I have always been a “big” person. When I was a youth, I was always heavier than most all of my friends. Buying clothes was always a problem, even when I was a young person. I played all sports as a youth and was very active on the family farm, and this helped keep my weight in order, but I was still heavy-set.
After graduation from high school, I went on to college for two years, and then farmed and worked for another three years. During this time, my weight ballooned out of control, and I did a terrible job of trying to keep how heavy I was getting in check.
I decided at this point in my life to go back and finish school. While attending Chadron State College, I played football collegiately and even though this helped keep my weight in line, there were times my weight fluctuated in a “yo-yo” fashion. I weighed anywhere from 235-320 pounds during my college days. I was up and down consistently.
After graduation from college, my activity level decreased (even though I was at times coaching three sports) and I continued to put on weight. There were many times that I lost weight, but it seemed like fi I lost 20 pounds I would put back on 25 and my weight continued to increase. I continued a pattern of dieting with the same results of losing weight then gaining back the weight lost, plus more. I even worked with a weight loss clinic and while I lost some weight, I wasn’t consistent in my efforts and I gained the lost weight back plus added additional pounds.
Fast forward to the winter of 2011. I had reached the weight of 440 pounds and even though I had no major medical issues (no blood pressure problems, no diabetes issues, my cholesterol was unbelievably low, etc.), I knew it was just a matter of time before some of these things reared their ugly head. I had given consideration to weight loss surgery in the past, but never thought that I was “ready” for this step. However, it was at this time that I knew if I wanted to see my daughters and my son get married and have my grandchildren, grow old with my loving wife and enjoy the quality of life again that I once had, then something needed to change. It is hard to be that heavy. Doing everyday little things like walking steps, dressing, traveling, etc. take a task all to their own. This is not to mention the things that I used to enjoy that I really couldn’t do anymore, like enjoying the lake, the mountains, hunting, hiking, officiating ballgames (I was done coaching at this point), and all the other random activities that happen in a person’s life.
I searched on the internet one night shortly after Christmas for a weight loss surgeon in Salt Lake City. I was BLESSED to have Dr. Sherman C. Smith’s name come up at the top of the list that was shown that fateful time so many years ago. I e-mailed Rocky Mountain Associated Physicians (RMAP) about the process that I needed to go through to get the “ball rolling.” I immediately heard back from RMAP and I was scheduled to attend a group presentation at what was the initial meeting of RMAP personnel that explained the different surgeries that were available.
It was this night, at this presentation when I met Dr. Sherman Smith for the first time. After talking with him for only a few moments, I knew immediately in my mind and in my heart that I was in the hands of someone who could change my life profoundly for the better. I can’t explain why I felt so strongly this way, but I just really believed that Dr. Smith personified how genuine, caring, empathetic, and understanding he was to the plight of the people who ultimately were his patients. I couldn’t have been in better hands!
The staff at RMAP was very helpful in the process of working through the insurance, scheduling of different medical items, hospital coordination, support before my surgery and all follow up items. My Gastric Bypass surgery was scheduled for April 10th, 2012 and it went off without a hitch.
Through help, guidance, and support from my loving family, the medical professionals I worked with, my colleagues at work, and my friends, I had no major problems of any type. I was truly blessed to have everything work out.
The day I had surgery I weighed 440 pounds. I had an appointment with RMAP on February 25th, 2013 and my weight at that time was 260 pounds, which is a lower weight that I’ve leveled off with. I didn’t know if that much of a loss is common or not. I try not to think about it at times, because sometimes it is almost overwhelming. I continually thanked the good Lord on a regular basis for the miracle of that surgery, finding Dr. Smith (I can’t even begin to explain how devastated I was when I found out that he had passed away), and all the help that I received from so many to make things all come together. I was and still am very blessed that the whole process happened for me.
Fast forward to March of 2021 and my weight, while fluctuating some, has stayed around the 285-295 pound mark. This seems to be the place that I’m at on a fairly consistent basis, so it is a weight that seems to be the place that works for me. I still have to watch what I eat and drink. If I drink pop (I haven’t drank alcohol since my surgery), I can gain weight in a hurry.
I am more active now than I ever was 15 years ago, and I truly believe that if I hadn’t had Dr. Smith enter my life and complete this surgery, I would not be alive today. I am not being melodramatic; it is just a fact in my opinion. When I was 440 pounds that day nearly nine years ago, I was not done gaining weight. I was just there that day for a whistle stop, well on my way to 500 pounds and beyond!
Again, I could never thank you all of the fine people at RMAP for their help and what they have done for my family and me. For me, they have helped make all for the difference in the world!
I will do whatever I can to help any other person who decides they want to change their life with this surgery. I believe this is the least I can do to help in some small way, honor the work of Dr. Sherman Smith, and pay what he did for me forward to others who might possibly choose this different path in their life.
If I can ever be of service in any way, please don’t hesitate to contact me at the below contact information. You can call or text anytime of the day or night, and if I can’t answer right then, I will get back to you ASAP.
— John C.
Rock Springs, WY
Surgeon: Dr. Sherman C. Smith
Surgery Date: April 10th, 2012
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