Tershelle Brown was tired of being the largest person in the room, no matter where she went. At 360 pounds, her weight controlled and limited every aspect of her life and created embarrassing situations more times than she could count. She decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery, quickly choosing a bariatric program and surgeon that was close to her home. Following her procedure, she was discharged from the hospital with a list of foods to avoid and well wishes for success. She received no other guidance, resources, or support.
“I ended up losing over 100 pounds and started to look and feel good,” recalled Tershelle. “But before long, those pounds started coming back on a few at a time until I was right back where I started. I had made this big decision to have surgery, but in the end it didn’t matter. I had no clue what I needed to do and change to keep the weight off.”
Feeling discouraged and defeated, Tershelle wondered if she could be a candidate for revision weight loss surgery, a corrective procedure for patients who have experienced complications or who have regained a significant amount of weight following bariatric surgery. She decided to schedule an appointment with Andrew Averbach, MD, a well-respected bariatric surgeon at Saint Agnes Hospital, to learn more.
“Dr. Averbach made me feel confident that he could help me, that it was possible for me to lose the weight and keep it off, long-term, if I had revision surgery,” Tershelle said. “What I didn’t expect to hear was that I needed to participate in a seven-week educational program called STRIVE MD before the surgery could happen.”
It was while she was taking those classes that Tershelle truly realized how important education and support is for those who are preparing for weight loss surgery. She learned about what and how to eat and how to begin incorporating exercise she could enjoy into her daily routine. She was part of discussions about food triggers and emotional eating, the “why” behind weight gain, and the million and one excuses that had led everyone around her to those meetings.
“Being part of these really open and honest conversations, with a group of people who can relate to exactly what you are going through, changed everything for me,” Tershelle said. “I learned so much and felt very prepared and motivated going into my surgery this time around. It was a completely different experience that was so meaningful and necessary in order for me to lose weight and keep it off, forever.”
Tershelle underwent revision surgery at Saint Agnes Hospital on September 25, 2019, and began losing weight immediately.
“When I think about my future, I see myself doing all kinds of things that I haven’t been able to do in the past because of my weight issues,” Tershelle said. “I want to fly on an airplane. I want to be able to do fun things with my family. I want to be healthy and live my life to the fullest. Now I know I can!”