Ron and Gail Gorman
Teachers, Parents, Farmers and Bariatric Surgery Patients
“I can move and do things I
haven’t done in 10 years. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.” -Ron Gorman
“I have no regrets except that I didn’t do it
sooner.” -Gail Gorman
Couple Participates in Chicago Marathon to Celebrate Weight Loss
When Gail Gorman decided to have bariatric surgery, she did it for herself. “I wanted to look better of course, but more than that, I wanted to be here. I wanted to be healthy.” While Gail had no immediate weight-related health issues, her family’s health history frightened her. “My dad died from heart disease at 52 and both my brothers had heart problems at an early age,” she said. “My weight just kept going up and up. I had to do something. Ron was not in favor of it in the beginning but I told him ‘This is what I’m doing.’”
In June 2010, Gail had Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery at MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot. “I wasn’t nervous about the surgery, I was excited,” she said. “My experience at the Medical Center was fantastic. The night staff in particular was phenomenal. When I called, they were there in a heartbeat. Even now, when I call, they get back to me right away.”
Gail spent four days at the Medical Center. “It did take me a while to recover. I was weak and tired but I think it was because I was so heavy to start,” she said. “When my weight dropped to the 220-range, I started feeling better.”
Despite his initial resistance, Gail said her husband was behind her every step of the way. “Ron was supportive and encouraging. When I was discouraged because I wasn’t seeing a change fast enough, he would find a way to motivate me.”
Gail dropped more than half her body weight and went from a size 32 to a size 8. Her success also inspired her husband. “My doctor encouraged me to look into bariatric surgery as well,” Ron said. The doctor, in fact, was quite blunt with Ron. “He told me if I wanted to see my grandkids, I needed to do something now. I knew it was time.”
Three months later, Bariatric Surgeon Jeffrey L. Bonacci, M.D., the same surgeon who had operated on Gail, performed a sleeve gastrectomy on Ron. Initially 426 pounds, he weighed 255 pounds six months later.
Since losing weight, the couple’s activity level has soared. Gail teaches and Ron, a semi-retired teacher, still farms. They both work out at a gym and walk together frequently. In fact, on their anniversary, Ron and Gail joined their son and daughter-in-law and participated in the Chicago Marathon. “We walked 13.1 miles that day and then walked the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day,” Ron said. “We could never have done that before,” Gail added.
Both agree that bariatric surgery requires commitment and discipline. “The mental challenge was not as difficult as I thought it would be,” Gail said. “Giving up diet cola was hard in the beginning, but I haven’t had chocolate since May 2010 and couldn’t care less. I’ve found what I can eat and I stick with it.”
“I read my ‘black book’ cover-to-cover and I’ve stuck to the rules,” Ron added. “No alcohol, no sweets, no carbonated beverages. I haven’t had coffee since March and I’m surprised that it didn’t bother me to give it up.”
They also agree that they eat well and feel great. “We eat a lot of fish and fewer carbs,” Gail said. “A typical dinner for us is steak or roast and vegetables. We choose not to eat much bread but I’ll have pizza maybe once a week.”
Ron’s health dramatically improved as he lost weight. He was able to eliminate several medications and his blood pressure is now a respectable 124/78. “I can move and do things I haven’t done in 10 years,” he said. “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.”
“Having bariatric surgery was the third best decision I’ve ever made,” Gail added. “The first was marrying Ron and the second was having my children. I feel great now. I have no regrets except that I didn’t do it sooner.”
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.