Like most bariatric patients, Dennis Cadugan had struggled with weight his whole life. An admittedly ‘pudgy’ kid, he had a family history of health problems, including obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Throughout adulthood, Dennis continued to gain weight steadily, something he noticed particularly when he was enjoying free time with his sons.
“I never had the energy to do things with my kids,” the father of three says. “It always felt like a chore when I was doing things with them. We would be up and down the stairs and I would be out of breath.”
Dennis joined Weight Watchers with the hope of taking control of his unhealthy lifestyle. He lost 50 pounds on the program, but a demanding work and school schedule caused him to gain back the weight he had lost and then some. The setback was disheartening, but it wasn’t until his weight began affecting his daily routine that Dennis decided he needed a permanent solution.
“What really set me over the edge was that I was out of breath after getting out of the shower and drying off. At that point, I knew I had to do something,” he recalls.
Having been a Bryn Mawr Hospital employee for 20 years, Dennis decided to enter the Bariatric Program at the hospital. During his initial meeting with Richard Ing, MD, Medical Director of the Bariatric Center at Bryn Mawr Hospital, Main Line Health the two decided the best option for Dennis was Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery.
“Taking into account his family history for health issues and his struggle with weight, the best surgical option for Dennis was Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery,” explains Dr. Ing. “It is a minimally invasive procedure that allowed Dennis to decrease his appetite and eat and absorb less.”
On Tuesday, September 6, 2011, Dennis underwent bariatric surgery. Only 24 hours after his procedure, he was back on his feet and taking steps, literally, to a healthier lifestyle. During his four-day stay at Bryn Mawr Hospital, Dennis began taking short walks around the hospital. When he returned home on Friday, he immediately kicked off a regular workout routine with mile-long walks every day. The weight began falling off.
“When I got home from surgery, the weight began coming off steadily. I’d say I was losing about 20 pounds per month,” says Dennis.
In the months following, his weight loss continued and he began to notice the benefits almost immediately. Besides being able to keep up with his boys more easily and less tired during the day, Dennis noticed some health benefits. His breathing has improved, and some random chest pains that used to bother him have subsided. He no longer takes any of the four medications to control his health that he did before the surgery.
And it turns out his clothes aren’t the only things that fit better.
“When I’m on a plane or at the movies, I’m more comfortable than I was when I was heavier,” he says.
Now, a year after the surgery, Dennis has lost 126 pounds. Having surpassed his weight loss goal in early spring, he continues to adhere to a healthier and more active lifestyle, something he attributes in part to the team at Bryn Mawr Hospital.
“The whole team at the Bariatric Center is great,” says Dennis. “For people like me who struggled with weight, their program was invaluable.”
Although Dennis continues to work out by walking a couple of miles each week, he has also added running and biking into his fitness mix. During meals, he has learned his limits and set a personal goal to not allow his weight to exceed 200 pounds.
“Bryn Mawr Hospital and Dr. Ing changed my life forever. The surgery and my weight loss changed who I am completely,” he says.