And the winner is …

I have selected a surgeon and a bariatric program: Doctor David Echevarria of BayCare Health Care System. This means I’ll have the surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital, which is near Camp David and across the street from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ training facility. Maybe I’ll see some practice games while I’m recuperating.

This was an important decision for me, and there were a lot of things to consider. A few things set Dr. Echevarria (Footnote 1) and the St. Joe’s program apart for me.

  • He took the time to speak to the Complementary Spouse and me personally, and didn’t look at his watch once.
  • He is very well qualified, and has years of experience.
  • He spoke about the pros and cons of the two procedures he performs, and provided some good reasoning for recommending one over the other for me.
  • He wears Crocs, which means he truly understands my love of rubber comfortable footwear.
  • The manager of the Bariatric Surgery Program at St. Joe’s, Michelle Stracke, also spoke one-on-one with me and the Complementary Spouse for a long time.
  • The doctor I mentioned yesterday (Footnote 2) said I couldn’t go wrong with either this program or the other one I was considering. He didn’t make a decision for me, but he helped guide me through the decision-making process.

This is the first big step on my way to surgery. I have already emailed Michelle to tell her I’m proceeding with the St. Joe’s program, and sent her a huge list of questions. She replied within one hour.

Some of the next steps:

  • Meeting with my primary care physician.
  • Drinking a tall, cool glass of radioactive barium to make sure all my internal organs are working properly. I assume this will taste like a Unicorn Frappucino.
  • Getting an ultrasound scan of my gallbladder, which might need to come out during surgery.
  • Going to a four-hour meeting with a fitness specialist, nutritionist, and psychologist.
  • Lose 10 pounds (I’m aiming for 15).

Very exciting to know I have a surgeon and that things are progressing!



  1. I need to think of a nickname for him. I can’t have two Daves in my blog, and I’m not changing my own name.
  2. This is Dr. Perry Kaly, the psychologist I saw a few years ago to help with weight loss and other issues. He’s a superb psychologist and really helped me reframe the way I thought about a lot of things. Also, he was more effective than anyone else in helping me lose weight: While I was seeing him, I lost approximately 30 pounds.

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