Fort Sanders Health & Lifestyles
Losing more than 80 pounds after bariatric surgery at Fort Sanders Regional, Jim Gilmore is celebrating wearing skinny jeans!

After losing more than 80 pounds through bariatric surgery, Jim Gilmore is celebrating by wearing skinny jeans!

It’s not something you decide to do overnight. The decision to undergo weight loss surgery requires a lot of intentional consideration.

“I changed my mind every other day,” says Jim Gilmore, 70. “It’s a whole lifestyle change, but it’s worth it many times over.”

Gilmore is enjoying the benefits of bariatric surgery performed by Jonathan Ray, MD, of Foothills Weight Loss Specialists at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville. Having endured shots four times a day for type 2 diabetes, dealt with hypertension and lived with heart problems, his only regret now is that he didn’t make the decision sooner.

“I would recommend it to absolutely anybody,” Gilmore says emphatically. Eight months after surgery, Gilmore had lost 87 pounds.

A metabolic surgery

“With diabetes, you just never feel good,” Gilmore explains. “I feel great every day now. I have tons of energy, and I can’t wait to get up in the morning.”

Dr. Ray is accustomed to hearing statements like that as more and more people in their 60s and 70s turn to weight loss procedures. The surgery has become safer, and the benefits have become worth the risk.

“The risk for gastric bypass is about the same as someone having a hip replaced, and some people even say the risk is lower than having your gallbladder removed,” Dr. Ray says. “For the past 10 or 15 years, we’ve been operating on patients of a greater age because of their multiple health problems, and the potential for better quality of life.”

Dr. Ray says Gilmore’s case is a good example, with the health benefits of gastric bypass far outweighing the risks. “Type 2 diabetes with insulin dependence is a very severe disease leading to stroke, heart disease and circulation problems,” Dr. Ray says. “It’s the metabolic problems that people have such as diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and obstructive sleep apnea that we’re looking at today.”

Jim before gastric bypass

Jim before gastric bypass

Dr. Ray says these “co-morbidities” are serious conditions that can result in poor quality of life, and may even shorten a person’s life. He says bariatric surgery has become “metabolic surgery.”

Side benefits

The lean, trim appearance that comes with dramatic weight loss is just a side benefit when you consider that weight loss improves overall health, and perhaps even extends the patient’s life. Still, being a thinner version of himself is something Gilmore is enjoying.

“It’ll make your self-confidence go from zero to 100,” Gilmore says. “I had a 44-inch waist. Now I’m a 32 and I can wear skinny jeans!”

Gilmore’s daughter and sister in-law have also had bariatric procedures performed by Dr. Ray and have seen similar success.

“I no longer have diabetes and my high blood pressure is gone,” Gilmore says. “To anybody my age who is thinking about doing this, I would say go ahead and do it.”

Gilmore is just as emphatic Gilmore is just as emphatic about the benefits of having the
surgery performed by Dr. Ray at Fort Sanders Regional. “They’re the nicest people ever,” Gilmore says of the hospital staff. “I just can’t tell you how much I appreciate them.”

In Jonathan Ray, Gilmore says he found more than an experienced surgeon. “Dr. Ray and his staff are just super people,” Gilmore says. “If he wasn’t a doctor, he’d be a good one to be a minister.”

Gilmore marvels at how much his life has changed. Afternoon exhaustion used to bring a halt to whatever he was doing, as he had to stop everything for a nap just to get through the rest of the day. Now he has energy that lasts from the time he wakes up until whatever
time he decides the day’s activities should come to a close.

“I wish I’d found out about it earlier,” Gilmore says. “I’d do it again in a New York second, I’ll tell you that.”

He encourages anyone his age who is dealing with similar health problems to make the call. “You know, today is the first day of the rest of your life,” Gilmore says. “If you want to have a good quality of life, don’t hesitate.”

To learn more about weight loss procedures at Fort Sanders Regional Center for Bariatric Surgery and Foothills Weight Loss Specialists, or to access a schedule of upcoming free informational seminars, CLICK HERE or call 865-331-BAR1 (2271).