Twins Andrew and Anthony Henderson grew up on a farm in Upper Marlboro where being active and fit was just a part of daily life. But over time, age, busy lives, and injuries slowed them down. That’s when the weight gain began to creep up on them. They both struggled to keep the weight down, but nothing worked, and it eventually took a toll on their health. Last year, at 47 years old, Andrew decided it was time for a major change. He signed up for a free weight loss seminar at AAMC to learn about his options. Together with Dr. Alex Gandsas who leads AAMC’s Weight Loss and Metabolic Surgery Program, Andrew determined that gastric sleeve surgery was right for him.
Inspired by his brother’s success, Anthony has joined the weight loss program and is preparing for gastric surgery. “Since he had the surgery I was amazed, how he’s doing so good,” Anthony says, gesturing toward his brother. “I got jealous. Now, I want what he got.”
Andrew laughs. “It’s true. When I walk in the door my family says ‘where’s the rest of you?” Before attending the weight loss seminar, Andrew weighed 407 pounds. He suffered from sleep apnea, diabetes, high cholesterol and gout. “It seemed like every time I went to the doctor, I was not responding to the medication and they gave me something else. I was on 13 medications total.”
All that changed after his surgery. Within four months, Andrew had lost 73 pounds. The sleep apnea was gone, and he needed only two medications instead of 13.
Anthony is looking forward to similar changes after his surgery. At 396 pounds, he suffers from high blood pressure and sleep apnea, and he’s taking five medications a day. Even so, the thought of surgery intimidated him and he considered not going through with it. That’s when Andrew encouraged him to go to the weight loss seminar. It gave him the information and resolve he needed. “This is a life changer,” Anthony said to his brother, “I’m glad you told me, go to that seminar. It eased me from being scared.”
“The seminars are so important,” Andrew says, admitting to his own fears about surgery. “I was scared, I won’t lie. But I said, it doesn’t cost me anything to go to the seminar, so I went. It was very valuable, because things you don’t know about your own body you can learn there. You have three types of surgery that you could qualify for. You have the sleeve, then you have the lap band, and then you have the gastric bypass. He goes through each one and explains to you the purpose of it, the outcomes of it and who can qualify for it.”
“You need the mindset to make the change and you need the support,” Andrew says. “And the program is lifechanging. I’m 73 pounds lighter and I got something to look forward to.”
“We want to retire,” says Anthony. “We’ve got things we want to do.