NORWALK, Conn. --Three years ago, 46-year old Jamie Masciarelli, a long-time resident of Stamford and an Asia Immigration Specialist at GE Global Operations, had gastric bypass surgery at Norwalk Hospital's Surgical Weight Loss Center.
One year later, she lost 125 pounds and has maintained her weight at 118 pounds since 2013. “I’m living a full life focused on my career and family while having more fun than I ever could have imagined,” said Masciarelli. “I’m actively involved with ballroom dancing and participating in dance recitals and competitions.”
Before weight loss surgery, the five-foot tall Masciarelli weighed 243 pounds and had tried losing weight many times by following some of the trendiest diets. She was somewhat successful while dieting and would lose about 50 pounds, “but,” she emphasized, “I simply couldn’t keep it off.”
Masciarelli was also concerned that her weight was exacerbating other health issues which included sleep apnea, high cholesterol and triglycerides, pre-diabetes, and persistent soreness in her joints from lifting and assisting Marcello, her 15-year-old son with special needs.
Her pursuit to learn about weight loss surgery options came in earnest following a visit to her son’s camp in New Hampshire. While there, family photographs were taken on the first day of camp then produced into a video montage for viewing on the last day. “When I saw the photograph of me and my husband Gary sitting on a bench at the lake it hit me,” said Masciarelli. “I said to myself, “That’s not me. Who is that person?'”
Shortly thereafter, she attended a weight loss surgery seminar at Norwalk Hospital. “At the end of the seminar I filled out the follow-up form and three days later I had an appointment with Dr. Neil Floch,” said Masciarelli. “After discussing all my questions and concerns about my health and well-being, including the pros and cons related to weight loss surgery, we agreed that the Ruex-en-Y gastric bypass surgery was the best procedure for me," said Masciarelli. "The surgery has been around for a long time and has proven success rates and outcomes.”
According to Dr. Neil Floch, Director of Minimally Invasive and Bariatric Surgery at Norwalk Hospital, gastric bypass surgery, one of the bariatric surgery procedures, reduces the size of the stomach. Using minimally- invasive laparoscopic surgery, physicians create a small stomach pouch that is reconnected to the small intestine located lower in the intestinal tract. This restricts food intake and changes the body’s normal digestive process to limit calorie absorption because food bypasses a portion of the intestines. It also changes body food hormones and intestinal bacteria.
“Gastric bypass surgery is a life changing surgery that can help severely overweight people who have health problems that result from their weight and who have tried unsuccessfully to control their weight through diet and exercise,” said Dr. Floch. “Long-term weight loss success depends on a person’s ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle with good nutrition. Surgery is the most successful treatment for obesity and morbid obesity.”
“In Jamie’s case, her body mass index (BMI) was 44 and she had more than one serious weight-related health condition which made her a good candidate for weight loss surgery,” said Dr. Floch. “Just as important, she was committed to adopting healthy lifestyle changes that include exercise and nutritious eating which is vital to achieving successful weight loss after surgery.”
“Norwalk Hospital’s Surgical Weight Loss Center of Excellence has an absolutely amazing, friendly and supportive team,” said Masciarelli. “If anyone is considering weight loss surgery, don’t hesitate. I have been in your shoes and although it’s not an easy decision, in the end, there’s a happier you in there.” Masciarelli added “I would encourage anyone who is thinking about it to attend a weight loss surgery seminar because that’s where you will find all the help you need to make the right decision that will work best for you.”
“I keep photographs on my refrigerator from when I was heavier. When I look at them it reinforces my desire to stay focused and I’m never going back,” said Masciarelli.