I had been overweight nearly my entire life. In fact, other than through pictures of me when I was a young boy, I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t overweight. Although I didn’t suffer from any major health problems, I knew I was not in control of my life and I knew I wasn’t happy. At 378 pounds, I was held captive by my severe obesity. I felt like my life was bound in chains with no possible escape to freedom. More importantly, I knew that if I didn’t make permanent changes quickly, I would have major health problems in the near future. I knew I couldn’t out run the problems that are coming unless I learned to live a healthy lifestyle.
What pained me the most is I have a beautiful wife and three young children who didn’t have the husband or dad they deserved to have. More than for any other reason, I knew a change was needed for them. They deserved better!
I had been thinking about weight loss surgery for years. However, I knew I didn’t want to do it unless I tried all other options first. Through the years I have tried diet after diet, several exercise programs, and have even worked with certified dietitians. Often times, these programs would help me lose weight but the weight always stormed back quicker than ever before. Not only would the weight come back but I seemed to always gain in addition 10-20 pounds each time.
After years of thought and prayer, I finally decided that a permanent change was needed. As a family we decided the best option was weight loss surgery. I attended several different seminars by different doctors who offered weight loss surgery but each time I felt like the doctors were only concerned about taking my money, doing the surgery, and then I felt like I would be forgotten. It wasn’t until I met Dr. Sherman Smith and the Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians (RMAP) staff that I felt like I was cared for and appreciated. I felt like their primary concern was my long-term happiness and success. I quickly got the feeling they were going to give me every possible resource available to succeed.
Although there are several different weight loss surgeries available, I consulted with Dr. Smith and I decided to have Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass surgery. To me it seemed to be the most proven surgery with a greater track record of long-term success. At the time of my gastric bypass surgery I weighed in at 378 pounds. YIKES! I suffered from sore knees, back pain, and a very severe case of laziness. I didn’t want to do anything except eat, watch TV, and relax. I won’t go into details but in a down economy, I think I single handily, keep the ice cream and fast food industries strong and thriving.
The day of surgery finally arrived! I was certainly nervous for the surgery. This would be my first surgery ever. Luckily, I responded well to the anesthesia and other medications for surgery. Thankfully with the skilled hands and mind of Dr. Smith, the surgery went well.
The first few months after gastric bypass surgery were hard. I desperately tried to embrace the new me and adapt to my new body and lifestyle. Emotionally, each day seemed to be a roller coaster. At one moment, I would be depressed and sad that I couldn’t eat the foods that I used to love. Then the next moment I would feel happy and proud of the new me and the decision I made to live healthier. The first few months felt like an intense detox. I embraced the guidelines that RMAP gave me. Although it was tough, I followed the rules to the letter. I only ate what was in the guidelines and I exercised each day. Although it was hard, it was encouraging to see the weight drop off. I could feel and literally see the old Tyler start to melt away, leaving only the new and improved Tyler in his place.
After the first few months, my quality of life improved dramatically. I suddenly found myself in “the groove.” I was learning my new lifestyle, developing healthier habits, and accepting who I am both physically and mentally. It’s now been nearly a year and a half since I made the life-changing decision to have weight loss surgery. I have lost 195 pounds and have kept it off! It was not an easy decision but I’m so grateful that I did. I can say that I’ve always been a happy person, but now I feel like I’m the person I was always meant to be.
Gastric bypass surgery did exactly what I was hoping it would do. It provided me with an extra toll to help me lose weight. However, I continue to look at the surgery as just that…a tool. This wasn’t simple or a quick fix option. I knew if I had the surgery it would take as much effort and dedication as ever to get to my goal weight and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Since gastric bypass surgery, I have followed the rules with near exactness. I eat only what I am supposed to and I exercise as much as the doctors suggest, and even more sometimes. In fact, I just accomplished a personal goal of running a half marathon! In training for the half marathon I run 4-5 miles per day and on the weekends I run 10-12 miles. Accomplishing this goal was amazing and never would have been possible without the surgery, hard work and dedication.
Although it hasn’t been easy to make this lifestyle change, I can say it’s been worth the challenge and struggle. I am happier than I have ever been. I don’t think I’m happier just because the scale says I weigh less. I’m happier because I can enjoy my family more than ever. My wife and kids mean everything to me. Unfortunately, before weight loss surgery, they weren’t getting the kind of husband and father they deserved. They were getting the watered down version of me. Now, our lives together are much more active and exciting. We find more things to do together as a family. Our lives don’t revolve around food. Our relationships are stronger than ever because we are active, engaged, and together. Although my kids may not realize it right now, they see me fighting. They see me exercising. They see that I am trying to find ways to make our lives better. For that reason alone, I am grateful that I had the guts to go through with the surgery.
This has truly been a year of change. I am certainly grateful for a good surgeon in Dr. Sherman Smith, RMAP, and others who have had weight loss surgery and have shown support to me. However, more than anything else, I am so grateful for my wife and kids. To say the least, this has been a major adjustment for all of us. It was really hard at first because of the physical and emotional changes that were happening. It continues to be a challenge because we understand that gastric bypass surgery didn’t fix everything forever. It’s now up to us to keep a healthy lifestyle and maintain the weight loss. I can’t remember ever hearing my beautiful wife complain about this decision. She has been so strong and supportive.
Now, here’s to the continued journey! Onward, ever onward!
Tyler is a part of RMAP Patient Advocate Program. He has extended his support to those interested in learning more about weight loss surgery. You can contact him at the resources listed above.
Read more patient stories here.
Interested in learning more about weight loss surgery? Learn more information here.
If you would like to share your weight loss surgery story with others and on Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians (RMAP) other social media outlets, contact Jessica at Jessica@rmapinc.com.