Troy Rush enjoys when the kingsize.com clothing catalogue lands in his mailbox.
It's a reminder of how far he has come. He'll scan through the pages, pausing at the
7X shirts and the size 70 waist jeans he used to order.
Eating has always been a focal point in Troy's life. As a child, he was considered husky. By high school, he weighed 265 pounds. It didn't faze him since he and his parents were always tall and stocky.
Even at 460 pounds Troy thought he was ok. "Sure, I was stressed, sweaty and ti red most of the ti me," he says. "But I could still keep up." Or so he thought. His wife, Missy, enrolled in Weight Watchers and urged him to do the same. Over the course of 16 months, she lost 140 pounds. Troy lost a mere 30 pounds. What Missy didn't know was Troy's hidden habits. He stopped his walking regime. He was sneaking soda, fast food and chewing tobacco. Soon he decided he needed an easier option.
Troy enrolled in the Surgical Weightloss Program at Easton Hospital. "I just wanted the surgery," he says. "So I thought I would put in the time unti l I had the procedure." He was indifferent toward the nutrition classes, the support meetings and the exercise component.
"I wasn't ready to change my life," he says. "After two months when I became worried that I would never eat again, I backed out. At the time I thought what's the sense of living if I can't eat."
After that failure, Troy became secluded, depressed and embarrassed. His weight hit an all-ti me high. "My wife was worried and asked me to come to her work where she had me stand on the freight scale," Troy says. He weighed 546 pounds.
Around the same ti me, Troy had two life-changing moments. Two close friends died. One of cancer, the other of diabetes-related illnesses. Troy himself was a Type 2 diabetic. In fact, he took 13 medicati ons for blood pressure, cholesterol, asthma and aches and pains. He used a CPAP machine for his sleep apnea and slept in a recliner in his living room because he could not lay fl at in a bed.
The deaths were a wake-up call. This time Troy was ready for real change. "I was ready to transform my habits and get healthy," he says. But with his renewed commitment he also wanted to give his hospital selection some due diligence. "I read online about the surgery options and att ended information sessions at several hospitals," Troy says. "But Easton Hospital gave me the best chance at a new life."
When he went to the new patient orientation, he weighed 525 pounds. He moved through each class with zeal. "They give you every tool to succeed and help keep you honest," Troy says. "I've known other people in other programs who have no classes and no support and then gain the weight right back." Troy knew this wouldn't be his fate.
On January 28, 2013, Troy underwent gastric bypass. A few days later, he left the hospital feeling good and weighing 506 pounds. He then began the nutrition and exercise plan. Within two weeks, he was off all of his medications. By October, his cholesterol improved and he remained tobacco free and stopped using his CPAP. "I swear my hair's even starting growing again," Troy jokes.
Today his weight sits a bit over 350 pounds, close to his goal of 280 pounds. He walks 3-4 miles about four ti mes a week. His life doesn't revolve around food anymore. He even worries less. He likes that he can sit in a theatre seat to watch his son's technical work at college performances. He likes that he can shop in real stores. He likes that support is a phone call away.
"If I ever think my weight loss is stalling, I just pick up the phone or stop in," he says. "Easton Hospital feels like family to me. They do all they can for the best outcome and give me the hope and knowledge that I can succeed." Troy plans to run in a 5K race soon. His wife even treated him to a pair of high performance running shoes. "I'm never going back to what I was," he says. "It's too much fun feeling like you are walking on air."
250 South 21st Street
Easton, PA 18042-3892