Dan and Kendra Durga

Advanced Laparoscopic, Bariatric, Endoscopic & General Surgery


Proud Parents of Three and Bariatric Surgery Patients

Bay City, Michigan

“Now I eat to give my body the protein and vitamins it needs.” Kendra Durga

“It’s a totally different way of eating and living. I’m much happier now.” Dan Durga




Healthy Parents, Happy Kids Thanks to Bariatric Surgery

Kendra and Dan Durga of Bay City chose bariatric surgery for three of the best reasons in the world: their children. “We did it for the kids,” Dan said. “At 42 years old, and 453 pounds, I couldn’t even get down on the floor and play with them. It was frustrating because I wanted to do so much more with the kids and I just physically couldn’t.”

“I could see our kids growing up and knowing that the only fun, active things they could do would be with other kids’ families,” Kendra said. “Things like camping and sports. I couldn’t fit in a canoe and I knew we couldn’t walk around for hours at an amusement park. We started to see how our weight would affect their lives.”

Kendra said keeping up with Caleb, five, Cora, two and Cate, 19 months, was exhausting to begin with. “When you’re obese, it’s exhaustion times 10.”

After the couple started their family, issues of weight and health took on a new urgency. “Everything changes when you have kids,” Kendra said. “Dan couldn’t get life insurance because of his weight. I remember crying and thinking, ‘he’s going to die and I won’t be able to care for our family!’”

“I want to be here to take care of my family,” Dan said. “I want to see my kids grow up, go to college and get married. I’d love to see grandkids, and the way I was going, that wasn’t going to happen.”

The couple had worked for years to control their weight. “We tried Atkins, South Beach, Weight Watchers, working out…we tried everything with minimal success,” Dan said. “We had truly done everything imaginable,” Kendra said. “I always lost weight but always gained it back. I began to think nothing would work and wanted to stop trying. After all, who wants to keep failing?”

The Durgas started investigating bariatric surgery last September. After much soul searching, and researching, they chose to undergo sleeve gastrectomy. During this procedure, the stomach is divided into two sections and one section is permanently removed. The remaining portion of the stomach is long and narrow, resembling the shape of a sleeve. A sleeve gastrectomy procedure maintains the basic function of the stomach; however, the volume of food the stomach can handle is significantly reduced, so patients feel full quickly and eat less. On average, patients lose about half of their excess body weight in 12 months.

Bariatric Surgeon Jeffrey Smith, M.D., performed Dan’s surgery on Wednesday, November 14. On December 12, Bariatric Surgeon Jeffrey Bonacci, M.D., performed Kendra’s.

“My surgery was pretty much perfect,” Dan said. “I had the surgery at 4 p.m. and was up walking that evening. I had no pain and went home on Friday.” Kendra had a different experience. “I definitely felt the effects – it was a major surgery after all,” she said. “They stayed on top of my pain though and managed it very well.”

The couple agreed that the support and guidance they received from the surgeons and staff was outstanding. “The doctors were really good. Cheryl and Tracy, who work in their office, were also fantastic,” Dan said. “The amount of information can be overwhelming, and they were so good to help me out when I’d call,” Kendra said. “They were great with the details and working out the insurance. They took some of the stress out of the process.”

“They also taught us good, healthy eating habits,” Kendra said. “Food now takes a different place in life. I remember Cheryl saying the reason you eat changes. I still enjoy food, but now I eat to give my body the protein and vitamins it needs.”

Dan had no issues at all adjusting to a new way of life. “They gave me a diet, I followed everything to a T, and I have had zero problems. It’s a totally different way of eating and living but I’m much happier now,” he said.

Less than eight months after bariatric surgery, Dan had already lost more than 185 pounds and Kendra had dropped 110. She no longer needs medicine for high blood pressure and his chronic knee pain is a thing of the past. “Before, I couldn’t walk around the block,” Dan said. “Now, I can get up and down off the floor and go for a 2-3 mile walk. It was all worth it to be able to hang out and play with my kids.”

“Before, taking the kids for a walk would make me tired and cranky,” Kendra said. “Now I crave exercise. I walk an hour every day -- now I’m crabby if I don’t get my walk!”

Dan and Kendra have no regrets about their decision to pursue bariatric surgery together. “Support is a key thing and I think we’ve been successful because we did it together,” Dan said. “We had each other to lean on.”

“For the first time, I have a reasonable hope of staying at a healthy weight for the rest of my life,” Kendra said. “I feel good and I feel strong.” She is determined to help her children lead an active, healthy life. “I need to do that by example. It’s not what I say, it’s what I do. I want to show them.”


Weight-Loss Testimonials

Alma Office

Warwick Medical Plaza
315 Warwick Drive, #3
Alma, MI 48801

Phone: (989) 463-6699
Fax: (989) 466-2574

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8am - 5pm

Mt. Pleasant Office

4851 E Pickard St
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48858

Phone: (989) 463-6699
Fax: (989) 466-2574

Midland Office

MidMichigan Medical Center-Midland
Towsley Building
4201 Campus Ridge Drive, Suite 4050
Midland, MI  48640
Towsley Building Entrance - take elevator on right to 4th floor

Phone: (989) 463-6699
Fax: (989) 466-2574

Office Hours:
Thursdays - Bi-Weekly
1pm - 5pm

Clare Office

602 Beach Street
Suite 2240
Clare, Michigan 48617
Across from the Dougherty Hotel, behind the hospital

Phone: (989) 463-6699
Fax: (989) 466-2574

Hospital Affiliations

All of the surgeons at Great Lakes Surgical Associates have full, unrestricted privileges to practice general surgery at the two major hospital systems in Gratiot and Isabella Counties: Gratiot Medical Center and Central Michigan Community Hospital. We perform surgery at the following locations:
    MidMichigan Medical Center - Gratiot
    Mount Pleasant Surgery Center - Mount Pleasant
    MidMichigan Medical Center - Midland
GLSA Offices are also equipped with surgery suites for indicated office procedures.

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