Philip Ellis's life before gastric bypass was one fraught with pain and struggle. He was not able to walk long distances; walking a block was a challenge. His greatest source of pain was not being able to play with his three-year-old son and one-year-old daughter. "I could take them outside, but I couldn't play with them," Philip said.
Philip always struggled with his weight growing up. After high school, his poor eating habits served as a catalyst for major weight gain. He had lost weight in the past, but not enough to make a difference in his life. By age 38, Philip weighed 430 pounds and developed diabetes. His best friend, a medical student, introduced the idea of gastric bypass to him. Philip's research led him to the office of Dr. Paul Lin, who was informative and honest with him. Dr. Lin then referred him to GW Hospital's gastric bypass information class.
The classes gave Philip more information in one session than he was able to gain researching on his own. He learned everything he needed to know about the day of surgery and beyond to ensure successful weight loss. He decided to undergo gastric bypass in December 2004 with Dr. Lin.
He says he wasn't nervous because he knew what he was getting into. "I needed an opportunity to do something that would give me an edge," Philip said. "The gastric bypass gives you an edge that you didn't have before." A year later, Philip has lost over 140 pounds and dropped 14 inches off his waist. "You don't wait for the surgery to work, you have to work, too," said Philip, who follows the doctor's orders to the letter. He counts his calories and has eliminated fast foods and sweets from his diet.
Every once in a while he will reflect on his eating patterns now versus before the surgery. "Before I would eat too much, but now I can't eat a really big meal, " Philip said. "It doesn't mean you have to eat like a rabbit, but it does mean you eat healthier food." He wants to begin a workout regimen of cardio and weight lifting to help him lose another 100 pounds.
Philip's weight loss has benefited all areas of his life. He no longer has to take medication for diabetes and is able to control it with diet. In June 2005, he started his own T-shirt business called Apple Mint T-shirts. He wouldn't have been able to run his own business before the surgery because he wouldn't have had the energy or the ability to stand for long periods of time.
His wife is happier, too, because Philip's increased energy and mobility allows him to help around the house more and he doesn't snore like he used to. "I used to wake the whole house up, but now everybody gets a good night sleep," Philip said. His greatest joy is being able to play with his son and daughter. He now can run around with them and play with them in the yard. "My favorite activity is everything because now I can do everything!"