Corey Wallace loves fast cars and delicious food. But when it came to eating, he never knew when to stop. “My biggest problem was portion control,” says Wallace, 33, of Souderton. “I didn’t have that ‘off button’ inside of me that said, OK, now you’re full.”
His weight had fluctuated over the years, creating two additional health risks: hypertension and sleep apnea. At his heaviest, the 6-foot-2 Wallace weighed 380 pounds. He had often considered having weight-loss surgery, but was concerned he couldn’t afford it.
Then, one of his best friends had weight-loss surgery. “She suggested calling my insurance company to see if the procedure would be covered,” Wallace says. Once he confirmed his insurance plan covered the surgery, he began researching his options. It came down to two choices: Grand View Health or another hospital. He chose bariatric surgeon Michael Fishman, MD, with Grand View Health Weight Management.
“I had seen reviews online about Dr. Fishman and Grand View and how much they had helped people,” he says. “Plus, Grand View is a really nice facility. I drive by there all the time. It was the place for me.”
The moment he decided to start his weight-loss journey in August 2020, Wallace went all-in. “I made it a personal mission to start the protein shakes and bars to see what I liked and didn’t like,” he says. He also took part in nutrition classes run by registered dietitian Marcie Amerstein. “She helped me learn how to be accountable for my eating habits,” he says.
In addition, Wallace underwent pre-surgery testing, including a sleep study. The results surprised him. “The doctor told me I had something like 60 episodes an hour where I would wake up because I stopped breathing in my sleep,” he says.
In January 2021, Wallace started sleeping with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to help control his sleep apnea. About six weeks later, Wallace had his weight-loss surgery. Dr. Fishman performed a procedure called vertical sleeve gastrectomy, during which a portion of the stomach is removed, creating a smaller stomach.
According to Dr. Fishman, “A hormone called ghrelin is known as the ‘hunger hormone.’ This is produced in the gastric fundus of the stomach, which is removed with a sleeve gastrectomy. As a result, the surgery not only limits the amount of food a person can eat but also can limit hunger.”
Wallace returned to his full-time job as a project coordinator for an automotive dealer just a week after surgery. Today, one year out from surgery, he’s experienced dramatic results. He’s lost 180 pounds, close to half his weight. His waist size dropped from 44 to 30. His blood pressure is normal. His sleep apnea is gone. And his energy levels are soaring.
“I live in a townhouse with four flights of stairs, and I can go to the top floor now without being out of breath,” he says. “I’m more active outside. I try to get to the gym more often. I can cross my legs. And I don’t struggle getting out of a chair or car anymore.”
He’s changed his eating habits, too. “I love cauliflower rice, and I don’t really miss pasta or bread,” he says. “I’ve learned how to make sure I’m not making more food than I need to.”
Along the way, he’s formed close bonds with the Grand View Health Weight Management team. “Marcie is always going to be on your side, and she has such a positive attitude,” he says. “Dr. Fishman encouraged me non-stop to keep doing exactly what I was doing because it was working. Even Caren at the front desk—she’s so friendly and polite. Their encouragement is so helpful and keeps me coming back.”
And while bariatric surgery is essentially a weight-loss procedure, Wallace says it’s been so much more for him. “It’s a whole mental transformation too,” he says. “I didn’t realize how happy I could be.”