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Blessed with a New Life: Read Kyle's Story
Date: 1/16/2015
Weight-loss surgery allows Trenton minister to re-focus his energy for the better

With fantastic cooks like his mom and grandmother, and regular community events with his church, Kyle has always seen food as a social centerpiece. During times of joy, food added to the celebration. In times of grief, food brought with it comfort.

After the passing of his beloved grandparents, Kyle found himself stress eating often. With 315 pounds on his small frame, Kyle began to realize he was on a dangerous path and he wasn’t yet 30 years old.

Bearing the Weight of Weight

“Weight is a weight. Not just physically, but emotionally it takes its toll,” Kyle, who is a minister and singer at Grace Cathedral Fellowship Ministries in Trenton.

“You can’t be effective in ministry with that load on you. There is so much to do in such little time,” he explains.

When his doctor told Kyle he was pre-diabetic, had sleep apnea and would need to start taking blood pressure medicine, Kyle became concerned for his future.

“I was so young with high blood pressure and sleep issues. The next step was full-on diabetes. It was scare factor for me. It enlightened me to say I need to make a change,” he recalls.

Kyle met with Earl Noyan, MD, board certified, fellowship-trained bariatric surgeon, at the recommendation of his primary care physician.

“Obesity is an epidemic. We have seen the rise of several chronic conditions including diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and osteoarthritis. By losing weight alone, we see a lot of reversal in these diseases.”

 “Kyle, like many others in his age group, was being proactive. A lot of patients have this procedure to avoid chronic illnesses that they see in parents and other family members.”

1-2-3, Go!

Most commonly, today’s patient is looking at one of three approaches to weight loss surgery. These procedures include:

  • Sleeve gastrectomy creates a small pouch by surgical removal of a large portion of the stomach. This is a restrictive procedure which removes an area of the stomach responsible for producing ghrelin the ‘hunger hormone.'
  • Gastric banding is a procedure in which the stomach is encircled with an inflatable plastic band that restricts food intake.
  • Gastric bypass surgery separates the stomach into two unequal compartments. During digestion, the food empties from the tiny stomach pouch into the upper intestine.

Together, Kyle and Dr. Noyan decided Kyle’s best choice was gastric sleeve surgery.

“Gastric sleeve has become the most prevalent operation we do. We still do gastric band and bypass surgery, but much less now with the advent of the gastric sleeve,” explains Dr. Noyan.

The popularity of the gastric sleeve surgery can be attributed to the “Goldilocks effect.” While the gastric band is a lower risk and allows the patient to avoid a change in the actual anatomy, it can also be less effective than the other surgeries.

Gastric bypass is highly effective in terms of significant weight loss. However, the risks of gastric bypass are much higher than those of gastric sleeve and banding. Gastric sleeve offers a middle ground that is lower risk, but can lead to substantial weight loss success.

Living with Change

Kyle turned 30 two months after his surgery. By the time of his birthday party, Kyle notes he had already lost 67 pounds. His blood pressure and sleep problems faded away within months. By the time he reached his goal, Kyle had lost a whopping total of 165 pounds.

Throughout this process, Kyle touched base with Dr. Noyan regularly. While he was happy to celebrate his successes, Kyle admits there were times when he felt down as well.

“There came a point when I became kind of depressed after a couple months,” Kyle recalls.

“I remember Dr. Noyan saying to me, ‘Son, you fell into a depression because food is like a friend. Now that you’ve lost that friend, or that clutch you’d hold onto, you have to learn how to re-focus your mentality when it comes to food.’ It’s powerful when you realize the hold these habits have on your life,” says Kyle.

“A lot of patients with significant weight issues suffer from depression before weight loss, and food has become for some of them not only a nutrition source, but a silent best friend,” says Dr. Noyan.

“When they lose the ability to have large volume of food, many go back into their depressive state and mentally they are challenged to redirect their energy elsewhere.”

Today, Kyle has put his weight and his weight-loss journey in his past, and he’s taken on the challenge of re-directing his energy while he maintains a healthy weight.

He has even inspired his best friend and his mother to have the surgery and improve their health.

“I feel like the Lord has really given me a new life,” Kyle says gratefully. “Being heavier, singing and preaching, I could hardly breathe because my body was working overtime. Now, when I’m out of breath it’s a result of my passion. And that’s how it should be.”

“Now the only thing I need to take every day is my vitamin.”