Georgette Lost 107 Pounds with Jefferson's Help
"I am completely in love with Jefferson University Hospital. I trust the staff and the doctors"
Georgette Brown had always been heavy.
When she was a second grader she knew she was fat. She went on her first diet when she was nine. That was the start of a lifelong battle and yo-yo dieting. Sometimes she lost weight, but she always gained the weight back plus more.
"When you're overweight, you try to 'think' yourself thin."
On trains commuting to work, she would squeeze herself close to the window so she didn't take up too much room on the seat. She didn't want to infringe on other people's space. More than anything she found herself trying to avoid others and, ironically, she realized that others overlooked and dismissed her because of her weight problem.
"It wasn't as much the physical discomfort as much as it was the psychological discomfort," she says.
Georgette is smart and successful, but she always felt overlooked despite being 5 feet 8 inches and 283 pounds.
And it wasn't just with strangers and acquaintances, but at home with her family.
"I was just very ashamed of my eating habits and ashamed of myself," she says.
There was one constant in her life that made her feel better: food. Georgette loves to cook. She loves to eat good food. Food and eating were her best friends.
"Food is the only friend who won't judge you and the one friend who will always comfort you," she says.
Still, Georgette has had health and quality-of-life concerns due to her weight. At 35 years of age, Georgette had a body mass index (BMI) of 45. She was one of the millions of Americans who was considered morbidly obese and at high risk of weight-related illnesses ranging from hypertension and diabetes to heart disease and sleep apnea.
She felt the extra weight sapping her of energy and limiting her ability to enjoy the good things in her life. Moreover, heart disease runs in her family and she knew if she didn't change something, it was only a matter of time before her weight weakened or damaged her heart and caused other serious weight-related health problems.
Georgette knew she needed to change her relationship with food before it was too late. Since diets had never stuck, she decided that she needed to explore other ways to get her weight under control.
She turned to Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery Program to help her break up with her lifelong best friends. At Jefferson, Georgette found a team of people who supported her and helped her through the gastric bypass surgery.
"I am completely in love with Jefferson University Hospital," she says. "I have not had a single bad experience from the preparations for the surgery to the OR to recovery to the nurses on the floor, everyone was great. I trust the staff and the doctors at Jefferson."
And Georgette continues to feel that support after losing 107 pounds and counting.
Georgette says she's learned that food isn't bad, it is just that she has to make better food and eating choices.
So when she has to make a hard choice about food, about what to eat, Georgette pretends her Jefferson team — surgeon David S. Tichansky, MD, FACS; nurse practitioner Alise Wolfgang, CRNP; and dietician Michelle Porter, RD, LDN — is standing behind supporting and guiding her toward the right choices.
In the end she didn't have to break up with food, she just needed to redefine the relationship.
"My relationship is more about moderation instead of indulgence," she says.
For Georgette, the surgery has helped her get to a new place in her life. The ongoing support from her Jefferson team helps her as she strives to maintain the new person she's become.
"A lot of the changes are how I feel about myself," Georgette says. "Now I feel very confident, and I don't feel bad or ashamed anymore."
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