Services at Banner Gateway Medical Center  

Steve's story: Change your life


Steve after
Steve still losing after five months

Steve before
Steve before

I grew up in Wisconsin. I was always a bigger kid. Don’t you love the term “husky?” I was always encouraged to bulk up to wrestle and play football. I was the youngest of five brothers so I learned to eat fast so I could get seconds. I always cleaned my plate, there were people starving in this world and I didn’t dare waste food. This started many years of bad eating habits.

As I got older my weight was up and down but gradually more up than down. I tried all the fad diets. I slowly became less active and for self- esteem reasons I stopped looking in mirrors and having my picture taken. When a picture was taken I was shocked. I knew I was “husky” but the person I saw now was not healthy. I had five, soon to be six, grandkids. If I kept this up they would be short one grandparent.

I had heard of different surgeries to help people lose weight. I heard others say it was cheating or the easy way out. I was skeptical. I had some nurse friends who had gastric bypass and after two years looked great. I was a little scared of having surgery but wanted to learn more.

I started by looking on the Internet. Well, when you put in weight loss surgery you get millions of pages to sort through. I talked to my primary care physician who agreed that weight loss surgery was a good option for me.

Then I started my list of pros and cons. I talked to everyone I could find to gather information. I went to seminars. One of the doctors that gave a seminar was Dr. Podkameni. I researched him and watched how he not only answered questions but went deeper into the answers. Before I could ask the questions he was answering them. As I put all the information together, it was obvious this was not the easy way out.

I now had answers – benefits and risks, expectations after surgery, necessary lifestyle changes, insurance requirements. Someone gave me a sign that read: “If you want to change your life, you have to change your life.” It was time for me to stop talking and start changing.

I made an appointment with Dr. Podkameni and chose lap band surgery. With a Body-Mass Index of 40 with diabetes and cardiac problems, my insurance was agreeable to the surgery. I met with the psychologist, dietitian and physical therapist who answered all my questions with interest and enthusiasm.

Surgery day finally came. I was walking that night. Walking has been a big part of my life ever since. Slowly after that day, my life changed. I approach food differently. I eat more slowly. I make better choices and I still enjoy eating. The portions I choose no longer match the “super size” me.

Banner Gateway has helped me reach my goals. Five months after my surgery, I have lost 50 pounds and am half way there. Just as important, my knee pain is gone, and I can play with my grandkids. My medications have been reduced from three blood-pressure pills to one and only one diabetes pill a day. My cholesterol is lower. I am no longer afraid of fitting into an airline seat. I have changed my life.

Banner Gateway Bariatric Center
Gateway Medical Pavilion

1920 N. Higley Road
Gilbert, AZ 85234
(480) 543-2606

Support Groups and Info Sessions are held at
Banner Gateway Medical Center

1900 N. Higley Road
Gilbert, AZ 85234
(480) 543-2000
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