Interview with Weight Loss Surgery Patient

Reason for undergoing surgery:

There were multiple reasons for my decision to undergo weight loss surgery. One of the most significant factors was my conversation with my primary care physician (PCP), who took a realistic and honest approach. He pointed out that while my health wasn’t severely compromised at the time, I was heading down a path that would make it increasingly difficult to turn things around. Despite managing my type-2 diabetes with diet, exercise, and medication for a decade, I was gradually losing the battle. I had reached a point where I required four diabetes medications, and the next step would be insulin. Surprisingly, my PCP, who typically favored conventional methods, recommended weight loss surgery. I had reservations initially, as I had seen people who had regained weight after attempting various weight loss programs or surgeries. However, my PCP urged me to attend an information session at the WDH (Wellness and Health Department) and learn more about their bariatric program, which had experienced surgeons. Reluctantly, I agreed to go to the session.

Health before vs. health afterward:

Before the surgery, my health was deteriorating, and I could foresee the challenges ahead. I had been overweight since childhood, but I had managed to stay physically active. However, as time went on, physical activities became increasingly difficult. I didn’t notice the gradual decline until I realized I had stopped engaging in things I enjoyed, such as hiking, golfing, and even simple walks, due to the physical strain they imposed. To make matters worse, I broke both my knees, which my PCP pointed out wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t carrying excessive weight.

Fast forward to the present, and my health has taken a complete turn for the better. I’m now in the best shape of my life. I spend hours each day on my yoga mat, teaching, practicing, and attending classes. I’ve even incorporated challenging poses like headstands and arm balances into my practice without hesitation. I’ve rediscovered my love for hiking and engage in various physical activities without being limited by my weight. Overall, my quality of life has improved significantly.

Biggest obstacle in making the decision for surgery:

The biggest obstacle I faced in deciding to undergo surgery was the skepticism surrounding the long-term success of weight loss surgeries. I had witnessed friends and acquaintances who had undergone other weight loss programs or surgeries, only to regain the weight they had lost and even gain more afterward. I was hesitant to believe that there was an easy solution to my weight struggles. Additionally, I was afraid of being judged for taking the “easy way out.” However, attending the information session and learning more about the WDH bariatric program helped dispel some of my concerns and convinced me to explore the option further.

What convinced me to make the decision for surgery:

Attending the information session played a significant role in changing my perspective. Initially, I was certain that surgery wasn’t the right path for me. However, during the meeting, the WDH bariatric team, despite being a small group at the time, showed genuine care and concern for my well-being. They saw me as an individual, not just an “obese” patient, and that made a difference. A couple of slides from the presentation stood out to me, particularly the concept of “set-points” and how our bodies resist change from their current position. The team’s sincerity and their emphasis on the surgical safety record further convinced me to consider surgery. Moreover, the ongoing support and sense of community they provided were crucial in solidifying my decision.

Quality of life now compared to before:

There’s truly no comparison when it comes to the improvement in my quality of life. Before the surgery, I had resigned myself to a life of declining health and anticipated a shortened lifespan. I constantly worried about my heart giving out and experienced significant anxiety. Now, I feel confident about my health in the long term and believe I will live to see old age. The anxiety that once plagued me has dissipated, and I’ve regained control over my well-being. Not only has my physical health improved, but my mental and emotional well-being have also seen a remarkable transformation. I’m more optimistic, energetic, and excited about life than ever before.

Advice for others considering bariatric surgery:

My advice for anyone considering weight loss surgery is to do thorough research, consult with trusted medical professionals, and attend information sessions provided by reputable bariatric programs. It’s important to have a clear understanding of the risks, benefits, and potential outcomes of the surgery. Additionally, be prepared for the fact that weight loss surgery is not a quick fix or a magical solution. It requires dedication, hard work, and a commitment to making lifelong changes in your lifestyle and eating habits. Surround yourself with a supportive community, both online and offline, as they can provide invaluable guidance and encouragement throughout your journey. Finally, don’t forget to take care of your mental and emotional well-being alongside your physical health. Weight loss surgery is a transformative process that goes beyond just shedding pounds. It’s an opportunity for personal growth and a chance to create a healthier, more fulfilling life. Embrace it with an open mind and a determination to make the most of this second chance.


I cannot even begin to explain how happy I am that I ended up in Dr. Paciulli’s care.  The best thing I have come up with is that if a family member needed emergency surgery, I would be a mess, if Dr. Paciulli came out of the room and said she was the surgeon, I would be able to relax significantly.  Not only do I think she is perhaps magical in her surgical ability, her personality and demeanor were perfect for me. At our first meeting, she must have noted I was a technical person.  She conveyed her excitement about the Davinci robot that assist the surgery. She suggested YouTube videos she knew I would love, this helped me to be comfortable with her, and the videos made me excited to have the surgery. During my surgery, Dr Paciulli noticed another medical condition in me, she took a biopsy so we could assess and start treatment for that. She is kind, patient, caring, and really always explores the deeper meaning. In the 4 years since my surgery, she had been engaged in my medical issues and concerns. My weight loss isn’t numbers to her, it’s a history book, she has explored so much of my history to see if she can connect dots and get a better idea of what happens with obesity and weight loss surgery. When I have asked her complex questions, she often responds with the standard answer, the emerging science of the newer answer and a “let me look into that” and I can see her digging into the newest medical journal to see what the science of today is looking at. Beyond that, she has been a friend.  When I am at a hospital event or there for an appointment, I hope to run into her.  When I do see her she asks about me, my life and my family.  When I post in our bariatric Facebook group, she will have a thoughtful, or inspiring thing to add to it. At events like our 5k, she is a friend. I wish all people could have Dr. Paciulli as their provider.

Practice Yoga with Rob: Bryony Body and Mill Yoga 

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