Kyle lost 280 lbs. with bariatric surgery and became the dad he wanted to be
What would you do for your children? Lose 280 pounds?
Kyle Anderson of Melrose, Wis., wanted to give his baby daughter the best—including the best possible dad who would be around to watch her grow up. But at nearly 500 pounds, Kyle couldn't be the dad he wanted to be.
"Becoming a dad was my motivation to do something about my weight. I wanted to be there for my children in 20, 30, 40 years," Kyle recalls.
Being significantly overweight can affect physical activity, stamina and self-confidence. It presents a higher risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and vascular disease, joint pain, arthritis and sleep apnea. Although still in his 20s, Kyle was already living with insulin resistance (pre-diabetes), sleep apnea and joint problems.
In 2017, Kyle's doctor referred him to Gundersen Health System as a possible candidate for bariatric or weight-loss surgery. Through his job Kyle had the option of having surgery paid for in Costa Rica, but after meeting the bariatric team at Gundersen, he knew he wanted to stay close to home, with healthcare he knew and trusted.
But before Kyle could have weight-loss surgery, he had some important work to do. For six months, Kyle visited with registered dietitian and bariatric nutrition expert Rebecca Cripe, RD.
"Rebecca was amazing," says Kyle. "She helped me understand the 'why' of what I needed to do."
Rebecca explained that Kyle had to make lifestyle changes. "To be successful, Kyle needed to eat better, drink enough water, exercise more, and manage his insulin resistance and sleep apnea. He also needed to lose about 90 pounds to lessen surgical risks."
Kyle had support along the way. In addition to treating his prediabetes and sleep apnea—two important components for effective weight loss—Kyle met regularly with Rebecca to learn the skills to make lifelong changes.
"He learned how often to eat, how to balance what he ate, portion control and establishing a healthy relationship with food," Rebecca explains. "People often think that surgery is a quick or easy fix, but it's just a tool. It takes hard work and a lifelong commitment to succeed. Kyle really gets that."
Kyle embraced the changes and exceeded his pre-surgery goal. In December 2017, Gundersen bariatric surgeon Shanu N. Kothari, MD, performed Kyle's minimally invasive gastric bypass surgery.
Dr. Kothari explains: "Using instruments through small incisions, we partition the stomach and reroute the intestines to a small stomach pouch. This alters hunger hormones that create a sense of fullness and stimulates hormones to help the pancreas make insulin to better treat diabetes."
Kyle has lost about 280 pounds since his surgery. He's healthy, active and back to doing his favorite hobbies—hunting and fishing—and is even kayaking now. At work he's been promoted twice, which he credits, in part, to his new-found confidence.
"We perform about 120 weight-loss procedures each year. Most of our patients not only lose significant weight, they also see dramatic improvement in health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and joint pain and can reduce the medications they take," reports Dr. Kothari. Kyle's sleep apnea and prediabetes have been resolved.
Kyle will have ongoing care with his bariatric team, while his growing family—two girls and another child on the way—keep him motivated.
"What's so great about Kyle is he sees that he needs to work at his success and our medical and surgical intervention were just tools," Rebecca says. "He's a great role model for others."