My entire life, I was always the chubby kid. I was always the 12-year-old in Weight Watchers and the kid with the 100 calorie snack packs at lunch. My weight defined who I was as a person, both physically and emotionally. It caused me to put up barriers that made just the basics of relationships and activities difficult. Between 2019 and 2020, when my weight was at its highest, I found that walking up a flight of stairs was difficult. Being out of breath walking through Walt Disneyworld, a place that I lived and worked made every single day difficult. I started paying $75 a day to rent a motorized wheelchair so that I didn’t slow down my friends because I would be limping by the end of the day. I stopped going to Universal because I couldn’t fit on any of the attractions even though I had an annual pass. Shopping for clothes was nearly impossible, and the clothes I did have were all oversized baggy shirts and leggings. Although I didn’t have any long-term medical effects, there were definitely short-term side effects happening, whether or not I was willing to admit it.
Weight loss surgery was always that taboo topic that I felt larger people talked about. My father had two weight-loss surgeries and, with the first one a few revisions. It was something I thought I would never have to do because I told myself I would never get that big. But realistically, I started considering having weight loss surgery in 2015 or 2016. It wasn’t until 2019 that I knew that I would do it. I just didn’t know when. My major go-for-it moment was not wanting to be in crippling pain for days after walking just from my car to the grocery store.
Garden State Bariatrics has been the perfect team from start to finish. Everyone who I’ve ever worked with, whether that be a very quick hello/goodbye to an actual in person meeting or an over the phone discussion, has been so dedicated to what I need. I know that I can count on them with any questions that I may have. And I never once thought that they weren’t looking out for my best intentions.
The number one thing that I love being able to do nowadays is go for walks and runs and no longer have swelling ankles or limp or be in pain. I am now able to go on every single ride at Universal. And for the first time in probably a decade, I can shop in the junior section and wear clothing that fits my personality and my age group.
“Some days I look in the mirror and am shocked at the person looking back at me. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this would have been possible to see the reflection I do now. I have always been a “bigger/thicker” girl. I hid my weight very well and acted like it never bothered me (what a joke). I yoyo dieted for as long as I could remember starting in my early teens. Down 50, up 70, it was a vicious cycle and doing that for 20+ years finally took its toll.
I hit my highest weight of 290 in May of 2020 even when being on prescription weight loss medication for a year. Nothing was working so my general practitioner suggested I get weight loss surgery. When he said this I almost fell out of the chair. To be honest when I thought of weight loss surgery I thought of the show my 600lb life. I was ashamed, disgusted and legit cried until he reassured me about all the positives this could bring to my life.
After a few days of googling the best weight loss surgery doctors in NJ, I came across Garden State Bariatrics and gave them a call (for the record GSB is 65 minutes from my home). Let’s just say from the time I walked in I knew I made the right choice! I was a nervous wreck but Bella, Dr. Bilof, and Karla were so warm and knowledgeable when it came to everything my nerves were instantly eased!
I had my Gastric Bypass Surgery October 14,2020; fast forward to December 2021….I am down 135 lbs from my highest weight, go to the gym 5/6x a week and am the healthiest I have ever been in my entire life. I no longer hide behind the cameras or get out of breath running after my kids. This surgery changed my entire life and I am forever grateful for this “new” me and the future!”
It took me a long time to come to the decision to have bariatric surgery. After ten years of being overweight and many failed diets throughout that ten years, I had a couple of friends who had had success with the gastric sleeve surgery. I had thought about having the sleeve done for a few years but was scared. Finally, I was ready and determined to succeed. I had surgery in January of 2019. It was the best thing I ever did for myself!! I lost over 100 pounds in less than a year and have kept it off. It wasn’t easy, but I listened to what Dr. Bilof and Michael told me to do, and it worked. I’m healthy and I feel great! I finally feel like myself again. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.
Thinking about life before weight loss surgery is almost like remembering a bad dream. It was a terrible cycle of feeling depressed from being overweight and letting my depression add to my obesity. Food was becoming my main source of comfort and happiness which made it easy for me to lose control while growing to almost 350lbs. My physical health was rapidly declining; not only was sleep apnea making me exhausted but just a short walk would leave me winded and my joints hurting. I found myself hiding from my friends and family because I felt embarrassed by the person I had become. That’s when I knew I needed to make a change.
I first started considering weight loss surgery when I learned of a few friends who had gone through the process. I was amazed by their physical transformation. I admired the complete change in attitude and outlook on life. I had reached a point where I was done watching everyone else enjoy life through social media, and was finally ready to talk to a doctor about my weight loss options. I scheduled my first appointment with Dr. Bilof at Garden State Bariatrics after reading many positive reviews online, and frankly, this was the best decision I have ever made in my life.
The gastric sleeve provided me with the assistance I needed to make a change. I learned how often I would eat out of habit or boredom instead of when I was hungry. As the weight began to shed, the right decisions were easier to make, and going to the gym is treated just like going to work, I may not want to go but not going isn’t an option. This procedure has taught me how to love myself, take care of my body, while giving me the confidence that I have never experienced before in my life. I appreciate the Toms River team for guiding me, teaching me, and supporting me throughout the entire process. To my Husband who has constantly been my rock and encouraged me when I didn’t believe in myself, I am so fortunate and grateful to have you in my corner. The journey isn’t over yet and I am happy to know I will have continued support while maintaining my weight loss.
Growing up I was always athletic, I played traveling sports throughout my youth and I enjoyed working out at the gym. However, I always dealt with a weight problem. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been trying to lose weight. I tried every new diet, workout program or detox imaginable. I never believed surgery was an option for me. I always thought I could do it myself, but as the weight piled on, my weight loss goals drifted further away.
At 33 years old, my primary care doctor put me on daily blood pressure and blood sugar medications. These medications were in addition to the daily anxiety medication I was already taking. I continued to work out and tried my best to follow a nutrition plan but a knee injury would always ruin my progress. I became discouraged as I experienced many setbacks. I couldn’t afford to wait around for this weight to come off itself. My OBGYN even advised against trying to conceive, something my husband and I wanted, because my weight and medical conditions would make me extremely high risk. In June 2019, he recommended bariatric surgery.
In June 2020, after sitting home for nearly 3 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I re-injured my knee again at home. Fed up, I decided to contact a coworker’s bariatric surgeon’s office for some information. After speaking with the most friendly employee, Jessica, who told me about her own bariatric experience at Garden State Bariatrics, she truly opened my mind to surgery. I decided to take the plunge and made a consultation appointment.
At the end of June 2020, I had my consultation with Dr. Bilof where he explained everything I needed to know about surgery. He also recommended I consider the Duodenal Switch as I was a good candidate for that procedure. After the appointment, I was excited to say that I was going to have bariatric surgery! It was a busy summer, checking off all of the pre-op testing in time for a fall surgery. Time flew by and it all felt so right. Finally this was something that would aid in my weight loss journey. Then I got my surgery date, October 7th, 2020!
Fast forward to now, 11 months post op, I am down over 175 pounds and over 80 inches lost. I’ve been off of blood sugar, blood pressure and anxiety medications for 11 months and my numbers are fantastic! I work out 5 days a week and with all my weight loss my knee injury is nearly nonexistent! Deciding to have surgery was not an easy one for me, but it was the best decision I’ve ever made. This has totally changed my outlook on life for the better and I am happy to say, I am finally living life! My positive results motivated my husband to pursue weight loss surgery and he is happily and successfully 3 months post op, Duodenal Switch.
I cannot begin to express how thankful I am for the Toms River staff at GSBWC. Your support and guidance is so appreciated! Thank you Dr. Bilof, Michael, Julie, Anna, Brandy and Jessica for all that you do. You have made an everlasting impression on me that I am forever grateful for!
I had struggled with my weight my whole life. I tried weight loss supplements, working out, weight watchers etc and nothing worked. I’d lose the weight and it would come back, but with extra weight. I hated myself. I hated the way I looked and how I felt.
In June 2018, I started my journey with Garden State Bariatrics. I started getting everything done so I could get surgery in October, but I let people talk me out of it and put it off. I kept gaining weight and felt more depressed. I decided I was going to do the surgery to be a healthier person not only for myself but my son.
I got my surgery on February 6th, 2019. I was extremely scared and nervous. That day was the one-year anniversary of my dad passing away, but was also a day of a new beginning for me. It was a struggle, and total lifestyle change but it needed to happen. I started out at 255 pounds and within one year after surgery, I was down to 150 pounds!
I could not have done this without the best team ever - Dr. Yurcisin, Michael, Jessica, Brandy and Julie! I also couldn’t have done it without the love and support of my family and I look forward to a happy and healthier lifestyle!
I was always known as the big kid. I played sports most of my life so I used it to my advantage and told everyone I had to be this big to be strong. In my mid-20s my weight ballooned and kept climbing and climbing. I tried exercise and every diet imaginable to man, but nothing seemed to sustain. I was able to lose 100 pounds over a 13-month period through major exercise and diet. But that too didn’t last, and I put the weight back on, and more, in 6 months.
I was done. I was depressed thinking this is how my life is. I had severe sleep apnea and other major health concerns. I decided it was time to take my life back. I went to see Dr. Bilof in March of 2020. We talked through my options and the day of my surgery in September of 2020, I weighed in at 419 pounds. It was the heaviest I have ever been. I am nine months post-op after my duodenal switch, and I have lost 210 pounds and currently weigh 209.
It has not been easy, but it was the single greatest decision I have ever made. I have learned that I can live without many of the things I thought I was addicted to. Every day I am happier and healthier. I feel absolutely amazing and have cleared any medical conditions I ever had, including no traces of sleep apnea. I never thought I would be as successful as I have been. I thought I would lose some weight but never to this extent. What came with this surgery was more than weight loss, but me living my life to the fullest. Not having to stop in the middle of grocery store trips with my wife because my feet hurt or I was out of breath.
Thank you Dr. Bilof. Thank you Michael. Thank you Jessica and Brandy and Anna and everyone who believed in me and allowed me at 33 to get my life back.
I started gaining weight around 11 years old, from that point on I was husky to overweight the rest of my life resulting in obesity to morbid obesity from about 42 years of age. I had lost over 100 lbs. over three occasions, only to gain the weight back. The weight gains were extremely frustrating as was the yo-yo dieting. Although very heavy, I was still able to enjoy the outdoors, boating, fishing, hunting and hiking. I retired from law enforcement in 2008, within 2 years I was close to 400 lbs. My mobility and endurance were very limited. Simple things were hard to do, if not impossible, due to my weight. I became pre- diabetic.
The fall of 2017 I became weak and lethargic. The arthritic pain in my back, hip and knees was constant. In the spring of 2018, I went thru testing at Deborah Hospital, and I was diagnosed with severe heart failure. The wonderful Doctors, Nurses and staff of Deborah worked on my condition throughout the year. By November of 2018, I underwent open heart surgery. The amazing Doctors, Nurses and staff did a great repair job on my heart. I had lost a great deal of weight for the surgery, but by the spring of 2020 I had regained all the weight causing strain on my newly repaired heart. My heath was again failing due to the excessive weight. I knew I needed a better solution to control and maintain my weight.
I put off weight loss surgery, thinking the procedure would be too hard, complicated, or painful. Both my older brothers and my sister in-law underwent gastric sleeve surgery with great success. Their experience and support made me reach out to Garden State Bariatrics and convinced me to commit to the procedure.
Garden State Bariatrics Doctors and staff are knowledgeable, caring and committed to your weight loss success. PA-C Mike Caromano was a wealth of information and began a plan to help me achieve my weight loss goal. Dr. Bilof fine-tuned the plan and performed Gastric Sleeve surgery on me November of 2020. Their pre- op and follow up care is very thorough and complete. Their affiliation with and having my procedure completed at Deborah was very assuring for me. The procedure was made easy, simple and painless by such a professional team.
I don't think I would be here now without the team at Garden State Bariatrics. Simple things in life are now again enjoyed. Enjoying the outdoors again, working around the house. My mobility, endurance, and desire to be active has returned to my life.
I had the gastric sleeve done September 25, 2019. My starting weight was 251lbs and 10 months in I am now at 168lbs (83lbs down). Not only do I look good, but I feel amazing! If I could change one thing about this experience, it would have been to have done it sooner. This surgery literally gave me a new chance at life, I haven’t felt this alive in a while! If it wasn’t for Jessica or Brandy helping me get through my fears, or Julie fighting with the insurance company for me, Michael answering all of my 1000 silly questions (lol), Anna educating me on my nutrition or Dr. Yurcisin doing an amazing job through surgery, none of this would have been possible! Thank you, Garden State Bariatrics!
Paige Gyurindak - daughter
I have been morbidly obese my entire life. When I was 22, I decided to make the huge life changing decision to get weight loss surgery. I was definitely scared and fearful, but I knew I had already spent the first 22 years of my life being super insecure and shy. After my weight loss surgery, my life has become entirely different. I am able to experience things I have never done before because I was too afraid to do things due to my weight. I have started traveling, found a loving boyfriend, started sharing my workouts and weight loss journey on social media, and even more. I never had any confidence, self-worth, or self-esteem, but now I have so much of each, it is hard to believe I am the same person. Everyone warned me that maybe getting surgery at a young age was not the best idea, but it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I have continued to work on myself both mentally and physically. I finally have started to make myself a priority and making the best decisions for me, rather than pleasing others. I workout with friends and my boyfriend. I find and cook new healthy recipes and share them with friends and family. I have even gotten messages from people saying that I have inspired them to start being more active and healthy as well. Being chosen to be patient of the month is full circle for me because I remember walking into Garden State Bariatrics at 380 pounds for my consultation. I saw the patient of the month in the newsletter that month and made it my goal to be patient of the month one day! Thank you so much to Garden State Bariatrics for saving my life, giving me a better quality of life and telling me that I can do it!
Juliette Gyurindak – mother
March 20, 2019 was the day I got my life back.
I consider myself a “Lifer” or one that has been severely overweight one’s entire life. At 50+ years old, and through every weight loss plan available to mankind (without any permanent success) I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that there was no hope for me at all. My weight kept climbing, my health was deteriorating and I was as miserable as miserable could be. I knew in my heart that there was not much time left for me here on this earth. I just couldn’t see a way out. After a serious discussion with my family, I decided that weight loss surgery was my last-ditch effort.
In October of 2018, I walked into Garden State Bariatrics in Toms River, only half believing that surgery would even be an option for me at that point. By the time I walked out, I actually had hope that this really might work. The entire staff was welcoming, understanding and extremely supportive from the first moment I got there. I told Dr. Yurcisin that I did not think that my body knew how to be anything else that obese. And he said…I can fix that. I was all in at that moment and will be for the rest of my life. I had the Duodenal Switch surgery and have lost 155 pounds since my surgery on March 20, 2019, the day I got my life back. Dr. Yurcisin, Michael, Julie, Brandy, Jessica and Anna are my heroes.
My journey began at the end of the summer in 2019 when I saw a doctor for an apparent hernia. During my office visit he told me that the hernia was not that bad, but he was concerned about my bloodwork pertaining to my liver. After some testing, I was diagnosed with Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and the beginning stages of Cirrhosis of the liver because of it. My doctor said to me during my visit "now is not the time for diet and exercise." Which I replied, "so what is now the time for?" He recommended bariatric surgery.
Within a week I made the decision that this was what was needed to save my liver and live a long healthy life. After discussing it with close friends and family I chose Dr Bilof and Garden State Bariatrics. Shortly thereafter I had my first consultation which reaffirmed my decision to do this. I was given the list of pre-operative testing and had it all completed within a month or so and was scheduled for surgery in December 2019. Everything went 100% according to plan. Tests completed, nutritionist meetings, insurance approvals and pre-op diet.
After surgery I did have some discomfort, but nothing that was unexpected. The weeks of training my new stomach to accept food again was difficult at times, but I knew that I had to push through and it would get better. My first few months the weight just fell off. Luckily I never hit a hard plateau, instead the weight loss just slowed down as I got closer to my goal weight.
Now one year later, I am overall a much healthier person. I started my journey at 320lbs, was able to lose 30lbs prior to surgery. I am now 190lbs. Yes, I have some loose skin, but it’s not bothering me. Yes, I miss being able to indulge in different foods, but now I just have a taste of multiple things. The hardest thing to cope with recently is realizing that I am no longer the large person I used to be. My clothes are much smaller, I easily fit into places I never would have before and I don't have to be concerned about weight limits on things like roller coasters and water slides.
All of the staff at Garden State Bariatrics, Toms River office are amazing people. From Nutritionist Anna teaching me how I should be eating, Julie helping me set up all of my pre-op appointments and handling my insurance approvals. I cannot forget about Jessica and Brandy at the front desk who are always so cheerful and a joy to see when I walk in. Finally, thank you to Dr Bilof and P.A. Michael for your skilled hands completing my surgery with no complications. You are all AMAZING!!!
In March of 2019 I was 48 years old on the verge of diabetes, high blood pressure and who knows what else. My weight was always a struggle but this was the breaking point. I visited Dr. Yurcisin and I knew the day I first walked in to the office my life would change. The staff was so compassionate and helpful. In June 2019 at 245 pounds I had the sleeve surgery. As I am writing this I am 170. I have spent the last year skiing, skateboarding and playing in the ocean with my three kids. Although the weight loss is a great “side effect” my health is the main reason for taking this journey. This tool has given me my life back and I will not waste a single second looking back.
I cannot thank the staff at Garden State Bariatrics enough for the gift you have given me, my husband and my children.
My name is Beth, I went to Dr. Bilof in March of 2009. I made the decision to do the gastric sleeve. So my journey began. Dr. Michael and Dr. Bilof both said that they had my best interest at hand and that they would take care of me. I went to my first meeting that week and fell in love with everyone. Met with Anna three times and I was off to the races. The day was set for surgery June 3rd, 2019, I made all the menus that I would need to follow. The first week after surgery was the toughest but I made through it. Fast forwarding six months, I was down 95 lbs., I thought it couldn't be done. Covid then hit , everything was closed including the gym and my world stopped and I thought everything stopped in my weight progress. My boyfriend of two years left me as well and at the same time needed neck surgery. Well now we are in june of 2020 of my one year mark, I made my goal. I am shocked by what I see in the mirror and I look nothing like I did before the surgery. I was down 115 lbs. I am proud of myself of that and I am not giving up or not giving in. Now comes the great part of living my life. The wayI want to be healthy and happy. I could not have done it without the team at Garden State Bariatrics and the will to get healthy, that was my will. I said I was doing this to get healthy, not as a diet, so please do this for yourself and not for others, Thank you!
- Beth Macdowall
I'm loving The New Me... I tried diets in the past without success. Surgery was what finally worked for me. Now I'm running, I'm sleeping, and so many other things I could not do before surgery. I’m healthier and off all medications. I'm thankful for what I have and what I have been through. Thank you Dr. Bilof, Dr. Yurcisin and the whole staff at Garden State Bariatrics.
- IVY BOSTON
I have struggled with my weight since I was a teenager. At the age of 40 I became a diabetic requiring several insulin injections a day. I developed kidney disease as a result of diabetes. In 2013, I had to go on dialysis. I tried to lose weight on dialysis, but it was almost impossible.
In the fall of 2017, my transplant surgeon recommended I have bariatric surgery because at my weight I
would not be a good candidate for a transplant. I did not think I could ever have weight loss surgery. The surgeon recommended that I see Dr. Bilof. He said he could do the surgery, but he had not done bariatric surgery on a peritoneal dialysis patient before and did not know how much weight I would lose.
In February of 2018, I had the surgery and began to lose with the support and assistance of Dr. Bilof and his staff. I did so well that I lost 20 pounds more than the surgeon had advised I lose.
One year after my weight loss surgery, I got the call that a kidney was available and was a match for me! I went to St Barnabas in Livingston as fast as I possibly could. I arrived at St. Barnabas at 7AM and was in surgery by 10AM and recovery by noon. After only four days I was discharged from the hospital.
I am doing great and have continued to lose another 40 pounds since my transplant. Before I lost the weight and received my kidney, I took five blood pressure medications. Now I do not take anything for blood pressure. I feel better than I have in many years. I am a new person with a new healthy life. I do not eat any processed foods, junk foods or pre-packaged foods. I owe Dr Bilof and his staff for helping me to be able to lose my weight and keep it off. I would not have gotten my transplant surgery without having my bariatric surgery. I am eternally grateful to Dr Bilof and staff for willing to help me without knowing how well the surgery would work. Without them and their support, I would not be living my new healthy life with all the wonderful changes I have been blessed with. I can safely say that I would not have received a new kidney if it had not been for Dr. Bilof and the changes he helped me to achieve.
I have been big my entire life. Although I was always very active, playing football and participating in martial arts, the last six years of my life I let myself go. I developed high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and my sugar was on the rise. All of this required three medications to control.
Meeting Dr. Bilof and his amazing staff was a game-changer. I took the leap and had bariatric surgery. In less than a year, I'm down over 100 pounds and off all my medicine! Dr. Bilof provided continuous guidance and the GSBWC staff supported me every step of the way. I am my old self again… and actually even better. I am so thankful to Dr. Bilof. Words can't explain how appreciative I am to Garden State Bariatrics.
- Victor Diaz Jr.
When I stepped on the scale and saw that I was approaching 300 lbs. I couldn’t believe it and knew I had to do something about it.
I have been overweight my whole life but in May of 2019 I was at my heaviest weight ever 295 lbs. I became a first time grandmother in March of 2019 and wanted to see my granddaughter grow up. I decided to make an appointment at Garden State Bariatrics with Dr. Yurcisin. I had my consultation on May 7, 2019 that’s when my journey to turn my life around began. I went to see Dr. Yurcisin and I told him my goal was to lose 100 lbs. He explained to me the 3 procedures that they do and I decided on the gastric sleeve. My surgery was scheduled for August 14, 2019. The surgery went well and I was ready to take on a new way of life.
My main source of exercise is walking, I bought myself a Fitbit to keep track of my steps and try to do at least 10,000 steps per day. The only thing that I wanted for Christmas was a bike and did receive one and use that also. On June 23, 2020 I went for a follow up and my weigh in was at 193 lbs. down 102 lbs. I hit my goal! I set my next goal to 181 lbs. because Dr. Yurcisin told me at my consultation with the procedure I was having I could get down to that weight and I laughed but it isn’t that far away now.
Always have faith in yourself, keep your chin up, and you can do it. Stay positive and when they have the monthly support meetings make it a point to go and hear everyone’s input and experiences because you learn something new everyday. Good luck and I hope you’re journey is as successful as mine.
Thank you Dr. Yurcisin, Michael, Julie, Anna, Brandy and Jessica the team at GSB in Toms River for the guidance through this whole process, I couldn’t have done it without you. I highly recommend this practice to lead you on your way to a healthier future.
My name is Jenn Korndoerfer. I am 41 years old and have been overweight almost my whole life. I started my weight loss surgery journey in August of 2019. I had just recently gone through a terrible divorce and lost my brother unexpectedly. Over the course of 2 years, I gained 50 pounds! I was the heaviest I’d been in my whole life! I could no longer do things I used to be able to do...climbing in the attic to get my Christmas decorations became a daunting task, walking up and down the paths at our vacation home in Vermont became impossible, and I was always exhausted and out of breath! I couldn’t even walk up my stairs without huffing and puffing and taking a break on the landing! I hated not being able to enjoy life, but still thought I could never stop indulging and I could never lose weight. Then I received blood work results that showed I was diabetic. I had two choices; go on medicine or lose the weight. I was already on high blood pressure medicine and did not want to have to take more pills. I thought I would make an appointment at Dr. Bilof’s office to see what they had to say. I was very hesitant...I didn’t want to be limited on my food choices and honestly was scared to death of what my life would look like without my food binging nights in front of the TV and snacks whenever I wanted. Food was such a major part of my life and my happiness...or so I thought!
The minute I stepped in that office, I had such a good feeling! The girls at the desk were amazing and made me feel so welcome and at ease. I met with Michael, the PA, and Dr. Bilof and have never felt so good about a decision so quickly in my life! They thoroughly explained the procedures and outcomes and were so kind and confident! I met with Julie, who coordinates everything you need for pre-op testing, and left the office that day with a potential surgery date, a folder of to do’s and a feeling of hope I hadn’t felt in years! I knew with their help, I would finally be strong enough to conquer my battle with obesity! With the encouragement of my family, I checked off everything that needed to be done and had my surgery October 30, 2019.
It was the absolute best decision I have ever made! My life has changed so much and I am filled with such a feeling of happiness, accomplishment and joy! I have changed my eating habits and now live without that addiction to food that was controlling my life!! I can breathe again! I have more energy than I’ve had in years! I started walking and running with a “couch to 5K” app in January and can now run 3 miles without stopping in 45 minutes!! I run slow, but I’m still moving! I can play volleyball with my kids and nieces and nephews. I dusted off my bike and ride it all over town now! I’m finally in a size that does not require me to shop in the plus size sections! The feeling I have when I think about my journey is so hard to describe. This surgery gave me my life back. And I don’t miss that old life at all! I can still have a small piece of cake at someone’s birthday, but now I can enjoy the party for the people, not just the food that is being served! I wake up every morning ready to take on whatever the day brings! I am not dragging myself through the day thinking about what snacks I will eat that night. I have lost 100 pounds in 7 months and am still losing! My goal weight is 179 pounds and I have no doubt I will reach it! If you are considering surgery, do it!! Without a doubt in my mind, it will be the absolute best decision you will ever make! Every single person at Garden State Bariatrics has touched my life and made it better and for that I thank them! I can honestly say I am living my best life!!
Eleven years ago I weighed 297 pounds. I was miserable and I couldn’t even look at myself in a mirror or at any pictures that were taken of me as I only felt disgust at the person looking back. I have been heavy my entire life. Even as a child I recall going school shopping and being in tears because nothing ever fit. I didn’t want to sleep over at friend’s houses or go to pool parties; weight was always an issue for me. Through high school and college I managed to maintain 150-170 lbs. But with a career where I commute to NYC every day, I found myself eating later, eating foods that were not good for me, and gaining weight steadily over time until I reached my heaviest. I truly needed to make a change in my life. I had no co-morbidity at the time, but if I kept going the way I was, I would certainly develop additional health issues later on.
In January of 2015, I started the Arbonne clean eating nutrition program and was very successful with following the shakes and meals. The program makes you accountable for everything that you put into your body. You cut out sugar, carbs, gluten, dairy, and alcohol. You also learn what foods are good for you, how to cook and how to eat clean. Over a few years I was able to lose 60 pounds on my own and I was finally seeing the person on the outside that I recognized. I started to work on the person inside and finding hope and a positive spirit as I had already changed my life for the better in some way.
In the back of my mind, I had thoughts of having bariatric surgery. A few of my friends had procedures done and they were successful with it. After some time and a lot of research I decided to invest in myself and my future and I went for my consult in November 2018. It was the best day of my life meeting Dr. Yurcisin, Michael Caromano, Jessica, Julie, Anna and everyone else in the Toms River office who have helped me on my journey. After meeting with Dr. Yurcisin and listening to my options, I truly knew that having the gastric sleeve would be a life changing tool for me and I was all in. All of my appointments in the office just affirmed for me that this was the choice for me and I could do this.
My gastric sleeve procedure took place on 6/12/19; I was 240.8 pounds. At one year post-op, I am 145.6 pounds. My goal is to lose 100 pounds by my surgery anniversary date and I will make that goal and then some. I am down 8 inches in my chest, 28 inches in my waist and 29 inches in my hips... I am half the person that I was!
I am thrilled with my progress and I am so excited for my future. I look at the person in the mirror now and I love her. Not just for what I look like on the outside, but for the spirit and the perseverance on the inside that shows through as this is not an easy process or something that you go into lightly. It is life changing forever and you are only successful if you give it 100% and then some. I have been walking 7-9 miles and working out with a personal trainer and friend for the past 8 weeks. The results are amazing. They are more than motivating to keep pushing and moving forward. With the exercise, I have lost 12.5” across my total body and an additional 14 lbs.
I cannot thank Dr. Yurcisin and his team enough for believing in me, helping me to believe in myself and standing behind me and encouraging me along this journey. With every phone call and visit, I have always felt cared for. I have had complete confidence that everyone at GSBWC has my back and my best interests. This journey is not for everyone, but I am not ashamed for taking my life into my hands and doing things my way to make a better life for myself. A life that I know is so much better now after deciding to have hope, love and belief in me and sticking to it. I hope that my journey can inspire others to make the choice that will change their lives in every way. I woke up one day and decided that I didn’t want to be that person anymore, so I changed and anyone can do it, but do it for yourself and no one else. Work on you, for you. Let your faith be bigger than any of your fears and be the reason and inspiration for others to do good for themselves and your heart will be full as mine is.
My decision to have gastric surgery was because of my 17 year old daughter. I have been over weight my whole life but I have NEVER had confidence issues. I was not depressed; I could always find cute clothes. I loved me and the skin I was in. My only issue was always my health.
My family has a history of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I had all three by the age of 30 and was on several medications. When my doctor told me that I would have to be switched from pills to insulin to control my diabetes, I knew something had to be done. Since the surgery, I have been taken off ALL my medications. I got on a roller coaster for the first time this summer (its been YEARS) and I got on a airplane and didn't need a seat belt extension. THAT WAS A GREAT FEELING! I’m not at my ideal weight yet, but I feel and look better than ever. Thank you Dr. Bilof and Staff. #LOVEYOURSELF
All I can say is that if you are on the fence about WLS...do it! It has been the best decision I have ever made. To reclaim my life, my health, and my self confidence. I had struggled with my weight since having children. Years of failed New Year’s resolutions, fad diets, diet pills, weight loss programs, etc. had taken their toll on my self confidence and my life. I was constantly exhausted, depressed, and wasn’t living the life I wanted. I realized my kids would have no photos to remember me by because I was always too embarrassed to be photographed. I always felt uncomfortable in my own skin and avoided social situations. One day I had had enough! I made the decision to contact Dr. Yurcisin’s office and let me tell you it was the best thing I have ever done for myself. I was extremely anxious about the process but Dr. Yurcisin and his staff are THE BEST!!! They made everything seamless. They are all so supportive and welcoming. I cannot recommend them enough. Thanks to the whole GSBWC team both my physical and emotional health has been restored!
My name is Shakeyhia Abbott and I am a patient of Garden State Bariatrics. I had the Gastric Sleeve Surgery. Growing up, I was always the fat or the heavyset girl. As I got older, I started having miscarriages and other health issues which took a toll on me mentally and physically. I decided it was time to take control of my weight which was 275lbd. I started eating less, going to the gym, participating in outdoor activities and even tried not eating to lose weight. I would lose 5lbs but gain 7lbs back.
Finally I was fed up and I wanted to be healthy. I reached out to Garden State Bariatrics and on 12/26/2018 Dr. Bilof changed my life. I will forever be grateful. I feel and look AMAZING. I went from weighing 275lbs to now an amazing 159lbs!
My whole life I have struggled with my weight, even from my younger childhood years. Throughout my early teens I was bullied by my peers and often called names. I was always active and very involved with sports, but I could never lose the weight. I tried weight watchers, CrossFit programs, “fat” camp and even nutritional counseling before I started researching bariatric surgery. When I was 17 years old, I hit rock bottom and fell into a deep depression. I was embarrassed to be seen in public, I never wanted to leave my house because I was ashamed of who I was because of my weight and my negative mindset. One morning I woke up and said to myself, something has to change. I started researching bariatric surgery and found Dr. Bilof who had amazing patient reviews. I decided to take matters into my own hand and with the help of everyone at Garden State Bariatrics, I started to change my life.
Pre-surgery I lost 30lbs by changing my eating habits dramatically and getting into healthy walking routines. After getting gastric sleeve surgery a year and a half ago, I have lost 120lbs and counting!!! I have never been more confident and proud of who I am today. People often knock bariatric surgery and view it as “the easy way out.” But anyone who has actually had the surgery knows that is not the truth. Having surgery helps you lose weight, but your new mindset, goals, and lifestyle change is what will truly make you successful. My life has changed dramatically since surgery and I would not change a thing. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to change my life with the help of Dr. Bilof and his amazing bariatrics team.
I struggled with the ups and downs of weight loss and weight gain for most of my adult life. As I was approaching 50, I was eating the same but the weight began creeping up again. Since my mom suffered a heart attack at the age of 58 and both her and my grandmother died at the young age of 64, I knew that it was now or never to get on track with a complete lifestyle change. As a nurse, I had seen a number of co-workers at the hospital where I work lose a great deal of weight after lap band surgery and gastric sleeve surgery. I did my due diligence and spoke with all of them, asking them the pros and cons of both types of surgery. The consensus for me was gastric sleeve surgery. Dr. Yurcisin, Registered Dietitian Anna, and Surgical Coordinator Julie were extremely patient with me, and the rest of the entire staff were wonderful too. I had the surgery in July of 2015 and have kept off the weight for the past four years. I came within 20 pounds of my goal and a few months ago finally decided to get back on the horse and finish the journey. I am down 8 additional pounds with only 12 more to go. I began the journey at 213 pounds and am looking forward to weighing 120 lbs within the next few months. My only regret is not doing the surgery sooner. Now I can hope to enjoy a longer life with the loves of my life, my three wonderful grandchildren!
- - Dawn M.
My wife Dawn had gastric sleeve surgery in July of 2015. It went so well and she was so determined to get healthy that I decided to have the same surgery with Dr. Yurcisin in December of 2015, six months after my wife. My weight was centered around my stomach and my wife, who is a nurse, kept reminding me that I was at high risk for a heart attack and diabetes. My recovery went differently than my wife’s but I hung in there and lost 80 lbs. I was able to keep the weight off for 2 ½ years but found a few pounds creeping back on the past year. My wife reminded me of all the hard work I had put in with the surgery and weight loss so I decided to get back to work and ensure that it stayed off. I have been eating healthy these past few months and have lost most of what I’ve gained and am now only 9 lbs short of my final goal weight. I started my journey at 255 lbs and am looking forward to living a healthy lifestyle at 170 lbs. Now I can get back to traveling, home renovations, and gardening without the aches and pains and huffing and puffing that are a result of excess weight which stifles your ability to do the things you love to do. Thanks Dr. Yurcisin and Anna!
- - Gary L.
I’ve struggled with weight gain for the past 10 years. I had always been thin, but around age 26, poor eating habits and my love of food caused me to really pack on the pounds. I tried all kinds of weight loss diets, but nothing seemed to work. Then a friend of mine recommended Garden State Bariatrics to me and told me about her experience with Dr. Bilof. After sitting with the doc and explaining my ultimate weight goal of being 220lbs, Dr. Bilof recommended the Duodenal Switch surgery. I looked into it, researched it, talked it over with family and ultimately decided to proceed with the recommended option. Prior to surgery, my heaviest weight was 374 lbs. I was wearing a size 4x shirt, a 58 waist pants and had to shop in stores for big and tall men. Today I weigh 203lbs, wear a size medium shirt and 34 waist pants. And now I shop in regular stores.
Since my surgery, I’ve become an avid runner and cyclist. I’ve run 5 races so far this year and rode over 150 miles on my bicycle. I’m scheduled to compete in my first half marathon in October in Atlantic City, NJ. None of this would have been possible without Dr. Bilof and his amazing team. They made me feel welcome in a judgment free environment at every office visit, from the very beginning. I would like to thank Dr. Bilof and his team for giving me a second chance at life!
All of my life words like husky, big boned and fat were used to describe me. I remember being in the pediatrician’s office and hearing the words morbidly obese. I was only a kid but I knew it wasn’t good. Being tall helped disguise my actual weight. Even though I was overweight I was always athletic. I was on the track and basketball teams in high school. In high school, I fought to get into a size 42 pair of pants. When I started my career, my weight continued to go up. The unhealthy eating habits at work and my love of snacks made my weight skyrocket. I was now on two blood pressure medications and was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and using a CPAP machine.
I knew I was unhealthy and was working on it. I tried every diet in the book - low carb, counting points, diet pills, and starvation. I lost a few pounds and always put back more. I had thought about weight loss surgery for years and always thought it was an easy way out … the lazy way. After ballooning up to 366 pounds I had enough. I couldn’t walk a few blocks without getting winded. I had to do something. My wife and I made an appointment with Dr Yurcisin and Garden State Bariatrics after the recommendation of a family friend that was his patient.
The moment we walked into the office we felt comfortable. Jessica was there with her big smile and our sit down with Michael Caromano and Dr. Yurcisin made us feel even better. Dr Yurcisin explained the different options and we agreed the sleeve would be best. Our next conversation was with Julie. She walked us through all things needed pre op. She had great references for every test needed. It was then I scheduled my first meeting with Anna the nutritionist. At our first appointment Anna truly opened my eyes. That cheeseburger deluxe from the diner? Yea, that’s actually 3 serving sizes of fries and meat. My life was changed. Anna taught me how to eat (slowly) and what to eat (protein). Anna and I worked through 6 months of nutrition education and I was losing weight. I went from 353 to 330. The surgery went perfectly and the new me was born. I had made the changes I needed to make pre op and was ready to go. Michael Caromano and Dr Yurcisin were comforting and calming on the day of the surgery and assured me I would do great.
Since the surgery I am down to 244 in less than 6 months. I am off my blood pressure meds and feeling great. One of my goals was to run a 5k. I did it!! I ran my first 5k and actually finished. The surgery has been life changing. One thing I learned is weight loss surgery is definitely not the easy way out. Follow the plan laid out by the team at Garden State Bariatrics and your life will change. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
My life was eating food. And lots of it. My grandmother, mom and wife are all fantastic cooks. I couldn’t pass up a hot dog truck if I tried. While my wife was sleeping, I would sneak away and visit my mistress - White Castle! I would order a sack of burgers and eat them on the way home and go back to bed. I had no will power and ate my troubles away. My weight eventually blew up to over 400lbs.
I tried every single diet pill and crazy diet that ever existed. I would lose the weight then gain it back double. My knees were shot and at one point I was using a walker. I had high blood pressure and my bloodwork was horrible. My primary doctor said I probably wouldn’t be around much longer if I didn’t do something about my weight.
In February of 2017 I had bariatric surgery. In the two years since my surgery, I have lost a massive amount of weight, kept it off and have normal test results and blood work.
I can’t say enough about the team at Garden State Bariatrics. I have never met such a dedicated, compassionate group of people in my life. I thank God first and then give thanks to the man with the magic hands, Dr. Bilof. He literally saved my life and I will always be grateful. Surgery isn’t a magic pill, but a tool that works along with nutrition classes and the support from GSB. I can’t tell you how many times I emailed or called Julie or Michael and they always get right back to me. I’m embarrassed to show my before picture, but feel I have to give back somehow and if this testimony will help even one person, I will be happy. One more thing I promised myself if I ever lost the weight and reached my goal, I would buy a nice suit. I did that and it fit me right off the rack. I’m wearing the suit in my after picture!
Good luck with your journey!
If I had to do it all over again, I would do it in a heartbeat!
Bariatric surgery is not a "quick fix." It is a lifestyle change and has to be worked at for the rest of your life. I have always been a "big girl" large boned and tall. I had gained weight over the years and tried many different diets, but could not keep the weight off. I had been overweight since I was a teenager. It started off as just a few pounds here and there, but by age 28, I was nearly 300 pounds. It didn't help that I ate whatever I wanted and did not exercise. I knew I needed to take control, but another diet was not going to work this time. The Staff at Garden State Bariatrics always made me feel comfortable and was very helpful in preparing me for the surgery. I learned so much from the dietitian. She gave me a packet of information with all the details of what would happen before, during and after the surgery. This was by far the best decision I ever made. I have never, ever felt so amazing.
- Alyssa L.
Looking back over the last year, my weight loss journey has probably been one of the most rewarding and yet difficult transitions in my life. It took me a long time to get to the point where I would even consider surgery as an option. In 2018, I spoke to my wife about the option of weight loss surgery. She was also overweight at the time so we made a plan together. I scheduled my surgery on 3/14/2018, and she started a very popular diet plan. "Living healthy together" has been our ongoing mantra since my surgery and in effect, a new life together!
On my surgery date I weighed in at 321 POUNDS. I have lost about 132 pounds, and now weigh 189 POUNDS!! Frankly, I can not believe the results. I went from a men's waist size of 46 to a 34. I knew it was going to be a large adjustment in my life, and the first three months were a struggle to adapt to a new lifestyle. It is not easy; it's very challenging and everyone should know that this is probably the toughest part of the post-surgery process. Adapting to what I can and can not tolerate food-wise was difficult. I realized then that food is an addiction and we sometimes just consume food to fill other needs. It was going to be my goal to learn how to combat that dependency of food and train my brain to learn new ways of eating, not because I had to, but because I wanted to start a new life for myself!
Losing the weight does a lot of things for a person, first of all it makes you feel more confident because you feel more attractive and you're able to wear clothing that you were not able to fit in or wear prior to surgery. Second, and most importantly, you can live a healthier lifestyle. You adapt to eating differently and making better and healthier food choices. You weigh less so it's easier to take the stairs instead of an elevator/escalator or walk that extra block or two. Losing the weight has allowed me to realize that food was an addiction, and not one that was noticed like alcohol or gambling but one that was incorporated into so many of my social activities on a daily basis (lunches, dinners etc) and this "addiction" for me was about to end. In order for me to change my life, I wanted to get gastric bypass surgery to change my way of my thinking and ultimately prolong my life by learning to eat healthier, becoming more active and build up confidence to do things that I have wanted to do for a very long time. Today, one year after my surgery and losing 132 POUNDS I am building my confidence slowly everyday. I have always wanted to be in the entertainment field and I am making my way slowly in the industry. Although it's only a hobby it makes me feel good that I have been succeeding at it by being in commercials, movies and some television shows. My career is that of an English Professor and my peers as well as my students have definitely taken notice of my energy level and my positive attitude.
SInce my surgery my wife has lost 90 POUNDS as well, and we are a team! I believe if you are going to have any type of weight loss surgery you need to surround yourself with supporting people and not people who will sabotage your journey. This is perhaps the most important step in losing and keeping off your weight in an emotionally and physically healthy way. I could never regret getting my surgery, it really has given me a new lease on life in ways I could never imagine. I could never of done it without the help of Garden State Bariatrics Wellness Center and all of the doctors and supporting staff there. I owe them a huge thank you for giving me my life back.
My Journey began after I had my 3rd child. I would lose weight and gain it back all the time. I gained 60lbs when I was pregnant and could not lose it. I have yo-yoed dieted for 30 years. I tried Weight Watcher, South Beach, Adkins, and Jenny Craig. They all worked at first then I would gain it back!
When I went to Dr. Bilof it was one of the best days of my life! They were all so caring and kind. I was nervous, but they were great. From Jessica welcoming me to Julie, Michael, and Dr. Bilof the best staff I’ve ever seen. They made me feel so comfortable and special.
It has been a year since I had the gastric sleeve. It’s so easy. I only eat a little at each meal and feel full and happy. I went from 215lbs to 156lbs, from a size 18 to 12. I will be 60 in January and I feel wonderful. I no longer take blood pressure or cholesterol medication. I was a pre-diabetic and now my sugar levels are perfect. I have 3 beautiful children and 6 awesome grandchildren. I can run on the beach now with them and play at the park without being so tired and out of breath. I swim and walk all the time. I have a whole new wardrobe and love putting on a bathing suit now. The best part is taking pictures with my family! I love my new body!
THANK YOU GSBWC!!!!
- Gail S.
In April 11, 2016, I made one of the best decisions of my life. After 3 kids and years of obesity, my weight soared to 290 lbs. After losing 100 lbs. on my own and then regaining it all back (plus some), I told myself enough was enough. I decided to have gastric sleeve surgery.
Since my surgery, I have lost a total of 145 pounds. I have never felt better! I am now a personal trainer and have made it my mission to help people who have the same struggles I once had. My journey has been long, and not an easy road, but I would do it again tomorrow if I had to.
My whole life I have been overweight and simply went about each day existing. I knew I relied on food to comfort me and the number on the scale to define how I felt about myself. At age 19, two words forever scarred my heart and burned into my mind. On my Father's death certificate, the cause for his congestive heart failure was "morbid obesity." It stung so hard. I lost my father because of something that was a choice. I always swore I would do everything in my power to be healthy if I ever became a mom so I could be there for my children for as long as possible.
Fast forward ten years, I was a Mom but realized I didn't have an actual mechanism to "get healthy". I struggled with many diets, exercise routines for the first seven years of my daughter's life, but my mental state remained the same. I was committed to shaming myself for not doing more and wallowing in failure. I was on the same path as my Father and I knew it. I finally decided I needed help and GSBWC was the answer. I came into my first visit at 5'1"and 235 pounds. A year and a half later I am 5'2", 129 pounds and full of self-love and acceptance of who I am.
I have immersed myself in support groups and GSBWC is always there to keep me moving forward. Hard choices are becoming easier and part of my routine. I still remain very weak in some areas. For example, there is no such thing as having one Oreo. My willpower is not there yet. My willpower may never be there. I am okay with this realization though, because instead of clinging to a package of Oreos, there is a leash waiting for me to grab off the hook to take the dogs for a walk with my daughter, or a bike beckoning me to take a ride down the street. Many memories are now on the horizon with my daughter. I have been gifted something priceless from GSBWC, and that is the chance to truly love this life that I have been given and to treasure this chance to change the date and ending on my death certificate. I cannot thank the doctors and staff at GSBWC for giving me the chance to rewrite how my daughter will remember me. I am forever grateful.
Following years of emotional eating, both happy and sad, and numerous attempts at weight loss, I decided that I wanted to be able to enjoy my life. I have rheumatoid arthritis and the weight loss has helped my inflammation tremendously. The surgery itself was not extremely painful, by day 3 post op I was feeling so much better. I now enjoy going out with friends, shopping and being able to move normally. I began my journey at 242 lbs. and I am currently at 148 lbs. I feel great. Thank you Dr. Bilof, Michael, Julie, Anna and Jessica for helping me get my life back !
Let me start of by saying the best decision in my life has been having Weight Loss Surgery with GSBWC!! I have struggled with my weight my entire life, especially after becoming a working mother of 3 boys. I have always put everyone first and didn't realize that over the years I let myself go. After my 3rd son, I was at my heaviest at 230lbs. Once I became a borderline diabetic in 2016 I knew I had to do something about this. Out of nowhere, I received a phone call from a good friend by the name of Anna (nutritionist) regarding a job opportunity at GSBWC. I accepted the position and was completely blown away by seeing the results that weight loss surgery can do for you. As I kept seeing patients going through the process and hearing them say that this was the best decision that they have ever made and that they wish they would have done this sooner, I felt like it was my time to go through the process. Today I am 6 months post-surgery, and I have never felt better. I was 235lb and my BMI was a 40, now I am proud to say that I have my confidence back and I am feeling better than ever. No longer am I a borderline diabetic. Now I weigh 145lbs and I feel like a whole new women. This decision was definitely life changing. I cannot thank Dr. Yurcisin, Dr. Bilof, Michael, Anna (and all of my colleagues!) enough for saving my life. They are AMAZING!!!! I am truly blessed to be a patient and an employee here at GSBWC.
“More than a year ago, I decided to change my life. Years of living dependent on depression and anxiety medication took a major toll on my health. Overweight, hypertensive and pre diabetic, I met with doctors and decided to make a change. I started practicing a Holistic way to treat my Anxiety/Depression and kick started my weight loss via sleeve with the assistance of the amazing staff at Garden State Bariatrics. Dr. Bilof, Bella, Wynnie and the Millburn Office staff have been absolutely supportive and always greet me with a smile. Today, I’m back to my Army weight, MED FREE and all my health issues under control. It hasn’t been easy but I’m happy I did it! Thank you to all my family and friends that joined my journey with overwhelming support. Now I’m training to run the NYC Marathon in November.”
- Lucy DelGuadio
On July 30th, 2017 I weighed 432 lbs. I was on blood pressure medicine, diuretics, cholesterol medicine, asthma medicine, and two types of diabetes medication 4 times a day. I had difficulty doing the simplest things. I had battled a diabetic ulcer on my left foot for 5 years. I could barely walk or bend. I had trouble getting back and forth to school or to do normal activities. I was in a dark place with only down to go. I was in real trouble.
. . . then, I found hope.
In August of last year I met Dr. Yurcisin and Mike Caromano. I was floored at the effort, time and understanding they demonstrated for me. Dr. Yurcisin told me, "this is a happy place." I knew that day that I had found the right people to help. As we all do, I began my pre-surgery journey. The support I received from all of Dr. Yurcisin's staff made every step seem easy. I had my first surgery in November to remove my Lap-band and then my Loop Duodenal Switch on December 27, 2017.
Almost immediately there was a difference. The difference is not only in your anatomy but in your heart and in your mind. I was ready for this. I wanted this and I have not been disappointed. I lost 20lbs in the first week, 42lbs in the first month and now six months after surgery am down 146lbs. Before surgery I was a size 62. I just put on a size 44 pair of jeans. I walk everywhere and don't even consider how far. I ride my bike 5 days a week. My life is so much easier. So much better. Life is so much better, better than I thought it would ever be again. The darkness is gone. It is replaced by energy, hope and lots of smiles. Thank you Garden State Bariatrics for all you have done for my family and me. You all have truly created for me a "happy place!"
I have battled weight my whole life. I would manage to lose, then gain it back, plus some. It was a constant roller coaster. I have always been a very positive, upbeat person, who takes whatever life throws at you. However, about a year ago, I had hit an all-time low. I was at the point of not even wanting to look at myself in the mirror. I was not happy with myself. I was embarrassed out in public. I would hear snide comments or see someone laugh at me and my insecurities would rise. In addition, I have Multiple Sclerosis and could feel my legs getting weaker. I was barely making it up the stairs, never mind going for a walk or exercising. I decided to meet with Dr. Yurcisin. I walked out of that appointment ready to make a change and with a vengeance. He laid it all out for me; the work I would have to put in, but that he and his staff would be there every step of the way.
On October 23, 2017 I had Gastric Sleeve. I was 270 pounds. I promised myself that was the last time I would ever see that weight. 7 months later, I am down 102 pounds; and 60 inches (I lost a 5 foot person). I have learned how to eat, make good food choices, and treat my body with the care it deserves. My legs no longer hurt; I don't get winded walking up steps; I actually just completed my 4th week of CrossFit, and am starting on my next 4 weeks.
Having surgery was the best decision I ever made. I stop and actually smile at myself in the mirror now. When I am out in public, I am not hiding anymore. I am confident, secure and so happy to have my life back. The positive person I always was has intensified and I hope whoever is reading this decides to do it; you owe it to yourself. You only get one chance at life, embrace it.
I'm incredibly thankful to Dr Yurcisin, and the amazing team at Garden State Bariatrics! I am so excited to continue this journey to the best possible version of me! Watch out world, I'm coming.
~~ Nicole Pica~~
Hi I'm Heather Oset. I had the Loop Duodenal switch on January 18, 2017. I was 356 lbs with hypertension, sleep apnea, sciatica/back pain problems and borderline diabetic. At that weight, I also wasn't able to start a family. As a hairdresser, I'm on my feet all day and my weight was affecting my job.
The decision to have bariatric surgery after meeting with Dr. Yurcisin and the team at Garden State Bariatrics was one of the best decisions of my life! I've lost 226 lbs! I never thought I would go from 356 lbs to 130 lbs . This all just seems surreal to me!
My decision to have bariatric surgery saved my life. I have my health back!!!! I'm no longer suffering from hypertension, sleep apnea or borderline diabetic. And eventually I'll be able to start my family. That means the world to me!
I'm incredibly thankful for this second chance at life thanks to Dr Yurcisin, Bella, and the amazing team at Garden State Bariatrics!
I feel amazing and I can't wait to continue on my journey to the best possible me.
Four days from now will be my one year anniversary. I arrived for surgery 6am on a Monday morning. I was scared. I was nervous. I was not sure if I made the right choice. I remember Dr. B saying, “Andy, from this point forward, this will be the last time you ever feel this much weight.” Surgery was the best decision of my life. I’m down 117 pounds and in the best shape of my life.
The main reason I chose surgery was the gout attacks I suffered every other week. It was interfering with my life and family. To this date I have not had any attacks and I’m off all my meds. For the people who are ready to take on this challenge, the support staff on your journey will be amazing. The smiling faces you see when you walk through the door are with you 110%. I have never had the chance to say this, but to the team at GSB, thank you for changing my life and giving me a second chance to see my kids and be with my family. THANK YOU and I love you guys for it.
Love you guys AK
KRISTEN PHILLIPS - September of 2016 was such a huge life change for me. I struggled with my weight most of my adult life. I was only 27 years old and had spent most of my twenties overweight, unhappy and out of breath. When I got married I loved my pictures, but secretly wished I was a smaller bride. Now almost two years later I can finally go to the beach with my kids and not feel like everyone’s looking at me. I can run around with my four year old and keep up, I no longer worry about being pre diabetic. I tried for so long to diet and exercise and for every one step forward, I took five steps back. It was never ending! Bariatric surgery was the best decision of my life and I fully thank my mother who also had surgery for her push to do this and change my life. I love living life with my husband and kiddos and being able to keep up!
Just over 2 years ago I made the best decision of my life. A choice that has given me a new lease on life. Looking back, my life prior to my weight loss journey was more difficult than I had thought. I find the greatest joy in the smallest accomplishments. Before my surgery, I was not able to do any of what people think are everyday activities such as walking into any store and finding my size, sitting in a chair without fear of it breaking. The biggest “win” for me is being able to walk more than a few steps without needing to take a break because I’m tired or have serious back pain. I’ve also been able to do more exhilarating activities such as riding a rollercoaster and driving luxury sports cars. My life has changed in so many amazing ways and they can all be attributed to my weight loss. The biggest difference is the way people look at me. I have been passed up for jobs and looked through by women. Since my weight loss, I can take pride in myself which allows others to do so as well. I’ve started a great career at an accounting firm and I’m going out and trying new things every day. The decision to take control of my life was the best I could have made and I’m thankful every day. ~ Johnathan (JJ) Hinshaw Jr
Steve & Tammy
My husband and I met 32 years ago when we were just 12 years old. We were close friends all through school. He always made me feel beautiful even though I was overweight. We started seriously dating at 19 years old and got married at 26.
I struggled with my weight my entire life and went to my first weigh loss camp at just 8 years old. I attended weight watchers for years prior to my pregnancies and after. I would be successful losing the weight, but would gain it back each time and then some. I could never maintain.... It felt like a never-ending battle! I did not think I would ever get to a normal weight and be healthy. I had two children I needed to set the example for. I needed to live a long healthy life so I could see them both grow up. In January 2014, my OBGYN recommended bariatric surgery and Dr. Bilof. In August 2014, I entered Dr. Bilof's office for my first consultation. He was amazing! He answered all my questions, addressed my concerns and made me feel excited for this journey! I started my pre-op journey that day. On February 4, 2015 I had the Sleeve Gastrectomy. It was the best day of my life. My new beginning! My highest weight was 289lbs; I am now 165lbs. My total weight loss is 125lbs! I have maintained this weight since I hit it 8 moths post op! I have become an avid runner and I train in Crossfit! Never would I ever have thought I would be a runner and love it! I have also started an online support group on Facebook for woman with PCOS and who are considering or have had weight loss surgery. It is called "Our PCOS~VSG Journey & Support". My group is full of many supportive women who help keep me focused and help me to never feel alone on this journey!
Steve started struggling with his weight in his mid 20's. Together we were trying to be healthy, but it never seemed to be successful. He became obese in his late 30's and could not get a handle on his weight. He tried diet after diet with little to no success. He was in denial of how unhealthy he was. He was at his heaviest at 364lbs and felt helpless. Steve was always supportive of my journey and was so impressed with my determination and success. He saw how happy and full of energy I was that he decided to talk with Dr. Bilof too. He had his first consultation appointment with Dr. Bilof in September 2015 and started his pre-op journey that day. He had his Sleeve Gastrectomy on March 16, 2016! His surgery weight was 330lbs; his current weight is 190lbs. His total weight loss is 170lbs! He is the happiest and healthiest I have ever seen him! Our lifestyle change has brought us closer than ever. With our new, healthy and happy beginning we decided to re-new our wedding wows this past August. It was even happier than our first wedding day!
We are very thankful everyday for Dr. Bilof and Garden State Bariatrics for their constant support! Thanks to our wonderful family, friends and doctors and their support and encouragement, we started living our lives in our 40's! Our journey is never over; it is always changing. We wouldn't want it any other way!
~ October 26, 2016 is what I call my NEW BIRTHDAY! ~
My name is Alicia and I would love to share my story with you about my weight and health issues, and how I overcame them. I am 60 years old and have been fighting my weight and related health issues for at least 20 years. I started gaining weight just before menopause. I had gotten sick with peritonitis, which put me in the hospital. I felt my energy deteriorate after that and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Not being able to move around as much caused me to gain weight. I ended up with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, leading to all kinds of medications.
I talked to my doctor about losing some weight, hoping to come off the medications. I tried every diet plan you can imagine, with just minor results. I was never a person who ate fast foods or unhealthy foods. No matter what I did, I just kept getting heavier! My doctor did some routine blood work which showed I had high blood sugar! I was sent to a pulmonary doctor and discovered I had sleep apnea!
I saw a friend of mine at work and noticed that she had been losing weight. She told me about Dr. Bilof at GARDEN STATE BARIATRICS. I checked out his website and read up on him. At my first appointment, I felt so welcomed and comfortable! The waiting room was so inviting, they had cold bottles of water, coffee, tea and candy. Yes, candy - sugarless, of course! The people that work there are like family, so friendly, helpful and most importantly, professional in every way! I want to thank every one of the staff at GSBWC. I went there with my husband who is my biggest supporter in my journey. I was 205lbs at my heaviest - I could hardly tie my shoes! October 26, 2016 is what I call my New BIRTHDAY!
I have lost over 70lbs! I have so much energy, I can skip, jump, and run again! I feel half my age! I am very proud to say I am off my C Pap machine - no more snoring! No more high blood pressure and no more high cholesterol. My high blood sugar is also gone. I still have Fibromyalgia but it is now less painful and easier to manage. I owe this all to Dr. Bilof and such an amazing staff!
October 26th 2016 will forever be the day that changed my life dramatically and for the best! After years of dieting, exercising, weight loss programs and a baby nothing seemed to help me lose the weight that I was so desperate to lose. I worked so hard, ate as healthy and clean as I could and nothing made the change that I needed. After consulting with friends who had the sleeve and a teared filled breakdown to my husband, with his support I finally decided to have my consultation with Dr Bilof. That was the best decision I have ever made. Walking into that office at 237 lbs, I was at my heaviest. I hated looking at myself in the mirror, hated any item of clothing I put on and honestly didn't want to go out because of what I looked like. I was so ashamed at what I had become. With the help of Dr. Bilof, and all of the staff at GSBWC, I was able to drop 81lbs in the year since my surgery. I gained my self-confidence back, I love getting dressed in the morning, and my energy is so high that playing with my kids is no longer exhausting after just 5 minutes. My lifestyle has changed for the better and I feel great for the first time in a long time! To think I weigh less now than I did when I graduated high school amazes me! I can't thank Dr. Bilof and the staff at GSBWC enough for helping me make my life great again and bringing "me" back!
I guess you can say that I am an OG of gastric bypass surgery. I had my surgery on April 12, 2006 and never looked back. I could not have imagined that 11+ years later I would be able to maintain my weight loss after numerous failed attempts in the past. As an obese person I had many ailments including high blood pressure, high cholesterol (which required medication), shortness of breath, swollen feet (including gout), heavy menstrual cycles, loud snoring and many more. It was such a struggle being obese. Even the simplest tasks were a struggle.
I went from 278lbs to 146lbs. I've gone from wearing a size 26 to a size 6/small. I've accomplished many milestones in my 11 year journey, but the biggest was having my son. He's eight years old and, other than a few pictures, he has never seen me as an obese person. I am determined that he never will. I am also determined to raise him healthy. He takes karate and he just started football. I made a habit of drinking water and not so much soda. It's a work in progress, but we're making strides.
NEVER GIVE UP NO MATTER WHAT OBSTACLES YOU MAY FACE.
There's no quick fix, no perfect diet, no magical pill for weight loss surgery. Weight loss surgery is not an easy way out. After 11 years, I have not made it to home base, and I never will. This is a positive thing. For me, it's important not to get too comfortable or have the notion that I have beaten the odds of obesity. This is a life-long commitment and patients need to be aware of this. Follow-up is extremely important, whether it's with the surgeon that did your surgery or your primary care doctor.
With the help of Dr. Bilof and his staff, I was able to overcome a major hurdle. But I know that I will always be a work in progress, and I am comfortable with that!
Myself (Deanna) and my mother (Gina) have been struggling to lose weight for years. It seemed as though we had tried everything. One day I decided to look into bariatric surgery. I did a few google searches and came across Dr. Bilof and Garden State Bariatrics. After several months of preparation for our surgeries we finally them on December 28th, 2015. I went in first and she went in right after my surgery was complete. My starting weight was 310lbs and my mom’s was 250lbs. Since then we have both lost over 100lbs. I have lost 147lbs and she has lost 110lbs. This surgery has allowed us to live healthy and better quality lives. We are now able to physically move better and mentally we both feel better. We have totally changed our lives for the better. We have adapted new eating habits with the help of your dietitian. I now exercise 4-5 days a week. Having this surgery was not easy but with time and dedication we were able to get the results we wanted. This is our new life. Thank you Garden State Bariatrics!
Growing up, I had a hard time losing weight on my own. I had no confidence, I was bullied, I was shut out, I was depressed, and every day was a struggle. I knew something had to change; I didn’t want to grow up and have physical and emotional problems. I didn’t want my family taking care of me, when I’m supposed to be taking care of them. I wanted to be healthy, I wanted to wear the designer clothes, and I wanted to be happy.
I started my journey with Garden State Bariatrics in the Toms River, NJ office. I was 19 years old, 334 pounds. I requested Dr. Bilof because he was once a successful and busy vascular surgeon, his resume is one of great excellence. I chose my surgery which was the sleeve gastrectomy. Julie set up all my appointments, received all of my documents, and my results. Anna gave me excellent advice on my new diet and her pathway led me to lose 10 pounds before surgery. Dr. Yurcisin is a just a funny, well-rounded gentleman. Dr. Yurcisin made my endoscopy fast and simple.
The big day was finally here, March 16th, 2016; Dr. Bilof’s mother’s birthday. I was all ready to go, Dr. Bilof came in ready to go and everything went smoothly. I made a quick recovery and I was out ready to start my new life. Ten months later, I’m 120 pounds lighter. I’m 20 years old and 214 pounds; the lightest and healthiest I’ve ever felt and been. It’s been a long difficult journey but it’s done, and I have no regrets. I’m happy, I’m living life, I’m wearing designer clothes, I have confidence, I’m just looking good and feeling good.
I want to thank my Mom for being there during my recovery as well as helping me through it; I want to thank Monmouth Medical Center for their respectful and courteous staff as well as a clean comfortable stay. I want to thank the magnificent Julie for all her hard work and help. I want to thank the front desk for always answering my phone calls, and for calling me to let me know I have an appointment coming up. I want to thank Dr. Yurcisin, Dr. Bilof and Anna for everything. I want to thank Garden State Bariatrics, period. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for Garden State Bariatrics. Thank you again, and remember anything is possible. God Bless.
*The winner of the Patient of the Month contest receives a gift card prize for sharing the story of their bariatric experience with GSBWC.
Dr. Bilof has changed my life in the following ways:
- My outlook on life has changed dramatically for the good and everyone around me notices the change in my attitude, look on life and my overall personality
- I am now able to train a martial art that I have been dying to do for a while now, training Muay Thai 4-5 days a week gives me clarity and allows me to center myself
- My confidence in my relationship, my life and career has shot through the roof and I am more determined then ever to be the best person I can
- I can FINALLY shop at ANY store I want
- I finally believe that I can do anything and everything I set my mind to
Thank you so much on my new lease on life. I never thought in a million years that I would be under 200 pounds. If it wasn’t for Dr. Bilof, I don’t know where I’d be in ten years.
On January 20, 2016 i embarked on a life-changing journey. After years of struggling with my weight, I decided to have gastric sleeve surgery. Upon much soul searching, I decided it was important to share my journey with you! I remember searching for someone…anyone to help ease my fears and anxieties about surgery but had a difficult time. I hope that by sharing my journey that i can help be a calm voice of positivity to help you through this seemingly scary ride. For years i felt s though i lived in a body that didn’t belong to me. I felt trapped. I finally broke through the chains of insecurity and have found myself… once again! This is all i ever wanted to be… me! I wish the same for you… I hope you enjoy my YouTube series Beneath The Surface!
Thank you Dr. Yurcisin of Garden State Bariatrics for helping me find myself!
Without Dr. Y and the wonderful staff I wouldn’t be where I am today. For the first time in many years I can actually look at myself in the mirror and not be ashamed in who I am. I feel amazing, and I feel beautiful inside and out. I have finally gained self esteem, and worth back in my life.
Every single time I step foot in that office the amazing staff makes me feel so proud of how far I have come and make me want to continue. You all give me the boost that I need. And I am happy to say because of you all I am two months pregnant!!!!!!!! And I was never so excited to come into the office and tell Dr. Yurcision my news because it was because of him it was possible!!!!!
Thank you thank you!!!!
Let me start by saying that my decision to have weight loss surgery with GSBWC was the best one I’ve ever made! I’d been struggling with my weight most of my adult life. Starting with the birth of my first child. And it’s been a 30 year battle. I’d tried different weight loss programs, with some success, but none with lasting results. But in the last several years my weight had ballooned to 274 lbs. I had high blood pressure and was starting to feel pain in my knees and feet. I knew I had to do something. I had 2 very good friends who’d had weight loss surgery and both were happier and healthier and looked fantastic.
I started to wonder if that could happen to me as well! When I mentioned to my friends that I wanted to look into the possibility of having surgery myself, both unequivocally recommended their surgeon, Dr. Michael Bilof at GSBWC.
They both had nothing but rave reviews about Dr. B and sang his praises. And they were so right! I know God was working in my life when he directed me to Dr. Bilof. He is a caring and amazingly skilled surgeon who helped change my life! In just one year I’ve gone from 274 lbs and size 22 to 140 bs and size 4/6. It’s almost hard for me to believe!
Life is amazing right now. I feel so much better! My feet don’t hurt anymore. I can walk up the flight of stairs at work without being out of breath. And clothes shopping is fun again! Thank you Dr. Bilof and the wonderful team at GSBWC for giving me my life back
Today (11/11/2016) is my one year anniversary since my surgery. After struggling with my weight for the better part of a decade, the yoyo effect with trying different “fad diets”, losing weight and gaining it back, an unhealthy addiction to food, a poor self-image and self-esteem, dealing with social anxiety, being borderline diabetic, and suffering with sleep apnea…
I made the decision to have weight loss surgery. I had a sleeve gastrectomy on 11/11/2015 and took charge of my health and my weight. I had 85% of my stomach removed which forced me to eat smaller (normal sized) portions, which also got me in check with what I’m putting into my body because surely I don’t want to fill my “pouch” with anything that isn’t giving me the nutrients that I need. I used to be a “soda junkie” and ate a lot of fast food, and I was also an emotional eater (which normally consisted of sugary junk food). Today, I can’t tolerate soda, sugary or greasy foods (I’ve tried a couple things, and learned REAL QUICK that its not even worth it!). I don’t even crave it anymore.
It’s been a very empowering journey. I have lost 102 pounds altogether! I weighed 223 lbs at my heaviest, I was 212 lbs the morning of my surgery, and I am currently down to 121 lbs. I went from a size 18 jeans, down to a juniors size 7! It wasn’t “the easy way out”, you definitely have to be ready for this change, you can’t just have surgery and think it’s going to do all the work for you, there were some struggles I had to overcome along the way, but I would do it all over again (just glad I won’t have to)! In fact, I believe this was the best choice I’ve ever made for myself. I have more energy, a higher self-esteem, and an all around better outlook on life. Treating my body better feels AMAZING, I eat clean, I stay hydrated, I work out, and my hard work has paid off! I look and feel 5 years younger than I did this time last year! The borderline diabetes and sleep apnea? GONE!
However, I didn’t do this all on my own, I’ve got a lot of people to thank for being in my corner. I had an amazing support system, and I am truly grateful for my team at Garden State Bariatrics. Dr. Yurcisin has been awesome and made me feel comfortable with the process, and confident in my decision right from the beginning. I drove an hour and a half from Vineland to the Toms River office for my appointments just because I loved my team so much, between Jessica (at the front desk in the office), Julie (my appointment coordinator), Anna (my nutritionist), Keith (the surgical assistant), and of course my family and friends have been there to help keep me focused and motivated along the way. I’m very grateful to be where I am today, truth is I was depressed for a long time with a lot of it stemming from being overweight, unhealthy, and uncomfortable. I’m extremely satisfied with my decision, NO REGRETS!
For a very long time I struggled with weight, excess weight. I often tried all kinds of weight loss programs and would get limited results but never permanent. I was at a point where I felt hopeless and I knew I couldn’t do it alone I needed help. I came to see Dr Bilof who I will call from “the game changer”.
He equipped me with a tool that has changed my life and I am so thankful. My knees are so thankful because they got the message as I lost weight. My back is getting the message each month as I lose weight. I hated The clothes I had to wear as a fat woman.
Now I am lighter than I have been since 1999 and thank the Lord I saved all of my business suits in the cedar closet in my attic. I am able to wear every outfit now. I found so many clothes in my closet with tags on that I had never wore and I do praise dances as I try them on one by one each day to keep myself motivated.
I cannot wait to get to my goal weight so that I can go buy new clothes. Thank you Dr. Bilof and the staff for being there for me and all the other patients that experience success that we couldn’t have done without the game changer Dr. Bilof.
Getting up the courage for the initial appointment was the hardest part. That morning, I wanted to cancel but knew I had to go. I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into Deborah Heart and Lung. I was so nervous I wanted to run! As I sat in the exam room, a soft spoken gentleman came in and introduced himself as the physician assistant Keith. He was so caring and treated me with such respect. He calmly explained the different surgeries and answered all my questions.
Then came the dreaded examination…
I explained how embarrassed I was of my body and he assured me it would be ok. And it was. Next, I met with Dr. Bilof. He is such a dapper man, with his tie matching his socks. I thought that this was too good to be true. These Dr’s are nice! I left that day knowing that these were the doctors for me. The subsequent visits were easy and very positive. The feeling of family with this group was apparent.
Along the way I got to know Julie who took care of scheduling everything, Kathleen being my nurse, friend and just so supportive, Keith, a friend for life and Dr Bilof- a perfect match for me. Dr. Bilof once told me that if I ever had a question to just call him. I told him I would never bother him at home and he replied “that’s what my cell phone is for“. What doctor does that!!! So, My surgery came and all went well. No more diabetes, no more excess skin, hernia repair done, just new clothes! Life is GOOD! My journey is not over yet. I have lost 150 pounds and the possibilities are endless. It is hard work, however with the support of Dr Bilof, his staff, family and friends, I will continue.
I feel blessed to have discovered Garden State Bariatrics.
Thanks Kelly we are very proud of you!
In April 2015, I came to Dr. Bilof as a 5’10”, 269 pound man. I was on medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol and my primary physician told me that in 3 – 5 years I would be diabetic if things didn’t change. I had a mild case of sleep apnea and suffered from arthritis in my knees that was exacerbated by working out. I tried everything to lose weight on my own including running, tennis, lifting weights and prepared a majority of my own meals, but a new position that kept me sedentary, age (not responding to weight-loss efforts like I used to) and other unknown factors caused me to gain 10 pounds a year for the past four years.
After meeting with a Nutritionist for three months, I was approved for a Sleeve Gastrectomy, which I underwent on August 10, 2015. At the time of my surgery, I was 254 pounds, wore a 52L coat, 40 waist pants, and XXL shirt. At the end of August 2016, I weighed 189 pounds, wore a 42L, size 34 pants and a L shirt. Without medication, my cholesterol levels are at the low end of normal and I am now on the lowest dosage of my blood pressure medication. There is no trace of sleep apnea, and I haven’t had to take any pain medication for my arthritic knees in the last eight months. I continue to prepare most of my own meals and to work out; I am now able to complete a 5-mile run or play tennis for hours without pain.
Let me start off by saying I am a true believer that there are no coincidences in life – there’s only synchronicity and everything happens for a reason. …
The truth is, back in 2014, I was diagnosed with having one of the worse sleep apnea results at Deborah Heart And Lung…in fact, once they had my results, a truck with oxygen tanks and machinery was delivered to my home that evening…talk about life altering…my whole life was flipped upside down and I was placed on round the clock oxygen…I was feeling so hopeless and was advised that in order for me to be removed from the oxygen, I would have to lose at least 100 lbs!
I was devastated considering every prior attempt to lose weight resulted in complete failure…however, that phone call changed my life. Again, no coincidence, but that day I was advised that Deborah was getting a bariatric department and would I like to be there first patient! I jumped at the chance (well, not literally haha)…anyway, my husband and I met with Dr. Bilof and instantly felt a level of comfort. He saved my life that day!
I had my surgery in July 2014 (sleeve) and then the switch in March 2016 and almost 2 years later, I have lost over 163 lbs and continue to lose! Everyone at the Toms River office made this journey an amazing, positive experience…one that I will forever be grateful. Specifically, Dr. Bilof, of course, Julie, Jessica, Keith and Kathy for always being there to answer my numerous questions…I was given back my life…in fact, better yet…I was given a life filled with activity and excitement and continuous adventure…an even better life than I could have ever imagined! Thank you all
A big thank you to Dr. Bilof and his staff!! Let’s start at the beginning. I had a doctor’s appointment in April of 2014. When they weighed me I started to cry. I went home, searched the internet, found Garden State Bariatrics and made my appointment. I loved their website. I went to their seminar first. I met the doctor the first week of May. That was the beginning of my “Sleeve” journey and have never looked back. August 13th will be my two year anniversary and I am loving life.
My preop weight was 281 pounds and I now weigh 150 pounds. Dr. Bilof, Kathleen , Julie and Jessica helped make this decision one of the easiest I have ever made…they are family now! Besides the obvious health benefits after surgery, I have gained a self confidence in myself that I never knew I had. AND, I gained a new love…I will continue to celebrate my “surgerversary”.
Bring on the rest of my life- I am ready.
Hello everyone. I am a new person thanks to making an innocent phone call the summer of 2014 To Deborah Hospital after seeing an advertisement online when turning on the radio station for a new Bariatric Program that they were starting there.
At the time I didn’t know I was calling for surgery, I thought I could maybe get some sort of exercise and diet information from them. After some conversation with Deborah I was directed to making an appointment with them to see Dr. Bilof.
Meeting Dr. Bilof was again the best thing that could have happened to me. He took his time explaining every aspect of the surgery to me and the different options I had. He couldn’t have been nicer and answered all of my questions. He was really caring. We both decided the Sleeve surgery was best for me with the duodenal switch surgery as stage 2. I have had both surgery’s now and feel and look so much better.
I was 353lbs. before surgery and am now at 240lbs. and still losing. My goal is to get to 150lbs. The transformation I have made is amazing and I am now enjoying buying clothes again in the stores instead of catalogs, exercising at the gym instead of lounging in my recliner all morning watching TV, and cooking healthy instead of all the fattening foods I loved to cook.
I get to keep in close contact with Dr. Bilof’s WONDERFUL staff at our monthly support meetings, which are the highlight of my month, and get to meet new patients each time which have now all become great friends.
The entire staff is always there for me no matter how many questions I have for them, they are welcoming, and just darn nice to all of us.
I truly appreciate everything they have done for me in this past year and hope to continue on this weight loss journey for the rest of my life. I also highly recommend to anyone thinking about this surgery, to do it. It may be scary, but it is worth it, and the surgery itself was a breeze for me. No regrets!
Thank you all at GSBWC
Initially, I had only thought about going for stomach surgery. I decided to attend Dr. Bilof’s presentation on the different types of surgeries available to lose weight. Two of the three friends who went with me decided to go for it. I decided to wait. I was a little apprehensive at first, but after one year and seeing the results my friends had, I bit the bullet and went for it.
So on January 12, 2015, I had the gastric bypass surgery. Unlike most people, I had some minor complications that were immediately addressed by Dr. Bilof and his staff. I had to stay an extra day in the hospital; I had more scar tissue than originally seen; and I had to go home with a tube on my side to collect the extra fluid that was filling my stomach. It wasn’t the piece of cake that others had experienced at first, but after several weeks of support from Dr. Bilof and his staff all the issues were resolved and I was able to go on with my life.
I can tell you with absolute certainty that this was the best decision I could have made. It has made such a difference in my life. I have lost a total of 65 lbs. since that day and I have more energy than ever! I am no longer wearing plus sizes and when I do shop for clothes, I no longer become disgusted with the face and body staring back at me in the mirror. I have stopped most medications; no longer have to sleep with my sleep apnea machine; my knee pain has improved and I bowled for the first time in 20 years!
I want to thank each and every one of you at the Garden State Bariatric for your kind words, lasting support and patience for making my life the best it has been in a very long time. For those of you who feel that you want a new lease on life take the first step and go for a consult and let your new life begin!
Just wanted to send this your way. Thanks to the wonderful staff and the amazing Dr. Bilof for changing my life, boosting my health and self confidence. I have recommended a countless number of friends and family your way who have also had great success. Thank you all for your sincerity in everything you do! I would never be the person I am today without garden state bariatrics.
Hello, everyone! My name is Heather Steinberg, I’m 30-years-old and from Woodbridge, New Jersey. I live with my parents and four younger sisters. I have a boyfriend of over two years as well. Currently, I’m a part-time babysitter and a full-time college student, studying for my Bachelor’s of Human Services and then continuing for my Master’s of Social Work. My goal is to become a New Jersey state licensed social worker and work within the foster care system. In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out with my family and friends, helping out my grandmother, while also being actively involved at my local gym; where I’m working on finishing my weight loss, strengthening my muscles, and toning up my body.
My weight issues stem back all the way to childhood and continued all through my 20’s, until the point of surgery. I was always the giant of my class; very tall and heavier than the rest. I never once let this hinder my helpful, friendly, and social personality, even when I was picked on by others. I did have self-esteem issues, however, I never really let that show. As time went on, I only gained more and more weight. I graduated high school in 2004 at nearly 200 pounds, and within the 10 years that followed, I gradually progressed to a bit over 400 pounds. I believe the weight gain was due to my obsession with food; wanting to eat whatever I wanted and when I wanted without concern, while also emotionally eating to help me cope with many issues in life. Within this period of time, I also developed high-risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, endometriosis, anxiety, and depression. I tried many different kinds of diets, and did well for quite awhile, but it was too easy to falter. It was near the end of 2013 where I finally decided to take back control of my life.
I found Garden State Bariatrics and Wellness Center through google research of bariatric doctors near my area. I picked them at random and called to schedule a consultation. I was setup with Dr. Basil Yurcisin, who was nothing but friendly and supportive in assisting me on this new and upcoming weight loss journey. All of the staff at GSBWC believed in me more than I believed in myself, and that certainly showed through every appointment and/or conversation I had with them; if it weren’t for their continuous support and encouragement, I probably would have given up again, like I’ve done many times in the past. I had the Duodenal Switch in August of 2014. My highest weight was 406 pounds during that summer. As of February 2016, I can proudly say that I have lost half of myself, down over 200 pounds (last recorded weight was 198), BMI from 55 down to 29, and the majority of my medical conditions are completely erased. This entire journey has been filled with joy and excitement; it was the best decision that I’ve ever made for myself and I don’t plan on ever turning back. Thank you to everyone at GSBWC, and all my family and friends that have been there for me along the way!
My name is Jeanmarie DeBiase and I am 54 years old. After the loss of my husband, a first responder of 9-11, my life took a drastic turn. I was left to raise my 3 young sons while trying to deal with my loss. It was quite overwhelming. My best friend, (who just happens to be my sissy Kathleen) stood by me, always telling me how strong I was and what a great job I was doing. My answer was always “I have to be, I don’t have a choice.”
Little did she know I turned to food for comfort and strength. I let this addiction-that is what it had become- rule my life. My blood pressure was uncontrollable, even on medicine and I was borderline diabetic. I was killing myself, I knew what I was doing but couldn’t control myself. My sister always said that if I didn’t want to get healthy for myself then I should think of my children and do it for them. I knew she was right but I couldn’t seem to put an end to my detrimental way of life. I prayed for help. I was strong for my children but not myself.
And then a chance meeting sent me in the direction where health and happiness ruled my life-not food! I truly believe that people come into your life for a reason. While visiting with my sister at her office, I was introduced to Dr. Basil Yurcisin. He sat down with me and asked me one simple question: “What’s going on with you?” The 15 minutes I spent with Dr. Yurcisin changed my life. I had a gastric sleeve on December 31, 2014 and never looked back. I am down 82 pounds and off all medication.
Not only is Dr. Yurcisin a caring, funny, understanding, all around awesome man, he is a Brilliant surgeon who saved my life. I am now in a fantastic place in my life. My children are healthy and happy and so am I. I feel amazing and my health issues are gone! If it weren’t for Dr. Yurcisin, Bella Baum, the staff at GSBWC and most importantly, my sister Kathleen Glorioso, I don’t know where I would be today. I am truly blessed.
We’re the Raffaele Family. We never imagined we’d be picked to be the first Family of the Month! This is just another incredible milestone on the long list that has enhanced our lives ever since we began our weight-loss journey.
Four years ago, my son Adam’s brave decision to take control of his weight impacted us all. His By-Pass surgery had him losing an amazing 90 pounds in four months! His transformation from overweight to slender now enables him to hike, camp and truly enjoy life. Everyday things that are now so easy for him to do made us realize we could also experience the same satisfaction with life he enjoyed. His ability to try new adventures was contagious, and Anthony and I wanted to experience those same opportunities.
Adam’s journey inspired his younger brother to follow. Two years later, Anthony underwent a Duodenal Switch. After an entire life as an overweight person, his 165-pound weight loss in six months was nothing short of a miracle. He spent a lifetime of always doing for others so he could be accepted. But several months after his surgery, his self-worth increased along with a deep sense that he no longer had to settle for negative treatment from others. He now knows he deserves to be happy and doesn’t have to receive anything less than he gives. His physical abilities have increased ten-fold, and he is now doing things he could only dream about.
Watching the liberation of my sons from their fat bodies—and after a million questions—my decision was clear. On March 23, 2015—the day I consider my new birthdate—I, too, had the Duodenal Switch. At 5’ 1”, losing 100 pounds not only unshackled me from my fat, cumbersome body, it also eliminated the mountains of medication I endured each day. Sleep apnea, acid reflux, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and pre-diabetes are now gone. And not only are the meds gone, but the old clothes are gone, too. It still amazes me that I’ve gone from a size 26 to a medium, and my shoe choices have increased because I no longer need a double-wide shoe. Moving around on a daily basis in a small body is such a feeling of freedom!
The one thing all three of us have learned is that people treat us differently, and that’s something we’re dealing with. Some people are supportive, others not. But we all agree that it’s our journey and our lives, and we’re the ones who have to be happy with ourselves on the inside. These surgeries were the best choices we made for ourselves. They weren’t selfish choices, they were necessary choices. Like the old saying, “You’ve only got one body; you need to take care of it.” With Dr. Bilof’s help, we’re taking care of ours.
Sharing in this weight-loss journey together has brought my sons and I closer than I ever thought possible. We’re more active as a family, celebrating the new milestones each of us is able to accomplish, not only in weight loss, but in other aspects of our lives. It’s truly life changing!
Thanks to Garden State Bariatrics, we are no longer trapped in obese bodies and are now able to experience everything to the fullest. Dr. Bilof, Bella and their amazing staff have given us this incredible gift. New lives!
Illena, Adam and Anthony Raffaele
My name is Dawn Chokov and I am 40 years old. I had the Duodenal Switch on August 25, 2014 and have since lost 164 lbs and I am not done losing yet! Having weight loss surgery was the best decision of my life. Before surgery, I was always tired and it was hard to move and forget about exercising. Today, I feel awesome and my energy level is through the roof so I can go all day long. I also love working out with my personal trainer, which is something I never had the energy or strength to do before (I actually like doing planks!).
The most rewarding part of this journey has been the fact that my 16 year old daughter has lost 50 lbs over this last year as well. She eats healthy with me and she also works out with my personal trainer. She is so motivated that she works out at home too – I am so proud of her and proud of the influence I have had on her!
As far as the way I look, the reaction I get from people who haven’t seen me in a long time is crazy when they finally realize it is me. I have to admit, although I do it less often now, I have been known to pass a mirror and then back up to look at myself because I just can’t believe the transformation.
I can’t thank Dr. Bilof enough for giving me back my life. What I remember most was that when I was apprehensive about doing the Duodenal Switch, which Dr. Bilof recommended because it would yield the most weight loss for me, I asked him to convince me why I should choose that surgery. Surprisingly enough, he responded that he wasn’t going to try to convince me because it was ultimately my choice. But he gave me one bit of advice that immediately changed my mind; he said you have to be happy with the results. So I decided right then and there that I wanted to go all the way that I could and didn’t want to look back and wonder “what if”, so I chose the recommended surgery and I haven’t looked back!
The staff at Garden State Bariatrics is phenomenal. They are helpful, friendly, knowledgeable and caring. I especially look forward to our monthly support group meeting where I have met a lot of great people and have learned so much from them and the staff running it. I truly consider the staff and my fellow patients friends.
This surgery was a life changer for me and I just know that I would not have been as happy as I am today without it. I love this new lifelong journey that I am on and can’t wait to see where it takes me!
I have, health, happiness, confidence…thanks to Dr Bilof and the amazing staff he has working with him!
My first visit to Dr Bilof, I was 281!! I was focused on having the Gastric Sleeve surgery and I never looked back…no nerves, no second thoughts. Is this an “easy way out”? Absolutely NOT! Is it the BEST way? For me, absolutely!! Day of surgery (Aug 13, 2014) I weighed 261 lbs…today (Oct 9, 2015) I am 144-145. I feel great, am no longer pre-diabetic and have been off my blood pressure meds since the second month…what a great gift Dr Bilof has given me!
I even went up in a helicopter this past Aug…something I NEVER would have done before…LOL!
With the continued help from the staff at GSBWC, and the awesome group of people we have in our support group, I know I will always be this successful. At this point, the hardest part is having enough money to buy new clothes…LOL!
To anyone considering WLS, talk to the staff and come to one of our support groups…we will all be glad to help you in any way we can. They are my family…
With much thanks and love,
9/2/15…. Hi Kathy! Here is my updated story and before and after picture.
My name is Tammy Greiss and I am honored to be patient of the month! My struggles with my weight began when I was just a child. I was in my first weight loss program at 8 years old. I had lost 50lbs and was happy with that but it didn’t stay off for very long.
I joined various weight loss programs through my teen years and lost and gained that same 50 lbs. over and over again. My senior year of High School is when I first weighed over 200lbs. I reached my heaviest weight of 289 by age 26. I was miserable. I was then diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (pcos). I was put on metformin for the insulin resistance associated with pcos and I lost that 50lbs again, but still was unable to lose more and it was a struggle to just maintain my weight. I had no energy and was very depressed. I was always too tired to even play with my amazing sons.
At almost 41 years old I knew I had to do something, and fast. So I talked with my doctor and he highly recommended Dr. Bilof and GSBWC. I came in for my first consultation in August 2014 with Dr. Bilof and my life forever changed! I was ready and committed to what was in store for me. I weighed in at 271 that first day in August 2014 and I was sleeved on 2/4/15 weighing 260 lbs. My current weight is 175 lbs. in 7 months! Total loss is 96 lbs.
I get closer to my goal every week.
The most incredible thing in my journey is not just losing weight and looking different, but the way that I feel. I am so excited to start each day!
My energy level is through the roof! I can’t believe I want to exercise either. I love walking and jogging and I’m so active with my son’s now! It’s such an incredible feeling to love life again and have the energy to do anything and everything!
I’ve recently ran my first virtual 5k for Childhood Cancer Awareness and I’m running my first Color Vibe 5k on sept. 20! My new healthy lifestyle is better than I could ever have imagined. I’ve always dreamed about this feeling and now it’s coming true!
I even started a facebook support group for pre and post op sleeved patients with pcos, “Our PCOS VSG Journey and Support”. Thank you to my family and friends who are my incredible support system! Also, a big thank you to Dr. Bilof and his amazing team for their guidance and support, you are all my family now too!
Before seeing Dr. Yurcisin, I was battling my weight at almost 400 pounds. I decided to have the Gastric Bypass on October 7, 2013. My life has changed so much since! Thanks to Dr. Yurcisin and his nice staff, I lost 170 pounds and feel great. Prior to the surgery, I was told I would never have children. The weight loss has made it possible for me to have my precious daughter.
I had my surgery in April of 2007. I weighed 445 pounds and am now 165 pounds. I have lost 275 pounds and feel wonderful. My family doctor has told me I am healthier than him. He feels now I will live to 100 at this point in my health. I had the gastric bypass surgery. I was so scared and didn’t think I would survive the surgery as I was very unhealthy. Within the first month I lost almost 100 pounds. I stayed on my protein drinks twice a day for the first 6 months. I was fully satisfied and was getting all my important nutrients and vitamins. Within the first three months I was finally able to go for walks which I hadn’t been able to do for years.
Once I was out walking I felt so much better and started to lose even more weight. I had originally lost 220 pounds within the first year and a half. Then I continued to lose weight until I finally lost 275 pounds. In this past year I have had further surgery from the weight loss as I had mounds and rolls of excess skin. I had two surgeries this past year to remove excess skin from my waste, hips, butt, and thighs. I have been told my body now looks like the body of a 20 year old ( and I am 57 now). I am wearing clothing that I had saved from my high school days that is now back in style. Going clothing shopping is interesting. I was wearing a size 4X and now am wearing a size small on top and a size medium (10-12) on the bottom. I have not had surgery on my breasts or upper arms where there is still skin hanging but the insurance does not cover these surgeries and I cannot afford anymore, so I chose the worst areas to have taken care of.
Thank you Dr. Bilof for all you have done. Since my surgery has worked, my one daughter has had the gastric sleeve and has lost 75 pounds and has started to feel better also. Some other of my family also is in the process of looking into this and can’t wait to feel better.
Thank you again and attached is the before picture and two after pictures (one from the 2014 holiday party with Dr. Bilof’s party)
We want to congratulate our June patient of the month Bryson Jenkins!
You might remember him from last years Holiday Party as he performed some songs for us. If you want some more of his music go and take a look at his latest video on Youtube below.
Now a few words from Bryson
My name is Bryson Jenkins I’m 28 years old ,a recent weight loss surgery patient and I’ve lost over 250 pounds. After losing my weight loss, I found my voice and the confidence to pursue my dreams in the music industry. Ambitiously, I relocated to Atlanta Georgia where I landed a record contract and released my first single “I can’t” from my debut album this summer.
I owe a huge part of my success to the offices of Dr. Michael Bilof . Their dedication not only changing lives ,but saving lives has truly had an impact on my life. Dr Michael Bilof offices educated me on all my choices to provided optimum results.
They will forever be a part of my life and the reason I am still here.
Since this is our first time doing “Patient of the Month”…
Now, since we have this brand new Facebook Page (which I know everyone will check out and both “Like” and “Share” :)) we are adding some new features! The one I want to mention specifically is our “Patient of the Month” feature. Basically each month we will profile a “Patient of the Month“, the only criteria is that you be a Garden State Bariatrics & Wellness Center patient and that you have had bariatric surgery.
If you meet those two criteria then let us know if you want to be our “Patient of the Month”. We will need a Before/After picture and a short write up of your journey through bariatric surgery. If you are chosen as our Patient of the Month you will get a one year gym membership as well (if you are already a member of gym then we can give you a gift certificate to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or some other local supermarket).
With that background let me introduce our very first “Patient of the Month” (drumroll please…..) Jessica Rotondella. Here is Jessica’s own words about her journey through bariatric surgery….
Starting Weight: 352 lbs
Current Weight: 159 lbs
Total Weight Loss: 193lbs
Surgery Date: 2-24-14
Surgery Type: Gastric Bypass
My decision to have this surgery was based on my family’s health history of diabetes as well as high cholesterol and the road that I saw myself on. At a young age of 28 it was hard for me to do every day activities, uncomfortable to hold my nephew, hard to walk through a mall, and the joy of shopping for clothes was non-existent. The talks of planning on having children became a common conversation at family parties and I could not help to think about how risky it would be for not only me, but also my unborn child if I were to get pregnant.
I knew I had to do something; this is when I had taken my mother’s successful experience and advice with her gastric bypass procedure. I came in for my first appointment with Dr. Bilof around June of 2013. He made me feel comfortable and did not make me feel like I was a failure. Like many other people I have lost 100’s of pounds only to gain it back multiple times. I needed something more, something to force me to stay on track. Gastric bypass was the answer for me. It has not been as easy as I thought it would have been mentally, but it was worth it. Dr. Bilof offers support groups and his office has always been there to help answer any questions I may have had making this journey a little less stressful. Nothing tastes as good as feeling good and I have nothing but an optimistic mindset for my future.
This is Dr. Bilof again…thank you Jessica for sharing your story with our fellow patients or even people thinking of doing this surgery. I think for someone considering this type of surgery the experience of someone who has lived through it speaks powerfully. Jessica was kind enough to not only share her story but some before/after pictures as well. I think you’ll agree with me that she looks as good as she feels! Again, anyone who wants to be our “Patient of the Month” please send your story and before/after pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
Here Before & After! Congrats!