love good news. If you have good news, a
success story to share, or inspiration,
please send it to me at
Barbara@WLScenter.com so that I can
include it in future issues.