Patients → Personal Stories and Testimonials

You Too Can Do What Others Have Done

Seth Margolies

It’s a sad man, my friend, who’s living in his own skin and can’t stand the company. Every fool has a reason for feeling sorry for himself and turning his heart to stone. Tonight this fools halfway to heaven and just a mile into hell and I feel like I am coming home” -Bruce Springsteen “Better Days”

My name is Seth Margolies I had surgery September 23,2003 at Wittgrove Bariatric Center and I have been asked to share my story with you. Four years of Ivy League education and I could barely hold a job. Ten thousand McDonalds Cheeseburgers later and I am an expert on morbid obesity hosting a website column and being asked to make speeches on the topic before The American Society for Bariatric Surgeons. My parents must be so ticked. I did the math and forty thousand McDonald’s Cheeseburgers would have been cheaper than my college education. I am kidding of course but after nearly forty years of being heavy I do know a thing or two.

Fat ruled my life. It was my state of being, the topic of almost every medical conversation I had with Doctors and the centerpiece of discussions with friends and family my whole life since childhood. And even if it wasn’t, in my minds eye it was. I was constantly aware that I was “not normal” not right, not healthy. I was rapidly approaching forty and most everybody I knew in life had moved forward socially, economically. I stopped moving because of my obesity. I started to feel stuck in a bad situation. I am a classically trained actor in a business that can ruin most. There is rejection at every turn. I had almost a decade of performing steadily on stage, and on television and commercials. By the time I reached 400 pounds, the auditions stopped. I had become a circus freak. My wife was on tour with the popular Beauty and the Beast and the best job that I could get was that of a janitor, (oh I am sorry operations crew,)for a prominent theater company in San Francisco. I held two degrees, knew multiple languages and I was a god- damn janitor. I was miserable, obese and mentally unhappy. I knew that I had to make a change.

Several years ago my brother in law, Dr Alan Beitler approached me with the idea of weight-loss surgery. He had assisted the operation at his hospital in Fort Lewis and found the patients to be happy and for the most part successful. He sat me down and went through the procedure and the benefits of it as well as the risks. He even offered to help out financially.

Alan told me that statistically the odds of me losing the weight were slim to none. That is all I needed to hear. No one tells me that I can’t do something. So I set off to Weight Watchers in November of 2001 and weighed in at a staggering 406 LBS on a 5’6” frame. Yes my driver’s license says 5’ 8” but I lied. Wow 406. I was in shock how did I let myself get to that point. I figured that I had gained an average of 25 lbs a year for nine years straight and if I kept going at that rate I probably would have spontaneously combusted on a street in San Francisco somewhere around February of 2005 at 500 lbs just shy of my 40th birthday. I have accomplished nothing. True I never asked to be born but it is my philosophy that now that I was here on the planet earth I wanted to make some kind of a difference. And I could not accomplish anything at 400 pounds so I began yet another weight loss journey.

I called my buddy Marvin all depressed telling him that I weighed as much as a sumo wrestler. He said, “ Look on the bright side. You have accomplished something very few people on this planet will be able to do. Four Hundred Pounds ha cha cha cha cha”

I must admit that WW was a pleasant experience. What is wrong sitting in a room with 25 yenta women chatting about food exchanging recipes? Of course my meeting was in the Castro in San Francisco so there goes that theory. But the boys and I sat around having a grand old time exchanging recipes. The program was sound and very healthy and I was fairly successful at it. In less than a year’s time I took off 80lbs, which is nothing to sneeze at. I was going to the gym regularly, walking to work and eating healthily. Life was good and I thought that this was it. But Murphy’s law gets you every time. Just when I started feeling this way I developed atria fibula ion flutter or an irregular heartbeat. Yikes. I would be sitting in a chair with a resting pulse of 72 and it would shoot up to 180. Naturally the first thing I did after freaking out and kicking the cat out was call my doctor. He recommended a cardiologist who cut back my synthroid. Synthroid you ask. Ten years ago I was diagnosed with autoimmune thyroid deficiency. Basically whatever hormone my thyroid produces my body kills. So naturally I need to take it orally to replace what my body cannot supply. The minute he heard irregular heartbeat he cut my synthroid in half. Now just so you know that little thyroid gland is a real spit fire, a powerhouse. It helps to control metabolism which effects weight loss. Once my dosage was cut in half my success story at WW was over. I was eating 1500 calories a day working out and gaining weight. I would call Dr. Schneider begging him to up my dosage but he told me that I could have a stroke as a result of the heart thing. From all my research the thyroid disease can cause a twenty percent or so weight gain not a hundred percent. I was basically as heavy as two grown men and a little dog.

What was the point? I was 320 lbs still quite large eating like a bird and exercising like a greyhound and gaining weight. I woke up one day and I said to hell with this. If I am damned to this miserable state then at least I am going to eat what I want. And so I developed a diet rich in McDonalds, Ben and Jerry’s, Twinkies and Cool Whip. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted, and how much I wanted. I no longer cared. My wife was gone, I was miserable in a dead end job, living in a city where I had no real support group save for my buddy Scott. Add to all of this, and I was in a lawsuit with my mother-in-law, which was not necersarily a bad thing. How many men can say they sued their mother in law? Men groups all over the country were erecting statues in my honor. My wife lived away from home, I sued my mother in law, I was not working and the checks cleared the bank every Thursday. Some called me a god. Life was not fun.

I was feeling bad, gaining weight and started to not leave the house. I was afraid of passing children on the street for fear of what they had to say when I walked passed them. My phobia developed so greatly that I would re-route my journeys to avoid parks and schools. I walked the dogs early in the morning and late at night as to avoid as many people as possible. I loathed doing anything. Visiting my wife in different cities was an agonizing experience. I was too fat for both the train and the plane and felt like a pariah each time that I flew. No one would ever take the seat next me. Was I that horrible to be around? I would go to the movies rarely because it was uncomfortable and if I did I would take two seats. I often got stopped by police for not wearing safety belts and would cry from shame when I told them that it did not fit. It worked didn’t it? I got out of the tickets. And so as my inner self became more and more insulated with fat so did I in my apartment. I would come home from work rent a movie and eat dinner, which usually lasted from five pm to eleven. Then I would plan what I was going to eat the next day. I avoided friends and family for fear of telling them that I was gaining my weight back. Frankly, I was killing myself in the worst way. I vowed that if I went back up to 406, I was going to catch a bus to the Golden gate Bridge and jump off

Life was looking pretty grim for me. I prayed for a change. And then out of the blue I got a call from my friend Bart Williams. Bart told me that he had a gastric bypass operation at Wittgrove Bariatric Center and was steadily losing weight and retraining himself to eat properly. Bart who never did any formal exercising and loved rich and fatty foods had completely changed his lifestyle. I asked him for the number. No I did not call immediately. Please remember this is me talking, I put things off as long as possible. I have managed to hold off adulthood for almost forty years.

The one good thing about my dead end job was that no one really watched over my use of the computer. So instead of fixing toilets I would spend long hours researching, the gastric bypass operation and doctors that performed it. I wanted to know success and failure rates mortality rates complication rates and odds of me getting a date post surgery if my wife left me because at this point in my life I was a freaking mess.

I decided to call Wittgrove Bariatric Center and I must say they were great. I dealt with a woman, Shirley Singletary who worked with me to get approved by the dark force, Blue Cross. She answered every question and called me back each and every time I needed info. Remember this is I. This communication went on for nine months. I am not going to rush into a decision like this. Not major surgery. I am the world’s biggest baby if I get a cold and here I am thinking of having my plumbing re routed. I thought long and hard about this decision. It had to be right for me and I knew that I had to commit. The operation is not a free ride but merely a tool, an aid to help you achieve a means to an end. You still got to watch what you eat and log the hours in the gym. And so I decided to take the plunge. Anything had to be better than the existence I was in.

During this whole nine-month period I told no one about my decision. I was visiting Deb, my wife, in Washington when jolly Al Roker came on the airwaves. Deb suggested to me to think about the operation he got and I went ballistic on her. How dare anyone tell me to do that to myself? Unbeknownst to Deb I had already scheduled a date and been approved by the dark force, Blue Cross. This was a very personal decision and needed to come from me. The time would come when I would announce my decision, but not then. I still feel bad that I acted that way to her. She is a good egg and great friend and after all these years we still laugh together.

It was decided. I was going to have the surgery. The final nail in the coffin was that the Big and Fat man shop on Fairfax was going out of business after thirty years. Where the hell was I going to get my underwear? I set a date at the end of April 2003 but then I was laid off from my crappy job. I was happy and miserable all at the same time. Happy that I no longer had to go to that wretched job but terribly depressed by the fact that I was laid off as a janitor. How low could I sink? A college grad with honors and masters, an actor on television for years, laid off as a janitor. Bring on the Twinkies. By the truckload. I cancelled the surgery and spent a month in a food haze growing more and more depressed and gaining more and more weight. Finally I said this is ridiculous and I called up Deb to talk to her about the surgery. I must say she was most supportive. She told me that her show was ending and that we could do this together when she came home in August. She then asked me to rent a truck and pick her up. In Philadelphia. Big Daddy was going on a road trip and Bruce Springsteen was touring. Life looked up

And so August 1, 2003 I set off on the eating adventures of all. (I must state here that Wittgrove Bariatric Center had no knowledge of my actions and would not endorse such behavior. The views expressed in the following lines are solely my own) The Meal Across America. I was going to drive across this great land of ours delighting in its savory delicacies starting with Snowballs. I would find the specialty of each city or town I was in and eat it. I would ask locals and shopkeepers what they recommended and then eat it. If I stopped in five towns in a day I would eat five times. I was going to say goodbye to my oldest friend, food, in style. Philly Cheese steaks in Philly, deep-dish pizza in Chicago, Ray’s original pizza, The Original Ray’s, The Real Original Ray’s (There was one of these on every corner of the city so I tried them all in New York along with plenty of cheesecake.

And let us not forget the Carnagie Deli. I ate a sandwich so big that Japanese tourist got their Nikons out to shoot pictures of this monumental feat. I still haven’t found out what the delicacy is in Omaha but its freaking Omaha and I probably will never go back. Great I lose 200 lbs only to be shot by some overweight Nebraskan because I made fun of his hometown. To add to the festivities, Deb who hates Bruce Springsteen let me go to a few shows and relive my youth with old friends. In fact when I originally had a surgery date, it was when Mercury was retrograde whatever that means and so Deb made me change it. I decided to reschedule it for the Boss’ birthday. Springsteen was born on September 23 and I was about to be reborn.

Life was good until Wisconsin. I was eating, partying with old friends, spending time with my wife and then I got the call from my dog sitter that my dog, Ziggy had died. This dog was pure love and he really was a major reason that I did not put a bullet in my head. He was a sickly dog and needed lots of attention. He gave me purpose to get out of bed in the mornings. He needed me for medication and care and I needed him for love because this animal did not care what I looked like, he love me unconditionally. Well not entirely, I had to bribe him by feeding him. But he never made a fat joke or commented on my girth.

It wasn’t until the dog died that I realized what a true junkie I was. This first thing I did after hearing the news and dropping my wife off at a motel was to hunt down a Carl’s Jr. I had two six-dollar burgers, a large fries, a large shake and then I ordered dinner for Deb and myself. Hey I did not want the poor girl to eat alone so I got a superstar and have course a salad. Who was I kidding? When your that heavy you never eat in front of others. I ate my third or fifth meal with Deb and then wept in the bathroom like a baby. Not only for Ziggy, but for myself too. I finally got it. I was a sick man and knew something had to be done.

Deb and I got back to San Francisco to prepare for our journey to San Diego. But before we did that one last Vegas trip. Yes a Vegas trip. City of sex, drugs and the biggest buffets on the planet. I documented my meals with a camera. I must have eaten half the shrimp in the Atlantic my first night at the Bellagio. The second day in Vegas we set out to find the world’s largest hot dog as featured on PBS.Two pounds of indescribable meat. I am convinced I ate part of Jimmy Hoffa that day. And what is Vegas without the free drinks at the slots. I got sixteen rolls of nickels and sixteen Tom Collins.

I decided to spend the week before surgery relaxing. But I was a freaking mess. I was convinced that I was going to die. I would walk around the house in a stupor screaming, “Ziggy I’m coming.” I was ready to have a will made up until I realized that I had nothing but a cancer stricken dog and a few Bruce Springsteen Cds I worried about not having a worry. And of course something happened. UTI. Urinary- track- infection. A rarity for men. That was it I was convinced the surgery was over and of course I drove my poor wife nuts. Thankfully anti biotics do wonders and I was back to just being a paranoid lunatic without pain in my Johnson.

The ride to LA and subsequently San Diego was uneventful. I said goodbye to friends and was so ready for whatever experience was going to come my way provided it did not involve any pain in my penis. That’s when I learned about a catheter. Oy Vey.

I finally arrive Wittgrove Bariatric Center for a battery of tests. A written exam to make sure I studied up on obesity, like 40 years wasn’t enough, a blood and urine test, a chest x-ray and an ultra sound. The test was actually an understanding of the operation, its risks and benefits. I was then going to have a consultation with the doctor and then the admitting nurse as well as see an internist, Dr Hiser, . The day went smoothly, I looked at Deb and said that we will get out of here early. I was then asked to go to the billing department and pay. They hand me the bill and I literally nearly fainted as they rang it up on my credit card. Yes I put the thing on a credit card. Not the smartest thing to do but at 400 lbs I figured it might be a good investment. I then got to meet the world-renowned surgeon Dr. Wittgrove. He sits us down and asks if we have anything we’d like to ask about the surgery. Look I couldn’t even say the word bariatric, I am not about to start a conversation with a doctor top in his field about it. So I look around his office and see some baseball mementos. “ You a Padres fan” why yes I am he answers. My condolences I say I am a Giants fan.” “Don’t tell my girlfriend she is a Dodger fan.” He answers, “Bring her on I married one of those I know how to handle them,” I replied. This literally went on for forty-five minutes. We just talked about baseball. Deb starts giving me this look like he is a busy man. I give her a look back like I just put thousands of dollars on a card in his name and I will talk to him about whatever I please. Finally the conversation winds down and I leave. We shake hands when we are stopped by a nurse and asked to go to the hospital immediately for a cat scan.

“ What is this all about,” I asked. “Nothing just go over to radiology and get a pic taken. I looked in my little handy dandy gastric bypass guide and there was nothing in it about a cat scan. I am not good not knowing. “Deb, I said, “” go back to that God Darn office and demand some answers this is not right. “After a half hour Deb returns and in her best poker face tells me its nothing they just want a better look at my chest. Unbeknownst to me they told Deb that they saw a growth on my heart. Deb, the poor girl cried in the office. I wish they told me that because I would have booked the first flight to Vegas and hit every single buffet starting at the Mandalay bay and working my way north to the Sahara. Luckily it turned out to be a shadow on the x-ray and I was going to live. God was not going to let me get an easy way out.

We finished the rest of our little fun filled day at the doctor almost twelve hours after we started it and then we drove back to LA. I had decided to eat lightly that entire weekend because Monday was fun day. In the mid afternoon Monday I would have to ingest magnesium citrate and clean my system out. And so I did. And so for ten grand on my credit card and a couple of dollar bottle of lime flavored magnesium citrate I got to spend several hours on a toilet in an extended stay in San Diego. It was not that bad. Deb would laugh each time I would get up from the chair and run like a bull after a red flag to the john.

I also had to scrub my body with soap of some sort to prepare for surgery. That night I told Deb to take pictures of every aspect of the surgery and its aftermath. “I don’t care if I go code blue just keep the camera going” I was determined to have a pictorial diary of every aspect of this adventure from the meal across America to whatever it turned in to. By God the woman even took a pictures of my catheter, but you have to pay handsomely to see those.

I arrived at the hospital around six in the morning and was immediately taken into the pre-op area where I was undressed and my stomach area was shaved. I was then wheeled into a waiting room where Dr. Wittgrove showed up to say hi. I looked him straight in the eye and said, “Please do not make me a San Diego Padres fan” and that was really the last thing I remember.

The operation itself was just about seventy-five minutes and apparently went smoothly. Afterwards I was wheeled into my private room with a television from 1972. No plasma for me. That fantasy of going to the worlds best known bariatric facility, and watching the MLB package on a forty-two inch plasma went straight out the window. The trade off is that I had the greatest care in the world. By some of the most loving people I ever met. Many of which I have become friends with.

Hospitals are not known for humility. I had more women see my nakedness in those two days than I did in my whole dating career. Catheter in, catheter adjustment, sponge bath (that doesn’t qualify as cheating does it) and of course, the catheter removal (ooh that was fun). I am sorry but I still subscribe to the belief that that part of the male anatomy was designed as a one-way street.

All in all my experience was a pleasant one. The nurses were terrific and the doctors attentive with the greatest bedside manner I have ever seen that includes Dr. Wittgrove and Dr. Hiser the internist. I saw Dr. Wittgrove and the first question I asked was when I could start riding a bike. I knew that after I decided to have my plumbing rearranged that I was embarking on a new and healthy life and I was not going back. Or was I? That night I took a walk around the bariatric unit and stopped by the scale to weigh myself. Three hundred and eighty-nine pounds. Leave it to me to not eat for several days and gain sixteen pounds. I freaked. My nurse Sally just laughed. She told me that it was completely normal because of all the fluids that were pumped into me during surgery and that the weight would come off quickly.

The second morning I was released to go to a hotel in the area. The first thing we did was stop by Qualcomm to get tickets for the Padres. That damn doctor. I was actually looking forward to go to see the Padres play their last weekend at the old Jack Murphy Stadium. I went so far as to purchase a hat and tee shirt. How did this happen to the ultimate Giant fan? Deb convinced me that it was just a side effect from the anesthesia. Some get depressed some get weepy and I was rooting for the Padres. To my relief I rushed to the hotel to sit in my space-aged recliner and watched the San Francisco Giant in the playoffs. I relished each and every moment watching my team but every so often I would have thoughts of going to see the Padres.

Deb was terrific throughout the whole experience but particularly through this next phase. She would plan our activities, drive everywhere and take care of my needs, which included draining this bladder which drained from my stomach, which filled with, blood, and changing the bandages. She really is the greatest person I know. She also took care of our trip itinerary. Since I had to walk daily we decided to make this adventure a bit of a holiday. We went to baseball games, the zoo, Balboa Park, old town and of course Target. What can I say? My wife loves the Target. And for the most part we had a great time. Of there was that night when Deb had margaritas and chips in front of me. “ And for you sir,” says the Waiter. “Water just water"

Now during this time I had developed some small black and blue marks on my stomach area. At first I did not think much of them but then they grew and grew and grew. It was like the blob. An inch turned to two then three then a foot. It covered my whole stomach and started going to my back. I called the doctor and was told not to worry about it and that when it hit my spine it would go away. That was assuring. It didn’t actually hurt but I did not tell my wife that. “Honey can you get the remote I cant get up.” This was the life. The hemotoma made for one of the great photo ops of my life. As a gift to Dr. Wittgrove, I had a baseball bat turned for him with his name. He looks at the bat and then at me and says, “I have a great idea for a picture, lift up your shirt.” And there on digital film is a picture of the good doctor taking a swing with the bat at my stomach. He is not only a talented surgeon, but also great guy with a great sense of humor. Right up my alley. I am proud to call him my friend. I am still convinced, however that while I was under he messed up my baseball allegiance because I have already been to several Padres games this season. Bastard!

We wrapped up our time in San Diego and returned to San Francisco. Life was good. I was safe, eating with no problems and fully capable of performing my husbandly duties. Don’t ask why I was such in a rush to check that out but after being violated by that catheter but I wanted to make sure everything worked. I told you my wife is a saint.

Right after the surgery I told Deb that I had planned to take a year off from work and concentrate on losing weight. When we started on this journey we were debt free but I told her I did not care what happened, I was going to spend the next year working as hard as possible losing the weight. I noticed from people who had the surgery that there really is a window of nine to eighteen months where people lose weight then the weight loss becomes like everyone else. I was going to maximize my time and ability to lose the weight. I was going to live up to the standard of excellence Wittgrove Bariatric Center was known for. When I put my mind to something I do it 150 percent. My job was to work out and retrain my mind not to use food as a crutch. Basically I was fighting against almost forty years of conditioning. I also knew that if I failed at this, I was out of options. And so from day one out of the hospital I was walking. By day ten I was in the gym on an exercise bike. In a months time I was spending two to three hours in the gym working out. I now spin five days a week go on thirty mile bike rides and run five to seven miles as well as lift for an hour four days a week.

I do not want to give the impression that you have this surgery and things are easy and go smoothly. It might. But it was not the case for me. The first two weeks were fine but as I got into week three and four I was experiencing all kinds of weird things. Firstly I started eating outside of the box of refried beans and cottage cheese and thus I started throwing up as much maybe more than my cat. There were times I swear my cat Snug looked at me as I was heaving saying, show off.” The absolute best was when I was sitting on my recliner watching the World Series eating some shrimp. Snug jumps on the chair and steals a piece. I then eat one and he comes back for more. Just when he jumps on me I let him have it. I finally got back at him for throwing up in all those pairs of shoes of mine. I threw up right on him. I never saw a madder animal in my life. But it was a great moment. I went through the throw up stage for several weeks. I would carry around a plastic bag everywhere just in case. I was like a baby or at least my new stomach was a baby. It was teaching me to eat more slowly and chew so this was a good thing.

You hear a lot of talk about the new stomach. Doctors and nurses refer to it as the “pouch” That was too clinical for me so I named him Ed. My wife would ask are you ready to go and I would answer, “yes but Ed’s not.” It got so bad that if Ed was acting up I would yell at him. Yes I actually had conversations with my new stomach. Someone had to keep the bastard in line. Deb would walk in sometimes and ask whom I was talking too. I’d tell her Ed. She didn’t even flinch. She knew. Ed had good days and crabby days. I actually looked forward to the crabby days because it meant I would eat less. And that was the point wasn’t it. We did this to eat less. And more importantly gain life years and better health.

This is not brain surgery folks. Wittgrove Bariatric Center has been around almost twenty years and their program works. I am not paid to say that just so you know. If something sucks I am the first to tell you. All I did was follow the rules. I ate what was listed on the monthly menus, drank sixty-four ounces of water and exercised. And exercised and exercised. I exercised so much that my closest friends literally sat down to have an intervention. They felt that I was pushing myself too much. I would run 8-12 miles for a week, lift 4 days a week, then the next week bike five days twenty five to thirty miles a day take yoga twice a week and take indoor cycling 5 nights a week. I laughed at them. Where was the intervention when I was four hundred pounds? They would go out to eat with me then say, “… you want my crust?” I am in the best shape of my life as I approach my forties. Not many people can be as fortunate as I to dedicate a year to working out but all of you can commit to thirty to forty minutes a day. Also I regularly attend the support group meetings lead by the director of the Wittgrove Bariatric Center program, Tracy Owens and Dr. Wittgrove. I don’t think I ever two more loving and dedicated people. They had given their lives to helping people with this disease. The support group has been an invaluable tool for me and has surrounded me by some of the most inspiring and loving people I have ever met. I try never to miss it down in San Diego even if I have to trek down from San Francisco, which is an eight-hour drive. I have made friends with one in particular, Lynnda, who I call up when I am having a problem dealing with something. She has become a mentor and a good friend. She is truly a wonderful person and very successful in her weight-loss journey. She is nearly a hundred pounds down. I would like to think that I am there for her when she is having a particular problem. Many have called me. There is a really amazing camaraderie that Gastric Bypass forge. I guess its because we all have stomachs the size of a golf ball. And I have never felt more fulfilled than when I am able to help a fellow Gber.

A few weeks back I ran into a person who had the surgery but stopped following the program He ate poorly, never exercised and did not attend meetings. He gained fifty percent of his weight back. I was so scared that this might happen to me. I wrote Lynnda and she responded so wisely with the following,”…. I know a few people who have gained some of their weight back.. I don't let it bother me because I know more people who have kept it off. I just figure that the demons for those few folks were stronger then their need for a new life. In a few cases I believe the people could have benefited from some therapy to rid themselves of the reasons they were fat in the first place... If the issues are psychological and you don't address them - you will never be successful -- no matter what-. L. Shepherd. She calmed me down and has turned into a good friend and is very successful with her journey. In eight months she has lost over ninety pounds

I lost over one hundred pounds in one hundred days. In ten months I dropped over hundred and ninety pounds and went from a fifty-eight pants to a thirty-three. From a xxxl to a medium. My cholesterol is 129 my sugar around seventy and my blood pressure 110 over sixty. Not bad. I feel great and healthy but more importantly I look pretty good for an old man. Okay more importantly I am not a heart attack waiting to happen. Now don’t get the wrong impression. There is plenty of time for me to mess this up. YES you can gain weight after having this done. But I am so fortunate to be surrounded by loving people from Wittgrove Bariatric Center and great friends, like David, Mike, Alex Vince and Scott that they all make sure I stay in line. I also have people whom I call angels. They are people that are put in my way to guide me and keep me on the right path. These include my cycle instructor Alicia.Loerzel who when I was three hundred pounds, she took the time to teach me indoor cycling and how to prevent injuries. She has been an amazing influence and has turned into a great friend.You have to dedicate yourself to eating wisely and exercising regularly and taking your supplements. This is a life commitment but one with an amazing pay-off. I now have “normal” quality of life. For the first time I almost fit in society.I have no problems riding in airplanes and boats and the comments by the children have stopped. I buy tight fitting clothes and I get amazing comments from both men and women. People have come up to me and called me their inspiration. I don’t recommend this surgery for all. Its not. It’s for those who are really committed to a complete lifestyle change. Emotionally and physically

Now I can’t finish this story without mentioning Carnie Wilson. I saw her speak and have met her. She truly is an amazing person and has all my respect. The greatest lesson I learned was from her. She said that during this journey we have to love our spouses more. We are the little celebrities getting all the attention while our spouses sit on the sidelines. The other night Deb and I were talking about a Newsweek article on affairs. She asked me if I had one. My reply, “… not yet” I told this to my friend Tracy who hit me. She reinforced the Carnie lesson. I really must get better at being mindful of Deb’s feelings through all this. Women are coming on to me, complimenting me and your ego starts to run wild. Not a good thing to ever hurt the ones you love even unintentional. So Deb if I am ever insensitive forgive me because that Tracy throws a mean punch and I am a fragile man. And ,oh yeah, I love you.

If you are thinking about this procedure may I recommend one thing after you have done extensive research and have decided that this is for you. Surround yourself by positive people. Only tell those who you are really sure will give you positive vibes. My parents were really scared for me to have this surgery. But it manifested itself in a negative way and they tried to talk me out of and have others talk me out of the surgery. As a result I was angry at them for months. I went so far as to not send them pictures for months as I was losing weight and when I did it was in a Santa Claus costume. Please do not get the wrong impression my parents are the greatest people on earth but they were ill informed about the procedure and how morbid obesity ruins a life. They were scared for me and for that I love them very much. We all did a lot of growing up during the last nine months. And I think we are closer now than ever before.

I have dedicated the last nine months to fighting my own obesity and I promise that whatever months I have left on this planet I will continue fighting my disease but also help others fight theirs. I make myself available to anyone and everyone who has questions about this topic. I am not an expert, just a schmuck from Long Island who has been through it and has a unique and valid perspective on the topic. I hope in the coming months to continue writing and let you know of my trials and tribulations.

“…I am tired of waiting for tomorrow to come or the train to come roaring round the bend I got a new suit of clothes and a pretty red rose, a woman I can call my friend these are better days…..” -Bruce Springsteen

October 1st
The Journey begins at 373 LBS.
November 1st
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Febuary 1st
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June 2nd
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188 Pounds Lost!

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On Gastric Bypass, Laparoscopic Gastric Banding, Sleeve Gastrectomy, and Revision Surgery

What Patients Need to Know

This seminar is a 90 minute presentation presented by Dr Wittgrove. Here you will learn of surgical options, how they work and expected outcomes. All questions will be answered.

Discover Bariatric Laparoscopy