Corewell Health is the new name for Lakeland. Learn More
One Unified System of Care: Find out how we’re creating a better experience and updating your MyChart. Learn More

Our Patients Say it Best

Your friends and neighbors from throughout southwest Michigan and beyond share their experiences at Spectrum Health Lakeland. Do you have a story to share? Click on the "What's Your Story" button and complete the form. 

Oct 23, 2019 Reporting from Niles, MI
In the Blink of an Eye - Allen Porter
Oct 23, 2019
If you are struggling with obesity and other health-related problems because of your weight, you are not alone and it’s time to get help. Take the first step to living the life you have always imagined. Visit

In the Blink of an Eye - Allen Porter

SpectrumHealth Lakeland

In the Blink of an Eye - Allen Porter

Oct, 2019

Physicians: Seth Miller, MD

If you are struggling with obesity and other health-related problems because of your weight, you are not alone and it’s time to get help. Take the first step to living the life you have always imagined.

Visit to watch a free, online seminar and complete a short evaluation.

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.

Watch more of Allen's story in the video below:



Continue Watching

Breast Cancer: Nancy Pallas "3D approach to care"

At age 79, Dowagiac resident, Nancy Pallas, decided to opt for a 3D mammogram, which was able to detect a stage 1A tumor. Her care team quickly assembled to help her beat the cancer.

Prostate cancer: Martin Dixon "Put to the test"

Retired engineer Martin Dixon takes a matter of fact, analytical approach to life. So, when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he faced his treatment with the same outlook.

Ear care: Logan Grant “Big relief for a little guy”

Each year, more than half a million ear tube surgeries are performed on children, making it the most common childhood surgery performed with anesthesia. Find out if tympanostomy ear tubes may be a solution for your child’s frequent ear infections.

Bigger than a Building: Newly renovated Corewell Health Lakeland Hospital Pavilion

The newly renovated Corewell Health Lakeland Hospital Pavilion in St. Joseph focuses on high-tech modernizations and exceptional patient experiences.

How can you prepare for the cost of birth?

Are you expecting? You may have a lot of financial questions. Our financial counselors are here to help, regardless of your situation.

How can you prepare for the cost of surgery?

Planning for a surgery? Stay ahead of your health care bills by connecting with a financial counselor today.

How can financial counselors help?

If you’re concerned about your medical bills or just have questions, our financial counselors are here to help.

COVID-19 vaccine and kids

Pediatrician, Anne Dudley, DO, and Berrien County Health Department Medical Director, Rex Cabaltica, MD, discuss the COVID-19 vaccine for kids.

Tiny poke. Big impact.

Learn how to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination appointment.

Pardon our dust: Phase II Pavilion project updates

Phase II of the Pavilion project at Spectrum Health Lakeland Medical Center is now underway.

Copyright © 2024 Corewell Health. All rights reserved.