Bariatric Patient Enjoys His Favorite Hobby Again

Juan Rocha shares his 150 lb. journey

In his mind, Juan Rocha stood out in a crowd, but not for any reason that he was proud of. Lacking self-confidence and suffering from several comorbidities, including diabetes and high blood pressure, Rocha was also in a lot of pain.

In his youth, Rocha was thin and fit, but as he got older unhealthy habits snuck into everyday life.

“I had tried Weight Watcher’s, working out and other diets. I would lose 10 pounds but then gain 10 or 15 pounds back.”

At age 42, weighing 282 pounds and wearing size 42 pants, Rocha knew he had to do something or he wouldn’t be around for his children and grandkids. “I realized I had to make the decision to do this for myself.”

Rocha spent almost a year considering bariatric surgery. When his cousin recommended Mercy Health, Rocha took the first step and registered for a free information seminar and quickly determined that he had found the team he could trust to help him on his weight-loss journey.


“The entire team at Mercy Health were wonderful,” Rocha shared with a wide smile. “Everyone helped me feel well prepared and well supported.”

Rocha knew he could call with any questions at any time. The team was there to help him be successful.

“Juan is a perfect example of why I do what I do,” explained Paul Kemmeter, MD, medical director of the bariatric surgery program at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. “It’s about helping people get their life back. Many of our patients have forgotten everything their weight has caused them to miss out on. To see them reclaim their lives is the most rewarding part of my job.”

Aside from the team at Mercy Health, Rocha received a great deal of support from his wife and children. They’ve also had to adjust to his new healthy lifestyle. Going out to eat is much different; there is always food to take home. The food bill is significantly smaller, and healthy food is a priority.

“My life has changed; it is like day and night,” said Rocha.

Now Rocha walks every day and even takes an occasional run around the track, something he has not done since high school. His pain has decreased, and he hasn’t had to take any diabetes medications in over two years.

“I can bend over and tie my shoes; easy activities like getting in and out of a car are not difficult,” Rocha shared.

As for what has been the most difficult adjustment since shedding 150 pounds, Rocha was quick to mention his favorite hobby.

“I’m an avid bowler and also coach the varsity bowling team at Kenowa Hills High School. It’s taken me a little bit of time to adjust since my surgery. I’m a lot lighter now and move much more quickly. I actually have to tell myself to slow down — and that’s something I never thought I would have to do!”

After his experience, Rocha would recommend Mercy Health to anyone. “My care was excellent, and my nurses were wonderful. I can’t thank them enough.”

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