NHRMC Bariatric Surgery Program Treats Obesity, Renews David's Zest For Life

david schronceIn 2009, at approximately 435 pounds, David Schronce knew he had to do something about his weight. His blood pressure and cholesterol were elevated, he was an insulin dependent diabetic, and his sleep apnea was a major concern. David estimates that over his lifetime he has lost and gained back more than 1,800 pounds. Diets never worked, so he decided to talk with bariatric surgeon David R. Miles, MD, FACS. 

“On average, it takes three months from the time of consult to surgery,” said Dr. Miles. “Patients are required to attend two sessions with a registered dietitian and be screened by a mental health professional. In David’s case, he had some additional medical issues to resolve.” David completed the necessary steps before being eligible for gastric bypass surgery in 2010.

“Most patients lose an average of 100 pounds following surgery,” said Dr. Miles. “The surgery does work, and the weight does stay off.”

In the 14 months after surgery, David lost about 170 pounds. This fast weight loss is typical for bariatric patients. After the initial weight loss, patients who follow the bariatric guidelines continue to lose weight at a steady rate. Bariatric patients don’t just lose weight and become more active, they often enjoy other health benefits.

“Approximately 80 to 90 percent of hypertension, diabetes and sleep apnea resolves with surgery,” said Dr. Miles. “And on average, it adds 14 years back to a patient’s life expectancy.”
Overall David has lost 240 pounds and says he no longer takes medication for high blood pressure and diabetes. In addition to walking and biking, he has maintained his weight loss by following what he calls the bariatric lifestyle. And David has learned to measure success not just by pounds lost, but also by non-scale victories.

“For me, it was the day I got in the car, put on my seatbelt and had room between me and the steering wheel. Or the day I walked down the aisle of  a plane and no one looked at me like, ‘please don’t sit next to me.‘”

David is an advocate not just for the surgery but for making changes to support weight loss, including regularly attending support groups. Dr. Miles says the groups are an important piece to the puzzle.“One of the biggest things that leads to success is going to the support groups. These help keep patients focused and motivated,” Dr. Miles said.

Today, David has one simple reason for sharing his story. “There were days where I was just going about my life, waiting to die. Now, every single aspect of my life is better,” he said.