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In the Blink of an Eye - Allen Porter


Oct, 2019

Physicians: Seth Miller, MD

Life can change in the blink of an eye. Few people understand the significance of this statement better than 35-year-old St. Joseph resident, Allen Porter. While driving his car to work one morning, Allen fell asleep at the wheel causing a head-on collision with a pickup truck at 45 miles per hour. Although both drivers walked away without a scratch, it was the wake-up call Allen desperately needed.

“It was a sobering experience for me,” said Allen. “What I thought was just a long blink was actually me falling asleep. I talked with my family and decided to schedule a sleep study as soon as possible, to determine the severity of what was going on.”

At nearly 400 pounds at the time of the crash, the study confirmed Allen wasn’t sleeping well due to a severe case of sleep apnea–a condition which occurs when structures in the throat block the air passage causing you to wake numerous times throughout the night to regain breathing. Knowing he needed to make a change, Allen’s primary care provider referred him to the Lakeland Weight Loss Center in Niles.

“I attended a Lose Weight…Find Health seminar and after talking with a bariatric surgeon I knew I wanted to pursue this course of treatment for my life,” said Allen. “I was attracted to how much commitment the program requires and was ready to take it seriously.”

After an initial consultation with bariatric surgeon, Seth Miller, MD, Allen was enrolled in shared medical appointments for the next six months which would help prepare him for a successful surgery.

“I immediately stopped drinking pop and energy drinks and started making other small changes to my lifestyle,” said Allen. “I treated the patient guidebook like a bible and followed all of the registered dietitian’s recommendations. Before I even had my first weigh in, I was down 12 pounds.”

In the months that followed, Allen continued to notice the weight coming off and prior to surgery he had lost 110 pounds. He wasn’t ready to stop there and was now both mentally and physically prepared to undergo vertical sleeve gastrectomy surgery. This procedure makes your stomach smaller, so that you feel full a lot quicker. Allen knew this was the best option for him as overindulging was one of the main factors which led to his condition.

“I grew up in a family where if food was put in front of you, you ate it,” said Allen. “Back then it was just about not being wasteful, but that habit stuck with me throughout the rest of my life and I was constantly eating more than I needed to. I tried different diets when my daughter was born because I wanted to be around for her, but nothing ever seemed to work. Now I have a son too, and he is already three years old. I want to be around to see my children grow up and be successful and do amazing things.”

Going into surgery, Allen felt confident in both Dr. Miller and his care team.

“Dr. Miller was tremendous throughout the entire process,” he said. “He was honest and straight forward about the surgery and made me feel extremely comfortable. Having his support made a huge difference.”

Allen recalls feeling instant relief after surgery. He lost another 55 pounds bringing his total weight loss to 165 pounds. His sleep apnea is virtually non-existent. He no longer tosses and turns at night and instead wakes with a new energy he hasn’t felt in years. Allen is also working with his primary care provider to get off his high blood pressure medication as he no longer suffers from the condition.

“I no longer struggle to simply get up and go to work,” said Allen. “Prior to surgery everything hurt and now all that is gone. This has truly been a life-changing experience.”

He is also looking forward to the many years ahead with his family. In fact, the Porters have a family vacation planned to Cedar Point to ride roller coasters together–something that would have never been possible for Allen prior to having surgery.

Ready to make a change? Attend an upcoming Lose Weight…Find Health seminar with the Lakeland Weight Loss Center. Click here for a full list of upcoming events.


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