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From the Football Field to the Firehouse Share
Toby Marsh

Sep, 2017

Physicians: Michael Schuhknecht, DO

In 1987, as senior captain of the Lakeshore football team, it was beneficial for Toby Marsh to be big. Now, as a 47 year old man and weighing 345 pounds, his weight was causing him to have high blood pressure, diabetes, back pain, and many other ailments.

“Growing up I never thought much of my weight because many of my family members were also overweight,” said Toby. “It didn’t seem like a problem.”

However, over the years his weight continued to increase and Toby and his high school sweetheart Julie were busy raising their three boys. Toby found himself focusing more on others instead of himself.

“I didn’t have energy to go on walks with my wife or to do work around the house and yard,” explained Toby.

As a shipping and receiving supervisor at Four Winds Casino, as well as a volunteer firefighter and EMT in Royalton Township, Toby led a very busy life, and as a result he wasn’t taking the time to fuel his body with the right food.

 “My weight was holding me back in ways I wasn’t fully aware of,” said Toby. “I was always the guy driving the truck to the fire, not running into it.”

It wasn’t until Toby was at a doctor’s appointment that he noticed two words on his medical chart that made him look twice.

 “Seeing the words ‘morbidly obese’ on my chart startled me,” said Toby. “It was in that moment I knew I needed to make a change.”

Toby first went to see a provider in Holland about weight loss surgery in late 2014. He went through the entire process and then was left in a lurch when they didn’t communicate his insurance information was due. Having missed that step of the program, Toby was forced to start over with the whole process.

“It was very frustrating and I was defeated,” said Toby. “I decided it wasn’t the right time for surgery.”

A year later, a friend of Toby’s told him about his great experience with bariatric surgeon, Michael Schuhknecht, DO and the staff at the Lakeland Comprehensive Weight Loss Center. Toby reached out to the office for more information on their services and they recommended he attend one of the monthly Lose Weight… Find Health seminars.

“Dr. Schuhknecht’s presentation truly made an impact on me,” said Toby. “I knew I was ready.”

After going over the information he received at the seminar and doing extensive research of his own on different surgical options, Toby made an appointment with Dr. Schuhknecht to discuss his next steps. Together they decided that a vertical sleeve gastrectomy was his best option.

“The gastric sleeve was what fit best for myself, my family, and our lifestyle,” said Toby.

Over the course of the next few months Toby began to prepare for the surgery and was able to lose 20 pounds on his own. Since having the surgery in October of 2016, Toby has lost a total of 115 pounds and is off all diabetes and blood pressure medications.

“Not only has this surgery changed me physically and mentally, it’s been a huge financial relief,” said Toby. “I no longer have to pay for medications I was previously taking because I was overweight.”

Toby’s role as a volunteer firefighter has also changed drastically since his surgery.

“My mobility and flexibility has increased significantly,” he said. “Fitting through tight spaces and bear crawling through burning buildings is so much easier with that 115 pounds gone.”

Toby is not only feeling the physical difference from the weight loss but also the emotional benefits as well.

“Everyone has a touch of vanity and I now feel more confident walking into a room,“ explains Toby. “I am proud of how I look. I would love to inspire or encourage others that are in the same situation I was. This surgery truly was life altering in the best way.”

Interested in taking a first step towards a healthier lifestyle? Attend a monthly weight-loss seminar in Niles or St. Joseph. Visit for dates and times. 

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