Middle Island, NY
Surgery date: January 2014
Weight lost: 161 pounds
Surgery date: February 2015
Weight lost: 130 pounds
MaryLouise and Lee Meltzer have been inseparable for more than 30 years. They share so much, from their love of swimming to rooting for the New York Yankees to finishing each other’s sentences.
But one thing they never expected to share was being obese. Or having bariatric surgery.
MaryLouise was first of the couple to have bariatric surgery with Arif Ahmad, MD at the Mather Hospital Bariatric Center of Excellence. Lee followed a year later. Together they have lost more than 300 pounds.
Bariatric surgery, they say, has turned back the clock three decades. “I feel like I’m 30 years old again!” exclaimed Lee, a drywall finisher. “I have more energy and life is good.”
“I’m always moving now,” said MaryLouise, a retail store manager. “I have a very physical job and I used to try and sit in the office as much as I could. But now I’m out on the sales floor doing a lot more. Some of my coworkers even said, ‘do you ever stop?’ And I don’t stop anymore. I just keep going. I have all the energy that I had when I was younger.”
MaryLouise and Lee both started gaining weight in their 30s. Diet and exercising alone just didn’t work for them. Both were on medications and Lee had developed diabetes.
“I heard weight loss surgery would eliminate my diabetes,” Lee said. The day after surgery, he was able to stop medications for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
They chose Dr. Ahmad and Mather Hospital because of experience, reputation and the incredible support for patients before and long after surgery.
“I can’t say enough good things about the surgery and about Dr. Ahmad and his staff,” MaryLouise said. “It’s changed our lives completely.”
“We wouldn’t have gone any place else to have that surgery,” Lee said. “It is like have an extended family now — and they’re all there to help us.”
The couple is more active than ever. They go for strolls through Port Jefferson, joined a mall walking group to “keep our steps up” in bad weather and can now make trips down to Monument Park between innings at Yankee Stadium.
“Our life as a couple is different because now we both want to get out of the house and not sit on the couch and watch TV,” MaryLouise said. “We’ll look for stuff to do.”
And now the biggest decision is not about who will walk the dog, but how far they can walk.
“I always hated to walk the dog,” MaryLouise said. “Now I’ll take the dog and I’ll say, come on, let’s go for a walk — and I’ll walk around the block even further than I would’ve in the past.”
“Weight loss surgery has given me a whole new start in life,” Lee said. “Don’t wait. Have it done now. Have it done while you’re younger and enjoy life.”