For most of his life Richard Monnich, a cattle farmer from Latimer, Kan., had been able to work and manage his weight.
But then life happened.
Because of a knee injury, financial trouble and stress eating, he spent 2007 doing little more than going to doctor's appointments, fighting the beginnings of an ulcer and taking 12 to 14 prescription medications a day for high blood pressure and acid reflux. He couldn't take more than 10 steps at a time.
"It was a domino effect, and I was turning to food for comfort," Monnich said.
After researching bariatric surgery programs in Kansas, Monnich chose to have surgery through Turning Point Surgical Weight Loss Solutions by surgeons from Tallgrass General, Vascular and Bariatric Surgery.
"The doctors really want to do it for the right reasons, and they make sure you're doing it for the right reasons, too," he said.
Monnich was up for the challenge. He was told he had to lose weight before having surgery so he lost 100 pounds with the help of a nutritionist at St. Francis Health Center. Since the surgery in January 2008, he has lost another 200 pounds and is still losing.
He is now off all medications and no longer has high blood pressure, sleep apnea and acid reflux. He eats high protein foods like pork roast, meat sticks, cheese and protein bars and stays away from anything with sugar.
Monnich stresses the need to be ready for the challenges that accompany surgery.
"Surgery is not a quick fix, and it's not going to solve all of your problems," Monnich said. "You have to change your whole lifestyle because if you're not going to change, then it's not going to work for you. Be ready to make the life changes."