Gastric bypass surgery turns Randy's life around

“I’ll never go back.  Everything has changed for me.  I really like my life now.”

Randy Sutton used to weigh 311 pounds.  Today he weighs 164 pounds. 

Do the math:  that’s a difference of 147 pounds.  After full gastric bypass surgery, Randy Sutton lost the equivalent of a whole person.

How?  Credit one of his sisters, who had gastric bypass surgery five years before Randy did.  Today, she is healthier than ever. 

Diabetic, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, compromised kidney and liver function, pills twice a day and shots five times a day—just two years ago Randy Sutton was a man in very poor health. 

In fact, his sister, a registered nurse, sat him down one day and told him if he didn’t get his diabetes under control, he would be in daily kidney dialysis within two years, if he were still alive. 

Randy says she “made me watch a video that showed exactly what dialysis is.”

That was enough for him.  He made an appointment with Dr. Westmoreland and Dr. Eckles for an evaluation at the Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence at Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital.  Very soon, he had laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, with no complications at all. 

“The whole experience was a very good one for me,” he said.  “Obesity runs in our family, but that’s no excuse. I helped it along with my bad habits, eating a lot of fast food and not exercising at all.” 

Randy’s older brother has had two heart attacks and weighs between 350 and 375 pounds.  Another sister had gastric bypass surgery but didn’t follow the program afterward, and she gained all of her weight back.

Both of his parents were overweight, with “big bellies,” Randy said. 

Randy works for Newell Rubbermaid in Shelbyville.  He likes to work in his yard, which is about an acre.  He usually has a home improvement project going.  Six days a week, he gets up at 2 a.m. so he can be at the gym by 3 a.m. and work out until 6 a.m.

Today, Randy Sutton is a changed man.  Just ask anybody.

“Not just my weight and health have changed,” he says.  “I’m a happy person now. People say they didn’t like to see me coming because I had a bad attitude.  I was unpleasant, unhappy and never satisfied with anything.  I was argumentative.  I didn’t like myself, and I didn’t much like anybody else.”

Today, Randy’s natural facial expression is a smile.  He enjoys traveling.  He and his sister participate in a 5K race about once a month.  Randy ran a Warrior Dash last year and will run two this year. He signed up for an upcoming Tough Mudder, a 10-to-12 mile obstacle course that takes between four and five hours to complete. 

Randy was immediately cured of his diabetes post-surgery.  Over the next months, he regained his health.  Today, Randy takes just one pill, to help the permanent neuropathy in his legs caused by his extreme weight.  He takes no medicine for high blood pressure or high cholesterol.  His kidney and liver functions are normal.  He eats well, primarily proteins and vegetables.  He stays away from pasta, alcohol, sugar, dairy and overly greasy foods.  He found other foods he enjoys, like baked apples for dessert. 

“I don’t deprive myself, but I watch what I eat.  I will have a hamburger every now and then.  I will have pizza sometimes.  But I’ll never go back,” he said.  “Everything has changed for me.  I won’t go back to the weight, to the person I was, to that life.  I really like my life now.”

Randy says one important lesson he learned is that he has to come first.  “I used to try to make everybody else happy,” he said, “and in doing that, I made myself miserable.” 

He’s looking forward to the future, and wants to become a personal trainer for others struggling with their health and weight.  Randy already leads extra exercises at the gym many mornings.  Once a week, he practices high-intensity interval (HITT) training, bringing ideas back to the gym, where he encourages his friends to try them. 

Randy checked into the certification program for personal training, and plans to begin in fall 2014.  

“By this time next year, I’ll be training other people,” he says.  “It can be done.”

Saint Thomas Health Bariatrics and Weight Loss

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