Lee Wetherington - Doing what he never thought possible
Lee Wetherington, 63, spent years yo-yo dieting; his weight fluctuated up and down until he reached 367 pounds with a 54-inch waist. As the former North Augusta police chief, Lee was use to an active lifestyle, but found himself slowly cut off from the pastimes he enjoyed, including his beloved golf. His feet just couldn’t take the pressure of standing for long periods, and he’d end up gasping after walking even short distances.
The tide turned when Lee ran into an acquaintance at a local restaurant, and he didn’t recognize him at first – Lee remembered him as much, much larger. When asked about his dramatic weight loss, the man mentioned undergoing bariatric surgery with Chris Carlson, M.D., at University Hospital. Lee took the plunge and in December 2012, had Dr. Carlson perform a sleeve gastrectomy.
“It is the best thing I’ve ever done,” Lee said. “I have more energy than ever.” So much so, that he and a friend began training for a triathlon, which includes swimming, biking and running. It all culminated in the Tri Sports Hilton Head Triathlon held Oct. 12, 2013, in which Lee placed third in his age group. “I never could have imagined doing something like this a year ago,” he said, “much less winning a bronze medal.”
In October 2013, Lee met his weight goal of 188 pounds – what he weighed when he played high school football. His waist is down to 36 inches and he no longer needs any of his prescription medications. “I am now healthy as a horse,” he said. “I’m just not the size of one.”
For information about University’s Weight Management/Bariatric Surgery Program, call 706/774-2915.
Alexandra Roberson - Living life to the fullest
Tammie Fulmer - 45 pounds and counting
When Tammie Fulmer was given the news she was going to be a grandmother, her elation dissolved into tears. She knew her elevated weight would keep her from being the fun-loving, roll-around-on-the-den-floor grandmother she longed to be.
Like a lot of people, Tammie had lost 10 pounds more times than she could count, each time gaining back those 10 plus a few more. Her doctor warned that her cholesterol level was dangerously high and other life-threatening health issues were soon to follow. She had tried every diet program imaginable to no avail.
She attended a free information session on three surgical weight loss options -- gastric banding, sleeve gastrectomy and the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. She decided the band was her only option for a healthy future. Her only regret is not having it sooner. Bring on the grandkids!