Jefferson University Hospitals

Trenton Resident And Jefferson Bariatric Surgery Patient Marks Milestone, Loses 100-Plus Pounds

01/13/12

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For what seemed like her whole lifetime, 37-year-old Trenton resident Georgette Brown thought of food as her friend and her enemy.

She began overeating as a child, going on her first diet at age nine. “I knew from an early age that food is the only friend who wouldn't judge you and will always comfort you,” she says. “But eventually the extra weight brought me shame.”

At age 35, Brown, 5 feet 8 inches and 283 pounds felt overlooked despite being smart and successful. With each try to lose weight, she lost some but always gained the weight back plus more. Brown knew she needed to change her relationship with food before it was too late.

That's when she turned to Jefferson's Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Program. At Jefferson, Brown found a team of people who supported her and helped her through gastric bypass surgery.

“For many people, bariatric surgery provides a better alternative than dieting – helping to break the cycle of obesity,” says David Tichansky, M.D., F.A.C.S., director of the Jefferson Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Program. “Our program is comprehensive, consisting of a team of experienced and dedicated healthcare professionals – including nurse practitioners, dietitians, psychologists and medical consultant physicians. We collaborate to help ensure patients receive the highest-quality care.”

Since having surgery in October 2010, Brown has lost 107 pounds and counting. Her goal weight is 165 pounds.

“I believe in the procedure and my Jefferson team,” says Brown. “When you're overweight, you try to ‘think’ yourself thin. Here, I got the support I needed to face the battle. My body mass index (BMI) was 45 and that I had a high risk of hypertension, diabetes and sleep apnea. Heart disease runs in my family, increasing my risk. I needed to first accept what I was up against.”

What also helped spur her into making a change was the physical and psychological discomfort. She had enough of the extra weight sapping her energy and limiting her ability to enjoy life. More than anything she found herself trying to avoid others and, ironically, she realized that others overlooked her because of her weight problem.

After surgery, Brown had to make a hard choice about food, about what to eat. She often envisions her Jefferson team – Dr. Tichansky; nurse practitioner Alise Wolfgang, CRNP; and dietitian Michelle Porter, RD, LDN – standing behind supporting and guiding her toward the right choices.

Brown says she's learned that she has to make better food and eating choices. “In the end, I needed to redefine my relationship with food,” she says. “It's now more about moderation instead of indulgence.”

For Brown, the surgery has helped her get to a new place in her life. Each day, she strives to maintain the new person she's become.

“The biggest change in my life isn't how I look physically,” says Brown. “It's how I feel about myself. I'm now happy, confident and feel like I can enjoy life.”

Media Only Contact:
Jennifer McGowan Smith
Jefferson University Hospitals
Phone: 215-955-6300