Ken L Wife's Nudge Leads Man to Weight Loss and a New Life

"When my oldest daughter gives me a hug, she likes to tell me how she can wrap her arms around all the way and make her hands touch."

If not for his wife, Ken Lutin might still be tipping the scales at 371 pounds. Now 153 pounds lighter after surgery at the Center for Bariatrics at Community Medical Center (CMC) last September, the Lakewood resident is enjoying his life more than ever.

“My wife, Rose, did the research without my knowing and she picked the right group and the right surgeon, Dr. Michael Jaronczyk,” says Ken, 39, a self-described “gearhead” who manages a busy body shop. “She was the catalyst behind getting me to do this and to be able to see tomorrow.”

Ken’s weight struggles started long before he reached the operating room. He had a fast metabolism until his early 20s, when the number on the scale began to rise. “Whatever I wanted, I had,” he says. “I didn’t have any structure in place for meals.”

Ken grew concerned as the weight accumulated. In 2011, after he had reached 338 pounds, he underwent lap band surgery in New York City. The procedure involves placing an adjustable belt around the upper part of the stomach to restrict the size of the stomach and the amount of food it can hold. Ken started working out in the gym at the same time. Over the next year, he lost 110 pounds.

Michael Jaronczyk, MD
Michael Jaronczyk, MD

But Ken grappled with discomfort and reflux with the band in place. “While it physically restricts the amount of food, it didn’t restrict it in a comfortable manner for me,” he says. “And I couldn’t eat healthy with it. For example, I couldn’t get salad down.” Eventually he had the band removed.

The pounds Ken had shed returned and his size became an increasing source of frustration and shame. “I did whatever I could not to be in any type of picture,” he says. “Because if I found myself in a picture, it made me get a little emotional to see just how far I had let myself go.” When he was with others in public, he made jokes about his weight to deflect from his pain.

A Chance For Change

The turning point came in March 2020, when Rose learned about the CMC Center and arranged a consultation for him. Once again, he was scheduled for bariatric surgery and would need to start a pre-op diet similar to the one he would be on after surgery.

“But I really wasn’t sure yet,” Ken admits. “I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that a guy my size and height was only going to be able to eat two to four ounces at meals.”

In July, Ken finally committed to the program. “One of the reasons I decided to do this is because I realized that life is really a gift from God,” he says. “And I really wasn’t treating that gift as well as I could.” Ken lost approximately 30 pounds in the three months before surgery.

That allowed time for Ken to learn about his health risks, benefits from surgery and diet and fitness requirements from the Center’s multidisciplinary team. Surgeons, nurses, dietitians and psychologists all work with patients before and after surgery to achieve success.

In September, Ken was wheeled into the operating room for the procedure, a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy, which involves removing a large portion of the outer stomach and reducing it to a narrow sleeve about the size and shape of a banana.

“We put a tube through the mouth and into the stomach. Then we apply a special instrument on the stomach next to the tube and use it like a guide rail,” says Dr. Jaronczyk, who specializes in advanced laparoscopic procedures. “We use a special stapler that seals and cuts the stomach.” The surgery not only restricts the amount of food that patients eat, but also reduces the secretion of hormones that cause people to feel hungry.

Sustainable Weight Loss

As the months have rolled by since his surgery, Ken’s weight loss has continued with careful meal planning and exercise, especially walking. “It takes work and discipline,” he says, “but surgery really helped me make it stick.”

“Ken was one of our all-star patients,” says Dr. Jaronczyk. “He took the bull by the horns and had a very good attitude and outlook from the getgo. He has really done a very good job.”

Ken is happier and has more energy for things like spending time with the couple’s four children, ages 6 to 12. “They’re very happy for me,” he says. “When my oldest daughter gives me a hug, she likes to tell me how she can wrap her arms around all the way and make her hands touch.”

Ken credits the Center, his wide support system and mental strategies for keeping him on track. “A healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint,” he says.

To learn more about weight loss and the Center for Bariatrics at Community Medical Center, call (732) 557-8966.