Hospital:

Mike Holovacs - Healthier Life, Healthier Me

August 20, 2020

Raise your hand if you’ve ever stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office, closed your eyes, and said, “Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know.”

I have battled with my weight in some way since age nine, and I turn 40 this fall. I tried “this, that, and the other thing” several times. Between bad habits, shift work, getting married, having kids, and going through a career transition in my late 30s, life threw a lot at me.

In 2015, a weight-related allergic reaction almost killed me. I couldn’t keep up with our oldest daughter. It was like the worst rollercoaster ride I’ve ever been on, and it peaked when I hit 434 pounds in 2018. I felt like I had no plan and no options, on top of fighting depression.

For years, I was “that guy” who thought surgery was the easy way out – until I met Dr. Marc Neff. Dr. Neff and his team made me hopeful again. I learned how wrong my viewpoint had been; bariatric surgery takes a ton of hard work, mentally and physically. Your surgery day is only one finish line in a lifelong race.

Working through my pre-operative checklist put me in a very self-reflective place. I knew how and why this happened, but I had to figure out how to fix it, as well as why I wanted to fix it.

I had a sleeve gastrectomy, which Dr. Neff likes to say redefines your relationship with food. He’s right – but it also redefines your relationship with yourself.

I can’t imagine my pre-operative lifestyle having continued for much longer. Anytime I was physically active, I was at risk for a near-fatal reaction. I was living to eat, instead of eating to live, and it nearly cost me my life.

Now, a little more than a year after my surgery, I have more energy and a zest for life. I eat healthier, and I get better sleep. I look forward to breaking a sweat, rather than fearing it. Most importantly, I’m able to keep up with both of our girls.

You forget how amazing some little things in life are when you’re overweight. I can see my feet again. I can cross my legs again. I can tie my shoes without getting dizzy. I can tie my kids’ shoes without feeling pain or the inability to get back up on my feet.

When you follow the program and have the right mindset, the benefits are endless. I weighed 399 pounds the morning of my surgery. I’ve lost 110 pounds since. I told my niece that we can go skydiving when I hit my goal of 240. (Notice I said “after,” because there is no “if” or doubt when you follow this program!)

Dr. Neff and his team gave me my life back. If you feel like a piece of your life is missing, look in his office and you might find it. That’s where mine was.

To learn more about Bariatric Surgery at Jefferson Health - New Jersey, click HERE