Thad’s story: 'Excited' about weight loss surgery results
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Ups and downs have long been part of Thad Edmonds’ daily routine. He spent 13 years in the U.S. Navy as an engineering laboratory technician on submarines.
But being part of a crew that dives and resurfaces unscathed seemed easy compared to the ups and downs of Thad’s weight battles.
“I’ve struggled with my weight when I was there, but when I got out of the Navy is when I really started to struggle,” says Thad, who lives in Green Bay. “My weight would go up and it would come down. I was a yo-yo dieter.”
He tried diet programs and counting calories, but neither produced lasting results.
“Every time that I would lose weight, I would gain back more weight than I lost,” Thad says. “I went from 340 pounds to 260 and I felt really good. Then before you knew it, I weighed 376 pounds, which was the most I ever weighed.”
Thad needed another approach to end his weight woes, especially with growing concerns about his increasing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
“I decided that I had to do something about it because I was in a lot of pain. Day-to-day tasks like bending over to tie my shoes was difficult. I was getting short of breath just out walking around. It really limited what I could do,” he says. “People where I work would tell me that it was painful for them to even watch me walk around because I was in a lot of pain.”
He turned to the bariatric surgeons at Aurora BayCare Medical Center. After attending a weight loss seminar there in early 2017, Thad knew he’d found the solution to his weight loss problem.
“What I was doing on my own wasn’t working and I needed help. That’s why I decided to go to my first seminar to find out what this weight loss surgery was all about,” he says.
In December 2017, Dr. Anna Pierce, a general and bariatric surgeon with Aurora BayCare Medical Center, recommended a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. During this procedure, about three-quarters of the stomach is removed. People who have a vertical sleeve gastrectomy notice that they feel full faster.
Thad wasn’t concerned with what others would think about him. He was prepared to put in the effort, discipline and hard work he knew comes with weight-loss surgery.
“Weight loss surgery has a stigma. There’s a lot of people who are very judgmental when they hear about it and they say ‘Oh, you’re taking the easy way out.’ But it’s definitely not the easy way out,” he says. “There’s still a lot of work to be done with it. It’s a tool that if you use it right, it works for you. If you don’t, it’s not going to work.”
Today, Thad weighs about 200 pounds. His high blood pressure? Gone. High cholesterol? Gone.
“I obviously make healthier choices now,” Thad says. “That’s what the tool does for me. It keeps me from getting hungry and allows me to continue to eat right, if I choose to, obviously, and be healthy.”
Dr. Anna Pierce sees patients at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay. To request an appointment, call 877-677-5384 or do so online.
Anna Pierce, MD, is a general and bariatric surgeon. She is fellowship trained in advanced gastrointestinal and minimally invasive surgery and has received additional training in bariatric surgery.
Dr. Pierce is a native of northeastern Wisconsin. She and her husband enjoy the outdoors, especially hiking and biking.