James Rozier works in a fast-paced industry that causes him to eat on the go, whether he’s in an airport, on the road or in a foreign country. Though he enjoys his work, the constant travel took a toll on his health.
“I got up to 409 pounds by very poor eating habits [and] a lot of fast food,” says Rozier.
Everything from traveling to shopping for clothes was challenging because of his weight, he says.
“I would always have to wear an extra seatbelt on the airlines. Just trying to find clothes was a challenge. You’re looking for a 60-inch waist – that’s not very easy to do.”
A breaking point
In 2009, Rozier reached his breaking point and knew it was time for a change. After asking around for recommendations, Rozier scheduled an appointment with Piedmont Atlanta bariatric surgeon Kevin McGill, M.D.
Bariatric surgery is an umbrella term for several weight-loss surgeries designed to help morbidly obese patients lose weight when they face life-threatening complications. Common bariatric procedures include:
- Gastric bypass
- Lap banding
- Sleeve gastrectomy
These procedures limit the amount of calories the body can absorb so the patient can shed excess pounds.
“I was skeptical. I’ll be the first to admit I was going, ‘I can do this on my own; I don’t need surgery,’” he says. “That’s what I kept on saying – ‘I can do it, I swear I can do it.’ I wasn’t, but I was saying it.”
After the appointment, Rozier says he knew Dr. McGill was the perfect physician for his situation.
“He basically said, ‘Okay, I’ll help you on this side, but you’re going to need to help me with these other things,” says Rozier.
Dr. McGill determined that gastric bypass would be Rozier’s best option. He asked Rozier to commit to a weight loss regimen – starting that day. He also told him that he needed to lose 20 pounds prior to the surgery.
Gastric bypass essentially shrinks the stomach by using a stapler device to create a small stomach pouch. The small intestine is then attached to the new pouch, creating a “Y” shape. The procedure reduces the amount of food a patient is able to consume and thus, their caloric intake.
Dr. McGill cautioned that gastric bypass was not a “quick fix” for weight loss.
“This is a lifestyle change and you hear that all the time, but it truly is,” says Rozier.
The life-changing results
At the time of his surgery, Rozier had type 2 diabetes and was taking nine pills a day. The gastric bypass was so successful, he has not needed diabetes medication since the surgery.
“My diabetes is 100 percent under control,” he says.
Not only is Rozier better able to manage a chronic disease, but he has also lost more than 150 pounds.
His goal is to lose an additional 60 pounds, “but that’s not up to Dr. McGill – that’s absolutely up to me and I want to get there.”
Rozier believes that if every patient understood how lifesaving weight loss can be, they would all do it, too.
He sees his primary care physician every six months to have his cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose numbers checked.
“[My primary care physician] is absolutely amazed,” he says. “He point-blank said, ‘Dr. McGill saved your life and he at least added another 20 years to it.”
Piedmont’s team of fellowship-trained and board-certified surgeons, as well as nurses, fitness experts, nutritionists and sleep specialists work with each patient to develop a personalized plan to address weight loss before and after bariatric surgery.
For more information, visit Piedmont Bariatric Services.