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The Day That Changed Everything

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By:

Laura Tenbus

October 26, 2018
Jose's wake-up call came during a mandatory health screening at his workplace. Other than the break in his typical schedule, Jose thought this day was going to be like every other, but he couldn't have been more wrong. The screenings were held in the conference room with dozens of people waiting for their turn. When it was time for Jose’s screening, he walked over expecting to hear the typical "you're overweight and you need to get healthy" spiel, and that's what he got...at first.

The surprise came when his test numbers got back and the man who was administering the test took him to a corner of the room where no one would overhear. His demeanor had changed completely, and Jose suddenly became anxious. The man looked at him very seriously and said "you're going to have a stroke. I don't know when, but if you don't change, it's going to happen." Taken aback, Jose asked him how he knew this. He responded by saying "I had a stroke six months ago and your numbers are the same as mine were." Jose was shocked. He knew he wasn't in great shape and that he had some health issues, but he never thought that he was at any serious risk. Now he knew he needed to reevaluate his health.

He had been overweight his entire life. Growing up in a large Puerto Rican family, there was always an abundance of food. "There was never a time you'd go hungry," he said, "every event and gathering centered around food." Jose enjoyed the way food made him feel and this environment enabled him to fall into unhealthy eating habits. If something tasted good, he'd eat it, and he never seemed to get full.

As a payroll implementation specialist, Jose’s job is fairly stressful, and it wasn't uncommon for him to sit at his desk all day long. Even if he had the chance, he rarely got up to move around because he experienced swelling and cramping in his legs when he walked. Weight-loss surgery first came onto Jose's radar when a coworker of his got the surgery to help with his back problems. While it made sense for his coworker, Jose never thought of it as an option for himself. He believed — as many do — that weight-loss surgery was a cop-out for people who couldn't lose weight on their own. "It felt like cheating to me," he said. Even with this viewpoint, Jose decided that he didn't have anything to lose and started researching weight-loss surgery programs.

After looking into GBMC's Comprehensive Obesity Management Program (COMP), he decided to attend one of the free information sessions. What he found was that his perception had been completely wrong. "I realized it wasn't a one-off solution," he said, "it takes work and commitment." After doing some additional research, Jose decided that he would benefit from surgery and took the steps he needed to move forward.

At his heaviest, Jose weighed more than 400 pounds — two years after his surgery, he has lost 130 pounds and feels amazing. "I don't think I've ever been healthier than I am right now. It's been nothing but positive change." He has gone from eating anything in front of him to knowing when he's full and making conscious decisions about what food he eats. Jose is now at work and says that his heart rate is slower on a stressful day than it was when he was calm prior to losing the weight. "I knew it was going to be a big change, but I didn't know how great it was going to be. If you told me I had to do it again, I'd say when and where?"

If you’re ready to begin your own transformation, or would simply like to know more about weight-loss surgery, please sign up to attend one of our free information sessions!
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