“Why Didn’t We Do This Sooner?” 

It’s always easier to achieve a health goal when you have an accountability partner.  And there’s no closer partner than your spouse. Don and Melissa Kaylor decided to pursue bariatric surgery at the same time, and they have been helping each other achieve success ever since.

For Melissa, the journey started when her primary care physician told her she was pre-diabetic and also needed to start taking blood pressure medication. “I knew then that it was time to do something,” she notes. “I started working my way through the process to have weight loss surgery.”

That process involved meetings with the physician, the dietitian, the exercise therapist, and a social worker. “They certainly were thorough with the questions!” Melissa recalls. “They wanted to make sure I had realistic goals and was not looking for a quick fix. So they kept asking questions about my past diet experience, my support system and my goals. My answers must have been consistent, because I was able to have my surgery in October 2021.”

For Don, the motivating factor was work. “I was having a hard time doing what I need to do, like climbing in and out of a truck,” he says. “Something had to give.” He also started his weight loss program in June of 2021, and had his surgery in December 2021.

Now that Don and Melissa are both through the surgery and the immediate recovery, they are taking the maintenance program seriously. Don travels a lot for work, so he preps snacks and brings his lunch every day. “My coworkers are really great about respecting my health goals and finding places where I can make smart choices,” he says. “I like to go out for dinner with them, but I’ll choose a slice of thin-crust pizza, or a burger without the bun.”

Melissa also uses the discipline of packing a lunch to help her maintain what she has worked so hard to achieve. “I do go out on Fridays,” she admits, “but it’s often to the local grocery store deli. Sometimes I treat myself to a taco. But I only eat one, not the two plus tortilla chips that I used to eat!” She keeps a food log and has learned to stay away from sugars, which were a temptation in the past. “It’s funny, but sweet foods don’t even taste the same to me anymore,” she muses. “Your taste buds and your body change through this process.”

Don doesn’t regret his decision for a minute. “The difference is amazing,” he says. “I don’t get winded anymore. I don’t sweat as much.” He has also received some fantastic news about his other health indicators. “I just recently was able to discontinue use of my CPAP machine. The provider who reviewed my CPAP report said it resembled that of a 21-year-old instead of a 51-year-old. Apparently that’s almost unheard-of, but it happened for me. I am also no longer considered pre-diabetic.”

For Melissa, shopping has become a little victory. “I can just walk into a store and buy clothing,” she says. “Before my surgery, I was limited to a couple racks at the back of a store. Now I can start at the front and pick what I like.”

Don’s little victory reflects the support he and Melissa have provided to each other throughout this journey. “I never got my wedding ring resized,” he says. “But now I can wear it again.”

If you’re interested in learning more about bariatric surgery or weight loss services at Trinity Health Grand Haven, visit us online or call 616.847.5489.

Pictured above are Melissa and Don at Rocky Mountain National Park in July of 2022. “We were there last year, but this time was so different. We were able to climb more of the mountain at higher elevations than we could before and we were able to hike five to ten miles a day,” says Melissa.

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