Husband, Father, Electrician and Bariatric Surgery Patient
St. Johns, Michigan
“I had the procedure on January 29 and I consider that my ‘re-birth’ day. I was born to a whole new lifestyle. They laid out a plan and I stuck to it.”
Celebrating a New Healthier Lifestyle and Feeling Reborn
As a teenager, David Hyde of St. Johns was thin and active. “I ran track, played sports and worked on a farm. I was in good shape,” he said. “I started putting on weight after high school. I weighed around 250 for several years and then ballooned up to 324 pounds.”
The excess weight interfered with his sleep, his health and his livelihood. He depended on a CPAP device to help him sleep at night and medications to keep his blood pressure in check. David still had trouble sleeping and the strength of his prescriptions continually increased.
“Because of my weight, I wasn’t fully able to do my job,” David said. “I wasn’t allowed on ladders or power lifts because I was over the weight limit.”
The tipping point was seeing a close relative who was relegated to a power chair because of excess weight. “He has diabetes, takes dozens of pills each day, and has had two heart bypass operations,” David said. “I did not want to get to that point.”
As other weight loss plans had failed, David felt he was running out of options, until a co-worker shared his story about bariatric surgery. “Greg and his wife had both had the procedure 18 months before and I could see the results,” he said.
Inspired by his associate’s success, David did his homework and thoroughly researched the available bariatric procedures. As he educated himself, he also had to persuade his wife Sherry that surgery was right for him. “I did not go into it lightly. It was a big decision but I was 52 years old and wanted to live to enjoy my grandkids someday,” he said.
David chose to undergo a sleeve gastrectomy at MidMichigan Medical Center–Gratiot. During this procedure the stomach is divided into two sections and one section is permanently removed. The remaining portion of the stomach is long and narrow, resembling the shape of a sleeve. A sleeve gastrectomy procedure maintains the basic function of the stomach; however, the volume of food the stomach can handle is significantly reduced, so patients feel full quickly and eat less. On average, patients lose about half of their excess body weight in 12 months. Bariatric surgeon Ernest Cudjoe, M.D., performed the procedure laparoscopically so only very small incisions were necessary.
“Dr. Cudjoe is top notch,” David said. “He is a man of few words but so much compassion. For the two nights I was there, everyone at the Medical Center took great care of me. I was impressed by how encouraging and non-judgmental they are.”
From the beginning of the process, David was disciplined and committed. “I had the procedure on January 29 and I consider that my re-birth day,” he said. “I was born to a whole new lifestyle. They laid out a plan and I stuck to it.”
He finds his eating plan to be satisfying and healthy. “I’m happy with the way I eat. I snack on granola and nuts and I control portion sizes,” David said. On occasion, he may want a taste of something sweet. “The difference is that now I can eat a small cookie and walk away. I eat three potato chips and feel satisfied.”
David weighed 324 pounds before his surgery. “I expected to lose 80 pounds and I far exceeded that. I’m now at 192,” he said.
The weight loss had a dramatic and positive effect on David’s health. “I don’t use the CPAP machine anymore, I’ve been off my blood pressure meds since April, and my kidney function has improved,” he said. “I walk a lot – both for exercise and while working – and getting around is a lot easier. While I feel so much better physically, the best thing is knowing I’ll be around longer.”
The change in David’s appearance is striking. “Some people don’t recognize me,” he said. “I carry a photo of the old me on my phone. I’m sitting on a bench next to a guy who played Santa and I was bigger than Santa!”
David stressed that bariatric surgery is not a cure-all. “Long-term success takes dedication,” he said. “People should not think they can go back to the same bad eating habits after surgery. They have to stick to the plan.”
“If someone is serious about weight loss and considering bariatric surgery, they need to take the time to learn about it; they need to know and understand what to expect,” David said. “Their spouse or people close to them need to learn about it as well. They can get the education on their own, work with the people at the Program Center and talk to people like me.”
David said that bariatric patients like him are delighted, even eager, to share their experience with others. “The gentleman who initially referred me to Dr. Cudjoe was a great source of information both before and after surgery and even now as I work to maintain my weight,” he said. Now, David plays the mentor role. “I’m happy to share information and help other people.”
MidMichigan Health offers bariatric surgery in both Midland and Alma. Those who would like more information or a list of upcoming free seminars may call MidMichigan Health Line toll-free at (800) 999-3199 or visit www.midmichigan.org/bariatrics.