Ron Refugio's Story

*Disclaimer: As patients and procedures vary so will results

My biggest fear at the end of 2017 was that I would one day wake up in a hospital with my wife and doctor hovering over me saying, “It’s ok Ron, you just had a heart attack, but you are in the hospital now.” That fear was especially strong when I couldn’t even complete a walk around the park with my family. My mind was willing, but my body was aching; slowly dying. I have lived over 30 years of my life always being the bigger guy, but I completely let myself go. I don’t know for sure, but I believe I weighed close to, if not over 300lbs. I remember telling my wife I have to do something drastic. I called my insurance company to find out what they would cover. They had some requirements like: High blood pressure (check), High cholesterol (check), BMI over 40 (check), and a life-threatening issue such as Sleep Apnea (check). If failing at controlling my weight was graded, I would be getting an ‘A.’
On January 5, 2018, I had my first appointment with Dr. Barnes, and his crew. What I appreciate about Dr. Barnes is that he is extremely straight forward with me. Not trying to “sell” me an idea of a better life, but talking to me, realistically, about how my life was ruining my life. On that date, I weighed 279lbs and my BMI was at 42.4. In order to be at the top of my healthy BMI, I needed to lose close to 116lbs. This was the day that I HAD to accept my responsibilities.

Dr. Barnes, Bonnie (the nutritionist), and the rest of his team are extremely supportive and available for questions and concerns. They helped me get through the highs and lows of each visit. They prepared me for what I should expect, and continue to remind me how to reset my train of thought when I was lost. The biggest lesson I learned from them is:

Dr. Barnes, and his team, are only going to help you set up the tool to lose weight. What I do with that tool is up to me. Gastric bypass IS NOT a miracle cure that will allow me to have anything I want, without any consequences. IT IS HARD WORK. It took me over 5 months, after my surgery, to even mentally see any changes in my body. Now, at my one year post operation appointment (4/26/18), I weigh 163.5lbs. My BMI is 24.9.

Yes, Dr. Barnes, and his team, helped me relive my life, but here is what I didn’t expect to get out of this surgery: 1) Being able to take my wife horseback riding because it was something she has always wanted to do with me, but I was too big, 2) carrying my both of my kids up/down the stairs, 3) running along the soccer field with my boy, 4) fitting into an airplane seat (theater seat, etc.) without losing circulation in my legs, 5) walking my dogs vs. my dogs walking me, and 6) looking forward to going to the doctor (any doctor) to see how my life is changing for the better. On the last one, I’m no longer diabetic, no longer have sleep apnea, my arthritis flares a whole lot less, my blood pressure medication is cut in half (hopefully, at the end of this year, I won’t need it), my cholesterol is normal, and I went from a XXL (being tight fitting) to a slim-fit medium.

If you want to take charge of your life, accepting that you need to control your relationship with food is step 1. Step 2 is contacting the Barnes Bariatric team.