Daniel Chipman, 52, is a grandfather who loves his granddaughter, Addison, and loves to ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. The Straw Plains resident not only rides for pleasure, but also rides with local American Legion riders and the Patriot Guard, riding in funeral processions to honor military service personnel who have died.
“My dad served in Korea,” he said. “It’s a small way for me to ‘give back’ – to recognize their service to our country.”
But back in 2012, Chipman’s health problems were impeding his ability to enjoy being a new grandfather
or riding his motorcycle. In addition to three ruptured disks in his back, his weight had increased to 355 pounds. He developed diabetes, and was taking six pills a day for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
“I tried multiple times to lose weight,” he said. “Between the back pain from the disks and the extra weight, I wasn’t able to do much.”
Chipman explored the option of bariatric surgery and ultimately went to the offices of Dr. Jonathan Ray and Dr. Mark Colquitt, who are now part of the Center for Bariatric Surgery at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. After consulting with the surgeons, he underwent a sleeve gastrectomy procedure to improve his health, and more importantly, “to live longer and be there for my granddaughter.”
“The sleeve gastrectomy procedure removes the left side of the stomach, which is the part that distends when a person eats. It’s also the part that releases ghrelin, which controls appetite,” explains Dr. Colquitt. “After surgery, the stomach is a narrower tube which takes in less food and also moves the food more quickly through the digestive tract.”
Chipman had surgery on a Tuesday. He had little pain from the procedure, and “by Friday I was home and playing with my granddaughter,” he says.
Since his surgery Chipman has lost 123 pounds. He no longer has to take medicine for diabetes, blood pressure or cholesterol.
As with all bariatric surgeries, lifestyle and behavioral changes after surgery are key to long-term success. “The surgical procedure is not a magic bullet,” Dr. Colquitt says. “Surgery is the quick part – it just takes about an hour and a half.”
“The patient must prepare for the surgery in advance, and must understand that he or she will have to make major lifestyle and behavior changes following the procedure. Our team is here to help the patient be successful through the relationships with our staff and participation in support groups. It’s a two-way street.”
Chipman says that with sleeve gastrectomy he can eat “normal foods.” “I don’t have a specific meal plan, but I focus on small portions of high-protein and healthy foods.”
He is also able to be more physically active, focusing on light cardio and some weight lifting. “My goal is not to bulk up a lot, but to tone the muscles I have,” he says.
The cardio may also come in The cardio may also come in handy in the weeks ahead. In addition to Father’s Day, Chipman is looking forward to his and Addison’s July birthdays, and to welcoming a second grandchild in the same month. Now that he’s able to be more active, he may have just the energy he needs for more motorcycle rides – and more hugs from his grandchildren.
If you’re considering bariatric surgery, learn more about it at one of our FREE monthly seminars hosted by Dr. Colquitt and Dr. Ray.