One Man’s Christmas Gift: Good Health After Gastric Bypass Surgery
This will be Robert Marston’s first Christmas dinner after his gastric bypass. The 69-year-old Horsham man will have to forego his mother’s indulgent sweet potato casserole, bread stuffing and cranberry sauce, not to mention the abundance of cookies and cakes for dessert.
And he couldn’t be happier about it.
Since having bariatric surgery at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery on March 24, Marston has lost 100 pounds. He no longer needs medication for diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. He can breathe better than he has in decades. And he found out at Thanksgiving dinner that he didn’t miss the “legal pig-out” he indulged in at holiday meals.
“I was a happy camper—I had exactly what I wanted,” he said about his first post-surgery Thanksgiving: a small portion of turkey breast, a baked sweet potato and a few green beans. Fruit and yogurt for dessert. A far cry from the two-helpings, eat-to-overload holiday meal he was accustomed to.
Marston’s sense of well-being is a function of a great attitude.
“The hardest part about this whole journey is to make the decision to have it done. Once I made the decision, I never looked back. And I made it fun.”—Robert Marston
Marston had been beset with health problems for years, compounded by a vehicular accident that left him unable to work, unable to exercise, and vulnerable to spiraling weight gain. By this time last year, he weighed 312 pounds, and couldn’t walk from his car to his second floor apartment “without having to sit down, rest, and suck on an inhaler.” He finally attended an information session about bariatric surgery and decided then and there to have Ramsey Dallal, MD, perform the bypass.
“The hardest part about this whole journey is to make the decision to have it done,” he said. “Once I made the decision, I never looked back. And I made it fun.”
Today, he weighs 215, and—speaking of fun—enjoys buying new clothes. Prior to surgery, he wore a 58 portly suit and had a 21-inch neck. Now, he wears a size 40 and has a 17-inch neck.
“I went into the dry cleaners the other day and when I walked in (the proprietor) said, ‘What’s your phone number?’ I said, ‘Mike, it’s me, it’s Robert.’ He did a double take and said, ‘I didn’t recognize you.’”
Marston measures everything he eats. And while he still pursues his hobby of baking cookies and cakes, he gives them away and doesn’t lick the batter from the beaters and spoons. Most importantly, he doesn’t perceive his diet limitations as deprivation, but part of his transformation. And he’s looking forward to adhering to his new diet regime at his family’s traditional Christmas dinner.
“I am so big on life,” he said. “I have a whole new life ahead of me. I tell everybody, embrace it, enjoy the journey. I feel better than I felt when I was 20 years old.”