Published on March 15, 2019

Crest Hill Man Loses 185 pounds After Gastric Sleeve Surgery

Michael Washlow before and after surgery

Crest Hill native Michael Washlow admits a turbulent childhood had a lot to do with his weight gain over the years. Bouncing around between seven different foster homes led to other emotional issues, too. And though he was adopted into a loving family at age 11, the weight issues stuck around.

“I think a lot of it was hereditary,” he said. “I know all my siblings have weight issues, and my biological mother has weight issues, too.”

That’s why Washlow tried nearly every diet he could think of – Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and Nutrisystem; he even went to a nutritionist. Then one day his mom was looking online and found BMI Surgery at Silver Cross.

He signed up for one of the weekly informational meetings in early 2017. Even after the meeting, Washlow knew he was in for a long road.

“The way Dr. (Christopher) Joyce explained everything, I thought it was going to be really hard. It’s a totally different lifestyle, but I knew it would be worth it in the end, he said.

In July of the same year, Washlow had laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy surgery at Silver Cross Hospital. The surgery changes the shape of the stomach, creating a “sleeve” to allow food to go from the sleeve to the intestine. This process helps to increase feelings of fullness and allows the person to eat less during one setting.

patient with his motherBefore surgery, Washlow’s weighed 415 pounds; the first few days after surgery were challenging, but the more he stretched and moved around, the easier it became to do so. The weight came off faster at the beginning due to diet restrictions, but the real challenge was motivating himself to work out.

“I actually paid for a personal trainer for a while,” he said. “She would Skype with me once a week and give me workout plans.”

At his lowest, Washlow weighed 230 pounds. Since he started strength training he’s put on more muscle and is now at 239 pounds. The little things he’s able to do now are what stand out to him the most.

“I’m able to crouch and bend my knees and put weight on them,” he said. “I can run now, which is awesome. I can also tie my shoes and breathe at the same time.”

Washlow said the hardest part wasn’t getting used to the diet after surgery – many of the higher protein foods are ones he actually likes. Giving up his favorite foods and sugary drinks before surgery proved most difficult. But, since surgery, he’s stuck with his food plan.

patient after surgery

“It’s coming up on two years from surgery and I haven’t had a soda,” he said.

Washlow said despite the challenges, he’d do the surgery again.

“I would go to BMI Surgery again in a heartbeat,” he said. “They are all very friendly. Dr. Joyce explains everything in detail about what he’s going to do, how the surgery works and everything.”

Washlow’s said he’s not at his goal weight yet, but right now he’s just looking to remain healthy and active.

“Now that I’m putting on muscle, my goal weight is changing. I’m more fit and active than I’ve ever been in my life so that’s really what I’m focusing on.”

BMI Surgery has changed the lives of over 6,000 patients with life-changing surgeries including laparoscopic gastric bypass, laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, and Lap-Band® gastric band systems at Silver Cross Hospital. Board-certified laparoscopic and bariatric surgeons Brian Lahmann, M.D., and Christopher Joyce, M.D., are dedicated to helping patients win their personal battles with obesity and enjoy healthier lives. Their office is located on the Silver Cross Hospital campus at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox. BMI Surgery at Silver Cross Hospital has been named a MBSAQIP accredited center – Comprehensive. BMI Surgery is also a Blue Distinction Center for Bariatric Surgery.

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Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.