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A Lot to Lose

By: Ilyssa Trussel
By: Ilyssa Trussel

"I was a victim of the freshmen 15, then it gradually went into the freshmen 50, the sophomore 150," said 42-year-old Carl McCaskey.

Since high school he has struggled with his weight.

“I can’t go to a concert ‘cause either I can’t fit in a seat or walk from where I parked my car to the venue. I play guitar as a hobby, and with a belly this big it’s kinda hard to hold the guitar without strangling the neck.”

Even lying still is unbearable.

"A spring mattress, no matter how soft, would dig into my hips, would make my side hurt. So I sleep in a recliner."

Carl once dreamt of making touchdowns; these days he longs to stroll through a grocery store.

“Some of the things I’d like to be able to do again, first of all, is just like walk more than 20 or 30 feet without just totally being out of breath.”

For Carl, it’s not just the lack of exercise. McCaskey says he's literally addicted to food.

“Just ate anything and everything; fried chicken, steak, pizza, hot dogs, hamburgers, potato chips. We would go to buffets in town and I would get two heaping, helping plates, big plates of food and I’d wolf it down.”

Tipping the scale at more than 400 pounds, Carl says he realized he had a lot to lose: his life and the love of his life.

“It's gotten to be such a problem to walk and function at this weight. I just want to spend a long married life to my wife."

After weighing his options and trying every diet in the book, Carl decided to go under the knife to get bariatric surgery. Over the next several months we'll be following him as he makes this journey so many obese Americans are now considering.


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