Testimonial: One Patient's Success Story

Spring 2007

Volume One / Number Four

My name is Joseph Catrama and here is my story. I am 38 years old, and at the healthiest time of my life, finally! It has taken me a long time to get here, and I want to share my journey with you.

On June 13th 1996, I was involved in a job-related construction accident which left me permanently disabled and unable to work. From there, my ailments snowballed as my health declined. Beginning with severe depression, which I needed to be medicated for, followed by obesity, and all of the complications that come with that: diabetes, pancreatitis (which I was hospitalized numerous times for), high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and above all, very low self esteem. I was on so many medications, including insulin shots three times a day that my prescription plan couldn’t cover my yearly dosage, and I had to rely on samples from my doctor to cover the rest. Also, in the back of my mind were the constant memories of my father, and how he suffered from these same complications, and died when I was only 16, and he was only 52. On January 26th of 2005, when my physician, Dr. Neil Cohen, told me that my cholesterol was so high that it couldn’t be measured, my A1c was averaging between 9 and 10, and my tryglicerides were still in the 1800’s despite taking all of these drugs, is when I finally took his advice about going for weight loss surgery.

After researching different Doctors and their techniques, is when I came across Dr. Christine Ren. She was the most experienced in the Lap band procedure, and I felt even more confidant after speaking with her. This surgery would give me the chance at spending many more years with my wife Grace, who has supported me, and my 2 sons, Joseph Jr. and Alex, all of whom I love very much.

My surgery was performed On April 18th. 2005. Since than, I have gone from weighing 305lbs. to 195lbs. in just 9 months after the operation. My blood sugar levels are now that of a non-diabetic, with no medication. My tryglicerides are 85, and my cholesterol is 126, with normal blood pressure. I am currently in the process of lowering all of my medications, and one day soon, I will reach my ultimate goal, and be off of all of my obesity related medications for good.

Dr. Christine Ren has saved my life. She is my hero! Because of her and her wonderful staff, I decided that I would help others in the same situation, and prove that no one is a hopeless case. Since my own surgery, to date, I am proud to say that 2 of my younger brothers, one sister and 5 cousins have also had successful surgeries. I am also proud to have helped 2 teenagers who were in the last research project at NYU, and my next goal is to help my oldest sister. I will continue to attend the seminars, and support the Lap Band procedure, telling others of my success, and will always praise Dr. Christine Ren, for saving my life.

To Dr. Ren and the NYU team, “I thank God for bringing me to you, and I can never thank you enough for saving my life.”

Sign up to receive future issues of our newsletter