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UPMC Altoona Bariatric Surgery Program: Bariatric Success Stories

David Troxell III knew he had to do something about his weight. At more than 600 pounds, walking to the bathroom left him breathless. A year after bariatric surgery, he’s healthier, happier, and eager to tell his story.

“I’ve always been a big guy, but I carried my weight well,” says Dave (right). But when his weight reached over 600 pounds, it was hard to walk, and his everyday life became more and more difficult. Always an outgoing, fun-loving guy, Dave would only leave his apartment for work or to do basic chores. “I had to use one of those electric carts to do my grocery shopping,” he recalls.

An on-air personality and program director at radio station Hot 100 in Altoona, Dave is somewhat of a local celebrity. “Even though people can’t see me, they recognize my voice,” says the 35-year-old Altoona native. “If my story helps one other person see the positive results someone like me had with bariatric surgery, I am happy to share it.”

Time to make a major change

A self-described food addict, Dave tried a number of diets but he always regained the weight, and more. It took a health scare and hospital stay in 2015 for him to get serious about losing weight. “My dad had a massive heart attack, so having chest pains, along with high cholesterol and high blood pressure, worried me,” says Dave. But it was the diabetes diagnosis that spurred him into action. “I knew too many diabetics with serious health issues, including limb amputations,” he says. “I did this for myself — to get my life and my health back — but I also did it for my dad.”

A friend’s experience with bariatric surgery inspired Dave to find out if he was a candidate for the procedure. When he walked into the office of Matthew Newlin, MD, a board-certified surgeon with the UPMC Altoona Bariatric Surgery Center, in February 2016, Dave weighed 596 pounds. On March 8, 2016, he underwent a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure at UPMC Altoona. Dave has since lost more than 235 pounds, and continues to lose weight. He’s no longer considered a diabetic, his cholesterol and blood pressure numbers are good, and walking is now his favorite form of exercise.

Getting his life back

Dave gets great satisfaction knowing that he can now do things many of us don’t think twice about — going to a Pittsburgh Penguins playoff game and actually fitting into the seat, wearing jeans, riding a roller coaster, and buying a new car. “Before the surgery, I could only drive a 2-door car because I couldn’t fit behind the steering wheel in a 4-door,” he explains.

“Dr. Newlin saved my life,” says Dave. “Everyone at the UPMC Altoona Bariatric Surgery Program — the nurses, my dietitian, the whole staff — was great, and they continue to be very supportive. I still have a way to go on my weight loss journey, but I don’t ever want to go back. My health is too important.”

Attend a free bariatric surgery information session, CLICK HERE or call 814-889-7500.

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