Bariatric Patient Stories

Bariatric surgery is a life-changing procedure that helps patients struggling with obesity and obesity-related health conditions reclaim their lives. Here, patients of the Michigan Medicine Adult Bariatric Surgery Program share their stories.


Nurse in scrubs with colorful hair cap

Mandy, a nurse at Michigan Medicine, was inspired by her work with patients who are obese. Mandy battled her weight for years before participating in the Michigan Medicine Adult Bariatric Program in 2014. Read about her outcome and the lifestyle changes she’s committed to in order to maintain her weight loss and health improvements.


Before and after photos of woman with text, '295 lbs.' and '19 months after surgery: 128 lbs'

“I look back and realize I spent over 10 years just existing, watching life happen all around me but I never had the tools, energy or strength to take control, stop existing long enough to start living. Thanks to my successful bariatric surgery, I have been given the tools to change the course my life was taking.

I have learned not only how to eat & exercise, but I learned how to live. I have so much energy and joy knowing that I finally succeeded at weight loss, I can honestly say that the only down side I see is that there aren't enough hours in the day for me to do everything I want and have the energy to do.

Life is more than just a box of chocolates, you can succeed and achieve whatever you set your sights on!”


Before and after photos of man with text, '395 lbs.' and '12 months after surgery: 184 lbs.'

“Since my surgery in October of 2008, my life has changed drastically for the better. Being over 300 lbs. for over 8 years, there were many things in life I was missing out on. One of the biggest was my overall health.

Even though I was not on medicines for different obesity-related ailments, I still suffered from other problems, such as sleep apnea

Since the surgery, I have been cured of my sleep apnea (about 5 months post-op). Along with the improved health, I am able to do things I only dreamed of doing. I have become an avid runner and have been able to enjoy many other activities, such as playing hockey and riding my bike without the added pains. I have also been able to enjoy the things I have missed, such as riding the rides at an amusement park.

Another added benefit of the surgery, is my outlook on life. I have learned to enjoy life to its fullest and look at every day as a new learning experience. My self-esteem has increased greatly as the weight came off, and even my friends can see I am a happier person. I look at myself and am still amazed by the changes both physically, mentally, and emotionally.

If it wasn't for the help of the doctors and staff at the University of Michigan Adult Bariatric Surgery Program, I wouldn't be where I am today in my health and outlook on life. They put their heart and soul into the program and have provided me with the best care possible and have guided me in the best way possible to achieve my desired results and then even go beyond that. I have always trusted the doctors and staff at the University of Michigan and this was just another example of why one should trust them. They really are the Leaders and Best!”


Before and after photos of bariatric female patient

"Two and half years ago, I would have never dreamed that I would be riding a bike, tubing, going down a water slide, or kayaking. But now, 210 lbs. lighter, I can say that having Bariatric Surgery has helped me accomplish all these things and more.

I never knew how much my weight had affected my work, relationships with my family and friends, especially my seven-year-old daughter. I still have about 70 lbs. before I reach my goal, but it's much more attainable now. My daughter is the love of my life and the inspiration for my weight loss. She reminds me every day that I need to eat my protein as well as the reason why I had bariatric surgery - to live life to the fullest!”


Before and after photos of male bariatric patient, before seated, after standing by red car

“I always felt that I was the 'fat guy' in the room. Let's face it, in social situations there is always the white elephant and I felt I was constantly it. From the silent expressions on various family member faces and many co-workers, it took a good friend of mine to point out the fact I have to look at myself in the mirror and ask, "Are you truly happy?" The obvious answer was NO!

After many months of pondering taking on such a journey, I had to weigh the pros and cons (no pun intended), and see if this was the right way to approach my issue.

Up to this point, I never had any medical conditions like diabetes or even as anything as minor as a cavity, but I knew something had to be done. After a full year of trying to get into shape by using old-school "natural" methods, all my hard work resulted in a whopping 20-pound weight loss. It was then that I knew I had to do something drastic. To me, it was kill or be killed, and I liked my odds.
After interviewing many facilities, I couldn't help but feel like I was interviewing one doctor and not a program. I felt like I was renting a doctor's skill-set to alter me and they had no personal interest in my success. Then I found the University of Michigan Adult Bariatric Surgery Program. Five minutes into the information session, my wife and I knew we were definitely in the right place.

The "Team" at U of M is nothing short of spectacular. Each member of their team is exceptionally talented in their area of expertise and it shows in their success rate. This is lifelong program, not a "once and done" kind of facility. You, as a patient, develop a relationship with your team and they will support you through the entire process both pre- and post-op. Their support system is one of the best I have even been fortunate to participate in, and they stay with you from beginning to end.

Today, I am more active than ever before. After losing 143lbs in 6-months, I was able to return to my hobbies and even better at some of them. I was also able to pick up a few new ones as well. Even though this is the toughest road I have ever had to travel, my only regret is I didn't start my travel sooner.

Even to this day, my decision to join the University of Michigan Adult Bariatric Surgery Program, I can say that I can still feel "The Michigan Difference!"

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