Bariatric Surgery Patient Stories


Former Marine Loses 188 Pounds with Bariatric Surgery

UAB Bariatric Surgery Patient Mike Cain Before
UAB Bariatric Surgery Patient Mike Cain After

At 59 years old I suffered from sleep apnea, high blood pressure, heart disease, and facet arthritis, and I'd had two surgeries on my neck to replace collapsed discs. I had also received a stent. At 292 pounds I was struggling to walk, even to get out of a chair. My three children are grown but my wife and I are raising two grandchildren, so keeping up with them and being there for them in the future had become a question mark for me.

I struggled to maintain my health, and my weight was up and down for most of the years since I left law enforcement for a desk job. As a Marine serving in 1971, I was taught to keep my body in good physical shape, but as I grew older I seem to have forgotten the golden rule: take care of your body, and it will take care of you. 

With my health in a steady decline I decided to see UAB gastrointestinal surgeon Richard Stahl, MD. I knew from the moment I attended his orientation that this was a journey I had to take if I was going to live to be there for my children and grandchildren. I approached the advice and doctor's orders with a passion and followed his rules to a T. As I headed into surgery on June 14, 2013, I knew this was my last chance to improve my health.

I attended all of the meetings, making friends and meeting mentors and eventually becoming a mentor myself to a young man. We talked many times, and all he wanted was to get his health back so he could fish and hunt again. Within two months after I met him he underwent surgery on his neck and had a major heart attack and died. It devastated me, and I pray for him and his family.

His death raised my awareness of how important UAB's bariatric surgery unit was, and how many lives it was saving. As I came out of surgery I made a pact with myself to follow my discharge orders to a T. It has been a wonderful journey. I'm feeling better each week as I watch myself shrink;  I am down to 188 pounds, which is just eight pounds away from the goal I set seven months ago. I will continue to do the things Dr. Stahl and his staff have advised me to do.  I have seen a massive drop in my cholesterol, all my lab tests are in the normal range, my sleep apnea is gone, and I am no longer morbidly obese. I am still overweight, but I won't be once I hit my goal.

I have lost more than 100 pounds and continue to lose. I advise anyone that decides to have this surgery to go at it with a passion, follow the rules and the advice, and you will succeed.  "My journey" continues, and my thanks go out to Dr. Stahl and his staff for saving my life. My wife says it is like I am a different man, and I feel like it.