LOS ANGELES, April 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Camarillo resident and construction worker Matt Brown is a big man, and, for a long time, he didn't see anything wrong with that. However, there was a limit. He hit that limit in February of 2013 when he made the decision to have a sleeve gastrectomy with renowned bariatric surgeon Dr. Michael Feiz . When we spoke to Mr. Brown two months to the day following his operation, Dr. Feiz's April patient ambassador was 60 pounds lighter, working on a building supply line at a local Air Force base, and feeling better than he had in a very long time. Just eight weeks prior, however, things weren't looking so bright.
The 37 year-old Brown, who is 5'11", had become alarmed as his weight crept up to well over 340 pounds. The husband and father could see a future before him marred by the extreme likelihood of diabetes, gout, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. Almost as bad, his mobility was already hampered, and, after a hard day of physical labor, the husband and father of two had little physical energy left for keeping up with his children. "I didn't want to be the guy making excuses for why I wasn't losing weight as they were closing the casket over me," says Mr. Brown.
Still, the real kicker was the sheer, grinding pain of a 9mm disc bulge which was unlikely to heal without surgery at his current weight. "Even Vicodin wasn't helping. After crawling around on the floor and dealing with all that hurting, I knew that was a place I never wanted to go back to," Brown said. When his back problem was healed enough to deal with a weight loss procedure, he made the fateful phone call to Dr. Feiz's office and, by his own account, never looked back.
Although some patients opt for reversible lap band surgery, Brown elected to go with the gastric sleeve procedure. The operation is considered to be highly effective by doctors. Dr. Feiz and other experts note the operation removes the fundus, an area of the stomach responsible for the production of the hunger-inducing ghrelin hormone.
Still, both Mr. Brown and his wife weren't quite prepared for the change wrought by bariatric surgery. "I couldn't handle very much food, but it wasn't bad because I actually didn't feel hungry. I had to kind of make myself eat maybe 12 pistachio nuts and a couple of glasses of water. It got to the point where my wife thought I looked too pale and was convinced there was a problem with me eating so little, even though I felt fine. She got me to go to the hospital but they said, 'no, it's not a problem; all of your stats look great.'"
Although he is still adjusting to his altered body, Mr. Brown's back problems appear to be behind him and he is looking more fit than ever. "It's just kind of thrilling to be able to be over that drama of being so overweight and in pain that it felt like I couldn't do much. Now, it really looks like things are going to be getting a lot better over the long haul," Mr. Brown said.