A Year Later, They’ve Lost a Combined 270 Pounds and Are Medication-Free

June 1, 2022

Mike and Elaine O'Connor, before and after
Elaine and Mike O'Connor, before and after weight-loss surgery.

It seems strange that a routine trip to the store to buy a new pair of shorts could actually change a person’s life. But as Mike O’Connor, out with his wife Elaine, stood there holding size 50 waist shorts, he reached his breaking point. More accurately, they reached their breaking point, and decided to do something about it – together. Mike and Elaine were like a lot of people who struggle with weight; they would add a little each year, then get frustrated, go on a diet and drop some pounds, only to eventually gain all of it back plus a little more. At their highest weight, Elaine was close to 250 pounds while Mike was 340. 

Standing in the clothing store, Mike decided the cycle needed to end. “I was told probably 10 years ago by a doctor about the surgery and I got angry and thought ‘the nerve of him’,” said Mike. “I kept putting it off thinking I could do it and did not need surgery, but eventually, standing in that store, we both knew it was time – for both of us.” 

Mike was referred to Srinivas Kaza, MD, and the MBSAQIP-accredited Wellington Regional Weight Management Center. At the time, both Mike and Elaine were taking multiple medications for blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and battling medical conditions related to their weight. Now, they were ready to take the next step toward changing their lives. The question became not if they were going to have the surgery performed, but when. As it turned out, they would do it on the same day. After all, Mike and Elaine said they did everything together. Why not the surgery?

Reaping the Benefits

The pair decided to have gastric bypass surgery at Wellington Regional. Fast forward about a year, they have lost a combined 270 pounds and no longer take any medications for medical conditions. More importantly, they have their health and energy back. They have also regained the ability to do many of the activities that had disappeared as the weight piled up; some as simple as bending over to pick up shoes from the floor, others as important as picking up a grandchild – even the four-legged version of a grandchild.

“Taking the dogs out for a walk, we can go much further than the two or so houses we could previously,” said Elaine. “Now the dogs get tired and need to stop and take a rest before we do. Now we can just walk and walk, where before we would have to stop.” Mike adds, “If somebody is considering bariatric surgery, Wellington Regional is a Class A organization from the very beginning to the very end. I have never had surgery before, and I would do it again because it was just that great.”

“It feels wonderful to have helped them. Surgery is not an easy decision and we have seen a lot of sick individuals with a lot of medical issues,” said Dr. Kaza. “So when you are able to help those patients, it makes you feel good and makes it all worthwhile.”