Jacob Miller was born five weeks premature. His father said if he was carried to full term, his son would weigh 12 pounds (approx. 5 kg). When Jacob turned 1, he weighed 52 pounds (approx. 24 kg)—heavier than the average boy weight of 24.5 pounds (approx. 11 kg). By the time he was in his teens, Jacob found himself gaining about 100 pounds (approx. 44 kg) a year. The weight was killing him.
At the age of 15, Jacob was 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 707 pounds (approx. 321 kg). The young teen suffered from diabetes, heart disease, cellulitis in his legs, and fatty liver disease. His family was anxious and worried for his health.
In addition to his health problems, Jacob also dealt with depression. Being overweight, he was a target for bullying at school. The bullying was so bad at his high school, Jacob had to switch.
“It breaks your heart, it really does,” Jacob’s mother, Jackie Miller-Wilke, said. “Because of course no parent wants their child to ever find mean people in the world. And to know that people are gonna pick on him just because he looks different, it’s not fair.”
The family knew they needed to find a solution to help Jacob. If he continued gaining weight, it could lead to premature death, so Jacob sought treatment at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Doctors could not identify the cause of the abnormal weight gain, but hormonal conditions were suspected. To help Jacob now, doctors proposed a laparoscopic gastric bypass, a procedure that makes the stomach smaller—about the size of an egg—and reroutes the intestines. If the surgery is successful, it will help slow Jacob’s weight gain. Then with a proper diet and routine exercise, Jacob’s overall health should improve.
Before the operation took place, Jacob was placed on a restrictive diet that he followed and managed to lose 77 pounds (approx. 35 kg).
“I don’t think it’s the fix-all, cure-all, but at least it’s going to slow him down enough to maybe give us some time to do some more research to figure out what is causing his growth,” Jackie said.
His father, Aaron, was nervous about the operation but knew it was the best option for him.
“If this is the extreme that we have to go to, then that’s what we’ll do, because whatever he needs done is what’s best for him,” he said.
Thirty days after Jacob’s surgery, he had lost over 100 pounds. By the sixth month, Jacob lost more weight and went from a 10X size shirt to 5X and 5X size pants to 3X.
His road to weight loss was not easy though, and Jacob had moments where the weight loss stagnated; however, he didn’t give up. One year post-surgery, Jacob no longer has diabetes, and his sleep apnea has become more manageable.
Jacob’s journey is not done yet; he knows he must continue to work hard. There may be more hiccups along the way, but with the support and encouragement from his family and good friends, he’s sure to make it.
Watch Jacob’s journey below:
Photo Credit: YouTube Screenshot | Cincinnati Children’s.