Red Deer resident Darwyn Brown feels like a brand new man these days.
A couple of years ago he weighed in at about 405 lbs. After some serious consideration and extreme concern for his health was expressed by his wife Roxy, he embarked on a complete life-change.
That included gastric bypass surgery this past spring.
Today, he weighs about 245 lbs. and wants to drop to about 200 lbs. or so.
Getting there hasn’t come without challenges, but he points to the importance of surrounding himself with a network of support from the get-go.
“The surgery is not something you do on your own,” he explains, adding there is a local support group for those who have undergone gastric bypass surgery.
“And so much of it is about mind-set. For any kind of weight loss, with or without surgery, if your mind isn’t there it’s not going to work.
“The surgery itself was a success – yes. Will it continue to be successful? Only I can determine that. If the mindset isn’t there, I can grow that stomach back to football size. Surgery is a tool, and should only be considered as a tool.”
But what a tool for better health it’s proven to be.
Darwyn went from taking 60 units of insulin a day to none.
“I’ve been monitored by my doctor, and he says there is no need for it.”
He’s also completely off of blood pressure and cholesterol medications as well. “I’m done with all the medication I’ve been taken for years. I take a multi-vitamin in the morning, and I’m good.”
A struggle with serious sleep apnea has also been virtually cleared up as well. “All the major medical issues of my life have been fixed.”
For Darwyn, who was raised on a farm near Hanna, the tendency to gain weight started early in life.
“I was always a large kid, always a big guy.”
When he graduated from Gr. 12, he weighed about 200 lbs.
After he married he found himself continuing to gain weight.
“The cooking is good, and when you don’t have to do it yourself it’s even better,” he adds with a grin. “It’s like an unlimited freezer with food in it all the time.”
It also doesn’t help that society tends to create activities around food. Portions at restaurants continue to grow larger as well. And even though grocery stores are packed with all kinds of low-fat, low-carb foods, the battle of the bulge in general continues to escalate.
Meanwhile, Darwyn continues to enjoy the new freedom that being thinner has brought to his life. As of a few weeks ago, he weighed about 245 lbs. He’s looking at 200 lbs. as a goal.
Of course, it’s not just about having a much smaller stomach. Darwyn makes sure he logs some 10,000 steps each day mainly from lengthy walks he takes most mornings.
“A year ago, I wouldn’t walk half a block because I was afraid I’d fall over,” he recalls. “Now if I don’t get my walk in, my mood is bad. I’m grumpy. It’s a ‘well-being’ thing – I feel way better.
“Everything has changed,” he adds. “Everything in life has been re-arranged and re-organized. It’s touched every part of my life, and it’s all better.”
These days, Darwyn is encouraging others who are facing the surgery or going through the adjustments following the procedure.
“I know the day after my surgery I had friends come from the weight loss surgery support group, and it really helped me.”
He, in turn, has visited several since.
“Me and my wife go together as a team,” he says. “She tells them she’s my support person, that she helped me get through this and that they’ll get through this.
“I’ve provided encouragement and gotten encouragement back from those who have received the surgery.
“Without that group dynamic, the surgery would be very tough to do,” he says.
“It would be hard to do it on your own. Without support or accountability, how do you do it? We all need the fellowship, we all need to be together, we all need to be accountable.”
Darwyn Brown is pleased to answer questions anyone might have about his experience with gastric bypass surgery. He can be reached at 403-343-7614.