Weight Loss Surgery and Joanne Brown: A Winning Match

Weight loss surgery meant Joanne Brown could get rid of 120 pounds, her C-Pap breathing apparatus and her health worries. But what she gained was even better: confidence.

I am originally from England and have been living in the USA since 1987. I was always a very overweight child and even had to have most of my clothes made for me. I remember dieting from a very early age and you would think by now I would have become a millionaire on putting them all together into a book but I didn’t!!! At the age of 16, I suddenly lost what people say must have been “baby fat” and I managed to keep it off for a few years, but I always had a low self image; still seeing myself as heavy. I would binge, then purge, and became somewhat of a closet eater. In 1986 I was introduced to a “pen pal” here in America by an aunt of mine (I was still living in England at the time) and after two years of writing we met and were married in June 1987.

BROWN BEFOREI became pregnant with my firstborn six months later and managed to use that as an excuse to eat! And boy, did I eat!  I ate my way into oblivion and gained 87 pounds. My son was a healthy 12 pounder!  Needless to say that’s when the repeat of my weight gain began. I then had my second pregnancy, which I actually didn’t do too badly with – a 47-pound gain. That is high, I know, but in comparison to the first, not too bad! Well, after that it was all downhill for me. I followed every diet under the sun (again): Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach Diet, pills, Nutri-System – you name it, I did it.

In 1998 we moved and I thought maybe this would help me lose weight, living in a hot climate all year round and seeing all those beautiful women wearing the bare minimum in clothing would motivate me –WRONG! I ate even more, I can’t even say why, I just did. And of course the more I ate, the more I gained and the unhealthier I became and felt. I had no energy to do anything and would become short tempered with most people, but mostly myself. I hated myself.

Okay … moving on a few years to 2005, when I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and I was required to wear a C-Pap at night. I felt very disgusted with myself. At that point I had reached my all-time high of 230 pounds, which on a 5’2″ frame like mine is not healthy.

I had also reached rock -bottom and that’s when I decided to look into weight loss surgery. I had always been skeptical about it, thinking it was way too dangerous, but I guess having sleep apnea made me realize how much more dangerous my life had become over the years from eating so much and that in itself was putting my life in jeopardy. So what did I have to lose by having this done (except weight of course?)

So after much research I had LAP RNY done on Dec. 16, 2005, and my life changed for the better.  It was a tough start at first and I questioned myself as to why I had it done. I started to grieve for my best friend – my food – but that soon faded when the weight started to melt away. I felt healthier and more energized, and after only three weeks post surgery I was able to throw that C-pap machine away. My blood pressure went down and I just overall felt great. One year to the day of surgery, I met my goal weight of 120 pounds. I was ecstatic, but not only because of that number, but because I had finally been able to achieve my goal of success and become healthy.

To this day, 3.5 years later, I have stuck to the rules of my program, I still weigh my food (except when dining out) and then I bring half of my food home. I drink all my required liquids every day and wait for an hour after food before doing so. I take my vitamins and NEVER EVER cheat. I don’t drink alcohol or eat sugar. And most of all I exercise every day. I have become a better person to myself and to my family and I hope that I have added years to my life and theirs. This surgery gave me back my life and the confidence I had lost for so many years.

BROWN AFTERWe moved again in June 2008, and a lot of people I haven’t seen in over 12 years have to do a double take when they see me. And I got to admit, it feels wonderful.

In January 2009 I had my long awaited tummy tuck which to me, has been closure to my weight loss. But that’s the only closure there is, because I intend to keep it off and stay healthy for the rest of my life. I am now in the process of training to become a group support leader so that I can help others. My main fear is every gaining it back and that is what keeps me going strong.

Thank you for reading my story.
Joanne Brown

7 Responses

  1. Sharon Hinshillwood

    You look wonderful Joanne. I also had the surgery in 2004. You deserve all the best in life. Take care. Sharon in New Jersey.

  2. Kathyann Bodell

    Thanks for sharing your story Joanne, I too keep focus by the fear of regaining weight. I am almost at goal only being out 10 months post op of having the RYN and I know I must remain focused every day for the rest of my life to battle my food addiction as it is my disease.

  3. Michelle McDonald

    Joanne, thank you so much for sharing your story! I am very worried about regaining the weight I have lost with the lapband and your story showed me that I need to get back to basics and stop cheating with sugar and other processed foods. You are truly an inspiration!

  4. Alison Astair

    I just wanted to attest to the miraculous change in Joanne! I’m one of her closest friends and have watched this transformation. It’s funny, but I never really saw her as fat but when I look at the “fat” picture, I don’t recognize her!
    What I love the most is the way her outlook on life has changed. She is able to see more beauty in the world and is so willing to help others. She has set limitations for herself in both the “food category” and also the emotional category!
    Joanne has always had the most wonderful personality and sense of humor! That hasn’t changed, thank goodness! But I can say that she’s happier and just goes with the flow of life in a more peaceful way.
    I hope that anyone reading this is inspired by her story. She is an inspiration to me in every way!

  5. Bariatric Girl

    Way to go Joanne!! You ARE an inspiration and I’m so happy to see you and your story here so that others will know this journey is possible.
    hugs, Yvonne

  6. Heidi

    Hi, I am so excited to read your story.It’s very encouraing to me. I will have my surgery December 17th,2009. Of course I am a little scared. It’s almost unbelievable that things will be this wonderful. I can’t wait to make my life even better than it already is.