How did you find out about the University of Maryland and Dr. Kligman?
First I talked to my physician about weight loss surgery and she said to shop my surgeons the same way I’d shop for a car. She gave me questions to ask and compare. So I shopped around. I met with a surgeon in Salisbury, and another physician in Florida. Then I found Dr. Kligman after doing an Internet search.
After reading through the Center for Weight Management and Wellness Web site, I went to a weight loss surgery educational seminar led by Dr. Kligman. After that, I made an appointment to see him.
What made you decide to choose Dr. Kligman?
I liked the fact that Dr. Kligman was a trauma surgeon, which impressed me, and that he would do the surgery laparoscopically. He has never lost a patient from complications of the surgery, and he had a higher success rate and lower complication rate than any other surgeon I had considered.
My impression was that he was a good surgeon. I knew what I was getting into and what he expected of me. He was very direct and straightforward.
He explained that the surgery was a tool, but not a miracle. It’s a mental thing — you have to deal with what your eating triggers are. If you follow his guidelines, he will make you a healthier person.
What impressed me most was when I asked him how long surgery would take and he said, “as long as it takes to get it done.” He really cares about his patients.
How much weight did you lose after the surgery?
Before the surgery I weighed about 412 pounds. After the surgery I got down to 209 pounds. I went from a 64-inch waist to a 38-inch waist. I haven’t reached my ideal weight yet, but I’m very pleased with my progress. My goal is to get down to 180 pounds, so I’m about 30 pounds away from my goal.
What was your life like prior to the surgery?
Before the surgery, I couldn’t do half of what I can do now. My activity level was much lower. I slept a lot and watched television. I was not able to exercise the way I wanted to.
I had borderline diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. I don’t have any of those conditions anymore; I’m healthy now. I would have been dead by the time I was 50 if I hadn’t had the surgery.
How has your life changed since the surgery?
My entire life has changed as a result of this surgery. I’m much more active than I was before. I have much more energy now. I’m always outside walking, riding a bike, or working out at the gym. I’m always on the go. I can’t imagine going back to life the way it was before the surgery.
I go to the gym four to five days a week and ride my bike 30 miles a day. I do an hour on the treadmill five days a week, lift weights two days a week and take a spin class two to three nights a week. I could not do any of this before the surgery.
Last October I completed a 100-mile bike ride for the Seagull Century.
I can’t wait to get on an airplane and fly because I can fit in the seats. Now I can sit in a restaurant in chairs with arms.
I’m happy with where I’m at now. I feel healthy, and look great.
Are you still involved with the Center for Weight Management, and Dr. Kligman and his staff?
Yes. I go to their monthly bariatric surgery support group meetings and I speak to groups of other patients. I tell them about my journey and answer any questions they may have. I have met with CWM dietitian Mary Beth Sodus periodically and now I meet with Dr. Kligman on a yearly basis.
What is your opinion of Dr. Kligman?
He’s a tremendous surgeon. He truly cares about his patients. He’s a perfectionist and he is very upfront — he gives you a reality check and I think that’s a good thing. He tells you what you need to do in order for the surgery to work. I owe the man my life. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him.