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RAY M. will tell you his story isn’t special.
“I was overweight,” he says. “I lost weight. That’s it.”
But how many people lose nearly 200 pounds in two years?
His story began years ago, after the loss of his beloved father sent him reeling into depression. Ray’s weight ballooned to 520 pounds. Then something clicked. “I wasn’t in a happy place,” he says. “I was tired of doing what I was doing and decided that I didn’t want to die young if I could help it.”
Achieving the impossible
He went to PeaceHealth Southwest’s Weight Loss Surgery Program, where he was set on a plan to lose 100 pounds in preparation for a gastric sleeve procedure.
Initially, Ray didn’t think he could lose that much, but once he started, it got easier. “The more time I spent at the gym, the more I wanted to go,” he says.
He credits his surgeon, Leslie Cagle, MD, and the PeaceHealth team, as well as his family and friends, for pushing him to achieve what he had thought impossible. “It felt good to have people believe in me,” he says. “They were there for me 100 percent.”
Happy and loving life
He underwent the surgery in November 2015. By fall 2016, he was down to 330 pounds. He’s happy, regardless. “The best thing I can do is to be positive.”
Not long after surgery, Ray started feeling good about himself. “I loved myself and thought, ‘If I can love myself now, maybe I can find someone to love.’”
He has since met the love of his life, Jillian.