Better Living Through Bariatric Surgery

At MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, our bariatric surgeons perform the safest and most effective weight loss surgery procedures. Our program is patient-focused, because we understand that losing weight is often not as simple as it sounds.

The individuals listed below are real patients who regained their health by having weight loss surgery at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. Learn how they said "good-bye" to high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea, and joint problems and said "hello" to a better life.

Meet Becky

Becky struggled with her weight her entire life. Then she met Christopher You, MD, a bariatric surgeon at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center. Since undergoing gastric bypass surgery in February 2018, she has lost a whopping 142 pounds, trading her size 26-28 clothes for a size 2-4 wardrobe and now feeling like she is on top of the world! Read more about Becky's story.

Meet Darrell

At 360 pounds, obesity was threatening Darrell’s life. Turning to the Bariatric Surgery Center at MedStar Franklin Square gave him the tools he needed to turn his life around. He’s reached his goal weight of 195 pounds, but just as importantly, his lifestyle goals too! Read more about Darrell's story.

Meet Denise

At age 45 and tipping the scale at 274 pounds, Denise had no energy or motivation and spent most of her free time lounging on the couch, thinking about all of things she wished she could do. The decision to undergo bariatric surgery at MedStar Franklin Square changed her life. Today, at 125 pounds, she’s happy, healthy, and living her best life. Read more about Denise's story. 

Meet Kelechi

After trying every diet under the sun, Kelechi opted to undergo bariatric surgery to lose weight. It has proven to be one of the best decisions of her life. At 153 pounds and now sporting size seven jeans, Kelechi looks great, but more importantly, she feels great and is now living life to the fullest. Read more about Kelechi's story.

Ronnie Leber after sleeve gastrectomy.Meet Ronnie

When his weight peaked at 296 pounds in June 2015, Ronnie acknowledged it was time to get serious about losing weight; he needed a permanent solution. He put a call into the Bariatric Surgery Center at MedStar Franklin Square and scheduled an initial consultation. That appointment not only changed, but, most importantly, saved his life. Read more about Ronnie's story. 

The Bariatric Surgery Center team helped them and they can help you, too.

Meet Becky Mangano

Bariatric Surgery: The Solution She Searched For, Her Whole Life Through

Beckey before and after having bariatric surgery at MedStar Franklin Square.Growing up, Becky Mangano was always the “heavy kid.” She tried to lose weight, packing apples in her lunch rather than the tasty cakes and chips her friends were able to have. She even enrolled in Weight Watchers during her middle school years. But nothing seemed to work. As an adult, a few extra pounds here and a few more pounds there added up over time, and at her heaviest weight of 270, Becky was open to the idea of bariatric surgery, but she was also afraid.

“For three years, I registered to attend the information session, and then I would cancel it or just not show up,” recalls Becky. “I had depression and anxiety because of my weight. Going up and down steps was so painful that I cried. And I had no energy to do things with my kids. But I was scared.”

Becky has worked as a laboratory supervisor at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center for 14 years, so she was familiar with the hospital’s Bariatric Surgery Center. Still, she took the time to research her options, meeting with surgeons at a few hospitals before finalizing her decision to become a patient of Christopher You, MD, a bariatric surgeon at MedStar Franklin Square who performs bariatric surgery using robotic technology.

“I had an immediate connection with Dr. You,” said Becky. “He is very personal and down to earth, and is also very experienced in the latest surgical approaches. He made me feel comfortable and confident that I was making the right decision.”

Together, Becky and Dr. You decided that the gastric bypass procedure would produce the most beneficial results, based on the amount of weight she ultimately hoped to lose. Surgery was in February 2018, and although the pounds did start to come off fairly quickly, it was when she joined a gym and started taking a series of high intensity group fitness classes that everything about Becky’s life started to drastically change.

“I was seeing the same faces in my classes at the gym and started making friends,” said Becky. “Not only did I start to really enjoy going, but I was also held accountable by this group of ladies. If I wasn’t at class, I would get text messages from people wanting to know where I was, and why I wasn’t there.”

Her newfound commitment to exercise, coupled with a whole new way of eating, put Becky on track for what seemed like the first time in her life. Whereas she once dreaded the process of shopping, going out on a hunt for new clothes became fun and rewarding. Today, she weighs in at 128 pounds and is sporting a wardrobe of sizes two and four.

“Sometimes I still find myself heading toward the plus-size section and I need to remind myself that I don’t need to shop there anymore,” said Becky. “But looking better and wearing a smaller size is just one piece of this. Nothing hurts anymore like it used to. I am sleeping so much better at nighttime. I feel great; like I am on top of the world!”

Life is also better these days for Becky’s family, including her husband, Tony, and their two sons, ages four and 11. They spend a lot more time playing outside, going for long walks and enjoying a lifestyle that is much more active than ever before. Every time her husband hugs her, Becky is reminded of just how far she has come.

“Before, I was so much bigger than Tony,” said Becky. “Now when he hugs me, he can wrap his arms all the way around me and hold me … and it is the most awesome feeling in the world. I am no longer embarrassed when we are out together. I am proud to be with him, and I think he is proud to be with me.”

Meet Darrell Goodson

Transforming His Health with the Decision to Have Bariatric Surgery

Darrell before and after having bariatric surgery at MedStar Franklin Square.On the day Darrell Goodson said “I do,” he weighed 360 pounds and wore the largest tuxedo that could be found. He also went into his marriage with atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a history of chronic hernias, 14 of which had required a surgical procedure.

“I had been always been heavy, but I reached a point that my weight was threatening my life,” said Darrell. “A few friends of mine had undergone bariatric surgery and had good results. That motivated me to start thinking about how the surgery could help me, and save my life.”

Darrell’s research led him to the Bariatric Surgery Center at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, where he met Christopher You, MD, who specializes in surgical weight loss and is trained to perform bariatric procedures using robotic technology. To minimize his risks while in the operating room, Darrell was encouraged to lose some weight on his own, prior to scheduling surgery. He did exactly that, going into surgery in February 2018 at 283 pounds. He underwent the sleeve gastrectomy procedure.

“The biggest challenge was a mental one for me,” said Darrell. “You have to focus on the big picture and your long-term goal. The surgery is a tool but there are a lot of changes you have to be willing to make for this to work.  I stayed focused and took it one day a time.”

Darrell’s commitment is clear when he fixes his dinner plate, which typically consists of lean proteins like chicken and fish, with vegetables on the side. He also goes to the gym five days per week, spending the majority of his time doing cardio work and also incorporating some light weightlifting into his routine. He has successfully reached his goal weight of 195 pounds, and is now in “maintenance mode,” but more important than the number on the scale are the things Darrell is now able to do, comfortably and happily, in his life.

“I love to play pool and before I lost the weight, it was hard just to make my way around the table or reach for a ball without losing my breath and sweating,” recalls Darrell, who also went on a go-kart ride for the first time in 10 years on his family’s latest vacation to the Outer Banks. “It’s life changing to be able to do the things you want, without feeling miserable.”

Darrell is hopeful that his personal story of success will inspire others who are struggling with obesity to consider bariatric surgery. There is one very important person in his life who has made the decision to follow in his footsteps, and who is preparing for surgery with Dr. You, now.

“My wife has made the decision to have the surgery too,” said Darrell. “After supporting me through my process, she knows that the changes are not easy, but she also knows that it’s worth it. I am proud of myself for making this decision, and I am proud of her, too.”

Meet Denise Moss

A Life Forever Changed by the Decision to Undergo Bariatric Surgery

Denise before and after having bariatric surgery at MedStar Franklin SquareDenise Moss remembers laying in bed and crying herself to sleep at night, because every single part of her body hurt. Her back and knee pain were excruciating, her blood pressure and cholesterol levels were high and unhealthy, and she had most recently been diagnosed with diabetes; all a result of her weight. At age 45 and tipping the scale at 274 pounds, Denise had no energy or motivation and spent most of her free time lounging on the couch, thinking about all of things she wished she could do.

“I had thought a bit about bariatric surgery over the years, but never seriously,” said Denise. “But it got to the point where the weight was really impacting my every day life, and when my doctor explained that my diabetes would continue to progress if I didn’t lose weight, it was a real turning point for me. I needed to make some significant changes.”

Denise had thought about bariatric surgery a bit over the years, but never seriously. Then a friend of hers underwent the sleeve gastrectomy procedure. The friend’s Facebook photos caught Denise’s eye, and she wondered if the surgery could give her similar, life-changing results.

“I asked my primary care physician for her opinion, and she told me that I would absolutely be a candidate for the surgery, and that Dr. Christopher You at MedStar Franklin Square was the best,” said Denise. “I wasn’t sure if I would go through with it, but I went ahead and registered for an informational seminar.”

With encouragement from her husband, Chris, who couldn’t bear to see his wife living in so much pain any longer, Denise scheduled her own sleeve surgery for April 27, 2018, and established a goal that didn’t have a specific number attached to it. Instead, she committed to herself that she would take the program seriously, and follow it to “T.”

“I went into this knowing that I needed to create new, good habits,” said Denise. “For me, that meant cutting out soda, bread and pasta, and really limiting my sugar intake. When my family goes to a restaurant and the bread comes out, I have some shrimp instead. When everyone else is having nachos, I just pick out some pieces of the chicken. I’ve learned that food can still be very enjoyable, even when you are making healthy choices.”

These decisions, coupled with Denise’s daily commitment to exercise, have produced results that she could only dream of, prior to her surgery. Today, she weighs 125 pounds and often finds herself rooting through her 15-year-old daughter’s closet for size six clothes. She looks and feels better than ever before, and she counts the simple things in life that are now possible, as big wins, too.

“When I get into the pool, I can use the float. I can sit on the floor. I can cross my legs. I can walk up and down the steps, 20 times if I need to, without being brought to tears,” said Denise.

To those who are considering the surgery but feeling a bit apprehensive, Denise has a few words of advice to share.

“Dig deep instead and believe yourself,” she said. “Trust the process, follow the program, and don’t worry about everyone else’s opinions. Make the decision that is right for you, because it can change your life for the better, just like it did for me.”

Meet Kelechi Robinson

Dancing Her Way to a Happier, Healthier Life

Kelechi before and after having bariatric surgery at MedStar Franklin Square.When Kelechi Robinson told people that she had tried everything under the sun to lose weight, she really meant it. She did Weight Watchers, the Adkins diet, the apple cider vinegar diet, the cucumber diet, the cyan lemon ginger diet, and a handful of others. With each attempt, she’d lose some weight, gain it back, get discouraged, and give up.

“I was never a big junk food eater, but I ate too much; I didn’t understand what a reasonable portion was,” recalls Kelechi, whose weight ultimately climbed to 345 pounds. “The turning point was when I went to my primary care physician for a routine check-up, and my blood pressure was so high that they wouldn’t let me leave. My doctor asked if I had ever considered bariatric surgery. I had not, before that day, but I was open to the idea.”

Her primary care physician recommended Christopher You, MD, at the Bariatric Surgery Center at MedStar Franklin Square. Motivated by what she learned when she checked out the hospital’s web site, as well as her goal to become healthy enough to conceive children and become a mom in the future, Kelechi registered for and attended a bariatric information seminar the following week. There, she learned a lot about the process, and had the opportunity to connect with others who were either preparing for or recovering from surgery. She also met some people who were well into their journey, and who offered perspective on how life-changing bariatric surgery can be. She was sold!

“Once I made the decision to forge ahead, I was scared, but also very excited,” said Kelechi. “I was fully committed to the process, and spent the weeks and months before surgery doing everything I could do be prepared. I did everything the team told me to do, asked a lot of questions, and learned how to read food labels so I could start making better decisions.”

Her preparations and commitment have paid off in ways that Kelechi once had a hard time even imagining. Today, she weighs 153 pounds, fits comfortably in size seven jeans, and says she feels as light as a feather. And for the first time in her life, her menstrual cycles are now regular, giving her promise and hope as she thinks about her future, and her vision to someday start a family.

“For me, it was never about the way I looked,” said Kelechi. “It’s about how I wanted to feel. My weight is no longer holding me back or making me wonder if I will struggle to have a baby one day, when the time is right in my life. I am confident and happy. I can do so many things now that I couldn’t do before … and it’s amazing!”

Kelechi loves sharing her story of success as a way of inspiring others who are struggling with obesity. She has encouraged many family members, friends, and clients to consider bariatric surgery, as a tool that will help them become the very best version of themselves. And, she is sure to remind everyone that there are many ways to live an active lifestyle, without ever stepping foot into a gym.

“I have burned a lot of calories by turning on some music and dancing, at home,” said Kelechi. “Dancing brings me joy and makes me feel happy. It’s a whole lot easier to stick to an exercise plan when you are doing something you really enjoy. It actually made the process of losing weight fun.”

Meet Ronnie Leber

The Life He Always Dreamed Of: The Decision to Undergo Bariatric Surgery…at Age 77

Ronnie before and after having bariatric surgery at MedStar Franklin Square.When his weight peaked at 296 pounds in June 2015, Leber acknowledged it was time to get serious about losing weight; he needed a permanent solution. He put a call into the Bariatric Surgery Center at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center and scheduled an initial consultation with Christopher You, MD. That appointment not only changed, but, most importantly, saved his life.

“Dr. You explained my options and recommended the gastric sleeve procedure because it’s less invasive, typically results in a quicker recovery and would allow a guy like me to lose about 100 pounds,” Leber explains. “The decision to have surgery is a big one, but it felt right. I wanted to make the changes and get my life back.”

Now age 78, Leber walks close to five miles every other day, always with a smile, and often while striking up a conversation with a friend or fellow gym-goer who is beside him on the elliptical machine or treadmill at the gym. The man who was once out of breath as he took a 20 or 30 minute walk is nowhere to be found. When he opens his closet to get dressed, the size 3XL shirts and size 48 pants get pushed a little further toward the back. Instead, his new wardrobe is front and center, consisting of standard size large shirts and size 34 pants. Today, when Leber steps on the scale, the number he sees—179, give or take a pound or two—is one he is proud of. And that isn’t the only number that continues to go down in the Leber household. Read Ronnie Leber's full story in our Discover Winter 2017 Issue.