Metro Bariatrics - Amir Moazzez MD, FACS

Retired Firefighter Transforms Life with Gastric Sleeve Surgery: Glen’s Story

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Q: What inspired you to begin your surgical weight loss journey?
Glen: I was at the New York State Hazardous Materials Seminar the weekend of February 18 – 20, 2011, when I ran into a good friend of mine whom I had not seen in about six months. Unknown to me, he had gastric sleeve surgery in December of 2010. I was absolutely amazed at how successful he had been in such a short time and how well he had done. We spoke for quite some time about the process, and I made the decision at that time that this was what I wanted to do.

Over the last several years I had gained a tremendous amount of weight. I had always struggled with my weight over the years, but it had really gotten out of hand. In February 1998 I retired from the Alexandria Fire Department and weighed 242 pounds. By February of 2010, I had ballooned to 315 pounds. By the time I went to the conference, I was teetering near 350 pounds.

 

Q: Why did you decide to have weight loss surgery?
Glen: I had tried every diet and exercise program available. I was always active and thought that I could lose the weight by normal modes, but none worked. I had done some research on various weight loss surgeries and had started looking into it. My original thoughts were that this seemed like a very drastic method for weight loss, and that it was a permanent way to keep the weight off. This scared me initially because it was going to require a commitment that was lifelong and I had both seen and heard of failures, so I had some very deep reservations.

 

Q: What got you to Inova Bariatric and why did you decide they were the right practice?
Glen:I did a lot of research in the area and could go to Richmond, Woodbridge, or Fairfax. I came to the first informational seminar in March of 2011 and met some of the staff. I listened as they spoke about the types of surgeries that were available. The point that made the difference was the support that was offered before, during, and after the procedure. It did not stop after the wound was healed, but rather there was a long-term commitment to me as a patient and as a person. The staff and the willingness to help me as a person, and not just another number, impressed me.

 

Q:Who was your surgeon and what was your experience like?
Glen:My surgeon was Dr. Nain. Dr. Nain is a personable and warm individual who made me feel very comfortable very easily. He was and is a man who is very busy, but will stop and answer every question completely, and with a passion for what he is doing. He is honest and very open about what he does and what to expect. Dr. Nain made the whole process very easy, and he did a great job of explaining what to expect and what I needed to do. He explained that the surgery was a tool that I could use to live a healthier and longer life. Each visit, from pre-surgery up through today, has always been a positive meeting and exemplifies the type of doctor he is. Dr. Nain is very thorough, goes into each of the blood tests, and does a complete visual of me as a person.

 

Q: In addition to losing and maintaining a healthy weight, what do you believe is your biggest success?
Glen:The biggest success is the learning —or should I say re-learning—of how to take care of myself. I have learned that I eat because I have to, not because I want to. I have learned that food is for sustainment and that I can enjoy it only in small quantities. I do not have the urges to eat or even snack any longer. I know that I have learned a lot about food, and the importance of the types of foods that I should eat, as well as not eat. These behaviors have helped me to understand how to maintain my weight and intake. Along with the nutrition education was the support that I received from the dietitians at Inova Bariatric. Catherine and Erin offered a lot of good information and recommendations with regard to the correct food choices. They helped me understand what foods were safe versus those that could and would cause problems.

 

Q: What does your exercise look like on a weekly basis?
Glen: I have found a new love for exercise. After my surgery, I started exercising on a treadmill that allowed me to do interval training. The program I chose had me increasing in speed while increasing and decreasing the incline. I started at 20 minutes then worked up to one hour. I also started jogging the interval programs, and on Thanksgiving I ran my first 5K race followed by four additional 5ks by January 1, 2013. I was running more and more until I caused three stress fractures to my left tibia in February. I had to stop running, but then started the elliptical trainer. I chose the elliptical because of the interval training program [option]. When I head to the Gold’s Gym in Fredericksburg, I start with a 5K on the treadmill followed by an hour on the elliptical. On weekends I do the elliptical trainer, then go home to change and ride my bike, usually 40 plus miles. I also lift doing bench, incline, and flyes for my chest, and a full leg workout.

 

Q: What is your total weight loss and size change?
Glen: I started my journey at about 350 pounds and now weigh between 180 and 190 pounds, which is a loss of 170 pounds. My size changes are:

WAS NOW
Pants: 56″+ 33″-34″
Shirt: 4 XL Small-Medium
Neck: 24″ 16″-17″

 

Q: What has been the most important aspect for you to take away from your experience at Inova Bariatric?
Glen: I learned a lot through the whole process. I first learned the why I had to do this. I have always prioritized everything in my life and did so when I started this. The first and most important reason for doing this was that I wanted to be around for my wife for a long time. I realized that I was on a destructive path that would end up with me being a burden on my wife. The second reason is I wanted to be around for my two sons. They mean the world to me and I did not want to leave them as my dad did to me. The third reason was that I would like to see grandchildren. I saw the joy my children brought to both my parents and I want to share that with my wife. The fourth reason is my desire to continue training the first responder community. The fifth and final reason is that there is no one that can be [as much of a] pain to my friends as I, and I want to stick around to continue being that pain.

Through all of the efforts of the staff at Inova Bariatric I have been able to re-learn how to eat – and eat the right foods. I have learned to take care of myself so that the reasons that I did this will come true. The staff has provided a support structure like none that I have seen from any doctor’s office. From the dieticians, to the insurance folks, to the doctors – any time there was an issue it was easy to call and ask.

 

Contact Inova Bariatric

If you would like more information on weight loss surgery and programs to help fight obesity, please contact Inova Bariatric today.