A New Lease On Life
With hard work and weight loss surgery, Willie Miller is ready to take on new challenges. After undergoing gastric sleeve surgery at Memorial Hospital at Gulfport, Miller shed about 90 pounds in 12 weeks and gained a new lease on life. Eight months after surgery, he’s surpassed his goal weight and has lost more than 150 pounds. The 39-year old former University of Nebraska fullback has thrown his unflinching commitment into his new, healthier lifestyle; that’s what it takes, he says, to be successful.
Already, he’s enjoying solid improvements in his overall health: better blood pressure, fewer medications, better mobility; plus, simple acts of daily functioning that are now much easier.
“I can stand and walk for a longer period of time without having to take several breaks and sit down. I can actually tie my own shoes. I just feel better about myself.”
What Is Gastric Sleeve Surgery?
Gastric sleeve surgery is a procedure in which a portion of the stomach is removed, and a small, banana-shaped pouch is left behind. In conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, patients can lose excess weight and improve health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. Gastric sleeve surgery is part of the weight loss program at Memorial. When Miller made his decision to have the surgery, he chose Memorial because his research convinced him this program best suited his needs.
He has nothing but praise for the medical skill of his physician, Dr. Derek Ware, Memorial General Surgeon. He also finds Dr. Ware’s attitude empowering.
“What I really appreciated about Dr. Ware is he doesn’t sugarcoat anything … he tells you not to get the surgery if you’re not willing to put in work because he’s not going to babysit you when you’re not doing what you need to do.”
Deciding It Was Time for A Change
His excess weight began to creep on as he advanced in a pharmaceutical sales career. The pressure to keep up with new products and sales quotas, along with lunch and dinner meetings, took a heavy toll on his physical and mental health.
Miller weighed 400 pounds when he became ultimately motivated to act; he needed disc replacement surgery, and his neurosurgeon stipulated bringing his weight down to around 265 before they could proceed. Miller underwent his back procedure in December 2017 and is fully enjoying an active lifestyle.
Reflecting on his experience so far, he offers his best advice to someone who might be considering the procedure: “What I found is if you are willing to do what you’re instructed to do, it is not hard at all.”
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