Imagine, in the space of four years, losing your ability to work, enjoy recreational activities, visit friends and family, or even walk from your living room to your bathroom without getting completely out of breath. That’s what life was like for David McIntyre at the age of 59.
He’s a different person today, eight months after the bariatric surgery that he says changed his life.
“I’ve been given a second chance, and I’m not going to squander it,” McIntyre says. As of September, he’d lost more than 130 pounds from his presurgery weight of 360. Thanks to the surgery and the support he’s received from staff at the Lutheran Weight Loss Center, he’s also overhauled his diet, gained control of his blood pressure and stopped several of his medications, and is no longer on supplemental oxygen.
Today, he exercises and hikes in the mountains. And just a few months after his surgery, he bought a motorcycle and embarked on a 3,000-mile cross-country trip to visit family.
McIntyre, who already had health problems including a weak heart and asthma, saw his health deteriorate further after he was prescribed steroids to treat a bout of pneumonia. He gained 200 pounds in 18 months. He also had a heart attack and was diagnosed with heart failure and sleep apnea, likely related to the weight gain.
Like many people, McIntyre tried hard to lose weight on his own. At one point, he was down by 100 pounds, but saw it begin to creep back on, 30 pounds or so at a time.
“Dr. [Katy] Irani has been so good to me and has motivated me to know I can do this,” McIntyre says. “My advice to others is this: If you’ve been trying for more than a year or two to lose weight and you can’t, this is the way to go.”
McIntyre knows that the surgery alone won’t keep the weight off: “I look in the mirror now and see the guy I left behind five years ago. I’m not going back. I’ve changed my diet—if it will cause me to gain weight, I don’t even think about it.”
Now that he feels like he has his life back, what’s next for McIntyre? He’s ready to restart his homebuilding business. At the time of this interview, his home state of Texas was experiencing record flooding and damage, and his sister’s family had lost their home.
“I plan to go down to Houston and help my sister rebuild,” he says. “I may stay for a year or two and help others do the same, then come back to Colorado, buy some land and build my own place.”