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Bariatric Testimonials

Patient Testimonials

The testimonials featured below are all real-life stories from patients who have recently undergone bariatric surgery through our award-winning program. 

Lauren M.

Lauren's Story

I’ve tried various diets over the years, from Weight Watchers, to keto, to Atkins – you name it. I would lose a couple of pounds and that was it. Nothing worked for me.

When I reached my highest weight of 280 pounds, I realized that life was passing me by. My 7-year-old daughter wanted to have fun and be active with me, and I couldn’t keep up because I was always tired. She’s getting older, and I’m getting older, and there’s so much I want to experience with her.

One of my closest friends had bariatric surgery, so I decided to give it a try. Making that call to Dr. Adam Goldstein’s office was the best choice I made for my health.

Since my surgery in March 2021, I’ve lost 56 pounds, and I feel so much better. I used to suffer from excruciating migraines – the kind that would last more than 24 hours – and I haven’t had one yet. I’ll get a minor headache, but nothing compared to before.

My biggest non-scale victory is having the energy to go out and live life with my daughter. We went to the waterpark over the summer, and I was able to go on slides with her. I have not done that kind of thing in forever. I never wanted to wear a bathing suit.

Sherry

Sherry's Story

Most of my adult life, I was overweight. On and off diets, I would lose weight temporarily, but never keep it off. A few years ago, I started to research bariatric surgery. Last year, I took that first step; by July I was undergoing my gastric bypass. I’ll never regret my decision, as I truly believe it saved my life.

I met with Dr. Louis Balsama and his team, and right away, I knew it was the right fit. Everyone was encouraging and helpful.

At the time, I was struggling with underactive thyroid issues, high blood pressure, and pre-diabetes. The last thing I wanted was for my health to get any worse.

The day of surgery – July 14, 2020 – I remember being nervous, but more than anything I was confident in Dr. Balsama and ready to start living a healthier lifestyle.

Since my surgery, my lifestyle has changed tremendously. I have lost almost 120 pounds, and I’m no longer on medications for my thyroid or blood pressure (and I’m no longer pre-diabetic). I’m able to work out more – at least 4-5 times a week – with less joint pain holding me back. I also have an easier time getting through the workday.

One of the biggest things I learned, nutrition-wise, was to always pay attention to what I’m putting in my body. It’s not stress relief; it’s nourishment. I seek out foods full of protein and nutrients that will benefit me. I cook healthier meals, which is great for my whole family. I feel like I’m being a better role model for my children, and they’re enjoying eating healthy with me.

Lauren K.

Lauren's Story

I had bariatric surgery primarily to become eligible for a breast reduction. The chronic pain and complications caused by the size of my chest have been some of my biggest hurdles, and I knew bariatric surgery could help me improve my overall health.

I had gastric sleeve surgery in February 2021, with Dr. Adeshola Fakulujo, and I’ve lost around 80 pounds so far. I haven’t had my breast reduction yet because it’s recommended that I wait at least a year to ensure I reach my weight-loss goal, and that I can maintain it.

The process leading up to surgery was a little tedious, but it was all worth it. The day of surgery, I was almost in disbelief. I was nervous, but excited. I needed a change.

Now, I’m able to walk up the stairs without running out of breath. I can chase after my nephews and niece and actually enjoy playing with them – not feeling like I’m about to die. Unexpectedly, my weight loss has also helped reduce my autoimmune symptoms significantly. I battle with Lupus, Lyme’s Disease, and Rheumatoid Arthritis, and I’ve had far fewer flare-ups.

Michele

Michele's Story

I’ve always been overweight. I was born 11 pounds, 3 ounces. I was always the “big” sister. The “final straw” came about five years ago. I was on vacation, visiting family, and I couldn’t enjoy myself as much as I wanted to. I could barely walk. I was over 300 pounds. Enough was enough.

Since my sleeve gastrectomy in September 2016, my life has changed dramatically. I’ve lost 190 pounds. I can run. I have a lot more energy. My blood pressure and sugar levels are great. I joined a women’s softball league. We played fundraiser tournaments all summer.

About a year after surgery, I had a breast cancer scare, during which I had a lumpectomy. I honestly don’t think I would’ve done it and battled it as confidently as I did if I hadn’t rediscovered a reason to live. Because my self-esteem was so much better, I wanted to get through it to continue experiencing a healthy life.

Losing the weight hasn’t been easy. I’ve made plenty of lifestyle changes, including sticking to a low-carb diet. I try not to eat late at night. I eat smaller meals. Overall, I’m much more conscientious. I’ve learned what my body needs to sustain itself, and that there’s a difference between real hunger and thinking I’m hungry.

 

Garland

Garland's Story

A couple of years ago, my weight was steadily approaching 600 pounds. I wasn’t suffering with any major health complications at the time, but I knew they were right around the corner. I needed to invest in my health.

The first time I met Dr. Neff, he was so motivating. I’ve never had an experience with a doctor like it; he truly got to know me. There was an overwhelming sense that he and his team were in my corner, and we were all working toward the same goal.

Before surgery, I needed to lose some of the weight. With the help of Jefferson’s bariatric support classes, diet, and exercise, I lost more than 100 pounds. Following my surgery in June 2020, I’ve lost an additional 200 pounds so far. My greatest non-scale victory is that I can go clothing shopping anywhere. I don’t have to rely on the biggest size they have in stock. I’m also much more active.

I’m passionate about art and comics, and I feel as though everyone has their own superhero inside of them. Bariatric surgery has helped me unleash my inner superhero; my weight loss has allowed me to be of more service to myself and others. It’s improved my physical health, my self-esteem, and my self-value.

Ron

Ron's Story

My story is one of revision and reclaiming freedom. I’m no stranger to bariatric surgery. I’ve been through it twice: first, the lap band, and most recently, in February, the gastric sleeve.

I was up to 340 pounds. I felt terrible. I was tired all the time, struggling with sleep apnea and borderline high blood pressure. Health risks stared me in the face. Could bariatric surgery help me again?

I returned to Adam Goldstein, DO, and we discussed the gastric sleeve. I needed to lose some weight first, which would be difficult, but worth it. 

Recovery happened in the “blink of an eye,” and the pounds shed fast. There it was again – the energy to move! I was a soccer referee for a long time, so I was always active, until my weight started holding me back. But just four weeks after surgery, I refereed my first game since. By the end of it, I had run 16,000 steps (around 8 miles). 

Now, I can exercise and take care of things around the yard without getting out of breath; before, I would have been on the brink of passing out with this kind of activity. This is my greatest non-scale victory. Being able to move. Feeling weightless. Feeling free. It’s what keeps me going. It’s what keeps me from looking back.

Cristy

Cristy's Story

It’s been around eight months since I’ve had bariatric surgery, and I’m the lowest weight I’ve been in 10 years — at 140 pounds!

Before surgery, I struggled to lose the same 10 pounds; I’d go back and forth. Having had a hysterectomy a few years ago, it became increasingly difficult to lose weight, regardless of what I did. I ate a whole-foods, vegan diet and was incredibly active. Nothing helped. 

As the wellness program coordinator for the bariatric surgery department at Jefferson Health – New Jersey, I’ve seen countless times how surgery has improved peoples’ lives, but I wasn’t sure that I’d be a candidate. Because of my health history, Dr. Marc Neff ensured me I was, and we started the process right away.

I was confident about how I would progress, but, unfortunately, I was hit with a different health battle — a recurrence of a rare cancer, leiomyosarcoma, for which I had to start an extensive course of chemotherapy. I knew it was going to be hard to stay on track, but I wasn’t going to give up. There were many times I couldn’t exercise (or move, for that matter) and couldn’t eat. I turned to Dr. Neff and Cheri for support, and they helped me find unique ways to still hit my nutrition goals.

Even after what I’ve been through, life after bariatric surgery has been vibrant! I feel like I’ve gotten a reset; I’ve gotten to taste my favorite foods for the first time again. I have so much more stamina. Working out is more enjoyable. I fit into clothes I haven’t fit into in years. Plus, I just started my certification to become a personal trainer.

 

Taneisha

Taneisha's Story

Before bariatric surgery, I was incapacitated and in relentless pain. I suffered injuries and a myriad of health problems – including congestive heart failure and several hospitalizations – due to my weight. Now, I’m getting my life back.

For years, my doctors encouraged me to consider bariatric surgery, but I didn’t think it was for me. I was too afraid something would go wrong. My heart failure scare was my wake-up call. While I was in the hospital, my doctors told me my children needed me. They were right.

I can’t commend Dr. Adeshola Fakulujo enough for all he did and continues to do for me. Before surgery, he went out of his way to comfort me and ease my concerns. He was patient and endearing. He was there every step of the way, ensuring my safety. I knew I was in good hands. 

Some of my biggest achievements are basic things that many of take for granted. I can take care of myself again. There were many things I needed assistance with before, including cooking and taking care of personal hygiene. I also had an elbow injury that caused severe pain and hindered much of my upper-body capability. Now, the pain is virtually gone, and I can use my arm again.

Dawn

Dawn's Story

For four years, I’ve struggled with severe inflammatory bowel disease. I always needed to be near a bathroom. I could hardly digest anything I ate, but I still put on weight. I couldn’t figure out what was going on with my body.

Back and forth between gastroenterologists and my primary care doctor, I was finally referred to Dr. Adam Goldstein for bariatric surgery. While weight loss would be an inevitable benefit, it was primarily recommended to help relieve my bowel complications. I was worried, but willing to try anything.

I had my surgery in February 2021. Recovery was difficult at first – particularly getting through the liquid and soft food phases – but exactly four weeks to the day after surgery, I woke up feeling like a different person. The abdominal pain was gone. I was energized. I thought to myself, “So this is what they’ve been talking about.”

So far, I’ve lost around 60 pounds. I recently hit a plateau for the first time, which admittedly discouraged me. But my dietitian ensured that plateaus impact just about everyone who has bariatric surgery, just at different times and stages. You have to stick with your routine, and that plateau will break when you’re least expecting it.

Maria

Maria's Story

Four years ago, this August, I took control of my health. I wasn’t happy with the way I looked or felt, and I couldn’t keep up with my two young sons; bariatric surgery fixed all of that and more.

When you have bariatric surgery, you must adjust to new ways of eating and drinking, which is challenging. What’s exciting is the weight comes off shockingly quickly within the first few months. However, sticking to your new lifestyle and maintaining your weight and overall health, after that initial weight-loss slows, takes a lot of hard work and dedication.

I started out at 208 pounds, and I’m currently 126!

Maintaining a relationship with my surgeon, Dr. Marc Neff, and dietitian, Cheri Leahy, RDN, CSOWM, has been key for me. I see them both a couple times a year. They’re there to help me and provide reassurance. Why wouldn’t I take advantage of that? Appointments are easy to schedule, and the staff is easy to talk to. I don’t feel like I’m going to the doctor; I feel like I’m catching up with friends.

 

Bob

Bob's Story

As my wife, Linda, and I entered into retirement, we started to attack a long list of endeavors – many of which involved being physically active. Unfortunately, because of my weight, my knees and back were always aching and holding me back. There were times she had to go on hikes without me, while I sat back in the car.

I finally realized – if I don’t do it (surgery) now, I may never have a chance to. I don’t know what I was so afraid of. I’m so glad I finally went through with it and contacted Dr. Neff.

Prior to surgery, I lost 45 pounds. Since surgery, in November, I’ve lost an additional 42, and I’m eagerly staring down the 100-pound mark.

My life has changed for the better in countless ways. There are so many small things that you do on a daily basis that are so much easier when you lose weight, such as tying your shoes or walking down the stairs.

I’ve also had the energy and motivation to pick up old hobbies – things I lost interest in, as trying to do them was a hassle.

Sharon

Sharon's Story

Before weight-loss surgery, I was heavier than heavy. I just kept buying bigger clothes, and I didn’t see the problem.

One day, I was babysitting my niece and nephews, and I got down on the floor to play with the baby. Before I knew it, I was struggling to get back up. I never felt more embarrassed. 

I stumbled upon Dr. Neff by chance, and I’m glad I did. While I felt overwhelmed and ashamed in the waiting room, my mood instantly changed when I met him. Dr. Neff greeted me with a genuine smile. It was clear he didn’t care about how I looked, he only cared about helping me. 

When I had my surgery, it was the winter 2012. I went from almost 400 pounds, down to 163 (a size 28 to a size 12). Not to mention, I can now wear a two-piece bathing suit – something I never dared to do my entire life.  

I took the weight off, and I’ve managed to keep it off all these years. I’ve never obsessed over the number on the scale; instead, I pay attention to how I feel. I learned a lot about making the right choices and avoiding my bad eating habits. I no longer have trouble breathing and moving. I walk almost every day, and I feel so much better about myself. 

Lynzie

Lynzie's Story

From the first time I met Dr. Adeshola Fakulujo and his staff, they assured me we were all in this together.

I – like many others – opted to have bariatric surgery to ease the burden of weight-related health complications. I no longer felt like myself, and I was struggling to enjoy my life.

In August 2017, I had gastric sleeve surgery. I lost 151 pounds, and my life has changed for the better – physically, emotionally, and socially.

Physically, I’m much more agile and energetic. I can stay on my feet longer, which helps with my career as a phlebotomist. It feels great to be able to get to my patients faster and not have to sit down for breaks in between.

Emotionally and socially, I have so much more self-love and a thirst for adventure! I love to shop and try on clothes, because I love the way I look. I’m more open to going out and having fun in public, because my health and self-esteem don’t hold me back.

Bariatric surgery, hands down, has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made (next to my children, of course)!

If you’re considering having surgery, I highly encourage it. However, you must be fully committed first.

Gregg

Gregg's Story

Before bariatric surgery, I wasn’t living. I was existing.

At 45-years-old, I had just about checked out of life. I was over 500 pounds, and I was not motivated. I didn’t think I was going to make it to age 50, let alone thrive and enjoy life as much as I do now.

My wake-up call came one night while I was lying in bed; I was so hungry, but I didn’t have the energy to get up, get in my car, and drive to the store to get something to eat. I actually started crying. Right then and there, I knew it was time to make a change. I researched bariatric surgeons “near me” all night.

After making a few calls, I ended up at a free bariatric seminar with Dr. Marc Neff. He was genuine and made me feel comfortable; I knew he was the right fit for me.

After getting a referral from my primary care doctor, I started the process with Dr. Neff right away. Because I was so heavy, I needed to lose 80 pounds before surgery. It took around nine months, a ton of hard work, and an incredible amount of support from my mom (who let me move in with her to help me stay on track) and my daughter (who ended up getting the surgery as well and has been my partner throughout this journey).

Finally, in August 2017, I had my gastric bypass. I went from 554 pounds to around 190.

When people ask me what the greatest benefit has been, the answer is simple – health!

My quality of life has improved tenfold. I no longer suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, and narcolepsy (which had made me fall asleep behind the wheel a couple of times). I no longer have to pop Advil® and Tylenol® constantly to manage my joint pain. I also no longer have to take breaks to catch my breath when walking normal distances.

Robyn

Robyn's Story

Before bariatric surgery, I was scared, anxiety-ridden, and ashamed of how I looked. Physically, I couldn’t move without experiencing severe pain. I wanted so badly to be healthy, but I knew I needed help.

I had gastric sleeve surgery in September 2019, and it gave me my life back.

I have lost a total of 101 pounds, and I feel so much better. I no longer suffer from high blood pressure; my sugar levels are normal; my hypothyroidism is more manageable; and my anxiety and depression have improved greatly. 

My biggest non-scale victory is being able to walk without pain or needing to take breaks. I can sweep and mop my entire house, now, on my feet! I can walk the whole store. I can stay awake longer. I can feel my knee bones and my ribs, and I can finally cross my legs again.

Every single person on Dr. Neff’s team has been absolutely phenomenal. They’ve all made me feel special and cared for through and through. Dr. Neff, himself, was always kind and funny, and he played a monumental roll in keeping me grounded.

I’ll NEVER forget, before my surgery – when I was completely overwhelmed and crying my eyes out – Dr. Neff took me by the hand, talked me through it, and stayed with me while I was being prepped. Afterwards, he came in on his day off just to see me before I was sent home.

Rebecca

Rebecca's Story

My unhealthy relationship with food started as a kid. I tended to turn to it for comfort. Over time, I gained more and more weight. As an adult, I’ve worked with my primary care provider several times to try and get it under control. 

My defining moment came in summer 2019. I hadn’t been out with my friends in quite some time, but I decided to go out and surprise them. I showed up, eager to take on the night, and they didn’t even recognize me. Later in the night, as I was dancing, I turned and caught a view of myself in the mirror. It made me feel so miserable. I knew I needed to make a change.

I called my doctor the next day and told him I was ready. He referred me to Dr. Marc Neff with the Jefferson Bariatric Surgery Program in New Jersey. 

I had gastric sleeve surgery in December 2019, and I’ve lost 103 pounds. I went from a size 24 down to a size 10. There have been countless physical benefits; more than anything, I’m just not in as much pain as I used to be from carrying around all that extra weight.

The biggest step in fixing my mindset was finding my WHY. I had to ask myself why I ate the way I did, and I needed to address the root cause, not just the superficial cause.

Lisa

Lisa's Story

My decision to take control of my health came shortly after I met the love of my life. I realized that I wasn’t heading in a good direction, and I didn’t want to die young. I wanted to live a long, healthy, and happy life for my boyfriend and for myself.

I was struggling with type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, thyroid problems – you name it, I had it. On top of this, I was having trouble moving, walking, and breathing.

I had gastric sleeve surgery in January 2017. I lost 102 pounds, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been able to keep the weight off for four years!

It’s easy to say you can change, but it’s a lot harder to actually commit to it. You have to WANT it each and every day, and I WANTED it. You have to live a new and improved lifestyle and say goodbye to your old habits.

Now, my entire life is different. I do everything I can to keep my body strong. I food prep; I eat right; I exercise almost daily; I take all of my vitamins; I get my check-up bloodwork done every 3-4 months; and my stomach is just as small as the day Dr. Neff operated. You need all the components to make it work.

Meghan

Meghan's Story

I struggled with my weight for years. I tried dieting, personal trainers, medications – all of which failed. I lost a few pounds here and there, but I never made any significant improvements. I was frustrated, I was sad, and I didn’t like how I saw myself. I felt like I was trapped in a hole.

My doctor finally suggested that I meet with Dr. Marc Neff, with the Jefferson Health Bariatric Surgery Program in New Jersey. 

I was hesitant to sign up right away. My turning point was on a vacation with my friend. We went zip lining, and as we were trying to climb up the mountain, I had to stop for so many breaks. I couldn’t catch my breath. 

I knew then, I just wanted to be able to live and enjoy my life without being uncomfortable. I attended a bariatric surgery seminar, and it gave me so much excitement and hope. That’s when it clicked – there was a way for me to do this!

A short three months later, in February 2019, I had gastric sleeve surgery. I have lost a total of 130 pounds!

My life has completely changed in the best ways possible. I can finally do things that I’ve wanted to do for years. I have confidence in myself again. I can go out and feel comfortable in my clothes – even in a bikini! I’m no longer ashamed or sad. I’m no longer hiding away in that hole.

Kate

Kate's Story

I used to be the person who thought weight-loss surgery was the easy way out. Then, one day, I stumbled across a magazine article that pointed out something eye-opening: if you’d have surgery to fix any other health complication, why not do it for your weight?

I’ve always been big. My entire family runs a high risk of heart attack and stroke, so I’ve always tried to reduce my own risk. My efforts included countless failed diets and, eventually, I had gastric sleeve surgery. I was able to lose about 100 pounds, but I couldn’t lose anymore.

It wasn’t until I entered the doors of Jefferson Health – New Jersey and met Dr. Marc Neff that I learned it wasn’t anything I was doing wrong, rather, my body just processes things different than most people. He advised that the gastric bypass would be much more effective for me, and so I underwent surgery again on July 6, 2020.

I started my weight-loss journey at 350 pounds; now, I am 213. I am incredibly excited for the New Year, because when I hit 208, it’ll be the first time since middle school that I won’t be considered medically obese. Also, when I hit 200, I will have officially lost 150 pounds!

Nicole

Nicole's Story

When I was at my highest weight – which was around 459 pounds – I was emotionally and physically drained. I felt like I couldn’t do anything; when I wasn’t working, I just sat around. None of the diet programs I tried were sustainable. I was unmotivated, and I was at my wit’s end.

I knew I needed to make a change. More than anything, I wanted to get healthier for my kids – to be able to play with them and keep up with them again.

I had my surgery in July 2018, and I’ve lost nearly 200 pounds so far. My state of mind has been completely different ever since. I’m constantly trying to stay active, hydrated, and properly nourished. 

Every single day, I set goals for myself. Some days, I have stricter expectations, and on other days, I allow myself to cheat. Weight-loss isn’t about deprivation, it’s about moderation. If you’re not realistic and kind to yourself, you won’t succeed.

It’s also important to have a strong support system; in addition to my daughter, my sons, Dominick and Robert, my mom, Anna, and my niece, Amber, have all been so encouraging and helpful.

 

Cindy

Cindy's Story

I’ve been overweight most of my life. Even though I was generally healthy, I tried to lose weight, time and time again. Nothing worked long-term.

I watched as family members struggled with their weight and faced countless complications, such as shortness of breath and joint pain, that disrupted their quality of life. I knew I didn’t want that to be my future.

It was around seven years ago that I made the decision to have weight-loss surgery, under the care of Dr. Louis Balsama, and I’ve never looked back since. He and his team have been wonderful and caring every step of the way.

I’ve maintained a 95-pound loss and have accomplished many personal goals. I attribute two key factors to my success: activity and accountability.

I’ve taken major physical leaps that I would’ve never imagined doing before. I’ve walked 5Ks; hiked up mountains in the Adirondacks; gone on 20+ mile bike rides; gone ziplining; and tried aerial yoga (hanging upside down).

William

William's Story

When you visit your doctor, being told you might not make it to age 50 is the last thing you want to hear. Saying this was my wake-up-call is an understatement; there aren’t words to truly describe how I felt.

Before I knew it, I met with Dr. Adeshola Fakulujo, and I was on the road to taking back my life. I had my surgery in January 2020, and I’ve lost a total of 177 pounds since my pre-op process began.

I know it sounds corny, but I really did get my life back. I’m a new man. I’m doing things I’ve never done before. I don’t know why it took my this long to make the decision, but I do know that it’s been life-changing!