Christy Brown has struggled with feeling overweight her entire life. In 2017 Brown says she stepped on the scale at 325 pounds, her heaviest weight, and knew she need­ed help.

Before photo of Christy Brown
Christy before her surgery.

She intensified her ef­forts to eat nutritious foods and increase exercise. After a year and a half of vigorous effort, she had lost only 12 pounds. “I felt I did everything I should be doing, and I hit a point where I couldn’t do it on my own,” Brown re­calls.

Weighing Her Options

Brown learned from her primary care physician that she would be a good candidate for weight-loss surgery. She attended several weight-loss surgery semi­nars, including the infor­mational session led by K. Robert Williams, MD, bar­iatric surgeon at Parkwest Medical Center.

Headshot of Dr. Williams
K. Robert Williams, MD

“When I heard him speak, he was direct and compassionate,” Brown says. “He was calm and thorough in his explana­tions. I was considering major surgery, so I wanted someone who was in con­trol. The way he interacted with his staff really impressed me, and I thought that was really important.” Brown made an ap­pointment with Dr. Wil­liams in June 2019 to dis­cuss her options.

“I’m Doing This for Me”

Dr. Williams performed a laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass in June 2020 at Parkwest Medical Cen­ter, where Brown spent two nights. “We selected this operation because of her history of reflux and esophagitis,” reports Dr. Williams. “Roux-en-Y gas­tric bypass surgery is often a good treatment for reflux as well as obesity.”

Roux-en-Y gastric by­pass is the most common method of gastric bypass surgery. Done laparoscop­ically, small incisions are made in the abdomen to reduce the size of the upper stomach to a small pouch. Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery helps reduce the amount of food consumed by decreasing hunger and overall calorie absorption from fat.

“Christy had great suc­cess because she was moti­vated and followed the rules after surgery,” Dr. Williams says. “She has been compli­ant with diet, exercise and vitamins, which has al­lowed her to reap the ben­efits that this operation has to offer.”

For patients like Brown, Dr. Williams indicated the risks of not having surgery can exacerbate weight-re­lated medical conditions like diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, hyperten­sion and fatty liver disease. Overweight men and wom­en in their 30s are also at higher risk of developing sleep apnea, high choles­terol, cardiovascular dis­ease and certain cancers as they age.

Brown recalls, “The morning of my surgery, I was nervous, but I didn’t have any doubts. I had no problems with surgery.” She continues, “It has been one of the best decisions I ever made.”

Fast Forward to Today

Seven months after sur­gery, Brown has lost 111 pounds and weighs less than 200 pounds.

Current photo of Christy in black dress.
Christy Brown has shed more than 100 pounds since having bariatric surgery at Parkwest Medical Center. She is thankful for the compassionate care she received, and says she could
not have done it without the community of Parkwest bariatric support groups.

“I still have to get up every day and decide to eat correctly and move my body,” she says. “If I de­scribed it in one word, it would be ‘freedom.’ That is the one thing that comes to mind. Freedom in my body, my thoughts. And I just feel…lighter.”

“This process has given me an opportunity to have the life I always wanted,” Brown says. “Being able to have this tool, and to have this support, made me feel like I could accomplish this. There’s freedom in that. Knowing there is a team be­hind me made me feel like I could do it.”

Searching For Support

Brown says, “For me, the support group is somewhere to go that’s safe, to share successes, and even times when I’m not so successful, and how I have learned from it.”

Stella Mouzon, RN, BSN, MSM, is the bariat­ric coordinator at Parkwest Center for Bariatric Sur­gery. Mouzon says, “Chris­ty was more reserved when I first met her. She has blossomed during her journey and become more outgoing. I think the group has helped that.”

Mouzon continues, “We see in our bariatric sup­port group that it helps to hear what others are going through. We often feel alone, and think we are the only ones struggling. It helps to hear from other people with similar experiences to get us through difficult times, to help us stay on track and to encourage each other.”

Bariatric support group meetings are held on the third and fourth Monday of each month from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at Parkwest Medical Center. Partici­pants choose the meeting day that is most convenient for them. Registration is required. Please call 865- 374-PARK (7275) to re­serve your spot.