Mark and Cindy Frazier
Partners, Parents, and Bariatric Surgery Patients
"We felt comfortable and knew we were in good hands with Dr. Cudjoe and his staff."
Couple Gains a New Outlook On Life
When Cindy Frazier of Freeland first considered bariatric surgery, she did her homework.
“I’m a reader,” Cindy said. “I used books and websites, and read any information I could find about bariatric surgery. I wanted to be prepared.” Her husband Mark took a different approach. “I took advantage of her research,” he laughed.
The couple went to informational seminars sponsored by other area hospitals before attending one sponsored by MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot.
“We were much more comfortable with what Gratiot had to offer,” Mark said. “They gave an excellent presentation and we thought they had a higher level of knowledge and experience,” Cindy said. “Plus, they earned a Center of Excellence for these procedures,” Mark added.
Mark was pleasantly surprised by one source of information. “Dr. Cudjoe insists that patients attend at least one support group meeting before surgery, so I went to the first one because I had to,” he said. “They were fantastic! These were real people who had had the procedure and genuinely wanted to help us. They answered all our questions and were sincerely interested in our success. It was good to know that after surgery, they are there for you.”
After careful research and preparation, the couple chose MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot. Ernest Cudjoe, M.D., performed Roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery on Mark on March 2. Two weeks later, Dr. Cudjoe performed the same procedure on Cindy.
“You need to trust the people you’re working with,” Mark said. “We felt comfortable and knew we were in good hands with Dr. Cudjoe and his staff.”
From pre-surgery counseling to post-surgery care, the couple said the staff at the Medical Center exceeded their expectations. “I trusted them, so I trusted their judgment and expertise,” he said.
Both were pleasantly surprised at how quickly they recovered. “The staff was awesome,” Cindy said. “It helped that we had laparoscopic surgery, which is not as invasive.”
“It made a big difference that we went through it together,” Cindy said. “I don’t know that I would have been as successful as I’ve been if I had gone thorough it alone.” She said that since they both eat the same things, maintaining their healthy lifestyle has been easier. “Mark likes to experiment with food – now he experiments with protein shakes and different things we can eat.”
Health concerns were the driving force behind the Frazier’s decision to have surgery. Cindy said she was worried about her husband of 15 years. “Mark used to have a huge pill box filled with all his daily meds, separated by a.m. and p.m.” Cindy said. “I don’t miss that.”
Both Mark and Cindy have seen dramatic improvements in their health. Both are off their blood pressure medicine and Mark, who has type 2 diabetes, no longer needs insulin and was able to eliminate or reduce other medications.
Before losing more than 90 pounds, Mark admits he had little energy for anything other than work. “I have more energy than I’ve had in years,” Mark said. “Life has opened up and I feel like myself again.”
There is very little that they miss about their life before bariatric surgery. “I might have an occasional craving, but my taste in food has changed,” Mark said. “I’ve discovered I like the food I’m supposed to be eating.”
Cindy said losing 120 pounds opened up new opportunities. “My daughter and I like to shop and now, it’s more fun. We’re going on a cruise this winter and we can enjoy all the things we are able to do now like taking day trips and walking,” she said.
Cindy’s advice to someone thinking about bariatric surgery is to be informed and open-minded. “Read and prepare yourself,” she said. “I was mentally prepared for anything – even for the worst – and was blessed that I had no major issues.”
“I agree,” Mark added. “Do your research or marry someone who does great research.” He credits the staff at MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot for helping them prepare. “They really educate you before hand.”
Cindy cautioned that bariatric surgery is not the same for everyone. “My experience is not Mark’s experience,” she said. “Go in with both eyes open and accept the fact that this is a life-long commitment and a permanent change in your life.”
Mark said the changes are worth it. “There is nothing that I miss enough to go back to the way I was.”
MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot has been named a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the Surgical Review Corporation. This designation recognizes surgical programs with a demonstrated track record of positive patient outcomes.
For more information about bariatric surgery, visit www.midmichigan.org/bariatrics. To learn about upcoming seminars in your area, call MidMichigan Health Line toll-free at (800) 999-3199.