Josephine Fowler's Story - Bronson Healthcare
"Trust the process, follow the guidelines set for you and watch the changes unfold in your life!"

Fowler_Josephine_Patient_Story

Josephine Fowler of Van Buren County cannot believe she’s training for a 60 mile walk next summer. This 27-year-old mother of twins used to have a hard time just walking up a flight of stairs. Not any more. Josephine has lost more than 145 pounds thanks to the Bronson Bariatric Surgery Program.

Josephine says she always struggled with her weight. “I tried diet and exercise. I even had a trainer. I would always lose weight, plateau and then rebound.” She knew she had to get serious about losing weight when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes after giving birth to her twins. “It was a carryover from gestational diabetes during my pregnancy. When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, my HbA1C (a test that measures a person's average blood glucose level) was at 14.1, which is dangerously high. I was put on insulin within a week.”

In addition to diabetes, Josephine was worried about the risk of cancer. Her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, the tenth woman in their family to have the disease. “I didn’t want my obesity to be another risk factor for breast or ovarian cancer. I didn’t want to be another statistic. I needed to do something.”

Josephine started the bariatric surgery process by attending a seminar. That first seminar inspired her and encouraged her to keep going. She got the proper referral from her doctor and worked with a nutritionist to prepare for gastric bypass surgery. Since her surgery performed by Stuart Verseman, MD on Feb. 1, 2010, Josephine has made major, permanent lifestyle and dietary changes. She has gone from 316 pounds to 175 pounds and is now wearing a size 10/12 instead of a size 24. Along with the weight she has shed, her diabetes is also gone.

“I left the hospital without needing insulin. It was the best-case scenario. My diabetes is gone and it’s amazing!” she says. “I have so much energy from exercise and I’ve learned to eat completely differently. I am no longer taking antidepressants and antianxiety medication.”

As for the Bronson Bariatric Surgery staff, Josephine cannot say enough good things about them. “They were wonderful. They were always there with constant support and even available by e-mail whenever I needed them. Bronson has such a positive atmosphere.” Josephine says she couldn’t have done it without the whole team, especially Krista Hampton, RD, the bariatric coordinator at Bronson. “Krista would always take calls from me. She was there right after my surgery. It was so comforting to see the same face during all of my appointments.”

Krista Hampton says Josephine is a fantastic example of how bariatric surgery can be a huge benefit to patients with diabetes and other health risk factors. “Numerous studies have shown bariatric surgery should be considered as an option for adults with type 2 diabetes and a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35. Other health issues such as high cholesterol, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and metabolic syndrome have all shown significant improvement and even resolution after bariatric surgery. Some patients take multiple medicines prior to bariatric surgery and then no longer need them after surgery. This can be more motivating to patients than even the weight loss. The improvement in their overall health is amazing!” Krista says.

Now living a new, active lifestyle, Josephine and her 3 ½ year-old son and daughter walk together every day. She also works out on the WiiFit, doing cardio step aerobics. “I can run! People look at me funny when I say that, but it really is amazing that I can run around. I have tons of energy. I can keep up with my twins.”

Josephine says the moment she knew she was a new person was when she was finally able to walk inside a store where she had always dreamed of shopping but never could. “I grabbed the largest size of jeans they had, a 16, and they were too big. So were the size 14 jeans. I couldn’t believe it when I fit into a 12!”

Josephine has also enjoyed the financial benefits of the changes bariatric surgery has brought to her life. She’s no longer paying $200 per month for insulin and doesn’t need other medicines. She buys fresh food from local farms at surprisingly low costs. Another benefit she didn’t expect? A happier marriage. “It’s not necessarily an appearance thing. We had been together two years when my husband brought up the weight issue. I weighed 300 pounds at age 22. He told me he wanted me to be around and was afraid that I wasn’t going to be. He is happier now that I’m healthy and our marriage is better than ever.”

To those who may be considering bariatric surgery, Josephine says they should contact Bronson to learn more and not be afraid to start the program. “Trust the process, follow the guidelines set for you and watch the changes unfold in your life! I did and now I just love, love life!”



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