On the Same Page

Married Couple Thrives After Bariatric Surgery

Alicia before bariatric surgery

As a couple who has been married for  20 years and is raising three children, Tim and Alicia Parker tend to see eye-to-eye on most things. They even share the same profession: Tim teaches high school math and coaches football, while Alicia teaches first grade.

But when it came to facing the fact that they were both obese, it was Alicia who took the lead.

“We had both been overweight as teenagers,” Alicia said, “and I struggled with my weight by yo-yo dieting for more than 20 years.” It was feeling tired so often that Alicia found the most difficult. “I didn’t have energy for my students and my family.”

 

So in 2013 Alicia attended a seminar given by Bariatric Surgeon Brian Gluck, DO. “I had already been on a medical weight loss diet, so when I left the seminar, I knew exactly what to expect because Dr. Gluck and his team explained everything,” said Alicia.

Ready to move forward to prepare for surgery, Alicia was very impressed with Dr. Gluck’s staff. “Mercy Health worked with my busy schedule and didn’t waste my time. They were very efficient and made the process easy.”

With the support of her husband and family, in December 2013, Alicia underwent bariatric sleeve gastrectomy. “I started at 286 pounds, and I’ve lost 111 pounds. I went from size 26 to size 12. I have a pair of my old jeans, and now I can fit my body into one of the legs.”

Tim before bariatric surgery

Coach Tim’s surgery in 2017 was no less dramatic. “On the day I went into surgery, I weighed 286 pounds. Since then I’ve lost 100 pounds. The last time I was below 200 pounds was in 8th grade. Now I’m 46.”

Slower to embrace surgery as an option, Tim was motivated by a blunt conversation with his trusted family physician about his high cholesterol, high blood pressure and weight issues.

“I went in for a normal yearly checkup, and my doctor said, ‘Do you want to live to see your daughter graduate?’ That is what set me on the surgical path.” He wanted to be there for his family.

Why the hesitation? “As an athletic coach, I thought I was in pretty good shape. But as my weight increased, I kept lying to myself: I told myself that I was self-disciplined…that I could lose weight on my own. I didn’t need surgery. That’s the easy way out.”

Due to his health issues and a lack of energy, Tim finally attended one of Dr. Gluck’s seminars. “The toughest part is admitting to yourself that you have a problem.”

Tim was surprised by how quickly he felt comfortable with Dr. Gluck and his entire staff.

“Dr. Gluck has a network of nurses, PAs, dieticians, a psychologist and other staff. They didn’t shame anyone…they understood where I was coming from and were ready to help me with open arms.” Former patients also spoke at the seminar about their surgical experiences, which gave Tim even more confidence to choose surgery.

Tim was also amazed by how thoroughly Dr. Gluck’s team prepares patients both physically and mentally for the entire process — everything from blood tests to surgical aftercare.

“The staff has been unbelievably great. They help you go through months of preparation for the surgery. You have to be willing to change your mindset. They helped me change the way I view food and the way I eat. I think that overeating is almost like an addiction, something you can’t fix on your own.”

The Parker family today

Tim and Alicia’s lives have changed dramatically since bariatric surgery. Tim runs every day with an accountability partner, and Alicia is more active and has energy for her family and her students. “We feel better in our forties than we did in our twenties.”

The Parkers attribute their success to the way they support each other and hold each other accountable.

“We didn’t want our children to go through their childhood being overweight like we were,” Alicia shared. “Now our entire family is more aware of exercise, food choices and portions. We make smart choices and stay active.”

For Coach Parker, their family’s lifestyle changes mirror what he has taught his athletes: “Stay active, eat in healthy ways and pay attention to the nutritional value of what you are eating.”

In the end, the Parkers’ decision was mostly about their kids and their legacy. They eagerly recommend bariatric surgery to anyone who has struggled as they once did.

“Bariatric surgery has helped us to feel better, look better, hopefully live longer and thrive.”