As a young woman, Joyce had tried all the weight loss plans. The special foods, the liquid meals and even a large variety of over-the-counter and physician-prescribed diet pills led to little improvement. Though she did have some success with Weight-Watchers, she found that as soon as she went off the plan, the pounds would flood back on. Her weight reached 200 pounds during a period of depression after an ectopic pregnancy, and when her menopause arrived, the weight gain worsened still.
Further aggravating things was a fall that produced bony injuries to her arms and hand. Joyce became even less active, and her weight soared to over 260 pounds. Her 5 foot 3 inch frame groaned under the strain of a weight that made even a walk across the room painful and exhausting.
While visiting the surgeon who had operated on her hand, Joyce asked if he could do something to reduce her tummy. The doctor recognized Joyce's need for very specialized care, and referred her to Dr. Stephen Merola. By coincidence, she had only a short time earlier given thought to gastric bypass surgery when speaking with a friend about the weight loss success of TV personality, Al Roker. Her consultation with Dr. Merola quickly convinced her that the surgery might be the way for her to go. "I was never afraid with Dr. Merola. He answered all my questions and encouraged me to involve my family in the process." Joyce returned for her next visit with her sister at her side, and both were satisfied with Dr. Merola's approach. They scheduled her surgery for just after their return from a previously planned visit to Europe.
Arriving back in the States, Joyce knew she was ready. She hadn't been able to see much of anything in Greece or in Rome because walking had become nearly impossible. "I knew what I had to do and had prepared myself mentally. I had everything set up at home so that I would be able to follow Dr. Merola's instructions to the letter." She checked into the NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens for surgery.
All seemed well until a few days post-operatively. Following an xray study done to evaluate her newly-altered stomach, Joyce developed a "twist" in her intestine that required a return to the operating room. "He had to go back inside again, but the problem was quickly fixed and my recovery was not bad at all after that. Dr. Merola gave me so much support, and his team was great... really, the whole hospital was great."
"At home I decided that I would stay on target and do everything he told me, and I had been told by the team what to expect early on, so there weren't any surprises." Joyce progressed beautifully over the early weeks and months and the pounds began to come away.
Prior to surgery, Joyce had been treated for high blood pressure and sleep apnea. As her weight declined, both of these receded as problems, and her medications and breathing support were reduced. In the year that followed the operation, her weight plummeted by 100 pounds.
"I'm still overwhelmed by what has happened to me. This is the best time in my life!"
Joyce walks everywhere now, often making 5-mile jaunts just for the pleasure of it. "I feel so good about myself, and I'm so grateful to Dr. Merola for what he did and to my family for their incredible support."
New pursuits are always in the works now, reflecting Joyce's new energy. Latest among them are plans for the purchase of a bicycle and for another trip to Rome. She seems to have some unfinished business in the ancient city, stating, "I'm going to take those seven hills this time!"