By Kathy Walsh
GREELEY, Colo. (CBS4) – An early morning DJ in northern Colorado wakes up every day a new man.
He credits correcting a sleep problem for changing his life.
Brian Gary is happy. Life is good because he finally took care of his health.
On a beautiful November day, Gary played a game of sidewalk soccer with his feisty 4-year-old grandson, Zayden. Playing with Zayden was a breeze, now that Gary is getting his Z’s.
“It was the single most life-changing thing that’s ever happened to me,” Gary said.
For 20 years, the award-winning DJ at K99 Radio in Windsor had ignored his health.
Weighing nearly 400 pounds, he had diabetes at 30 years old and a heart attack at 41 years old. Gary was fighting anxiety and panic attacks.
“Every day I woke up scared that I was going to die today,” he told CBS 4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
Gary was in his early 50s and was exhausted.
His primary care physician, Dr. Brian Schmalhorst with UCHealth Family Medicine Clinic in Greeley, encouraged him to get a sleep study at the UCHealth Sleep Lab in northern Colorado.
“I found out that I was quitting breathing 89 to 90 times an hour,” said Gary.
Gary said the first night using a CPAP machine to treat his sleep apnea was amazing.
“I woke up with this energy and alertness and my brain felt alive,” he said.
That was the catalyst for change. Gary got active. He altered his diet and lost 135 pounds.
“It just feels so good to feel good,” said Gary.
Gary could be the poster child for what UCHealth calls MANtenance, a commitment for men to take care of themselves making health a priority.
“Just a little MANtenance, just a little caring for yourself can totally change your life,” he said.
The “new” Gary makes sleep a priority. It gives him plenty of energy for play.
Gary can’t re-do those 20 years when he was barely sleeping, but he shares his story hoping it might convince others who are exhausted to undergo a sleep study.