RUTHERFORD COUNTY, TN - In 2022, William Street decided it was time to take control of his health. Born and raised in Tennessee, William had always struggled with his weight, but it wasn't until a family trip to a Florida theme park that he realized he needed a change. “We left three days early,” said William. “My daughter was pretty upset. The disappointment of having to cut the trip short due to my size was a wake-up call.” With support from his wife and daughter, William knew it was time to embark on a total transformation.
Recognizing his health journey would be both a mental and physical challenge, William started with small lifestyle changes. “I knew a couple of friends and co-workers who had a weight-loss procedure, so I had a general idea of what I was getting myself into,” said William. In January of 2023, he made the decision to undergo gastric sleeve surgery under the expert guidance of Dr. Stephen Rich, bariatric surgeon at Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford. William believed that the benefits far outweighed the alternative of maintaining his previous lifestyle. “I was borderline diabetic, reliant on five different medications for high blood pressure, and using a CPAP machine for the past 10 years,” said William. “I understood the risks involved and the urgency for change.”
Dr. Rich and the bariatric care team developed a personalized plan and equipped him with the necessary tools for success. “From the very beginning, Dr. Rich said this procedure is like a tool,” recalled William. “He said, if you don't use it right, it's not going to work. You can't dig a hole with a rake. Use the tool we are going to give you, the right way, and it will do what it’s supposed to do.”
After surgery, William now needs fewer medications, is no longer at risk for diabetes, and no longer relies on a CPAP. His mental clarity has improved, and he's embraced a more active lifestyle. From conquering a 5k to completing a 7-mile run, William achieved personal best times and has set his sights on running a half-marathon within a year of his surgery.
Encouraged by his loving family, supportive friends, and motivating co-workers, William has dropped from a 3XL/4XL to a comfortable L, and his waist size has gone from 44 to 36. At his heaviest, William weighed in at 349 pounds, but just days ago, he proudly tipped the scales at 220.
“This journey has been nothing short of life-altering,” said William. “I firmly believe this opportunity for change has granted me a new lease on life. I am grateful for the exceptional care provided by Dr. Rich and the bariatric care team, and I am eager to share my story as an inspiration for others considering their own transformative journeys.”