When Shane Murphy returned to work after time off for bariatric surgery, some co-workers didn’t recognize him.
“The surgery is just a tool to help people lose and keep weight off,” said Stuart Verseman, MD, Medical Director of the Borgess Bariatric Surgery Program. “It’s not a cure. Those who have the surgery have to make lifestyle changes. Support is the key to how well the patients do long term. Patients will lose weight after the surgery, but it won’t last if they don’t follow the lifestyle changes. If they slide back into their previous habits, they can regain weight,” he added. “That’s why we give them additional tools like access to support group meetings, and follow-up appointments with our nurse and dietitian.” Both Murphys said the weight loss and lifestyle change has meant they no longer take high blood pressure and other medications. Melissa also shared that walking no longer makes her feet and hips hurt.
Melissa stated “I came through the surgery just fine in March and Shane had the surgery four months later. Because we did it together, we have supported each other. It was a very good decision.”
She also talked about how her weight loss was gradual and that most of the weight is lost in the first year. “We always ate well before the surgery, but didn’t lose any weight,” Melissa said. “Now we eat well and the weight stays off.”
“I was a healthy fat man,” Shane said. “But I did have sleep apnea, and aches and pains in my knees and lower back. I couldn’t perform my work as well as I should have. When I look at photos of me before, I can’t believe I was that big.” He no longer needs a breathing device he used for sleep apnea. “Borgess is great,” he said. “They provide such good support and help. We have good friends who saw our success and decided to have the surgery as well and one-year out they are both very happy.”
“We really haven’t given up anything,” Shane shared. “If we go out to eat, we split a meal and take home what we can’t eat and have another couple of meals from the leftovers.”
“I keep a picture of the old me on the refrigerator as a reminder,” Shane said.
“I don’t need a reminder,” Melissa stated.