Happy Anniversary, Bob and Vicky!
New York Bariatric sends best wishes to two of our patients — Bob and Vicky Reynolds, who are celebrating their fourth anniversary this week. Bob’s a production manager/machinist. Vicki is a secretary. They love to ride motorcycles together, and they’re active in their church. Bob had a sleeve gastrectomy the week before Thanksgiving last year. Vicki had hers the week before Christmas.
We checked in with both of them to hear their stories. Here’s Bob’s. Check in next week for Vicky’s.
Bob: “I turned 52 in February. I’ve been overweight most of my adult life. In the early ’80s, I tried prescription pills, as prescribed by my primary doctor at the time. I lost a lot then, but knew that I was a lot lower than I should have been. I wasn’t comfortable. They had me down to 165 pounds and wanted me to get to 150. I said, listen, when I was in high school running cross-country and track, I wasn’t below 150, so there’s no way I’m going there now. As soon as they took me off the pills, I blew up to 185, where I stayed for a while, until life changed.
“I originally started looking into weight-loss surgery a couple of years ago. I went to a seminar at another hospital. There were about 100 people in the room. And of course, with that many people, you get some who start asking questions just to hear themselves talk.
“I was borderline at that time. I’ve had discussions with my doctor. I don’t binge eat, and I don’t eat massive amounts. I just made poor choices, and it progressively caught up with me.
“I’m 5-foot-6. My weight and my blood pressure were getting up there. My sugars were pre-diabetic, and I was already diagnosed with sleep apnea. So I left that seminar with a bad taste in my mouth. I figured, OK, let me try to do what I can.
“I started going to the gym and working with a trainer. I lost almost 30 pounds. Then I had a car accident. That put me back to square one. I had 14 herniated discs, I couldn’t work out, and when you become sedentary, you start gaining more weight.
“Little by little, I got back to the gym, but for some reason or another, I hit a plateau. I was not getting anywhere.
“Then Pastor Ski at our church, Rushing Wind Biker Church, told me he was going to a seminar and asked if I wanted to go with him. I listened to Dr. Angstadt from New York Bariatric and was impressed with what he had to say, especially about the new sleeve procedure.
“I had more discussions with Dr. Angstadt and did a lot of research. I was happy with what I learned, so I made an appointment, went through all my clearances, and had my operation Nov. 16, 2011.
“Before the operation, I was over 295. Now I’m around 220. My goal is to get to 180 or 185 pounds.
“The procedure? I wouldn’t think twice about doing it again. Dr. Angstadt explained everything. It went exactly as he described. No complications. I have a high tolerance for pain. I didn’t need medication. I was out of work for about two weeks.
“I’m feeling so much better today. I have my plateaus every now and then with food. They tell you outright — surgery is not the answer: you have to change your life. It’s definitely true. It’s a tool. They give you a tool, so that you can feel good about yourself. You train yourself to eat all of your proteins, 4 or 5 ounces of food. You learn what you can and can’t eat, but as in everything else, you have to find a way to change psychologically.
“So I keep a good outlook. I went from a 3X shirt to a large. My wife Vicky had the same operation four weeks after me, and she’s doing phenomenally, too.
“Vicky looked into weight-loss surgery a couple of years ago, too. But when I explained to her about the new sleeve procedure, that made the difference for her.
“Again, this is a tool. It’s not the answer. It’s going to help you get better. If you approach everything with that idea, you’ll be all right. You go to a party, and potato chips are going to happen. But you can have one or two chips. You don’t have to have the whole bowl. Because if you deny yourself these things, then it becomes a craving, and when you get to the point of giving into cravings, you’re going to binge and get sick.
“You learn your body. Everyone has different symptoms when they’re starting to get full. Myself, I start to burp. I know someone who sneezes when they start to get full. My wife has other symptoms. You need to be aware of the signals.
“Yes, it helped to go through this with my wife. But I also rely on my other friends, too. Vicky is hypoglycemic, so she’s the opposite of a diabetic. The operation can reverse diabetes; but it won’t with a hypoglycemic. She still has to watch her sugars. And she still needs a snack before going to bed, so her sugars will get her through the night. We do approach things differently. I tend to drink more liquids than solid foods. That works for me.
“We had a big family barbeque last night. I had one hamburger with no bread. That filled me up.
“These days, some people don’t recognize me. I went to a church that I used to go to a couple of years ago, and the pastor had to hesitate before he was sure it was me.
“I’m happier now. And a lot of people are happy for me, too. God bless.”