Why Group Health? Members Say it Best

Quality of Life Back After Bariatric Surgery


Mike Royer and his wifeI was an active person most of my life, and was on the ski patrol for 19 years. But over the last 10 years or so I became more sedentary and started gaining weight — until I weighed 320 pounds. I couldn't even walk across the parking lot without huffing and puffing. I experienced a lot of depression about being overweight, my blood pressure was high, and I had diabetes. In fact, I’d been on diabetes medication for two years and was just a step away from having to take insulin shots for the rest of my life.

Of course I tried dieting, but that was getting me nowhere. I’d lose 5 pounds and gain 10. But it still took me two years to decide to have bariatric surgery. I kept thinking "Am I really that bad off?" I finally decided that I was. I wanted my quality of life back.

I had bariatric surgery about three years ago. The very first day after surgery I didn't need my diabetes medication anymore, which was unbelievable. And I lost about 160 pounds in the first year, which was great. But with such quick weight loss I also lost a lot of muscle mass. So I started working out with a professional trainer and building back my muscles.

I also joined the SilverSneakers exercise program at the Y, and one of the bariatric surgery support groups Group Health offers. Everyone in the group is working to make lasting changes in the way we eat and relate to food so we don't slip back into our old lifestyles. We share ideas on what works for each of us, and encourage each other. The support helps a lot.

I'm now 68 and I feel like I'm 38. I still don't need diabetes medication, and I only take a low dose of blood pressure medication. I swim three times a week and go skiing with my grandkids in the winter. I also go scuba diving and fishing. I feel like I've gotten my life back, thanks to Group Health. And, as for the depression — with all the compliments I get about my weight loss, the days fly by as if I were on a cloud.

When I asked my wife what the payoff was for my surgery and weight loss, she smiled and pointed to our little red Mustang. We bought it with the money we've saved from not eating out as much and buying fewer medications.

If your doctor is suggesting you have bariatric surgery and you’re not sure what to do, I say "Just do it!"

Posted: September 2013

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