Technical Service Specialist, Husband, Father and Bariatric Surgery Patient
“Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have waited so long to have surgery. It’s amazing how much easier life is.”
Celebrating Victory Over Weight Loss
Midland native Matt Rodgers said the story of his struggle to reach a healthy weight is a familiar one. “I was always chunky and as I got older, I gained more weight,” he said. Like many other people, Matt tried high protein diets and organized group sessions. “I’d lose 75 or 100 pounds and then gain it back.”
Matt was only 30 years old, weighed 460 pounds, and was concerned about his health and his future. “Despite my weight, I didn’t have high blood pressure or cholesterol but I knew I was on my way there,” he said. “I started to have issues with acid reflux and was diagnosed with a sleep disorder.”
While he had been aware of bariatric surgery for years, Matt didn’t seriously consider having the procedure until a couple of years ago. “I did some research and read what people had to say about bariatric surgery. I knew I wasn’t interested in traditional Roux-en-Y surgery but I was interested in the LAP-BAND®,” he said. “Then I went to an informational session about bariatric procedures and heard about the sleeve.”
Sleeve gastrectomy is one of the bariatric surgery procedures available at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland. This procedure uses staples to divide the stomach into two sections. The largest section, which accounts for approximately 85-90 percent of the stomach, is permanently removed. The procedure maintains the basic function of the stomach however the volume of food the stomach can handle is limited. Patients who undergo sleeve gastrectomy feel full quickly and consume less food. On average, patients lose about half of their excess body weight in 12 months.
Matt said his surgeon recommended the sleeve gastrectomy after their first meeting. “With the LAP-BAND, the weight comes off slowly and I needed it to come off quickly. I did some more research and decided to go with it.”
Matt had bariatric surgery on May 23, 2011. In less than 10 months, he shed 168 pounds and is more than half-way to his goal of 200 pounds.
“I have completely changed the way I eat and the way I think about food,” Matt said. While he can eat anything in moderation, he said his taste preferences and food cravings have changed. He concentrates on eating lean protein, fruits and vegetables. “It’s easier to eat just until I’m satisfied – every meal doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving dinner.”
His activity level also changed dramatically. After surgery, Matt worked with a personal trainer at the Fitness Center at MidMichigan Medical Center–Midland. “It was very helpful,” he said. “I learned to do things the right way. Before surgery, I avoided exercise at all costs – I even hated going for walks. Now, I exercise a lot. I joined a fitness center, ride my bike and go to aerobic classes. I’m even training for my first 5K in May.”
Matt said he feels fortunate to have a strong support system as he continues working toward his goal. “I’m lucky to have my family behind me,” he said. “While my wife was nervous about the surgery, she understood that she was part of the reason I chose the procedure and she supported my decision.”
He encourages people who are contemplating bariatric surgery to investigate the possibilities. “Do your own research and realize there is more than one option,” Matt said. “I’d also seek out people who have had the surgery and talk to them. They are a great resource because they understand what you’re going through.”
In fact, Matt said talking to people who had gone through bariatric procedures helped him make his decision, prepare for surgery and adjust to life after surgery. They still help him today. “There is a support group in Midland that meets monthly,” he said. “My wife and I started going before surgery and I kept going. Now I’m there to help others. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have waited so long to have surgery. It’s amazing how much easier life is.”
LAP-BAND is a registered trademark of Allergan, Inc.
MidMichigan Health offers bariatric surgery in both Alma and Midland. For more information or for a list of upcoming free seminars, call MidMichigan Health Line toll-free at (800) 999-3199 or visit www.midmichigan.org/bariatrics.