A miracle in the making

Bariatric surgery and life changes lead to one man’s dramatic weight loss—and solution to chronic pain

Ryan Davis knew he needed to lose weight, but he was afraid it would take a miracle to keep it off for good. Like so many other people, he had tried many times before, even shedding 40 pounds before marrying his wife, Kelley.

The weight always came back. By his late 30s, Ryan’s health—particularly his knees—were suffering from his excess weight. On his 6-foot-1-inch frame, he was carrying 380 pounds.

Ryan saw doctors for his knee issues, looking for fixes and answers. He tried physical therapy but the pain persisted. Eventually, he learned he might need knee surgery.

“I was only 37,” Ryan says. “My regular doctor told me that if I started having knee surgeries this young, I’d be having them the rest of my life.”

Something had to change. “They said there’s nothing else they can do at this point,” Ryan says. “I just needed to lose weight.”

Facing the truth—and doing his part

Ryan knew what he needed to do, but how? After discussing options with his wife, Ryan contacted Adventist Health Bakersfield’s Weight Management Program. He spoke with Hormuz Irani, MD, a surgeon who specializes in bariatric surgery.

Dr. Irani suggested a gastric sleeve procedure—to reduce the size of Ryan’s stomach—but warned that it wouldn’t be an overnight fix. Before he’d even get a surgery date, Ryan would need to pass tests and see specialists to ensure he was ready—and he’d need to make adjustments after surgery too.

“Dr. Irani told me that surgery is only a tool, that it’s not foolproof. He said if I don’t take care of my stomach after the surgery, then I will stretch it right back out.”
Ryan agreed to the procedure and embarked on dozens of appointments, weigh-ins and even a psychological evaluation to ensure he was ready for the changes the procedure would bring.

“They want to make sure you’re serious,” Ryan says. “I had to lose 25 pounds before Dr. Irani would do the surgery.” He actually dropped 35 pounds. “Dr. Irani was impressed I lost all that weight and said I was a good candidate for surgery.”

A life he never expected

Ryan had weight-loss surgery in December 2016. Over a year later, he has lost a whopping 200 pounds—and gained a new life. He has so much energy now that he finds it difficult to sit still, Ryan says.

He’s grateful for the support of his wife but also for the caring staff at Adventist Health Bakersfield. Everyone was so friendly and supportive, he says. Ryan still attends support groups. He finds that hearing other weight-loss stories and challenges continues to help him on his journey.

“It’s nice to hear the stories. Everybody loses weight differently. Some people will do surgery and go back to their old eating habits. I try to help them and encourage them as much as I can.”

Ryan feels blessed and fortunate because he never expected to lose this much weight. “Like I said before, this surgery is a tool. You can’t expect a miracle.”

If weight-loss surgery is truly for you, what you can do is commit to the process and a new lifestyle. Then, like Ryan, you may have your own miracle in the making.

Considering weight-loss surgery?

Our Surgical Weight Management Program is the first in Bakersfield to be recognized as a Level 1A Certified Bariatric Center by the American College of Surgeons and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery—one of the most prestigious certifications for bariatric surgery in the nation. We’ve also partnered with local board-certified physicians that specialize in weight-loss surgery.

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