Weight No More

David Williams started 2017 like so many other Americans: with a New Year’s resolution to lose weight and keep it off, once and for all. Yet unlike so many others, he managed to drop 40 percent of his weight over the next 12 months.

How did David succeed when so many fail?

He followed in the footsteps of his wife, Keesha Matthews-Williams, and underwent weight-loss surgery with John Brebbia, MD, medical director of the highly recognized bariatric surgery program at MedStar Montgomery Medical Center.

For the truly obese—those with a body mass index of 40, or approximately 100 pounds overweight—it’s often the only way to lose the fat that threatens their health and well-being.

“I’ve always struggled with my weight, even when I was in my 20s and doing some modeling,” Keesha says. “I went through years of yo-yo dieting,where I’d drop 15 pounds only to gain back 30. Nothing worked.”

Instead, the pounds piled on her 5-foot-6-inch frame. By the time she turned 40, Keesha weighed 243 pounds. Borderline diabetic and depressed, she realized the extra weight was exacting an emotional as well as physical toll.

With nothing to lose but the weight, Keesha investigated her options. After attending a bariatric surgery seminar, she made an appointment to see Dr. Brebbia.

“He listened to me without judgment,” she says. “I could tell he was genuinely concerned about my health. I knew he was the right doctor for me.”

After going through MedStar Montgomery’s preoperative evaluation, counseling, and weight management program, Keesha had a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy in September 2015, which reduced her stomach to about 15 percent of its original size. Over the next 12 months, she lost 100 pounds and her blood sugar levels returned to normal.

“The health benefits that accompany weight loss are what drives us,” Dr. Brebbia explains. “And bariatric surgery has proven to be highly effective at correcting and even eliminating diabetes, which can be very difficult to manage medically. In fact, we often see improvements within just a few weeks.”

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John Brebbia, MD

After seeing his wife’s success, David decided to investigate the possibility of bariatric surgery for himself. Standing 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighing 320 pounds, he was burdened by his own growing list of weight-related health concerns.

“I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes without losing my breath,” says the former military man, who had once been a toned 185 pounds. “I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and was pre-diabetic. On top of that, I had bad sleep apnea and would often wake up with my heart pounding, gasping for breath.”

On January 6, 2017, David had the same sleeve gastrectomy procedure that Keesha had. Since then, he’s dropped 130 pounds and counting. His health problems have disappeared.

“I’m just ecstatic,” he says. “Dr. Brebbia probably saved my life.”

Today, both David and Keesha follow a healthy diet and exercise program. David swims daily, while Keesha takes Zumba® and other fitness classes and chooses to take the stairs whenever she can. They admit it’s a change from their former lifestyle, but neither would have it any other way.

“Weight-loss surgery is definitely not ‘the easy way out,’” Keesha says. “It’s just a tool and part of the process of becoming the best version of ‘you.’ But if you put in the work, you’ll get the results.”