BEFORE- Red Deer resident Darwyn Brown at about 405 lbs. a couple of years ago. Brown underwent gastric bypass surgery this past spring and has lost about 160 lbs since his weight loss journey began.

Chronicles of a weight loss journey – part one

Local man recounts experience of gastric bypass surgery

Darwyn Brown remembers vividly the day a few years back when a doctor told him curtly to leave his office.

At the time, Brown, who lives in Red Deer, was experiencing a number of health troubles primarily brought on by his weight – he was about 405 lbs. He battled high blood pressure, high cholesterol and had developed Type II diabetes due to obesity.

“I was totally ignoring him a large part of the time,” he recalls his doctor at the time. After a while, his physician had simply had enough.

“He said ‘You’re not willing to participate in what I’ve got set out for you.’ At the time, I thought he was the meanest, nastiest person in the world. But after about two or three weeks, it was a wake-up call.”

Brown found another doctor and knew it was time to listen.

“I started listening intently. It was time to stop playing games. It was time to get to the task.”

His wife Roxy was also becoming increasingly concerned.

“About two or three years ago, my wife also had a talk with me about my weight. She was very afraid I was going to die.”

Darwyn knew he had a momentous task ahead of him. And the world of diets and weight loss regimes was one he hadn’t really waded into before very seriously.

The concept of undergoing gastric bypass surgery surfaced. Darwyn, a 48-year-old father of two sons, also knew at that point, in the summer of 2008, that he needed a plan to attack his weight. After much consideration, he opted to have the surgery.

“One of the wake-up calls was sitting in the surgeon’s office for the initial consultation. He said that based on the statistics, Darwyn’s life would likely be shortened by about 12 years. The diabetes, if continually not managed well, could take another eight years off.

“He left it with me, and it really put things in perspective.”

First of all, there was much to do in preparation.

“My doctor referred me to the health basics course through the Primary Care Network. It’s all about eating properly and getting active.”

That day he began with the health basics course he also had a visit with his Red Deer surgeon – Dr. Lawrence Farries. Darwyn was put on a pre-surgery diet.

“He wanted to see me lose weight and he wanted to see progression.”

Darwyn cut back significantly on what he ate, learning plenty about the importance of portion control.

“I’m not sure which author said this, but food should be your fuel and not your friend. The second it becomes your friend, you’ve got a dangerous friend.” He dropped 100 lbs.

When it came time for surgery, he weighed 305 lbs.

A surgery date was then set – April 21 of this year.

Since then, he’s lost another 55 lbs.

For Darwyn, the weight loss has marked a tremendous change in his life and perspective. The time was simply right to move ahead.

“There were a lot of things that happened together. Coincidence? Not really. I know how I believe. I believe in God. My faith plays a large part in who I am.

“Leaning on God is not a crutch,” he adds with a smile. “And if it is a crutch, it’s the best crutch I can find.”

Gastric bypass surgery sees the stomach region to be utilized reduced to the size of a golf ball from about football size. In Darwyn’s case, an additional operation was necessary to correct some complications.

But from the moment it was over his new life had begun.

Check out Part two in the Oct. 20 edition of the Red Deer Express

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