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Gastric bypass surgery a life saver for Lammert

Patient Name: Mark Lammert

In 1976, a 252-pound Mark Lammert joined the Navy, and after boot camp, he was a trim 208 pounds.

As the years went by following his stint in the Navy, the former Rhinelander resident became heavier and heavier until 2007, when Lammert found himself tipping the scales at 555 pounds.


“I loved food, and loved to eat,” said the 51-year-old, who recently moved to Florida. “I tried Fen-phen eight years ago and lost some weight, but I gained it all back. It was life-threatening the way I was. I wasn’t long for this world.”

Lammert says 2007 was a particularly difficult year, and he became a depressed couch potato, who had a hard time doing simple tasks around the house or even going to the store. He had high blood pressure, and was on the brink of diabetes and heart trouble. Something needed to be done.

Lammert and his wife Terri had discussed gastric bypass surgery in the past, but it wasn’t until he realized how much the people around him were sacrificing that he decided to have the surgery. Lammert was excited to have the surgery, but the procedure was put on hold for six months as he resolved insurance issues. After a seemingly never-ending wait, everything was squared away and he went on a liquid diet three weeks prior to the big day.

“The people around me gave up a lot,” he said. “My wife did everything. I never went to the store and it was hard to do chores like shoveling. It was even hard to get behind the wheel.”

On Dec. 27, 2007, Aspirus Bariatric surgeon Chris Reising, M.D., performed Lammert’s gastric bypass surgery. Two days later, Lammert went home to begin adjusting to his new diet and lifestyle.

“The first two months after surgery were hard,” Lammert said. “You go from eating as much as you want to what seemed like nothing.”

After the procedure, Lammert received a lot of support from his family and friends and had routine check-ups at Aspirus to monitor his progress. He attended support groups and began exercising, and within nine months, he shed more than 200 pounds.

“I’ve gone through a lot of clothes. People can’t believe how much weight I’ve lost,” he said. “Now I have a get up and go feeling.”

Lammert is once again helping Terri with chores and has a target weight of 250 pounds. He weighs himself every week, buys healthier foods, eats smaller portions and wants to be an ambassador for the surgery.   

“I owe my life to Aspirus,” he said. “The surgery is just a tool, and you can abuse if you don’t change your diet or lifestyle. It’s up to you how you use it.”

Created: Jan 27, 2009

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