He rises at 4 a.m. after only an hour of sleep.
He doesn't bother looking in the mirror as he dresses, feels no need to say goodbye to the 400-pound body he hates.
"You ready, big guy?" his mother asks a short car ride later as they walk toward the hospital.
Matt Strollo, 17, has been ready for months, since he set the most important event of his life in motion.
"I'm not scared of death," he has said all along. "I'm more scared of living a life where people don't see the real me."
This morning, his answer lacks such bravado.
"I'm just tired of waiting."
Soon Matt lies in his hospital bed, his surgeon scrubbing up down the hall, his mother, Robin Faircloth, trying to stay calm at his side.
"You keep going back and wondering if you could have done this any other way," she says, voice wavering.
"I just have to keep telling myself: `This will be good for him.'"
Matt hugs his family goodbye and is wheeled away, disappearing down a hall into the room where he will undergo a gastric bypass. The procedure produces miracle-like weight loss but, despite its growing popularity, can be deadly.
About 140,000 Americans had the surgery last year alone. The vast majority were adults. Even if the surgery is successful, the long-term side effects for patients as young as Matt are largely unknown. Some doctors refuse to do the procedure on minors. Matt found one in Fort Lauderdale who would.
He is tired of the teasing, of not being able to fit into the desks at school, of constantly being sick, and the worst: being ignored.
"I made this decision," he says before the anesthesia takes effect and he loses consciousness. "I just need to get this over with."
Open just about any newspaper these days, or turn on the TV, and there is a story about Americans' growing obesity problem. At 400 pounds, 6 feet, 1 inch tall, and only 17, Matt is on the extreme end of this epidemic.
In the fall of 2003, he decided surgery was the solution. For months, Matt's family, doctors and health insurance provider struggled with whether he was right, whether he had the maturity to make such a decision and see it through.
Matt says no one would ever question him if they knew the life he has endured.
At 6, Matt's school photograph showed a smiling boy with strawberry blond hair. His parents divorced when he was 3. Each year after, the pounds packed on.
At 9, he weighed 147 pounds.