My Patients


Personal Stories


John Before Gastric Bypass Surgery
Christmas 2015
Before Surgery


et’s start by saying I SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS 15 YEARS AGO! I’m 53 years old now and have always been an active big guy. It’s always been a struggle to keep the weight off. Until turning 35 I exercised to extremes daily; Semi-Pro Football, Baseball, Basketball, Softball, Gym. However, I never ate right and drank like a fish. Then I got married and moved to a more sedentary lifestyle and the pounds just multiplied. In 2006 I topped out at 366 lbs. and was 6’1” at the time. Hey everyone shrinks with age. In 2010 I had a heart attack that required two stints. I was battling high blood pressure, gout, and bad knees for years. I was in and out of weight loss and pre-surgery programs for over 10 years. I would slim down then get complacent or get hurt and put it all back on plus some more. After attending one of Dr. Ellner’s lectures I knew she was the one for me!

I was originally scheduled for gastric bypass surgery in April 2016 and still managed to chicken out. Thought since I was doing so well on the diet and exercise program from Dr. Ellner that I could double down and complete the weight loss through natural means. BIG MISTAKE! Excuses aside I was just being a big FAT chicken! Luckily I had stayed in her program and on August 5, 2016 I had the surgery. Dr. Ellner, her staff, the staff at Sharp and my wife were the BEST! I was up and walking within 3 hours of surgery with no pain after 24 hours and out of the hospital in 2 days.

I take less pills now than before the surgery. My high blood pressure is gone. My cardiologist just cut my medications for the stints in half, No more gout, and I could go on and on….

A few numbers for you:

When I joined Dr. Ellner’s program I was at 358 lbs. with a morbidly obese BMI of 47.7 and on April 23, 2017 I weighed in at 243 lbs. and now have a BMI of 34.0. Still to much but manageable and trending downward.

18 more lbs. to go to reach my goal of 225 lbs.

Before the surgery I could barely walk to the end of the block because my knees ached so bad. I was getting injections in them every 6 months just to function. Now I hike mountains around the San Diego area at least 2 to 3 times a week. Also on the hit parade:


  1. Gym time is fun time again, especially when you must work to get your heart rate up 135 where before that was more like a starting heart rate.
  2. I fit in roller coasters for the first time in almost 20 years. YAY!!!
  3. Most days I ride a bicycle to the gym to work out.
  4. When I miss a day at the gym I feel guilty and double down the next day.
  5. I have so much energy it’s driving my wife crazy. I wake up raring to go and only go to sleep when I’m bored.

The worst part of the surgery?
I had to start buying all new clothes. OH DARN

The proof is in the photos, so here you are:

John After Gastric Bypass Surgery  
Top of Mount Woodsen (Potato Chip Rock)
April 23, 2017

Photo Progression


John Before Gastric Bypass Surgery 
John Before Gastric Surgery 


That was probably round 2 or 3 at the buffet in April 2016.

after gastric bypass surgery 

Post-surgery 1 month in Italy

Walked all the way across Rome with my wonderful wife and had no issues with knees or breath.

John 1 month After Gastric Surgery John 1 month After Gastric Surgery in Italy

Month 2

John 2 months out from Gastric Surgery John 2 Months after Gastric Bypass Surgery


Month 4

John 4 Months out from Gastric Bypass Surgery  


Month 5

First time I fit in that undefeated championship sweatshirt in 15 years.
And, my first time hiking Cowles Mountain. First time took me almost an hour but I did it. My last trip took me 26 minutes.

John 5 Months after Gastric Bypass Surgery John After 5 Months fromof Gastric Surgery


Out dancing again with the wife!

after gastric bypass surgery 5 Months After Gastric Surgery


Month 7

Found my bench. Not that I need it anymore.Rollercoaster...YES!!!
John 7 Months after Gastric Bypass Surgery John After 7 Months out from Gastric Surgery


Month 8
Riding motorcycles through Arizona and hiking the Vally of Fire in Nevada.

John 8 Months after Gastric Bypass Surgery John 8 Months out from Gastric Surgery


Summit of Mount Woodsen at Potato Chip Rock with my hiking buddy and personal trainer “Goliath”. 8 miles round trip. 1 hour and 13 minutes to the top. Now every climb is a competition with myself to beat the previous time.

after gastric bypass surgery after gasric bypass surgery