These patient stories are from real patients who have had weight loss surgery. Actual results after surgery will vary with each individual. The opinions expressed by patients should not be taken as medical advice. All surgery presents risk. Weight, age, and medical history determine your specific risks. Consult your doctor to see if weight loss surgery may be right for you.

Body

Transcript: Overcoming obstacles 

I am Mark and I am from Spartanburg, South Carolina. As a kid, I was not small by any stretch of the imagination. When I graduated, I weighed about 185 pounds. I got a little bit bigger of course in my twenties and my thirties, weighing in at about 210. 

I was extremely active. I was a paramedic. I did most of that as a volunteer. But that's a very active lifestyle to be in. I played a lot of sports, softball, all the way up until I was in my mid-forties. 

And then in 2008, I was in a car accident and went through some major surgeries and there was a very bad infection that I had gotten. I was bedridden for six months, in a wheelchair for six months, and in a walker for six months. And in that time, I just started gaining weight. 

Eight years following that, after I recovered from that, I ended up being 360 pounds. So, in 2015, I went and saw my primary care physician and he basically told me: you're fat, and if you don't lose the weight you'll probably drop dead of a heart attack within 18 months. 

I had actually become a hermit. I did not go outside the house. I did not do yard work. I stopped playing golf, which I used to love to do.

Two and a half years ago, we decided to go on a cruise. We went to the Caribbean. I look at some of the pictures from that, the first day we got into the cabin, there's me sitting on the bed and I was big. And I was done just getting from the airport to the cruise onto the ship. That's just the way it was. It took us to a private island. My wife was down at the beach. I went up and I sat in a lounge. And you make like you're very content with all that. But the bottom line was that's all I could do.

When we came back, we went to Atlanta, we went to an Atlanta ballgame. And it was from the pictures that we saw of ourselves at the ballgame, you know, we both were really big. And it's really important when you're going to do this that you've got the support of the family. 

When I started the classes, there were I think 12 of us in the class. Two of us had the surgery because we were willing to be compliant with what needed to be done. You've got to listen to the people that know what they're talking about. Don't look it up on the internet and listen to everything off the Internet and think “oh that's true.” You want to talk to the guy, or girl, that's working with you through this. And listen to them. 

I think the biggest thing for me was being able to re-engage with people around me. You know actually being involved again. Getting out and getting out of the house. We've got an acre of land and there's eight years of yard work that hasn't been done. And now it's getting started again. And just that, just being able to do that again is important. 

The other night I planted three trees and never even had a single problem with it. That's the kind of thing that you're able to do after you're done with all this. And that's really the thing that I wanted the most.

There was a time where you know I could be the life of the party. I could hold court, as my wife would say, in a group of people and that had gone away. The fact is just being involved again, getting involved in doing something. It opens up all the opportunities, all the possibilities that I didn't have before. 

You can be the biggest obstacle for attaining what you want to attain. And you've got to have within yourself to say I'm not going to be the barrier that stands between me and getting where I want to be.