Port Jefferson Station, NY
Surgery date: October 2012
Weight lost:175 pounds
Something just wasn’t adding up for Anthony Santangelo. What he thought were the good things in life, especially his insatiable appetite for his wife’s excellent cooking, were making him feel horrible.
“I just felt terrible,” said Anthony, a safety supervisor, who was 350 pounds with a 56-inch waist. “It was getting worse and worse, I was really obese and it affected my sleep at night.” He had developed sleep apnea, had to use a machine to help him breathe at night and was on medication for high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
“I went to my medical doctor and he actually told me bluntly — he shocked me — you’re going to die soon if you keep this up. You know you’re going to get diabetes. You're going to get a heart attack.”
Anthony had always tried to stay active. He had been going to the gym and lifting weights for 15 years, but he “would come home and eat tremendous amounts of food, so it really wasn’t helping me.” He had trouble standing and walking. He tried every type of diet and exercise to lose the weight, but nothing worked.
When he decided to consider bariatric surgery, he met with Arif Ahmad, MD, and the team at the Mather Hospital Bariatric Center of Excellence and immediately knew he was in the right place.
“I developed a personal connection with Dr. Ahmad and the team,” he said. “I just felt very comfortable and I couldn’t wait to start the operation. When I had the operation, the hospital treated me like I was a VIP. Now I’m one of the people that goes tells somebody else, ‘hey, you go there, you’re going to be treated right.’
“He will change your life, guaranteed,” Anthony said about Dr. Ahmad. “It’s like having another family. Everyone is supportive and you won’t go wrong going with Dr. Ahmad because he truly cares about you.”
As for his wife’s excellent cooking, Anthony still gets to enjoy every fabulous dish — just now in moderation. The surgery, he said, has given him a tool to go from a self-described “volume eater” to knowing how to make healthy food and portion choices.
“You have to learn a different way of eating,” Anthony said. “Now when I want to go back for more food, I say ‘I better not,’ because I’m going to feel sick.”
He’s now active and keeping up with his three grandchildren.
“I never expected that I would be doing exercise again like I was in my 20s. I can ride a bike. I can walk the treadmill. I can play with the grandchildren. I can run a little. I just feel great. I can put on all different types of clothes. I just feel this operation changed my life.”
But he does have one regret: “I wish I would’ve done it 10 years ago, because it just changed my life all together — my attitude and the way you look at things. It’s just amazing.”