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Ready to Climb Mountains
190 Pounds Down, Brad Aims to Scale 14,000 Feet
By Linda Trainor, RN, BSN
At 39 years old and weighing 452 pounds, Brad Correa was keenly aware that he needed to seek professional help to improve his quality of life. After trying numerous diets without lasting results, Brad underwent a sleeve gastrectomy with Dr. Daniel Jones in the Weight Loss Surgery Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Now, having lost 190 pounds since his April 2015 surgery, Brad has a life second to none with a bucket list to fulfill.
Brad spoke about the difficulties he experienced before surgery and how life has changed as he’s made his health and wellness top priority.
When did you start experiencing weight issues?
Brad Correa: All my life I’ve struggled with weight.
What was your life like before you had weight loss surgery (WLS)?
Brad: I was content with lying to myself: the person in the mirror was not the person I thought I was. Life was a daily struggle, not only physically but mentally. I made excuses as to why I couldn’t do this or that, and why I couldn’t go to some event. I was hiding from myself.
What diets did you try prior to having WLS, and did you have any success?
Brad: It seems like I tried every diet under the sun: the Green diet, the ‘Don’t Eat White’ diet, the Purple diet, Weight Watchers, Atkins, various diet pills, Slim Fast. I tried out for the TV show “The Biggest Loser” three different times. The diet results were always short-lived — none of them worked for me over a long period of time.
What made you decide to have WLS?
Brad: My family has a history of diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, and being overweight. I felt like my life had started to spin out of control — there were missed opportunities with work and friends, and I didn’t want to do anything but hide from daily life. I needed something that not only worked but would hold me accountable.
Why did you choose to have WLS at BIDMC?
Brad: I did a ton of research on WLS, and the credentials of Dr. Jones and the other WLS clinicians at BIDMC were extremely impressive. What sold me was when I went to the information session. I felt like all of my questions were answered at a personal level and I was not treated like a number. That’s what truly sold me.
What can you do now that you could not do prior to WLS?
Brad: Simple things like tie my own shoes, walk up a flight of stairs without thinking I’m going to pass out, walk into a room without thinking everyone is judging me. Fly fish with friends without holding us back. I can truly start living my life again.
How has your life improved following WLS? What do your family and friends think of your weight loss?
Brad: My confidence level has really gotten better, my self-esteem too. My activity level is through the roof, and, of course, my overall health has improved. My friends and family are all excited for me, but I had WLS for me and me alone.
Before having surgery, did you ever experience discrimination due to your weight?
Brad: Yes — I think at one time or another, everyone who suffers from weight issues has been a victim of weight bias or weight discrimination. A few things that come to my mind:
One time a family member rubbed my stomach and asked when was I going to give birth.
Another family member, when she found out I was having WLS, asked how much I currently weighed. When I replied, she said, “WOW, I didn’t know you weighed THAT much,” as if she was disgusted.
Once I pulled into a parking lot, got out of my car, and a total stranger came up and asked me how I squeezed into my car and did I have to grease myself up first?
Now, since my WLS and all my hard work, I don’t get the so-called discreet looks and I truly get a ton of positive feedback. The most positive feedback has come from my team and newfound family at BIDMC. I truly hope that someday I can repay someone at such a deep level, because everyone at BIDMC has truly touched me. I just want to thank Dr. Jones and the Weight Loss Surgery Center staff for all of their support, encouragement and the sacrifices each and every one of you has made in your lives, so that you could make mine a better one.
Would you suggest WLS to others?
Brad: Oh yes, absolutely, but be ready to put in the work — WLS is not a fix-all. If anyone is questioning having WLS surgery, stop hesitating and make an appointment to at least find out more. You owe it to yourself.
What are your future goals?
Brad: My bucket list is being rewritten as we speak. A few things on the list are hiking a fourteener (a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado) and fly fishing in British Columbia. But for right now, my main goal is to just get back to living a life that I not only dreamed of, but one I truly deserve.
Photos courtesy of Brad Correa
Above content provided by the Weight Loss Surgery Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.