As a medical assistant in a Broward Health Physician Group pediatrician’s office, Jaimee Joseph helps keep children in our community healthy.
She is a great role model for the patients and families she serves, having faced and overcome her own health challenges battling with obesity. Thanks to gastric bypass surgery just over a year ago, she’s lost 90 pounds and feels like a new person.
For years before her surgery, Joseph had concerns about her weight and how it was impacting her health. She was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and before her surgery, her body mass index (BMI) was 44. BMI is a measure of body fat levels based on a height-to-weight ratio and Joseph’s measure indicated she was obese.
Despite knowing that the extra weight wasn’t good for her health, Joseph didn’t think she was overweight enough to qualify for bariatric surgery. This is a common misperception.
Then in October 2021, Joseph began working in the office of Chi Zhang, M.D., the medical director of the bariatric program at Broward Health Imperial Point. She learned about the different bariatric procedures and heard from real patients about their experiences. She even attended support group meetings before deciding that gastric bypass surgery was the best option for her.
“God put me in this office for a reason,” Joseph says. “And the impact was life-changing.”
In April 2022, Dr. Zhang performed her robotic gastric bypass procedure. At the time she weighed 255 pounds, and her goal was to lose 100 of them. In one year, she is close to achieving her goal.
“Gastric bypass surgeries typically result in faster weight loss in the first year, just like Jaimee has experienced,” Dr. Zhang said. “The procedure takes about 90 minutes and is followed by an overnight hospital stay. Most patients recover relatively quickly.”
After surgery, Broward Health offers support group meetings and resources to patients.
“The level of post-surgical support we provide our bariatric patients really makes a difference in setting them up for success,” Dr. Zhang said.
Joseph says there is an adjustment after the surgery but having that support and a positive attitude helps.
“Most people who are overweight have a problem with eating that doesn’t just go away,” Joseph explains. “You have to be mentally prepared that things are going to change and then find what works best for you. In the beginning, I ate small meals more frequently. Now, I eat on a more regular schedule, just not as much as I used to.”
At a recent visit to the hospital, some of her former colleagues didn’t recognize Joseph until she flashed her familiar smile. In addition to her dramatic weight loss, one-year post-surgery she is no longer pre-diabetic. She feels more confident about her body and -- best of all -- has more energy to be active with her kids and grandchildren.
To learn more about Broward Health’s bariatric services, visit www.BrowardHealth.org/Bariatric.