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Pearce Powers

Surgery Date: August 2014
Starting Weight: 330 lbs.
Current Weight: 197 lbs.

As a funeral director, Pearce was horrified at the number of people he saw who died too young from health conditions related to obesity. At 330 pounds himself, he knew he needed to make a change before he ended up like that too. Now, for the first time in 20 years, Pearce loves the person he sees in the mirror and feels confident he’ll be living a long and happy life. Pearce says: “I have a second birthday now, the day my life changed. The day Dr. Eibes gave me a new start!”

Before your surgery, what medical conditions were you suffering from? Prior to surgery, I had high blood pressure, sleep apnea and a lot of joint pain in my knees and back.

Since your vertical sleeve gastrectomy, in which conditions or diseases have you seen a change? I’m no longer taking my high blood pressure medication, my sleep apnea went away after I lost so much weight, and I can easily walk and work out daily. I’m now walking 6 miles around Gray’s Lake without a problem. It’s so much easier (and more fun) to go to the gym and work out!

What made you decide to have a vertical sleeve gastrectomy? As a funeral director, I see people almost every day who have died way too young due to obesity-related conditions. I knew I needed to make a change before I ended up at the funeral home myself. I tried a lot of diet and exercise before looking into weight loss surgery. Hunger was my big problem. I would go to the gym, but would leave so hungry I’d eat a whole pizza when I got home. I would go out for Chinese and eat 4 or 5 plates of food and I’d still go home and snack later. I would eat fast food 2-3 times a day and I’d have a couple of high-calorie drinks each day at coffee shops. After the surgery, my appetite became so much less that it’s really been very easy for me to follow the program. I’ve followed it to a “t”!

Besides the external changes you have experienced, how has the surgery altered your outlook on life and your relationships? No one understands what life is like as an obese person unless you have been big and treated differently. It is like being held prisoner in a body. People have no idea how life-changing this surgery truly is! My life started over on my day of surgery.

What kinds of things are you able to do now that before the surgery were difficult or impossible? I can eat sensibly! Prior to surgery I would eat a cheese cake or a half-gallon of ice cream in one sitting watching TV. It was easy. Today, I wouldn’t think about doing that. I may have fruit or a small cup of sugar free pudding. At Thanksgiving I had a very small sliver of cheesecake and it was way more than enough. I do not miss any junk food - it’s amazing!

What do you wish you’d known before the surgery? I wish I was more mentally prepared for how wonderful life has become. The weight loss is so fast you do not recognize yourself. 

What would you say about Dr. Eibes and the Iowa Weight Loss Specialists team? Dr. Eibes and the IWLS staff were wonderful. They set up everything for me, worked things out with my insurance and really made me feel like they valued me as a patient. The hospital was beautiful, I felt like I was in a spa.

What would you tell someone who was considering weight loss surgery? I am so thankful that I ignored the people who were against me having surgery and that I went for it. I would tell other obese people that if someone tells you “no” to surgery, you should RUN, RUN, RUN away from them. You need to be around people who will help you and who care about your health.

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