Meet Michelle and Thomas

Amanda Peterson, RDN, LD | Molly Mills, RDN, LD
April 14, 2021
Michelle and Thomas before and after bariatric surgery
Michelle and Thomas before Sleeve Gastrectomy (left) and after Sleeve Gastrectomy (right).

Michelle and Thomas are a couple from Myrtle Beach who underwent weight loss surgery with Dr. Byrne through the MUSC Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery Program on the same day last year. They both had a Sleeve Gastrectomy on November 3, 2020. Read about their inspiring journey through Thomas' perspective below:

"Michelle and I have lived a working class life, full of paying off debt, raising kids, and trying to remember to have time for ourselves. In so many ways we are typical. We also have made bad choices with food. We chose convenience over health. We began to see different effects at different times. My cholesterol and weight began to rise, and over twenty years I was headed for type 2 diabetes. My doctor treated me like a gambler who could not stop, chiding me into diets and prescribing more and more medication. My wife, on the other hand, developed Crohn's Disease and had her gall bladder removed. Our health was tanking and we weren't even 50. My weight led me to a low self-esteem, especially when high testosterone diets, calorie counting diets, and packaged diets yielded no results. I even bought a treadmill and averaged 1,600 calories burned per week for three months, only losing 3 pounds. My wife's weight was starting to cause knee problems for her. We were big, technically obese, but it felt insurmountable.

We had friends who had undergone the sleeve gastrectomy and the results were impressive. We knew we could do it if we could just accepted that we were good candidates and also worthy. It's funny how shame creeps in your decision making processes. We met a team of folks at MUSC from dietitians to psychologists who all welcomed us and put us at ease. My wife and I teared up together thinking about the journey, and having the procedure together turned out to be the best choice we may have ever made. The healing process is harder than you think, but more worth it than you know. Today, after a nice 3.5 mile walk, we ate a protein rich breakfast of an egg and 2 pieces of turkey bacon. My beautiful wife looks like she feels: 100%. I am certain that getting my life back, defeating diabetes and choosing my health first gives me the self-esteem and the energy I need to be the father, husband and brother I need to be. MUSC made the process easy, and now, we do what's right for our future."