Living Life 240 Pounds Lighter

July 14, 2017
Living life 240 pounds lighter

Anthony went from a size 60 pants before bariatric surgery to a size 36 today.

“Life has changed. It’s totally, completely different,” says Anthony Checchia, who had weight-loss surgery eight and a half years ago at Inland Valley Medical Center.

Anthony enjoyed a healthy weight for much of his life. But when his work caused him to give up activities he loved to do, including umpiring baseball, the weight began to creep on. Little by little, he went up one size, then another and another. Eventually, it got to the point where he could barely walk, he says, remembering that he would ask his wife to shop for him because he was embarrassed to go to the store.

“At that time, we had a two-story home, and I’d have to take one step at a time. It just wears on your body,” he says of the extra weight he was carrying. Then came the two words he never thought he’d see on his medical chart: morbidly obese. His doctor recommended that he have weightloss surgery. “You think, well, I can do this on my own,” Anthony says, recalling,“I lost a few pounds, then I gained that, plus a few more.”

David Suh, MD

In October 2008 — after reaching his maximum weight of 419 pounds — Anthony had bariatric surgery with David Suh, MD, Medical Director of the Bariatric Center at Inland Valley. Dr. Suh notes that patients participate in a thorough evaluation before surgery to ensure that they are appropriate candidates for the procedure and to prepare them for the lifestyle changes that are required. As part of this process, patients must meet national guidelines and undergo psychological testing and weight management counseling, he explains. Achieving the desired goals and keeping the weight off requires a commitment to healthy eating and exercise for life, Dr. Suh says.

Patients like Anthony are not alone in this process. As an MBSAQIP accredited center, Inland Valley is committed to supporting patients with long-term follow-up to address any concerns that may arise. Anthony’s story is a testament to the life-changing power of this procedure and to his commitment to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, says Dr. Suh.

Anthony agrees today that his lifestyle has changed, and that losing weight has enabled him to enjoy travel and other experiences without extra pounds holding him back. He says that he and his wife traveled to Guatemala, where he climbed the pyramids of Tikal. “It was a fantastic trip,” he remembers. “I’ve been to Hawaii, I’ve scuba dived … Life has changed. It’s totally, completely different.”

“You hear about people who have these success stories,” Anthony says. “I just figured I’ll give it all I’ve got and see what happens. I can’t complain; 240 pounds later, it’s worked for me.”

Minimally invasive weight-loss surgery at Inland Valley

The Bariatric Center at Inland Valley Medical Center is designated a Bariatric Surgery Comprehensive Center by the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP). To become certified, the Bariatric Center is required to satisfy or exceed requirements in multiple categories, including:

  • Annual number of cases
  • Complication rates
  • Long-term follow-up and support
  • Ongoing quality improvement
  • Bariatric evidence-based practice
  • Continuing education for staff and patients

Today, weight-loss surgery at Inland Valley is performed laparoscopically, or minimally invasively. This means it can offer the same permanent weight loss, but with smaller incisions and less pain and risk of complications, says Dr. Suh.

For more information about the bariatric program, visit

To view a video of Anthony’s story, visit

Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if bariatric surgery or minimally invasive surgery is right for you.