Billy: LAP-BAND Surgery
Growing up, things were not what you would consider “easy.” From being teased about my size and being told “no you can’t do that,” I guess it is safe to say that I just got use to it. I was never one of the smallest among us but I always tried to “fit in” and play sports, and do what I could to “beat the odds.” It just seemed like whatever I tried to do to lose weight either did not work or back fired and went the opposite direction. There were times that no matter how hard I tried to exercise and lose weight, the opposite happened.
As I continued to get a bit older and move into the high school years I was plagued with type-2 diabetes and high blood pressure around the age of 16 or so. Thinking back to then, I would have to say that it was definitely no fun what-so-ever. At a point in life when I wanted to do more, I really couldn’t because of the fear of blood pressure getting to high, or my sugar levels getting out of whack. As time went on, the high blood pressure began getting higher and higher and the diabetes was definitely not improving either.
After college and high school it began to be evident that the only thing that was keeping me from what I really wanted to do was my weight. As I continued to try different things such as different weight loss medicines, the weight continued to increase and health conditions were to a point where it was no longer good.
Around about September of 2008, I was sitting down with one of the doctors at Medical Associates down in Albany chatting about different things, and we began discussing different options. One of the options that were mentioned was Lap-Band surgery. As I sat there listening, I remember thinking to myself: “Lap-Band, what in the world is that.”
In January of 2009, after much thought and debate, I managed to obtain enough courage to pick up the phone and dial the number on the card I was given for Palmyra Surgical and speak with Dr. Bagnato and his staff to get the process started. After meeting with them I learned much more than I had read online and they made me feel “relaxed” about the whole deal.
As I left the doctor’s office that day I still had a lot of thinking to do, as I knew going into it that this would require 100% dedication on my part, and the support of family and friends as well. The immediate support that I received from friends and family was truly amazing. I remember very well mentioning the idea to my immediate family and their first response being “I think you should do it,” and “you know you have our support.”
In February of 2009, with my mind made up and 100% determined that I was going to do this and succeed, a date was set and the road to my “Lap-Band Journey” officially began. I started the infamous “Sugar Buster” diet before the March 3rd date.
After much consideration and nervousness, March 3, 2009 arrived and my journey was due to begin. I remember it as if it was yesterday: waking up early and being at the hospital at the crack of dawn, shaking like a leaf being blown in the wind. Other than the ride down to Albany that morning, the only other part of that day I remember was Dr. Bagnato asking me in the morning, just before the surgery, if I was ready. The next thing I recall was heading back home after a successful surgery some 4 hours later.
Looking back from where I started in March 2009 at 431 pounds and where I am now which is 289 pounds, I have to say that I am truly blessed and this could not have been done without the help of family, friends and most importantly God. It has not been an easy road but it has been one full of challenges. One of the biggest challenges has basically been learning to eat all over again. I know this may sound funny, but if you think about it you will understand exactly what I mean: I needed to learn to take smaller bites and know my own limits.
People often ask me if I have any regrets of having the surgery, and the answer is simply NO! It is so nice to be able to take a trip to the beach, catch a Braves game, go to a NASCAR race or better yet, simply have fun and play with my niece and cousins.
While my journey has only just begun and while I may have started with pants size of 64 in 2009 and am a current size of 52 as of May of 2011, I am only half way there and it is my goal to continue my success into the future and inspire others to do the same.