Weight lifted: Town official's slimming continues after surgery

Stephen Vittorioso

On a recent Monday, he is running nearly 40 minutes late from his 8:45 a.m. doctor’s appointment in Worcester. Around 10:40 a.m., Robert Pasquale Jr. enters his flower shop on Water Street and immediately grabs the calculator sitting on the counter next to the cash register.

With his fingers quickly running across the keypad, Pasquale is not interested in how much money he has sold in floral arrangements on Veterans Day, but rather how much weight he has lost since the July 2006 gastric bypass surgery that changed his life.

“Every ounce counts,” he said, announcing that he has shed nearly 360 pounds in the past 18 months. “I want to continue to lose more weight.”

The 46-year-old and 271-pound Pasquale, chairman of the Clinton Board of Selectmen, once swelled to more than 600 pounds before retaking control of his weight.

“It’s nice to be alive again,” he said. Before, “I was a train wreck ready to happen. I couldn’t walk.”

On July 12, 2006, Pasquale underwent gastric bypass surgery known as Roux-en Y procedure at UMass.-Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. Dr. John Kelly, chief general surgeon for minimal invasive bariatric surgery, performed the operation.

“I was determined to do this,” said Pasquale. “When you give up everything in life to have life, essentially that’s what I have done.”

According to UMass.-Memorial’s Web site, the Roux-en Y procedure is “a surgical procedure that reduces the size of the stomach and attaches it to a point lower down on the small intestine.”

Pasquale said that Dr. Kelly made his stomach pouch, which is about 5 ounces, a little bit bigger than other patients’ because of his body size.

The surgery also helps individuals who have a body mass index (BMI) greater than 40 to control their weight, said the Web site.

Doctors calculate the BMI by using height and weight. An adult with a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. Prior to the surgery, Pasquale’s body mass index was 81.

“My [BMI] is still 38,” he said, and it’s remained the same for the past 18 months. “It needs to be below 25 to be out of the morbidly obese category.”