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One year....5/30/12 - 5/30/13


1958 F.W.D.
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I have been heavy for most of my life- since the age of 12-13 or so. In recent years my weight caught up with me creating all kinds of headaches and nightmares. I tried every diet and gimmick out there. I could lose weight, but keeping it off was the big trick. When I was a paid firefighter and had to go to the gym every shift, it was a little easier to do, but re-occurring back problems (which my obesity contributed to.....) forced me to resign as a career firefighter, albeit among other reasons. My heath was in rapid decline. I had high blood pressure, sleep apnea, back problems, high cholesterol, and the worst one of all- type II diabetes. However my family Doctor sat me down and had a heart-to-heart with me in the late summer of 2011. He looked me straight in the face and said "By Christmas of 2012, you WILL be an insulin-dependent diabetic giving yourself shots every day if you don't clean up your act. He suggested weight loss surgery.

So the wife (who is a cancer nurse) and I discussed things and in November of 2011 I attended the first of many, many office visits and tests and evaluations to see if I was fit for the surgery. This is just not something that you go to the surgeon and say "Lets do this." No it doesn't work that way- it's more of a "Lets test you and prod you and evaluate you and make sure you wont fuck up after we work so hard to rebuild you" kind of a thing. There is even a mental evaluation (which surprisingly I passed....go figure.....) We discussed the options- the gastric sleeve, the gastric band, or a full-blown gastric bypass. I originally had wanted to do the gastric sleeve, however the Doctor studied things and recommended the RNY Gastric Bypass because he felt it would be the best option with the greatest chance of success for me.

And finally in early May of 2012 I was placed on the schedule for Wednesday May 30, 2012 at St. Lukes Hospital (Allentown Pa.) The surgery was a complete success- went off without a hitch from the Doctor's standpoint. Me on the other hand, it was the first major surgery I ever went through and I had quite a hard time coming out of the anesthesia. what should have been an overnight stay and home by noon the next day turned into a two and a half day stay. Everything else went fine however. In October of 2010 (see the pic below) I was at my heaviest, about 385lbs. The day of the surgery (5/30/12) I was 327. And on 5/30/2013 I weighed in at 197.6lbs. See the pic below of me at a recent retirement dinner at my old firehouse, the gentleman on my left was working his last shift- was the senior man who cut my teeth as a rookie firefighter when I first got on the job. I will be 40 this November and I am in the greatest shape of my life. My diabetes is in COMPLETE REMISSION. High blood pressure- GONE. Sleep Apnea- GONE. Back problems- GONE.

So anyways, you guys may have to look twice at me next week. Tell your wives and girlfriends no drooling on me, either. Just kidding. What I did want to say though was that life is just so much better and easier when you are somewhat physically fit. I am still by no stretch close to the definition of the term "physically fit" but I am of course MUCH better off than I was a year ago. For those of you who are morbidly obese, take it from someone who has been there- the grass IS green on this side, but you have to work to get here, and you have to work to stay here. Any schmuck can undergo weight loss surgery, but it takes someone of strong will to stay here.

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TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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Is that you in the middle, with the hat on? The nose is still large but, hay.........something has to stay large....right......Congratulations....I need to do the same thing, then I would feel like taking on about anything then.

Good Job and keep it up!

mike

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Congrats. So now that you are healthy, any plans to get back on the squad? Or are you already back to work there?

Unfortunately as far as my career department I will not be able to get back on, and that includes many career departments as well- most of them around here have a maximum age of 35-38 years old. Part time here and there is not out of the question though- I would just have to get my EMT Certification back which is something that I am not exactly rushing to do anytime soon.

I am, however still a very active member of my volunteer department in the suburbs of Philly. Up until recently I was pretty much doing driving/pumping only, but late last year I got re-certified as an interior firefighter and in fact this past sunday we did some annual burns at one of the drill schools and I spent the better part of the morning in full gear with a bottle and pulling hose and drilling the new kids into the ground- running circles around them may I add......LOL

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TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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Congratulations and continued good luck in the future. In any endeavor the hardest part is getting started. Also, remember, you are not doing this just for yourself but for your wife and two boys.

bulldogboy

Correct however THREE boys now- Large, Medium and Small. AKA "The Three Stooges."

TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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Randy, I will always give you a hard time about the Detroit stuff , but I really have to hand it to you for sticking with it. I know several folks that had the surgery and slipped back into their old habits and put all of the weight back on. I'll bet missing all of that extra size has you hitting the floor running in the A.M.! It seems that you're a guy driven to help others, ill bet that you could be the poster boy for perserverence. See ya at Macungie!

Tim

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Unfortunately as far as my career department I will not be able to get back on, and that includes many career departments as well- most of them around here have a maximum age of 35-38 years old. Part time here and there is not out of the question though- I would just have to get my EMT Certification back which is something that I am not exactly rushing to do anytime soon.

I am, however still a very active member of my volunteer department in the suburbs of Philly. Up until recently I was pretty much doing driving/pumping only, but late last year I got re-certified as an interior firefighter and in fact this past sunday we did some annual burns at one of the drill schools and I spent the better part of the morning in full gear with a bottle and pulling hose and drilling the new kids into the ground- running circles around them may I add......LOL

Back when I was looking into a life of public service (either FD or PD would have been fine with me...) and was testing everywhere that was having their little tests, most of the departments 35 years old was the cutoff, however for those with experience it was their age minus their years experience had to be 35 years old or less....so for example, a 50 year old guy who had been on the job for 20 years would still qualify, because age minus experience was under 35.

When approaching a 4-way stop, the vehicle with the biggest tires has the right of way!
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Ok Randy I am inpressed as I need to do the same, we can talk about it over cake and ice cream in two weeks. Now are you willing to put a Detriot in the FWD, that would be something seeing that big smile on your face when you pull in !

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Congratulations Randy

That weight you lost, well I think I found it!

Lookin'good!

Ron

Congratulatons Randy!!!! I think more than just Ron found your lost weight.

BTW, should I stock the "hospitality" trailer with donuts to celebrate? Oops!!! :whistling:

Ken

HOF City, PRR Country, and Charter member of the "Mack Pack"

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A wonderful story and congratulations! Keep up the good work! But truth be told, at that truck show last week in Yakima, there were a lot of folks who could easily not eat for several weeks and I would guess that they had all of the ailments that you described plus hip and knee problems. The point is-its not easy to lose that weight. Its damn tough but it's really, really worth it!!

John

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