Date of surgery: October 2020
Age at time of surgery: 56
Weight at surgery: 376
Lowest/current weight: 271
Goal weight: 240
Health improvements: Blood pressure reduced from 138/91 to 110/70. Less restlessness/movement during sleep. Increased mobility and physical activity.
Tony Mobley will soon reach his one-year weight-loss-surgery anniversary. Tony says when he reflects on life before and after, the only thing he’d change is that he wishes he’d have done it sooner.
The 56-year-old Seattle resident, IT professional and musician has had a long battle with his weight. He had a Lap‑Band® surgery in 2010 and successfully lost 71 pounds, but due to a restriction in his esophagus a few years later, he had to have the band removed. Tony’s doctor advised him to take some time to heal, then consider surgery again.
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Over time, without the help of the band, Tony gained back the weight he’d lost. By 2019, his health had reached a turning point. “I was ‘borderline everything,’” he says. “I wasn’t on any medication, but I was definitely tipping that way. My blood pressure was high. I knew I needed some assistance with weight loss – something lasting – a tool that I could really rely on.”
A tool, not an easy fix
Tony and his wife consulted with Swedish Weight Loss Services to explore his options; along with Dr. Martin del Campo, they agreed that a vertical sleeve gastrectomy was the best course. Tony’s insurance required six months of consultation with a dietician prior to surgery, so that’s where he began. He lost more than 20 pounds on his own before his October 2020 surgery.
The sleeve procedure was a success, and Tony diligently followed the prescribed post-op nutrition and exercise program, opting to walk at a nearby high school track when COVID-19 limited his workout opportunities. Weeks went by. The weight came off. Tony lost 120 pounds in nine months.
Certain events – like Thanksgiving dinner or a trip to McDonalds with the grandchildren – would still bring to Tony’s mind the way he used to eat. “In the old days, I could do some damage in these situations,” he says. “Now, I still get to enjoy. But I have a bite of this and that, and then I’m done. Day to day, I focus on eating the right amount of protein, taking my daily supplements, and trying to move around and be more physical.”
Before and after: Beyond the photos
Tony is a husband, father and grandfather, and family time is one of his most cherished pleasures. For the Fourth of July holiday this year, Tony and his family travelled to the Oregon coast, as they often do, but it was different this time. “For the past few years, I enjoyed the beach – but from my balcony,” he says. “This year I took early morning walks on the beach. I really love being able to be more energetic outdoors.”
Tony also ditched the stool that he used to sit on to take pressure off his legs when he performed with his band. “Now when I play I have the energy to be a performer, instead of a ‘musician sitting down,’” he says. “I’m much more confident and comfortable moving around.”
“Life’s different for me now – a good different,” Tony says. Today, when he sees people who are overweight, he truly feels for them and understands the struggle. If someone asks, he’ll talk about his own experience.
“Weight-loss surgery is not a quick fix, but it is a great tool. It’s definitely a lifestyle change, and you have to be prepared,” he says. “You can absolutely gain the weight back if you don’t change your habits. But if you commit to it, it can change your life in a way that is almost unimaginable.”