Kevin | Spring 2021
Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
"I can’t thank Dr. VanderWel, Kim, and the entire staff enough. As I keep saying, you did not just change my life, you saved it."
I’ve basically been big my whole life. Around the time I turned 10 years old, I started gaining weight. My parents took me to the doctor and they did all kinds of tests, but didn’t find anything physically wrong. The truth was, I was just eating too much and not getting enough exercise…it wasn’t rocket science. Even though I was involved in sports all the way through high school, it never really helped me to lose weight. I was always the fat kid.
In my early 20’s, I wanted to join the military and I did the whole Phen-Fen thing before anyone knew about the negative side effects. It did help me to break my eating cycle and lose enough weight to get into the Army. The 4 years I was active duty were probably the healthiest I have ever been.
But, about a year before I got out, I injured my knee and shoulder within 6 months of each other and I gained about 20 pounds or so by the time I was discharged. After that, I slowly started gaining weight over the next 20 years.
A few years ago, I finally topped 300 pounds and knew I was in trouble. I tried everything you can think of from South Beach to Weight Watchers. I would lose some weight for a while but then gain it back plus some. I was having heart problems, was inching my way towards being diabetic, and my quality of life was declining with daily pain in most of my joints. My children were growing and I couldn’t keep up. A trip to Disneyland and Universal Studios was an embarrassment when I couldn’t fit on some of the rides.
I started to see a medical weight loss doctor and dietician and followed a strict program for almost a year and I actually gained weight! It was then that I made the decision to pursue surgery. My wife, who is a nurse, researched different clinics for me and we decided on Eviva. The process was incredibly easy, even during the pandemic.
Now, exactly 9 months after my surgery, I have lost 100 pounds. My goal is to lose about 25-30 more. I have gone from a size 50 waist to a 38-40. My shirts have gone from 3XL to L or XL. My neck has gone from 19 inches to 14 ½. But more than the numbers, my life has been completely rejuvenated. My cardiologist has removed me from my heart medication, I am no longer flirting with diabetes, and my back, knees, and ankles don’t hurt anymore.
I am walking and running 3 miles a day and preparing for my first 5k this summer. The mental aspect is something I wasn’t expecting. I have more confidence. I am not embarrassed when I go out, and I am actually not anxious about getting on a plane in a few weeks and worrying about if I will fit in the seat or not.
Having weight loss surgery through Eviva was the second best decision of my life (after marrying my wife!) I can’t thank Dr. VanderWel, Kim, and the entire staff enough. As I keep saying, you did not just change my life, you saved it.