I want to offer a special thanks to Tim
Barnett for his inspiring success story.
My name is Tim Barnett and I am from South
Point, Ohio which is a tiny little town located in the southern most
tip of Ohio. I am a Systems Analyst at St. Mary’s Medical Center and
have been a volunteer fire fighter for 18 years. I am 37 years old
and married to Carolyn, who is a wonderful lady. We have two sons,
Connor who is four years old and Ethan who is 19 months old.
I have heard many people say that they have
been large all their life. I too can relate to this. I was wearing
my father’s clothes in the 3rd and 4th grades
because at that time my parents couldn’t find kids’ clothes my size.
I was always the biggest in my family. By the time I was in high
school, my mom was making a lot of my clothes, again because they
couldn’t find clothes big enough for me.
As I grew up, I just got bigger and bigger and
bigger – and my health just got worse and worse. I had a lot of
joint pain, I couldn’t walk more than a half a block without
stopping to rest, I had trouble breathing, and I had a lot other
weight related problems.
I tried every diet and program that was out
there including liquid diets, Richard Simmons, Weight Watchers, and
Phen Phen. You name it I tried it. Many times I lost 50 to 100
pounds and each time I gained it back plus much more.
After years and years of being super obese, I
just got tired. I got tired of all the pain, tired of not having any
energy, tired of not being able to find clothes that fit, tired of
paying outrageous prices for those clothes when I did find them,
tired of stares from strangers everywhere I went, tired of breaking
chairs, tired of seat belt extenders, tired of not being able to
play with my son, tired of not being able to go places and do things
with my wife, tired of just existing and not really living.
I reached my highest weight of 475 pounds
nearly three years ago and that is when I started hearing about
weight loss surgery. At first I didn’t pay much attention to it
because I thought it was the old stomach stapling procedure that we
all have heard about. But the more I heard, the more I became
I guess the starting point that finally helped
make my decision to seriously pursue surgery was when I was visiting
a friend over Christmas in 2001. They had just gotten a new dining
room suite and they wanted me to see how comfortable the chairs
were. I reluctantly agreed to try one of the chairs. When I sat
down, you guessed it, I literally broke the chair into about 50
pieces and I went crashing to the ground. It was very humiliating.
It was at that point that I knew I had to do something.
So I researched and researched and researched
and looked at all the information that was available on the surgery.
I finally made up my mind that gastric bypass surgery was my last
and only hope. After making the decision to have the surgery, I
started looking around the tri-sate area and other places for a
reputable surgeon and facility that would do the surgery. That is
when I found Dr. Charles Goldman and the Cabell Huntington Weight
Loss surgery team. The more I talked to them, the more confident I
became that this surgery was indeed what I wanted and needed to save
After meeting with them several times, and
having all my questions answered, I submitted the request to my
insurance company and was denied. I was disappointed but did not
give up. So I fought my insurance and after about 2 months of
fighting they finally agreed to pay for the surgery.
I had open gastric bypass surgery on July 22,
2002. My beginning weight was over 450 pounds and my BMI was 60,
which is considered super obese. I wore a size 60 pants and a 6X
shirt. In the next 18 months I lost over 255 pounds and as today,
over 3 years later, I have kept the weight off and have a BMI of 26.
I can wear a size 34 pants and a small - medium size shirt.
My pre-surgery pain is gone, I have no
difficulty breathing. I try to walk about 3to 4 miles per day for
exercise. I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever about having the
The only problem I had early on was when I
would eat too fast or not chew well enough, which of course was my
fault, but that is a trial and error thing that you will learn
I did have excess skin on my arms and abdomen.
After fighting my insurance company once again and after 4 denials,
they finally approved the skin removal. In February, 2004, I had a
panniculectomy (tummy tuck) and bracheoplasty (which is the bat wing
I would do the surgery over again tomorrow if I
had to. It has given me such freedom to do things that I could
never even think of doing before.
Here are a few of the things I can do now that
I couldn’t do before surgery that a normal person might take for
I can play with my son
without the fear of hurting him due to my large weight
I can walk briskly 4
to 5 miles at a time with no problem
I can fly and not use
a seatbelt extender or fear crushing the person next to me
I can go to a restaurant and not
get stared at
I have energy all day
I can go to a movie and not worry
about fitting in the seat
I can tie my shoes now
without feeling like I am going to have a stroke
I can sit in any chair
without worrying if it will break
I can now fit into a
booth at any restaurant and not have to wait till a table becomes
And (one of my
favorites) I can now buy clothes at any store instead of going to
specialty stores at the mall and paying 5 times the normal price for
clothes that have no style and still don’t fit right.
I had this surgery to be normal. I have never
been normal at all in my life. As I mentioned before, I had been
very large since kindergarten and I am just now realizing what it
means to truly feel normal. It feels better than I could ever have
If you haven’t made up your mind whether or not
to have weight loss surgery, do more research and talk to those who
have had it or who are going to.
I would encourage you, if you feel that this is
the right thing for you, and your insurance company is fighting
coverage, don’t give up. Fight back! This is your life and it’s
worth fighting for.
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.