Published on July 28, 2020

He Feels 25 Years Younger After Bariatric Surgery

Photo of avid outdoorsman, radio talk show host and bariatic surgery patient with MidMichigan Health, Mike Avery.

Avid outdoorsman and radio talk show host Mike Avery enjoys an active lifestyle hunting and spending time in the outdoors. Since having bariatric surgery he feels 25 years younger.

In the fall of 2018, Mike Avery, 61, an avid outdoorsman and radio talk show host, was deer hunting in a hilly area in West Branch. As he climbed the hills, fatigue and shortness of breath frequently stopped him, making the hunting expedition a challenging one.

One year later and 110 pounds lighter, Avery hunted the same area and felt like he could run up the hills. He attributes this dramatic change in experience to a new lifestyle that resulted from bariatric surgery.

Avery has been a TV and radio broadcaster for 35 years. His radio show, Mike Avery’s Outdoor Magazine Radio, is a staple for those who hunt, fish, shoot, trap and generally love wildlife. His program is featured on 29 stations across Michigan each weekend.

Over time, Avery’s weight started to interfere with his passion for the outdoors. It became harder to move through the woods and climb tree stands. He also developed high blood pressure and sleep apnea. He tried dieting, hypnosis and exercise, but nothing seemed to work. He took his concerns to his doctor Phil Kadaj, M. D., who recommended him for bariatric surgery.

Avery will be the first to admit he was hesitant. With a fear of getting the surgery then gaining the weight back, Dr. Kadaj explained how surgery is simply a tool to help a patient lose weight. The rest is on their shoulders to make the lifestyle changes to keep the weight off. With that in mind, Avery met with Bariatric Surgeon Ernest Cudjoe, M.D., who decided a sleeve gastrectomy was the best path forward. A sleeve gastrectomy is a minimally invasive surgical weight loss procedure where the surgeon makes a small incision to access the stomach and then staples it into two different sections. The surgeon then removes the larger section, making the stomach smaller and shaped like a sleeve. The transformed stomach still stretches and expands, but it prevents the patient from overeating. The procedure is performed by specialized bariatric surgeons at MidMichigan Medical Centers in Gratiot and Midland.

On the day of the surgery, Avery was a mix of emotions. “I was nervous, concerned and excited. Nervous for the process, concerned about keeping the weight off, and excited for the life change,” Avery said. “I was excited to get my life back. I felt like I had lost control of my life because my weight was keeping me from doing certain physical things.”

After surgery at MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot, Avery felt great. “The surgery was pretty minor. I had no problems and recovered quickly. I was back in the recording studio a week later,” he said. Two weeks after bariatric surgery, Avery got rid of his CPAP machine for sleep apnea and his blood pressure decreased.

To keep the weight off, Avery walks three to four miles per day, several days a week. He also added strength training into his exercise routine. Overall, he feels like a new person. “I got my life back,” he said. “I feel like a new man. I feel 25 years younger. I can move better. I feel better. I can do more and I’m more active.”

MidMichigan Health offers bariatric surgery in both Gratiot and Midland. Those who would like to watch an informational video or take a free weight loss assessment may visit www.midmichigan.org/weightloss.

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