Published on October 01, 2015

From 465 to 220 pounds after bariatric surgery

Jim Palmer shares his weight loss journey

Palmer beforeIt’s no secret that losing weight can be a tough mental and physical challenge. For some, weight gain can stem from a major life change ultimately taking a toll on their ability to remain active and motivated in daily activities.

Born and raised in Secane, Jim Palmer was always thin growing up. He played football from seven years old until high school, and he even played the rough-and-tumble sport of rugby. As an adult, Palmer led an active life doing construction work for more than 25 years.

When Palmer and his first wife were going through a separation in 2010, his eating and drinking spiraled out of control. Over the course of three years, Palmer’s weight went up to 465 pounds. Because of the excessive weight, his blood pressure skyrocketed, his knees ached, and he could barely walk. It even took him 15 minutes to climb a flight of stairs. At his heaviest, Palmer was forced to buy two plane tickets to travel.

“I was never heavy as a child, and when I was at my heaviest, I was disgusted,” says Palmer.

In 2013, Palmer took back control of his life. In March of that year, he scheduled his first appointment with Mercy Bariatrics Director Prashanth Ramachandra, MD, or Dr. Ram as he is known by patients.

“From the very beginning, Dr. Ram was very honest and up-front with me,” Palmer recalls. “I wanted to have gastric bypass surgery, but he advised me to have a sleeve gastrectomy instead.”

In a sleeve gastrectomy, the stomach is divided vertically and 80 to 85 percent of the stomach is removed, including the part that produces ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite. A vertical “sleeve” shape is created from the remains of the stomach.

Palmer afterDr. Ramachandra wanted Palmer to undergo that procedure first, and after he lost 100 pounds, he would then perform the more invasive gastric bypass surgery, if necessary. However, Palmer never needed the second surgery.

“Dr. Ram knew what was best for me, and because I trusted him, I followed his advice.”

Leading up to his surgery, Palmer says Mercy Bariatrics took care of all the small details. “I didn’t have to stress about making my own appointments. Mercy Bariatrics did it for me,” he says.

In May 2013, Palmer underwent sleeve gastrectomy surgery at Mercy Fitzgerald and lost 27 pounds within the first two weeks.

After the surgery, Palmer followed Dr. Ram’s diet and exercise schedule exactly, and within three to four months, his blood pressure was back to normal.

Palmer believes Dr. Ramachandra and the Mercy Bariatrics team saved his life. He remembers Dr. Ramachandra being very supportive before and after the surgery. He even gave Palmer his personal cellphone number to contact him at any time with questions or concerns.

Since the surgery, Palmer has lost 245 pounds and now weighs 220 pounds. He feels “fabulous” and walks 30 to 40 minutes a day on a treadmill.

“It is important to trust and be comfortable with your bariatric doctor and nurses. I got that at Mercy Bariatrics,” says Palmer. Before his weight loss journey began, Palmer wore a 6X suit and his waist size was approximately 66 inches. Now, he wears a size 42 suit jacket, his waist is a size 36, and he can keep up with his kids.

Palmer remarried in 2014. He and his wife, Christine, live in Boothwyn and have five children ranging in age from 11 to 16 years old.

Palmer urges those who struggle with their weight to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ramachandra at Mercy Bariatrics. “You won’t regret it. Because of the Mercy Bariatrics team, I have my life back,” he says.