Numbers rule our lives. You check the temperature outside, click on digits on the remote to get to your favorite news station, check your speedometer as you drive. And, for many of us, you get on the scale to see how much you weigh.
Briana’s Story: “I felt like I was always the one on the sidelines.”
For Briana Williams, the numbers she saw on the scale, as far back as she can remember, were higher than she would have liked – but they were numbers she could live with. Even as a teenager growing up in Essex, she was overweight, but after a pregnancy, when she saw the numbers on the scale hit 300 – that’s when she started paying attention.
“The last 15-20 pounds really made a difference,” she says today. “I felt like I was always the one on the sidelines taking photos of my kids. I got to the point where I said, ‘I have to think about my health and being there for my kids.’”
Always a “nighttime snacker,” she wasn’t sure how to lose the weight. She tried a few fad diets – “I was miserable, and the weight came right back” – before becoming aware of bariatric surgery by watching a family member go through the process. She mentioned this to her primary care physician, who referred her to Dr. Forgione and his team.
Upon learning in her initial consultations that she would need to lose weight and quit smoking, she was initially discouraged. It ended up taking her over a year to accomplish both those goals.
But she did, and on July 19 of 2017 she underwent a gastric sleeve procedure, in which eighty-four percent of the stomach is removed laparoscopically. The “new” stomach can hold between 3 to 5 ounces.
“I was ready,” says Briana, “and very excited.”
Her recovery went smoothly, and, in the first six months she lost 20-25 pounds each month. Since hitting a high of 308, she dropped to 172 pounds. Her goal is to lose another 25 pounds.
“So many people are afraid of surgery,” she says. “I’m here to say, it was the best thing I ever did. If you have the support of a good team, like I did, and you follow the instructions, you can lose the weight and live the kind of life you never imagined.”