Sleep Apnea (and CPAP machine) Has been gone since 5 months after the surgery, no more hypertension, my last physical (last year) – Every single lab marker was in the normal range, every single marker!
I’ve been heavy most of my life. I was raised in the Bronx, NY, having dinner each Sunday cooked by a Sicilian grandmother and a grandfather from the North of Italy who happened to be a professional chef. The attitudes always were if you’re not eating (a lot) something must be wrong, and I never wanted anything to be wrong. I was a “chubby” kid and only for two very special years (1968-1970) where I surfed, played paddle ball and just was incredibly active, I have had a weight issue. I would, as I got older, run and lose 75 lbs, and then invariably get injured and gain it all back, and then some. It was quite the roller coaster. I had kids, worked multiple jobs, frequently eating dinner at 10 pm after a long day of teaching, tutoring and driving all over the place. The increased weight created a hypertension situation and finally acute sleep apnea. I spent almost 15 years using a CPAP machine due to that, and while it helped it was incredibly inconvenient mostly while traveling.
Then, at a friend’s Christmas gathering, I saw a friend of my wife’s from college who was also always heavy and she was much slimmer; so much so that I asked a very indelicate question…”don’t quite know how to ask this so I’ll just come out with it…are you sick?” (yes it was that stunning a difference). Well, an hour later she had filled me in on what she had done, something called “sleeve” surgery. I was intrigued but concerned that it would require such a drastic life adjustment that I couldn’t do it. I had my hips replaced due to a combination of weight and simple necessity from overuse over the years but that didn’t give me more freedom, just less pain. So, I did some research and came upon Dr. Neil Floch who, of all things, I sent a twitter message out to. He responded quickly and encouraged me to make an appointment for a consult. I did, and it changed my life!
We sat down, and he very patiently listened to my story, and we both asked and answered a number of questions. My biggest concern was “giving up” things I loved. The light switch went on when he held up his hand and said, “hang on….you are NOT giving up ANYTHING forever. You ARE giving up monster portions but will have no restrictions.” We spent a little more time talking and then I left the office determined to make the change and have the sleeve surgery. It was a six month process as my insurance required multiple hoops to be jumped through (in retrospect, they were all good “hoops” and I think really caused me to focus on the process and exactly that, a process, not a magical mystery “cure”). I started my journey in 2015 at 378 lbs (am only 5’6″ and that’s a stretch) and had been as high according to my PCP doctor as 389 lbs. The sleeve surgery was done on July 26th 2015. In October 2016 I ran, and completed the SoNo Half Marathon….13.1 miles a little more than a year after the surgery.
I have been more active now at 67 (had the surgery when I was 62) than I had been for the prior 20 years. I still run, walk the dog each day, and play a lot of golf (walking the full 18 holes while carrying my bag about 80% of the time). I can fit into theater seats that were quite the problem, no longer need a seat belt extender on a flight (I have plenty of extra room on the regular belt now). I can buy clothes easily “off the rack” in any store, no longer need to locate the “Big and Tall” shops. Sleep apnea (and CPAP machine) has been gone since 5 months after the surgery, no more hypertension, My last physical (last year) – every single lab marker was in the normal range, every single marker! I am still 180 lbs below my highest weight and yes, it’s work. I need to be mindful, but it’s really easy now as it has easily become a series of good habits developed over the past 5 years. I can still eat everything I ever loved, just smaller portions, I can still drink my beloved wine, just less of it (but therefore, better quality!!).
Throughout the 5 years dr. neil has been a constant companion and support network, he responds to questions, offers suggestions when asked and has made the process seamless, painless and not to be overly redundant, life Changing!!!
YOU DO NOT NEED A SURGICAL PRACTICE TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN THIS WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY, YOU NEED A PARTNER! MY PARTNER IS DR. NEIL AND HIS TEAM!
BARIATRIC SURGERY IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION
It has been about 14 years since I had my lap band surgery. I have managed to maintain my weight between 125 and 135 during this entire time. I just turned 64 and went for my annual physical. Except for my bad cholesterol number, which has chronically been high my whole life, (my good cholesterol is also very high) I am basically in good health. After all these years, I have accumulated a large wardrobe of clothes size 4-6 because I have always stayed in that weight range.
I did have a breast cancer diagnosis two years ago; I was very lucky that it was only early stage one, and they only had to remove 2 ducts. I went through chemotherapy and radiation and am now completely recovered. The lap band “saved my life” again. It was a “shadow’ on my mammogram that led my surgeon to decide to do a biopsy. I have very dense breasts, and she told me that if I were still 300 pounds, they would have never seen it until it was much bigger and more invasive. In addition, obesity has been linked to breast cancer. I only missed 6 days of work throughout my entire treatment. I think the reason I was able to do that is that I was healthy and in good shape when I got diagnosed.
Everyone knows “HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT”. Eat less, exercise more. Simple? Knowing and doing are two completely different things. I am a food addict with a whole litany of food allergies. The minute I get upset or worried, I do not go to a bar or liquor store, or to a drug dealer, I go to the grocery store. My drug of choice is available 24/7, cheap (depending on what your favorite food is) and legal even if you are under 21.
Bariatric surgery does not cure food compulsion (although the big bypass surgery decreases production of one of the hormones that stimulated hunger.) It does however help control it. It works kind of like those bumpers that they have in the lane when you go bowling. It keeps your ball from going in the gutter, but you still must have some skill to knock down the bowling pins. The surgery helps to control the overwhelming urge to eat until you literally throw up. It limits the amount of food you can consume in one sitting, thereby giving you a chance to get control over your behavior.
Very often, when I am in the throes of a compulsion (which still happens occasionally) I will get full fairly quickly and then I literally have to leave the kitchen (and the refrigerator) and go do something else or I will throw up if I continue to eat. That is where the skill comes in. I have taught myself to exercise or read a book or do a chore to take my mind off the food. By the time I get hungry again, the compulsion is gone, and I am on to something else. The advanced skill is to keep yourself from getting the compulsion in the first place. That takes a lot of practice. After all these years I am better at it than I used to be, but I still have issues sometimes.
Bariatric surgery is a tool. A very powerful one but a tool, nonetheless. Many people who are obese have psychological issues that feed their overeating behavior. If you are one of those, you have to do the work on yourself to ensure that you stay on a good path. I went to therapy for a couple of years after my surgery. I also went to the support groups provided by Dr. Neil Floch and took advantage of the nutrition counseling to learn a whole new way to eat. That may not be the answer for everyone, but it worked for me. It helped me to understand how to deal with stress more effectively, how to cope with some of my personal issues instead of “stuffing down my feelings” by binge eating. I learned new and healthier behaviors and new ways to eat to substitute for the automatic choice of “drowning my sorrows with junk food.” Personal growth is never easy to attain in normal circumstances. Without the physical pain of carrying around 175 of excess weight, the debilitative cravings that the food allergies triggered, along with the concurrent feelings of frustration, self-loathing and depression that occurred every time I looked in the mirror, it was much easier to adopt the new eating behaviors that have sustained me all these many years.
Dr. Floch and his team are great leading up to and during surgery. They help with the process of getting the approvals, which takes a lot of time, and getting you physically and mentally ready for surgery. Most importantly they provide all the tools you need to be successful after surgery: nutrition counseling, group support, a full line of meal replacements and vitamins (I still take mine), and emergency availability if anything goes wrong.
In the years since I did the surgery, bariatric surgery has become much more acceptable and available. There are plenty of surgical practices that offer these surgeries. You do not need a surgical practice to be successful in this weight loss journey, you need a partner! My partner is Dr. Neil and his team!
My bariatric surgery cured my blood pressure.
On July 15th 2015 I had a Gastric bypass and discovered a new life. I started my bariatric journey with a lap band prior to that date, but it failed. Talking to Dr. Neil about the problems cased by the lap band, he suggested, and I agreed, to go with the gold standard and I went ahead with gastric bypass revisional surgery. The best decisions I’ve ever made! Take a look at my “before” and “after” photos. They’re the evidence. And, even more telling is what has so positively transformed within the “inner” me.
I’ve lost 133 lbs and now weigh 167. WOW!!! Before my weight loss surgery, I awoke every morning to a miserable day. I dreaded the thought of getting dressed. Everything was tight and uncomfortable. Today I wake up put on whatever i want and it fits! It’s such a great feeling to be able to do that.
My bariatric surgery cured my blood pressure. I lived with the fear of getting other life threatening medical conditions and I wanted the surgery to help prevent that from happening. Today, that fear is gone.
A friend of mine recommended Dr. Neil Floch to me. The first time I met Dr. Neil it felt as if we were best friends. I instantly knew he was going to be my surgeon. My insurance company would not approve the surgery at first. But, his staff worked their tails off to get it approved. And, they did!
If you are thinking about weight loss surgery DO IT. Dont wait. Its was the best decision in my life. Also, if you decide to have surgery you must go to Dr. Neil.
I was thrown off the school bus because I was so overweight and chunky. Kids used to sneak into the yard, steal my bike and hide it in the weeds. This was to taunt me because of the way I looked.
My life long journey… It’s been a tough one!
Had friends…had no friends…been bullied all my life…been a loner. I still consider myself a loner. I guess its because of the bullying I went through; all because I was overweight. Teachers often weren’t nice to me. I wasn’t viewed or treated like the other children. They belittled me and said I would never amount to anything (They should see me now!!!). I was called names; ding dong. They were cruel to me.
I don’t like large crowds. They make me feel uncomfortable. I still feel the shame and the guilt that obesity brought into my life. But, in spite of the way I feel, I manage to overcome those feelings and have friends, a social life and a career as a para-professional assisting children in the school system with disabilities. It’s a very exhausting, but rewarding job. In 2002 I met a wonderful guy who came into my life as a friend. We didn’t start dating until December 2003 Dec. It just blossomed into something beautiful. He was right there with me for the whole time…tears, sorrow, sad stories. We got married in 2006. In 2007 I was really disgusted with myself. I had to do something!
My dad’s family had diabetes and heart issues. My mom’s family had cancer, diabetes, and heart issues. The future didn’t look so bright for me; Had I continued on the path I was on. Today I am full of life and more energetic than ever. My friend constantly tells me that I am now a latent adolescent. I’m able to keep up with my husband; 6’ 2”, 200 lbs, healthy, and active. We walk on the beach together, hike, and ride bicycles. I have endless energy. I often walk 7 – 8 miles a day.
In 2007 I dragged my husband to a seminar. Two of my co-workers had surgery with Dr. Neil Floch and highly recommended him. So, I went to one of hiss seminars. We went home, talked about if for a while, and together Andrew and I decided that I would have the lapband. I met with Dr. Neil and he agreed with my decision and I went through with the surgery in April 2008. I lost 120 lbs with the band. I started to suffer with acid reflux in 2011 and after discussions with Dr. Neil we jointly decided that I should have gastric bypass revisional surgery.
So far I have been very successful with it. I’m able to bend without any problems. Gardening is a hobby and something I never would have been able to do before. I’ve now lost a total of 152 lbs.
Happiness and I have now discovered each other. Thank you Dr. Neil for helping making that possible.
Before my surgery I had high blood pressure, high sugar levels, joint pains, and sleep apnea.
In August 2015 I had gastric bypass surgery and have lost 100 lbs.
I tried every single diet and ways to lose weight until I finally decided to get bariatric surgery. I was miserable, no energy, and very depressed.
Now, after my bypass surgery life is amazing. I learned that the surgery is just a tool. if you don’t change your lifestyle it won’t work. Now, I feel amazing and I look great. The surgery gave me my life back again. I was reborn.
Before my surgery I had high blood pressure, high sugar levels, joint pains, and sleep apnea.
Since the day I met Dr. Neil Floch I knew he was the right doctor for me. He has so much knowledge about bariatric surgery and he made me feel so comfortable. He supported me through it all, and even now he is still my number one supporter.
My experience with Dr. Neil and his team has been amazing. They helped me so much before, during and after the surgery. The surgery has been an emotional roller coaster, but with all the support I have been able to overcome all obstacles. Today, it’s very important to choose the right doctor before having surgery. I went to many places and none of them made me feel comfortable. When I met Dr. Neil. I felt like I was given a second chance. I explained to him how being overweight, and not being able to lose the weight on my own was affecting my life. He carefully explained to me that it was possible to lose the weight I so wanted to do.
This has been one of the best experiences of my life. I would highly recommend Dr. Floch.
My surgery has been the best choice I ever made. I would do it many times over if needed. I was bullied my whole life because of my weight. The surgery gave my smile back to me and I just got engaged. One piece of advice I have to everyone is that the surgery is not a magic pill. If you don’t change the way you think or feel about food, you will regain the weight back. I have been able to maintain the weight I want but it’s hard work everyday. Psychologist’s help is also very important. The change is not only on your appearance, but inside too. I’m on my last step of the surgery which is getting plastic surgery to remove all excess skin. It’s my dream to close this chapter of my life. If there is any plastic surgeon out there willing to help me out, it would be amazing. I’m getting married next year and I want look as good as I feel.
Today I eat to live…not live to eat!
I saw drastic and immediate changes to my blood sugar levels, my energy, and especially to no longer living with so much physical pain. I had plantar fasciitis in both feet for over two years, I had ongoing problems with my knees and regular back pain. After surgery, all of that is gone!
On February 4, 2019 I had Roux-en-Y (gastric bypass) surgery. So far, I’m down 131 pounds from my highest documented weight. I weigh 247 pounds. I lost 70 pounds in the year leading up to surgery and so far I’ve lost 61 pounds post-surgery.
For me, the decision to have surgery was driven by my need to address potential health issues. I have a family history of diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. I was steadily moving towards the reality that these would all be in my near future if I didn’t do something to make a change. I struggled with my weight impacting my health for many years of my adult life and I tried multiple diet and exercise solutions with varying degrees of success. After consulting with my primary care physician, I knew it was time to consider bariatric surgery as an option.
I first want to stress that even at my highest weight, I loved myself. And that’s important for everyone to do! I always said, if I’m going to be fat, then I’m going to be fat and fabulous! While I am absolutely thrilled with the weight loss I’ve experienced to date, I didn’t make the decision specifically to be thinner. I made the decision to be healthier.
In short, I feel like a new person. I saw drastic and immediate changes to my blood sugar levels, my energy, and especially to no longer living with so much physical pain. I had plantar fasciitis in both feet for over two years, I had ongoing problems with my knees and regular back pain. After surgery, all of that is gone! I started cooking. I’m active and my energy has gone through the roof! I also battled depression and anxiety for many years before surgery and all of that has currently subsided. Like I said before, I loved myself at my highest weight. Now, I love myself and the new improved health and energy.
While I was hoping to find a surgeon close to home (I live in Norwalk), it was much more important to me that I selected one with whom I “clicked.” I wanted someone who was not only very experienced with these surgeries, but also someone who would take the time to listen to me and my concerns and someone who was genuine and approachable. I feel very fortunate to have found Dr. Neil Floch as he is all of those things. It’s unfortunately far too common today to find an outstanding doctor whose office staff does not live up to the same level of service as the doctor they support. That has not been the case at all with Dr. Neil’s from Debbie to the front office staff, there is a strong team in place to support you and make you feel at ease with what could potentially be an overwhelming process.
I’m not a person who lives a life of regret. With that said, my only regret with this process was waiting so long to decide to seriously consider bariatric surgery. If you’re thinking about having bariatric surgery, stop thinking about it and start learning. Attend a seminar. Gather information to educate yourself on the process. You only have one life, so you owe it to yourself to discover if surgery is right for you.
After all, what do you have to lose?
Besides the weight.
And the pain.
And any other health issues that may be looming in your future.
Start taking the steps today to improve your life and reclaim your health.
I feel more alive than I have in years! And guess what? You can, too.