Ken Bruck had ballooned to about 400 pounds with his health rapidly declining and his very life at risk. He's only in his mid-forties.
"The easy thing to do is to lay down and say ‘poor me' and ‘I can't believe this is what was dealt to me'. And no, this is what I dealt myself," said Bruck. "Now I'm on a cane. I can hardly walk. I wanna go skiing again."
First he has to live, Ken was eating himself to death.
"I liked four and five hamburgers. I liked the whole rack of ribs. I liked eating all day every day," said Bruck.
After this busy husband and active father of three lost his job in construction, he took a lower paying, higher stress desk job, but it didn't take long before his failing health landed him on the disabled list. This little league coach was benched.
"If I don't live outside the box and my comfort zone I am going to be dead and my little boy is not going to have a dad and it is going to be nobody's fault but my own," said Bruck.
Ken says he's too far gone at this point. He couldn't diet, had no self-control, couldn't exercise, and his weight was crushing his ankle and knee. He was in a Catch-22.
Ken realized "it's time to nip this thing in the bud." Gastric bypass surgery was recommended.
Ken's wife, Liz, was onboard.
"We really don't have another choice, this is it for him. And we'll all lose weight in the process, let's hope, "said Liz.
But Ken would have to meet several medical benchmarks for his insurance to cover the pricey procedure.
"It is what it is. I have to do what I have to do," said Bruck.
What he had to do would take several months and tests to qualify.
"I had to go through a psychological evaluation," said Bruck.
Ken had two different psychological tests, two cardio evaluations, a bunch of blood work, and a sleep apnea test.
After passing his tests, the nerves set in.
"How could you not be [nervous]? You're about to go get cut, who knows what can happen, right?" said Bruck.
Doctor Neil Marymor, bariatric surgeon at the Barix Clinics of Pennsylvania says the risks are minimal.
"We are generally about two hours or less is what we try to do," said Marymor.
Ken had a bit more fat to maneuver which took more time.
"It's not terrible but, if he had lost more, it could have been a little easier but it is what it is and you work through it," said Marymor.
Ken successfully made it through the surgery! Now it's up to him to continue the weight loss.
Two weeks post operation, Ken is still on small soft foods and about ten pounds lost.
"I feel good, I really do," said Bruck.
He went a bit too far re-introducing solid foods, getting sick a few times.
But three months later he has dumped the cane and more than 80 pounds.
"Definitely a sense of accomplishment, I feel good, it's actually a little emotional, I didn't know I lost that much weight," said Bruck.
The best news of all is that Ken's back in the game, coaching little league and working out with his 7-year old boy.
"I've been through the tough stuff baby, I'm comin' back," said Bruck.
Doctors say Ken's weight loss should level off in one and a half to 2 years. He could regain weight if natural changes to his digestive system allow him to eat and absorb more calories, especially if he slacks on diet and exercise. A re-do surgery is possible but it's more risky.