China, Africa, Ireland—Steve Malley of Germantown, Md., loves to travel. “Every time my wife sells a house, we plan a trip,” he says. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Problem was, Malley weighed over 300 pounds, and the hassles nearly outweighed the good times.
As they boarded a flight to Las Vegas, a clerk requested that Malley buy a second ticket. “You can’t fit into one seat.”
That wasn’t all. He panted while going through airports. He couldn’t keep up with walking tours. He felt like a real oddity in China, which ranks among the world’s healthier countries.
Deciding to have Surgery
Malley fought with his weight for decades. He tried a couple of popular diet programs and lost lots of weight. But then it crept back on—and more pounds followed.
The weight took its toll. Malley developed multiple health problems: sleep apnea, diabetes and an irregular heartbeat that nearly killed him.
Finally, a doctor suggested bariatric surgery. Malley attended a seminar at Adventist HealthCare Shady Grove Medical Center given by Tuesday Cook, MD, a bariatric surgeon. Malley liked what he heard. He told Dr. Cook: “I’m ready to do this.”
Feeling Wonderful Now
In October 2013, he had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy, a surgery that involves removing 85 percent of the stomach. With this “sleeve,” small amounts of food fill him up just fine.
Today, Malley says, “I feel wonderful. I’m walking farther than I’ve ever walked in my life. I don’t have sleep apnea anymore. I don’t need diabetes medications.”
His weight is in the 220s—an all-time low after a drop of 160 pounds. He has a list of trips lined up. The long walk through the airport is no longer a problem. And that airline seat—no extra ticket required. Losing weight has given him freedom!
Malley counts his lucky stars that he finally had bariatric surgery. He says it was the best decision he’s ever made. “I tell people, this surgery saved my life.”