On Sunday, June 7, 2014, Pam Brown stepped behind a microphone to sing in front of more than 100 people. For the first time, in more than a decade, the 37-year-old North College Hill resident wasn’t hiding.
Just 18 months prior, she would have scoffed at the idea of performing for a crowd. Pam spent most of her childhood – and her entire adult life – overweight. “It lead to self-esteem challenges and not living my life to the fullest, because weight was holding me back,” she says. “It’s crazy, but unfortunately, people treat you differently.”
At 363 pounds, her weight was taking a toll physically, too. She’d always wanted to get healthy and had tried several crash diets in the past, but wasn’t getting immediate results, which made it hard to stay motivated.
When Weight Loss Became a Necessity
During an R. Kelly concert with friends, however, Pam’s want – to get healthy – became a need. Between sitting up and down and standing for an extended period of time, she spent the entire concert in severe knee pain. “It was a good concert, but my knees were throbbing,” she says.
As a former TriHealth team member, Pam knew about TriHealth Weight Management, and decided to attend a bariatric seminar to learn more about surgical weight loss and, instantaneously, decided she was ready.
Pam Spent Only One Day in the Hospital
In the fall of 2012, she completed the required pre-surgery psychological and nutritional evaluation as well as a physical assessment and exercise class to prepare her for life post-surgery.
Pam’s insurance provider cleared her for laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery right away and from there, she went in for surgery with Kevin Tymitz MD on Jan. 7, 2013. “He’s a prodigy! I just love him,” Pam gushes.
And, according to Pam everything from pre-surgery education to surgery and recovery, “was a breeze.” In fact, she only spent one day in the hospital. She planned to take six weeks off work to recover, but was actually back in the office just four weeks later to work half-days. Since the surgery was done laparoscopically, through six small incisions, she had minimal scarring.
On the other hand, Pam felt especially grateful for her surgical care team. “They made it so streamlined – and, they worked with my schedule,” she explains. She even nominated one of her nurses, Renee, for the Daisy Award. “Everybody was spot on,” Pam says, enthusiastically.
Life After Surgery: Down 145 Pounds – and Counting!
Now, Pam’s down 145 pounds – but she’s not finished yet. “My goal weight is around 155 to 160 pounds. I’m not trying to be skinny. I just want to be healthy,” she explains. In the meantime, she indulges her love for shopping since she's needed new duds to fit her trim figure. Additionally, life, in general, is easier. She no longer gets winded when she's walking up and down stairs and doesn't rely on anti-inflammatory medicine for her knee pain. "I used to take Ibuprofen around the clock! It was probably killing my liver," she jokes.
While the surgery triggered her initial, speedy weight loss, now Pam relies on portion control and regular exercise to continue safely shaving off pounds. She’s been a member of the TriHealth Fitness and Health Pavilion for a year now, where she lifts weights and swims four days a week.
Her newfound confidence has inspired her to improve other aspects of her life as well. She started college at 18 in Arkansas, where she’s originally from, but dropped out. During the past year, she earned her bachelor’s degree in health information from the University of Cincinnati and passed the state boards to become a registered health information administrator. “Weight can be perceived as a handicap,” she says. “But, you’re never too old and it’s never too late. I’m living proof.”