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Joseph's Story: Why he decided to undergo weight loss surgery


Joseph before weight loss surgeryLike most patients at Tufts MC Weight and Wellness Center, I have always struggled with my weight. I was always overweight but, since I played sports through college, I told myself it was OK to be “big”. Once I stopped playing sports, I kept eating and drinking at the same pace. Of course, time and lack of exercise took its toll and I was soon constantly hovering over 300 pounds. 

I was diagnosed as type 2 diabetic in my late 30’s, but that wasn’t enough to make me take my weight seriously. I was married and having kids, and told myself I didn’t have the time to look after myself. About 6 or 7 years ago, at the urging of my doctor, I looked into the Tufts MC WWC. At that time I was about 325 pounds (my peak) but chose to do the non-surgical weight loss route. I met with several nutritionists and others and took several of the programs. It was a great experience and I learned a lot, and I lost weight but could not sustain it and could not take off the big pounds. My little brother and a couple other family members had surgery and had successfully lost weight but it wasn’t enough to make me consider surgery.

Why surgery?

Finally, about 2 ½ years ago I got a wake-up call as my twin brother – also struggling with weight and diabetes – told me that he was in kidney failure and was soon to enter dialysis. This news finally made it dawn on me that I was heading down a dangerous road. I picked my little brother’s brain – he told me his only regret was not doing it sooner – and I soon concluded I had to try surgery.
I had – through those different programs, and through the pre-op requirements – gotten down to around 290 pounds, and had gastric bypass surgery in June 2016. I chose that option because the data seemed to indicate it had better results for diabetics. I was off work for a couple of weeks and returned to work with no restrictions. The team at WWC prepared me very well for post-surgery in terms of diet, exercise, and expectations. I was feeling much better after only several weeks, but it did take several months (about 5 or so in my case) before I’d say I was 100 percent – but it was so worth it for me.

After surgery

Joseph after weight loss surgeryDuring my first year, I lost almost 90 pounds and I was able to begin exercising. I joined the YMCA and have been able to begin revising my body muscle makeup. Since then I’ve lost a little bit more and now am between 185 – 190 pounds. I feel good because over the last year I have hovered at less than 200 pounds. By the way, at one point in my post-op journey, I set a goal of 225 – I’ve reset my goal three times since then, and hope to drop a few more! I believe I haven’t been at this weight since before high school. While I wasn’t able to completely get off diabetes medication (yet) I was able to get off insulin and don’t miss those shots. My blood sugar is currently the best it’s been in decades.

Like all patients, my journey has not been without challenges, and sometimes I lose my motivation, but my two best tools are two metrics: daily scale and blood sugar logs. When I see myself slip a bit on either, I try to jump on it and, through care and logging, get both back under control.

It’s been great to be able to buy clothes off the rack, but the greatest feeling for me is that I have much more energy, and much more optimism that I have a better chance of being around a longer time to spend quality time with my wife and children. We have traveled a lot and plan to do much more.