Navigate Up

Gastric Bypass Surgery Success Story — Steve Iwanicki

Steve Iwanicki and his wife enjoy trips to Lancaster, Pa. Unfortunately, before his weight loss, Steve would stay in the car.

His knees hurt, and diabetes and hypertension prevented him from doing the simplest things like walking, tying his shoes, or mowing the lawn.

Steve’s success with diets was short-lived. He would lose, only to gain again.

He realized he needed help for his “addiction to food,” but could not find the right solution — until 2005.

Steve’s Bariatric Patient Story — A Life-Changing Solution

A series of events in 2005 became life-changing for Steve.

Steve's doctor, Christopher Olbrich, MD, told him if he didn’t get the diabetes under control he “would not be here.” Dr. Olbrich recommended that Steve contact Pittsburgh Bariatrics.

Then, Steve saw a story on 60 Minutes about weight loss surgery and attended a bariatric surgery information session at UPMC St. Margaret.

During the session, Robert Quinlin, MD, answered questions about:

Steve met with Dr. Quinlin who explained that gastric bypass surgery is a tool and that he must be committed to do the work.

Insurance did not require a pre-surgery diet at that time, but Steve did see a psychologist who helped him work through the reasons why he turned to food and provided guidance for after surgery.

Dr. Quinlin performed Steve’s gastric bypass surgery on July 24, 2005, a day that he calls “his new birthday.”

Winning His Battle

Steve’s bariatric patient story is one of victory.

Since his surgery, Steve has lost 224 pounds and describes looking in the mirror and crying for the “wasted life” when he was obese.

In addition:

  • His diabetes was gone after three months.
  • His high blood pressure resolved.
  • He had a panniculectomy, two and a half years after surgery, that removed 14 pounds of loose skin from his abdomen.
  • He also was able to get a much-needed knee replacement.

Gaining Support Through Others

Steve regularly attends support groups at UPMC St. Margaret (with his wife by his side) and says that this has been important to his success.

The support groups allow him to work with others who have had the same issues, like not seeing weight loss in the mirror.

He carries a picture of himself for times when he needs inspiration. He says it reminds him of the life he didn’t have.

Steve is proud of what he has been able to accomplish; he mows the lawn and is able to help people.

Most of all, he can now enjoy activities with his wife. Steve says, when he was obese with diabetes and high blood pressure, he was a burden to her.

“I am proud she stayed with me through this. This journey has strengthened our relationship. Bariatric surgery has been a tool for my happiness. I did it!”

His advice for anyone considering gastric bypass surgery or another surgical weight loss procedure:

  • Write down questions
  • Talk to a surgeon
  • Involve someone close to you

Steve’s parting words:

“Figure out who your friends are and know that what counts is on the inside.”

Note: This patient's treatment and results may not be representative of all similar cases.

©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com