Richard Hits the Slopes After Life-Changing Weight Loss 

Richard Fowler and daughter on a ski trip in February 2015. With renewed enthusiasm for life, Richard Fowler snapped his boots into their bindings for the first time in 28 years and skied down the mountains of Vermont.  Something he thought would have never been possible just a few years earlier when he weighed 370 pounds and was battling multiple health problems. 

Richard, age 70, is a small business owner and a substitute teacher from Pemberton, NJ. He struggled with his weight for as long as he can remember.  

“In my youth, I had to shop in the stout department and then the big and tall stores. Whenever I’d enter a room, I’d look for the sturdiest chair,” recalls Richard. “I had adjusted my lifestyle to the limitations of my weight.”

In 2000, at age 53, Richard had quadruple bypass surgery.  Despite efforts to lose weight after his health scare, he was unsuccessful. “I had given up and resolved that I would eventually die of a heart attack.”

Before his weight-loss transformation, Richard rang the bell at his final radiation treatment for prostate cancer in January 2014.Things changed in 2013 when Richard was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Fortunately, the cancer hadn’t spread. After radiation and chemotherapy, he was ready to make some serious changes. When he asked his cardiologist about bariatric surgery, his doctor said, “I’ll write you a referral today.”

Richard met with bariatric surgeon Samuel Wasser, MD, who recommended that he prepare for surgery by starting nutritional counseling with a Virtua dietitian. “I went from 370 to 300 pounds just by making small changes. In retrospect, those first few changes to my eating habits prepared me for a lifetime of changes. I knew I was ready to take future steps toward better health.” 

Two years after bariatric surgery, Richard now weighs 180 pounds—less than half of his former weight. The change has been incredible and life-altering.

“This process has turned into an adventure. Some people see it as a challenge. I took that paradigm and shifted it. If you have an adventure you have misadventures. You’re allowed to make mistakes.”

Richard also emphasizes that the surgery is only the first step in a life-long process. “I continue to attend a monthly weight-loss surgery support group, and I go to the fitness center 3 to 5 times a week. My doctors also exercise there, so I get an occasional free consult. They serve as an inspiration for me, and me for them.”

Richard is looking forward to many more adventures and plans to join his daughter on the slopes in Vermont again soon. “The energy I have now is unbelievable.”

Is bariatric surgery right for you? 

Learn more about bariatric surgery at Virtua, or call 1-888-VIRTUA-3 to schedule a consultation with a Virtua bariatric surgeon. 

Updated April 5, 2017

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