Family Gets Bariatric Surgery Together

The Rapaich family is fun, loud and for the most part happy with life. But over the past few years one family trait was becoming too heavy to bare.

"We are not drinkers, we are not partiers, we're not, we don't go to the casinos. What we are is food, and that is how we got to where we are at today," said Lesa Rapaich, mother.

The food over time resulted in weight. But it took going to the doctor to see what had been building up over the years.

"I honestly didn't even know that I weighed that much until I went to see my primary doctor," said Drake Rapaich, son.

They decided to go to the Nebraska Medical Center. At 23, Drake weighed 478 pounds in August of 2013. Terry Rapaich, his father, at 45 years-old weighed 475 pounds.

Terry said the moment of change for him hit hard; it happened after hearing six little words.

"'For the rest of your life.' And these are changes that, we know we are going to make for the rest of our lives, and because of that we know we are going to enjoy the rest of our lives," said Terry.

It's emotional, but this family decided to change together. They decided on bariatric surgery with the Bariatrics Center at NMC.

Bariatric surgery is when a surgeon removes a large of part of the stomach.

"Anything you can think of like exercise, like diet, like medications are tools to help people lose weight, and surgery is just one more tool to help them," said Dr. Corrigan McBride, Surgery Director of Bariatric Services. "It won't work by itself, there is nothing magical about it. But combined with healthy eating, portion control, physical activity and exercise, it is an excellent tool to help people stick to smaller portions and get full on smaller portions."

To stay on track together, the family scheduled their surgeries right in a row. Drake had his surgery in April, Terry got his in May and Lesa is scheduled for July.

It is a true team effort; a family change they are all set on making.

"Yes it's hard. It is very, very hard. But it is harder being fat," said Lesa.

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