How one man measures life in pounds
The primary motivator for Derick to lose weight was fear - fear that his health problems would get out-of-hand and eventually end his life. A long time MTA employee, Derick was in his early fifties and dealing with significant health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and sleep apnea - all of which led to depression and, in turn, over-eating. He had tried to lose weight, but just couldn't keep the weight off. It seemed impossible.
After much consideration, he looked into surgical options. He wanted a trusted bariatric program, close to home, that had experienced surgeons who have a long, successful track record. He found just that at New York Methodist Hospital.
First Derick attended an informational session to learn more about his weight loss options. Then he met the surgeon, Dr. Piotr Gorecki, and medical team. The team provided education and support to help Derick prepare for surgery, remain relaxed and confident throughout the surgery and access the resources he needed to keep the weight off after surgery.
"When I started this journey, I was 384 lbs. Today, I'm 235 lbs and still counting down," says Derick. "My blood pressure is normal and my sleep apnea is greatly improved."
Derick smiles when he talks about the things he can now do which he couldn't before - things that many people take for granted such as being able to tie one's own shoes, use a seat belt without an extender, and sit on a chair with complete confidence that "it will hold." "I feel that I have a brand new chance at life," he says.
Derick with his daughter, before the surgery
New York Methodist's board certified surgeons and medical staff are highly trained and experienced - yet they're down to earth and approachable. Nurses and dietitians offer education on how to keep the weight off after surgery via proper diet and exercise. The office staff helps to manage insurance issues. And the mental health professionals provide ongoing support via a monthly support group so bariatric patients can meet, share stories and never feel alone in their journey.
While the support group continues to be immensely helpful to Derick, he has his own hard work to credit for the continued weight loss. He underwent substantial behavior change in order to eat healthier and exercise vigorously, daily.
Today, just three years after his surgery, Derick is an advocate of healthy living. He is now a certified personal trainer and a motivational speaker. He says there are many things "to be grateful for" and that his next goal is to train for a marathon. "Thanks to the knowledge I've gained and the support I've gotten since the surgery, I finally see a reflection in the mirror that I'm happy to see", says Derick. "I have a better me back!"
Read more about Derick Brothers in the 2010 NYM Annual Report.