No longer held back by their weight, two strangers become friends through shared experiences and healthier lifestyle choices.
If you would have told Jill Veen and Jen Moses nine months ago that they could complete a wheeled luge course, hike for miles in the woods, or successfully paddle board through Muskegon Lake, neither of them would have believed you. But earlier this month, the pair did all of those things and more through a special event at DUNEiversity in North Muskegon, hosted by Mercy Health bariatric surgeon, Brian Gluck, DO. The gathering included a slew of physical activities and offered patients the opportunity to make memories, tackle challenges together and celebrate their success throughout their weight loss journeys.
“We offer events like DUNEiversity because we want to help expose patients to new experiences that they might not have been familiar with before,” said Gluck. “It’s all about showing them exciting activities that help them live their lives without limits after weight loss.”
Veen and Moses made it a goal to attempt the wheeled luge, which is notably the most intimidating activity at DUNEiversity. “This is something we would’ve never ever, ever done at our heavier weights,” said Moses. “We’re challenging ourselves to do things here that we haven’t tried before.”
In just nine months, the two women have lost a combined 200 pounds through diet, exercise and eventually bariatric surgery. “I never actually wanted to have weight loss surgery, but I went to one of Dr. Gluck’s seminars at Life Without Limits just to get more information,” said Veen. “His team was amazing and I ended up spending over six months consulting with them and my insurance provider to get things in order.”
There are many factors patients need to consider beforehand. For example, Veen stepped up her exercise regimen and healthy eating plan well before her surgery took place and even ended up losing weight prior to her procedure. “Surgery is a tool and our patients work very hard to achieve their goals,” added Gluck. “Jen and Jill are two of the hardest working patients I know.”
Both Veen an Moses came to the decision to undergo weight loss surgery after becoming extremely unsatisfied with life. Unable to participate in many activities, feeling tired and sluggish – as well as having to take numerous medications – the women describe the turning points that ultimately changed their lives. “For the last couple of years before bariatric surgery, I didn’t do much besides work,” said Veen. “I made plans with friends and canceled all of the time. I didn’t want to go out and socialize because my weight was holding me back.”
“My turning point actually happened years ago when I lost my dad,” recalls Moses. “I was completely frustrated with life, and all I wanted to do was sleep. My life was very mundane and I spent most of my time inside of my house. Life was passing me by. I refused to accept that as my fate.”
Weight loss surgery is designed to assist patients in developing a healthier lifestyle. The surgery alone will not help someone lose weight and keep it off – the patient has to commit to significantly changing eating and exercise habits. “Initially, my primary care physician recommended weight loss meds, but those weren’t covered under my insurance plan,” said Moses. “I actually ran into a nurse colleague who had bariatric surgery and was doing very well. She suggested Dr. Gluck’s seminar – and immediately following, I knew it would be the right decision for me.”
The surgeries for both patients went according to plan and turned out better than they ever could have expected. “Mercy Health colleagues along with Dr. Gluck and his staff were all amazing – very friendly and helpful,” said Veen.
“Mercy Health made this experience so much better than anything I would have imagined,” added Moses. “Everything was smooth from registration, to pre-op, all throughout my overnight stay. Nurses were so friendly and helpful. I’m so glad I made the decision to have surgery with Dr. Gluck at Mercy Health.”
Something that has kept both women on track to maintain their weight loss is the continuous care and check-ins offered through Dr. Gluck’s team at Life Without Limits. Veen and Moses actually met for the first time there during the post-op support group.
“We always sat in the front row next to each other and started talking more and more about our experiences,” recalls Veen. ” We constantly bounce ideas off of each other because we’ve gone through the same things. I’m so happy to call Jen a friend.” Moses agreed and said, “Yes – I’m so lucky that we became friends through our experience at our support group. Most people think we’ve been friends forever because of how connected we are. That is due to the fabulous support Dr. Gluck’s team offers.”
As far as Dr. Gluck is concerned, there are so many upsides to seeing his patients make the decision to continue their weight loss journey through bariatric surgery. Witnessing them experience new things that show his patients there is no limit to what they can achieve is what it’s really all about. “We all go into medicine to make a difference, there’s no better reward professionally than to see my patients go through this.”
What’s new for Veen and Moses since the surgery? Veen mows her own lawn, enjoys doing yard work, has given up her soda addiction, is off of her cholesterol medication and is constantly on the go. “I walk all of the time – everywhere – especially with my dogs, ” said Veen. “I take vitamins and barely stop to rest. I’m at the gym five to six days a week and am loving life.”
Moses shouts, “We’re now reaching higher than what we think our limits are. It’s ‘Life Without Limits’ and we don’t have those limits anymore!”
Wondering if weight loss surgery is right for you? Consider attending a seminar or call:
Visit www.MoreBariatricSuccess.com for additional information and downloadable guides.