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Patient Testimonials

Kevin F.

About six years ago, I got a major wake-up call about my health and weight.

I attended a meeting fellow physicians from across the country and introduced a guest who had been a long time friend. He stood before the group thanking us for the warm welcome and ended his introduction by saying, "And, Kevin — it's great to see you. You're twice the man you used to be." What a zinger. I was nearly 400 pounds.

Kevin, Before Weight Loss Surgery Kevin, After Weight Loss Surgery

That evening my friend and I were joined by another good friend, Dr. Michael Roizen, author of the book You — The Owner's Manual. They both leaned on me fairly hard that I needed to "do something." As a physician, I knew they were right.

Over the years, I had tried every type of diet, every type of program, every type of new idea in an attempt to lose weight. Every attempt had failed. In fact, while I frequently lost weight initially it seemed that I always yo-yo'd back with even more weight gain. But, Mike persisted. He volunteered to serve as my personal weight loss physician and to help me solve the problem. He suggested walking.

I lived in the beautiful hills of Tiburon, California at the time. So, I started walking once or twice a day and called Mike after each walk. Because of my weight I developed stress fractures in both of my feet within about four weeks of starting the walkathon. I remember calling Mike when I realized I had the stress fractures and sharing the news. I ended our conversation with, " I knew that I had to do something more "transformational." I use that word because I've been known in healthcare circles for the last decade or so as a "healthcare transformation leader." It became clear to me that I needed to lead my life as well as my profession.

I had been considering bariatric surgery and — it was at this point — that I decided to get serious about transforming my life. In fact, what finally tipped me over the edge was a visit to my primary care physician not only because of the pain in my feet but because I was just feeling exhausted, in general.

Following my examination, he informed me that not only did I have bilateral stress fractures which would require me to quit walking but — more importantly - I had diabetes, hypertension, chronic intertrigenous candidasis (i.e. between the fat folds yeast infections) and a number of other related problems. I remember sitting in his office. He looked at me and said, "Kevin, you've got a real problem. You're killing yourself." I responded, "You're right. I've just come to the realization that I'm no longer a big boy. I'm fat!" It was that moment of truth that precipitated my decision to move in a different .I then discovered that one of the world's experts lived in San Francisco so I called Pacific Laparoscopy and was able to get an appointment within a week.

Following a comprehensive physical and psychological evaluation, Dr. Rabkin indicated that I was "absolutely a candidate" for the DS procedure. I scheduled and then went through a fairly uneventful surgery.

In the days that followed, there was pain and difficulties. But, I never looked back. Over the first four to five months, I lost nearly 100 pounds. I was going through clothes faster than ever. In fact, I started wearing clothes I hadn't moved out of my closet in years — even decades. But, the most amazing part of the journey was something I should have realized as a physician — my diabetes, hypertension, candiasis, joint problems, and all the other problems associated with being overweight totally disappeared!! No insulin for diabetes. No medications for hypertension or the high cholesterol. Skin infections went away. It wasn't magic. Rather, most of these problems are the result of obesity. Doing away with obesity does away with the problems.

Not only that, but I had another incredible experience. I had an experience that becomes clear to those who lose as much weight as I did in such a short period of time. I discovered that I was being treated differently as a svelte person than I had been treated as a fat person by virtually everyone I knew — friends, family, business associates and even total strangers. Despite having the same perspective, the same voice, the same outlook on life and the same attitude that I had developed over the previous 54 years of life; people reacted to me differently in a very positive way. In fact, I believe that my obesity held me back professionally for a period of time. One small example, makes the point. I travel extensively by air all over the world. In fact, last year I traveled nearly 350,000 miles across the globe. I will always remember the look of horror on the faces of people as I walked down the aisle of the plane in my fat state. You could feel them saying to themselves, "Oh no! I hope he doesn't sit here." I never have that experience any more!

As a result of my surgery, I went from nearly 400 pounds at the time of surgery to my steady state of 171 pounds today. I'm tall at 6' 2" and I get complimented all the time about "how great" I look. It's been an amazing journey. I've made three great decisions in my life. The third most important decision was to quit smoking. The second? Having the duodenal switch procedure. And, the first? Marrying my high school sweetheart.

We've been together for 34 years through thick and thin. I keep telling her that now she's going to have to put up with me for another 34 years. I'm absolutely convinced that if I had not had the surgery, I was going to become a walking basket case in a very short period of time and, ultimately, experience a premature death. Statistics and data on obesity not only support my contention but make it absolutely clear.

So, what's the message? Without the DS procedure, I would never have experienced the results I've had in my life. Not only did I lose weight but I've totally changed my diet to a much healthier approach which includes a fair amount of seafood, vegetables and other healthy foods. I haven't been to a fast food restaurant in over a year. In fact, I can barely stand the smell of fast food and, in my fat days I was at one or the other of the various fast food places at least once a day.

The DS procedure for me was a truly transformational experience. And, Pacific Laparoscopy is a great organization for supporting individuals who make the decision for a permanent solution to their obesity problem. As a physician, I can tell you that while the surgical procedure is important, the pre-operative and post-operative care are equally important. Pacific Laparoscopy takes that responsibility very seriously.

Finally, having the DS procedure is not a cake walk. You need to accept a permanent change in diet. You need to embrace the follow-up requirements. You need to follow the regime recommended by Pacific Laparoscopy related to taking vitamins, minerals and engaging in regular follow-up. But, they help you every step of the way, which is a very important consideration. Pacific Laparoscopy helped me to change my future. The DS procedure changed my health. It changed the way I'm treated. It made me a much better person. And, as I wanted — the results have been permanent! When we change our lives, we change our future and — we can look to new directions which offer us new opportunities. That's my story — and, I'm stickin' to it!!

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