John Iannelli: A Success Story

December 13, 2018

“I saw Dr. Louis Balsama for my one-year checkup – all good news! I lost 117 pounds, my blood pressure was 118/66 and all my labs came back looking great, except for a slight Vitamin D deficiency.

I have so much more energy! Not only do I feel healthier, but I also have a positive mental attitude about myself. I was at the lowest point of my life, 18 months ago, with my weight and eating habits completely out of control, causing lethargy and depression. Coupled with worsening peripheral neuropathy (nerve damage) – mostly concentrated in my feet and lower legs – and two foot surgeries, my situation was a recipe for hopelessness. I knew that if I didn’t do something to improve my weight and health soon, I would be diabetic and have to deal with so many obvious complications.

After an exhaustive search for the best tool for weight loss in my situation, I decided to have the gastric sleeve done by 'Dr. B.' I thought I would have a much harder time losing weight compared to others because of my inability to exercise. I was WRONG.

‘The sisters,’ sisters Susan and Robin (bariatric angels), visited me in the hospital after my surgery to give me a pep talk and inform me of exercise programs that can be done even while sitting in a chair or during a water aerobics class.

Fast forward to the present – I still sit down during our 20-20-20 exercise class due to balance issues, but I benefit greatly from it. The water aerobics class surprised me the most! I never expected I could do so many exercises in the water that I can’t do ‘normally.’ My balance in the water is unbelievable, as is the ability to hop and bounce on my bad foot. My arms, legs and core keep getting stronger and my stamina has increased substantially.

I cannot emphasize enough how crucial these programs have been throughout my weight loss journey. Not only are there obvious results from all of this hard work, but we have a ton of fun – especially during 'noodle time.' One more crucial element is the monthly support group, where we gain a wealth of information from the staff and hear advice from the experiences of other bariatric patients.

If I can give one parting piece of advice, it would be to take advantage of all that is available at Jefferson Health to help facilitate your weight loss journey to a happier and healthier life.”