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Gastric Bypass Surgery Success Story — Steve Iwanicki

Steve Iwanicki and his wife enjoy trips to Lancaster, Pa. Unfortunately, before his weight loss, Steve would stay in the car.

His knees hurt, and diabetes and hypertension prevented him from doing the simplest things like walking, tying his shoes, or mowing the lawn.

Steve’s success with diets was short-lived. He would lose, only to gain again.

He realized he needed help for his “addiction to food,” but could not find the right solution — until 2005.

Steve’s Bariatric Patient Story — A Life-Changing Solution

A series of events in 2005 became life-changing for Steve.

Steve's doctor, Christopher Olbrich, MD, told him if he didn’t get the diabetes under control he “would not be here.” Dr. Olbrich recommended that Steve contact Pittsburgh Bariatrics.

Then, Steve saw a story on 60 Minutes about weight loss surgery and attended a bariatric surgery information session at UPMC St. Margaret.

During the session, Robert Quinlin, MD, answered questions about:

Steve met with Dr. Quinlin who explained that gastric bypass surgery is a tool and that he must be committed to do the work.

Insurance did not require a pre-surgery diet at that time, but Steve did see a psychologist who helped him work through the reasons why he turned to food and provided guidance for after surgery.

Dr. Quinlin performed Steve’s gastric bypass surgery on July 24, 2005, a day that he calls “his new birthday.”

Winning His Battle

Steve’s bariatric patient story is one of victory.

Since his surgery, Steve has lost 224 pounds and describes looking in the mirror and crying for the “wasted life” when he was obese.

In addition:

  • His diabetes was gone after three months.
  • His high blood pressure resolved.
  • He had a panniculectomy, two and a half years after surgery, that removed 14 pounds of loose skin from his abdomen.
  • He also was able to get a much-needed knee replacement.

Gaining Support Through Others

Steve regularly attends support groups at UPMC St. Margaret (with his wife by his side) and says that this has been important to his success.

The support groups allow him to work with others who have had the same issues, like not seeing weight loss in the mirror.

He carries a picture of himself for times when he needs inspiration. He says it reminds him of the life he didn’t have.

Steve is proud of what he has been able to accomplish; he mows the lawn and is able to help people.

Most of all, he can now enjoy activities with his wife. Steve says, when he was obese with diabetes and high blood pressure, he was a burden to her.

“I am proud she stayed with me through this. This journey has strengthened our relationship. Bariatric surgery has been a tool for my happiness. I did it!”

His advice for anyone considering gastric bypass surgery or another surgical weight loss procedure:

  • Write down questions
  • Talk to a surgeon
  • Involve someone close to you

Steve’s parting words:

“Figure out who your friends are and know that what counts is on the inside.”

Note: This patient's treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

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