After years of unexplained weight gain, Steve Crone is back to his “old self” after laparoscopic Roux-en-Y surgery
What led up to your decision to have surgery? What was your life like prior to surgery?
I kept gaining weight and I couldn’t figure out why. I gained weight over a span of 12-14 years. I was a competitive wrestler in high school and college. For about eight years, when I was in training, I greatly decreased my calorie intake per day. As a result, my body went into starvation mode and it threw off my metabolism. During this time I ran 5 to 10 miles every day, wrestled, and lifted weights for two to three hours a day. All I would eat each day would be a piece of fish or chicken and a glass of grapefruit juice. I drank a lot of water so my stomach would bloat and I wouldn’t be hungry.
I was a major athlete, then I got big. Still on a reduced calorie diet, I continued to gain weight. Currently, I work as an executive chef and I work a 10-12 hour shift. I kept gaining weight even though I was on my feet all day. I had a 72 inch waist pants this time last year.
I didn’t realize until after the surgery how bad it had become. Before the surgery, it hurt to walk at the end of day. My heels took a pounding. I was tired, I developed sleep apnea.
I went to the doctor to figure out why this was going on. I had normal blood pressure, heart rate, and no diabetes. Basically, I had no medical problems except for sleep apnea. But I was gaining weight and no matter what I did, I couldn’t take weight off. I tried high protein diets, tried going to a nutritionist. It would all come back tenfold. My body could temporarily drop weight but it never stabilized. Eventually, my weight eventually blew up to 500 pounds.
How did you find out about Dr. Kligman?
I had to have an abdominal hernia surgery, but the surgeon said I was too high a risk because of my weight, so he suggested bariatric surgery.
We started to look for a doctor and came across the University of Maryland Web site. I went to the first weight loss surgery seminar and Dr. Kligman was very straightforward. He knew what he was talking about.
Between me, the dietitian and him we figured it out (why he was so heavy). It was because of my extremely low calorie diet throughout the years of my physical training.
Dr. Kligman made me lose 60 pounds before he would do the operation. I lost it in five weeks.
After the surgery, what was your recovery like?
I had the surgery on March 15, 2005. I was in the hospital for two nights. I came home on the third day. Within 48 hours I was off all of the pain medications and I was walking and driving. I missed three weeks of work.
How much weight did you lose after the surgery?
When I went to see Dr. Kligman I weighed 485 pounds. I started dropping quickly after the operation. Now I’m at 240 pounds, I’m pretty much at goal now.
I was a 72 inch waist, now I’m down to a 38 inch waist. Every two weeks I have to buy new clothes. Most people don’t drop weight at the rate I’ve dropped at.
What lifestyle changes have you made, and how has your life changed since the surgery?
I had to cut out soda and all refined sugars. I can’t have sugar, except for natural sugars, like fruit. I take my daily vitamins, and make sure I get enough protein in my diet. You make changes to your daily habits.
I’ve always been an athlete. Now, I’m back to my old self. Now I can bend over to tie my shoes, pick something off the ground and get in out of my truck easily. I can run up and down the stairs, and not crush my insoles. I can live like a normal person. Kids don’t look at me and laugh anymore.
Before the surgery I felt tired and out of breath. Now that’s gone and I feel fantastic! I’ve been on both sides of the fence. Now I’m back on the side I was originally on.
What do you think of Dr. Kligman?
He was thorough and straightforward. He knows his stuff. He has a dry sense of humor, like me. He looks out for the benefit of his patients. He wants you to follow the routine so you get the best results. And he will call you on it if you don’t. He makes us sign a contract that we will exercise four days a week and not drink alcohol for the first four years after the surgery.
I was only Dr. Kligman’s 3rd patient at the University of Maryland. Whenever I needed anything, they [the staff] were there.
by Michelle W. Murray