Health Issues

Colonoscopy Procedure June 28, 2011 - I went to the doctors to have a colonoscopy and when Dr Fisher came to see me afterwards I found out that there was a blockage and the test was not completed. He informed me that there were some polyps that were removed and sent for testing and there was some diverticulosis but he was unable to complete the test. He than ordered a PET/CT scan and told me that I would need to contact a surgeon to have the blockage removed. The PET/CT scan should that I had cancer but that it was in stage 1. My colon surgeon did a scope to tattoo the tumor and didn't like what he saw and had a sonogram which should that the cancer was in Stage 3 as the lymph nodes were involved. All training was cancelled and surgery was scheduled for August 3, 2011.

Obesity, spinal health, cardiac health - these were some of the things that I had to overcome.

The first of these problems happened in my neck. After complaining of neck pain and beginning to lose the feeling in my hands in 2001, I was diagnosed with disc problems. After many shots for pain and taking all precautions it became clear that I needed surgery. Doctor Michael W. Hasz, M.D., F.A.C.S. from the Virginia Spine Institute removed 3 discs from neck and fused and installed a plate to limit the movement of my neck. Recovering from this surgery was hard and I was not able to train like I wanted to or was used to doing. This is when I started to gain weight and without exercise the up down the scale began. From 2001 – 2004 my weight and health started to get worse.

December 2004, I had a heart attack that required 4 stints in the right coronary artery. So now I had a plate in my neck and stints in my chest what else could go wrong. My lower back started to have severe pain that the team from the Virginia Spine Institute helped deal with pain injections and I had the IDET procedure done. This procedure did not relieve the pain and I was on many different pain medications and having regular shots in the discs for relief.

Between 2004 and 2006 I also had both shoulders operated on for rotator cuff tears. This surgery was done by Chestertown Orthopedics: Lohr Frederick T MD. His team of physical therapists helped me recover and gain full mobility of my shoulders. This team of therapists was also used for my neck surgery.

After doing hours of research and attending many meetings and talking to my doctors I realized that if I was going to live I needed to lose weight. By this time I was near 300 pounds and could not walk a flight of stairs. My research identified the GBMC Comprehensive Obesity Management Program as one of the best. While it takes me almost 2 hours one way to fight the Baltimore MD traffic to get there I have never regretted going to see them. After meeting with Dr. Babak Moeinolmolki, MD, MA and the rest of the staff I knew that this was going to be the start of something new. July 2008, Dr Moein performed gastric bypass surgery on me and my new life was started. As the weight started to drop I started to walk. Soon the walks became fast walks and the next thing I knew I started to run. The weight kept coming off and I started to think maybe I can run marathons again.

March 1, 2009, the B & A Trail Half Marathon was my first race since surgery and it felt great to be running again. While it took me 2:46:54 to finish the run and I was 558 out of 581 it wasn’t last and I finished. This race taught me that as a bariatric patient I could not load up with all the calories required to complete an endurance event. Since this first race I have completed another half marathon, full marathon and my first international distance triathlon.