Things got as low as they could go
Two years ago Clarence “Sonny” Dagen weighed 357 pounds after treatment for Graves Disease left him without a functioning thyroid gland. Today at age 57, after weight loss surgery, he weighs 200 pounds and has his life back.
"Years ago I started gaining weight, was diagnosed with diabetes and ended up taking at least five injections of insulin every day plus 14 pills every morning and eight more at bedtime – beta blockers, cholesterol pills, you name it.
"I developed back trouble and difficulty walking. When I went to the grocery store I had to use an electric cart just to get around. When my wife and I went out to dinner, I had to have a sturdy chair because I couldn't fit in a booth and couldn't sit in those smaller chairs at restaurants.
"For work I drove a forklift truck. I was laid off, but I couldn't pass the physical when they started hiring again. I was forced to retire. I knew I was morbidly obese and needed to do something. I went on every diet you can imagine but saw no appreciable change. Things got as low as they could go and I knew I had to make a drastic change in my life and my lifestyle."
Finding the motivation
Sonny before his gastric bypass surgery weighed 357 pounds.
Sonny after his surgery. He now weighs 200 pounds.
"My cardiologist recommended I attend a seminar at Lancaster General Health on weight loss surgery. I went to his talk and from there I knew that this approach could be just what I needed.
"When I checked to see if my insurance would cover the procedure I learned that they required I first lose 10 pounds in good faith. I eventually went from 357 pounds to 318 before the surgery, using a modified Weight Watchers regimen.
"What made the dieting work this time? Motivation: I really wanted to lose the weight. It's like when you try to quit smoking, which I had done a few years back. It doesn't work until you really want to quit. Then it's easy.
"Fast forward: I had the surgery near the end of 2009 and today I weigh 200 pounds and I have my life back. The Bariatrics Physician Specialists team was tremendous. One of the major parts of post surgery is having a support group of people who have either been through the procedure or are planning to have the surgery. We have all bonded and encourage each other. It’s great."
Beyond my expectations
"The results of the weight loss surgery are beyond my expectations. Today I can run three-and-a-half miles and I ride my exercise bike all the time. I have a new job--which I love. I surround myself with positive people. Best of all, I’m off of insulin, cholesterol drugs and beta blockers. Now I take a baby aspirin and a vitamin and that’s it!
My waist has gone from 56 inches down to 36. I feel great. I used to wear a size 4xl shirt and now I'm down to just a large. And the only negatives – well, I don't get to ride a cart in the grocery store anymore and my old clothes are way too big.
Thank you to the team at Lancaster General Health. We did it together!
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