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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. 

Aug 26, 2020 Reporting from Niles, MI
A bright future ahead - Tashawn Reese
Aug 26, 2020
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

A bright future ahead - Tashawn Reese

SpectrumHealth Lakeland

A bright future ahead - Tashawn Reese

Aug, 2020

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.

Note: Since originally publishing this story, Tashawn has lost an additional 30 pounds and is now down 180 pounds total since first visiting the Spectrum Health Lakeland Weight Loss Center. 

Most 25-year-olds feel like they have their entire life ahead of them. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case for Niles resident, Tashawn Reese, who wondered if he would even be around the see the next 20 or 30 years.

Tashawn had struggled with weight most of his life. Although he had tried most every form of diet and exercise, he would eventually hit a plateau, become discouraged, and give up. At his heaviest he weighed over 360 pounds.  

In addition to the aches and pains and lack of energy Tashawn felt daily, his weight began to cause more serious health conditions such as high blood pressure and obstructive sleep apnea. Tashawn knew he had a family history of heart disease and had lost his grandfather to a heart attack. Several years ago, his sleep apnea had caused him to fall asleep at the wheel and crash his car, nearly costing him his life.

“Carrying around all that extra weight made every area of my life more difficult,” said Tashawn. “I knew this wasn’t something I wanted to struggle with anymore. I needed a more permanent solution.”

After researching online, Tashawn decided to schedule an appointment with the Lakeland Weight Loss Center in Niles. He attended a Lose Weight…Find Health seminar and later met with bariatric surgeon, Seth Miller, MD, to discuss his options.

“Dr. Miller and his team were very informative and supportive throughout the whole process,” said Tashawn. “I knew they were on my side and wanted what was best for me.”

In search of a permanent solution, Tashawn decided to undergo a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass which divides the stomach to form a new, smaller pouch for food. As food enters the pouch, it quickly fills and causes a sensation of fullness after eating only a small portion. Although this type of surgery comes with certain life-long dietary restrictions, Tashawn is thankful to have the Lakeland Weight Loss Center team by his side including registered dietitian, Selena Diaz, RD.

“Selena is extremely helpful in suggesting alternative options to the foods I enjoy and is always sharing the latest products or information with me,” said Tashawn. “It’s encouraging to know that if I follow their recommendations, the size I am now is the largest I’ll ever be again.”.

To date, Tashawn has lost 150 pounds and he’s not stopping there. He hopes to soon be off his high blood pressure medications and CPAP machine for sleep apnea.

“At the end of the day, I knew the longer I put off the surgery the less of my life I was going to have to live and enjoy,” said Tashawn. “With my family history of heart disease, it wasn’t something worth waiting around for—I wanted to be proactive and get my life back under control while I’m still young.”

With a newfound outlook on life, and feeling more energized overall, Tashawn is excited to be able to hike again and go to the beach with his friends without feeling self-conscious. He also looks forward to visiting a theme park where he can ride the attractions without thinking twice about his weight.

“I feel like I have a second chance at life,” he said.

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


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