Although there are risks associated with gastric bypass surgery, the consequences of not having the surgery were weighing on Connie's mind. "How long would it have been, you know, had he not had this surgery? How long would his life span be?," she says. "I would never want to bury my child before me. There's no way I could live through that."
Surgeon Mary Brandt says Nathaniel's health problems could become life-threatening without treatment. "A lot of people view bariatric surgery as treating obesity," she says. "But for teenagers in particular, it's actually treating the consequences of the obesity. Nathaniel has the kind of co-morbidities that we think will kill him eventually if he doesn't have treatment."
Cameras followed Nathanial as he went into the operating room to undergo the irreversible procedure. From the waiting area, Connie worries about her son. "It doesn't matter how old he is, how big he is, you know. He's my baby, so I worry, but I really believe that everything's going to be fine."
After a successful operation, Nathaniel is in good spirits. "I feel good. The pain from the surgery's not that bad; I'm just sore," he says. "It's been fun."