At age 24, Albert Verona weighed 360 pounds, had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and borderline diabetes. Having little energy to do anything, he would come home from his job as a security guard, eat and go to sleep. “Before I gained weight I had always been athletic, but it got to the point where I could not run at all. A mile would have been a marathon for me.”

The Weight Loss Journey Begins

Albert knew he had to do something to turn his life around, which led him to Valley's Center for Bariatric Surgery and Weight-Loss Management. The center focuses on a multidisciplinary approach to bariatric surgery, offering patients personalized surgical options and medical and support services to assist them in improving their health. Melissa B. Bagloo, MD, Director of the Center, determined Albert would be a good candidate for sleeve gastrectomy, a laparoscopic procedure that removes removing approximately 75-80 percent of the stomach. Since the procedure in April 2012, he has lost 140 pounds and runs two miles several times a week.

Family Strives for Good Health

Seeing how life-changing the surgery was for Albert, his brother Kenneth, age 26 and father Jose, age 51, both with weight and medical issues, decided to undergo the same procedure with Dr. Bagloo in 2014 and 2015, respectively. In total, the family members, who reside in Bogota, have lost a total of more than 320 pounds. The Veronas receive ongoing nutritional education and counseling through the Center.

“Every precaution is taken to accommodate our patient's needs and provide options that will help each patient achieve and maintain successful weight loss,” explains Dr. Bagloo. “The Verona family was motivated to moving forward with surgery and changing their lifestyle habits to achieve excellent success after their procedure. I am very proud of their dedication.”

For Jose, the surgery has turned his life around. “My life has changed for the better in every way. The way I was going, I wasn’t going to last five years. Now I can enjoy being healthy.”