Based in Richmond, Va, Catherine is a freelance writer specializing in stories about the arts, parenting, health and wellness, aging, and fascinating people.

Ilene Stevens—Successful Weight Loss with Bariatric Surgery

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In 2016, Ilene Stevens consulted Jayme Stokes, MD at Sentara Martha Jefferson Medical & Surgical Associates about undergoing bariatric surgery. Stevens was obese and suffering from multiple associated health conditions, including hypertension, sleep apnea, diabetes, and acid reflux. “I was taking a great deal of meds,” Stevens says, “and I knew my life expectancy was being reduced.”

Stevens and Dr. Stokes discussed her options. “She had not found long-term success with dieting,” Stokes says, “and was looking for a more permanent solution.” Because of her BMI (body mass index) and related conditions, Stevens was a good candidate for gastric bypass surgery, one of the two main operations Dr. Stokes performs.

After the surgery, Stevens met with Dr. Stokes’ team, which included a nutritionist, for regular follow-ups. For bariatric surgery to succeed, patients must make a commitment to improving their eating and exercising habits. Dr. Stokes says that Stevens has done that well: “She treated the operation and recovery as a second job: she took it seriously, she did her homework, and she understood the changes she needed to make.” Dr. Stokes strongly encourages patients to read as much reliable information as they can and to talk to people who have been through the same thing. “This is a major lifestyle change,” Dr. Stokes says, “and you can never be too informed.”

“I have the most energy. I am 60 but I feel like I am 30. I am no longer worried about my health.” says Ilene Stevens

Stevens’ persistence and attention to detail have really paid off. A year after the surgery, she has lost more than 80 pounds. When describing the major changes she has undergone since, she says, “I now exercise regularly and can walk five miles at a time. I follow the high-protein, low-fat, no-sugar diet, and I only eat 50 [calories of] carbohydrates a day. It can be a struggle at times, but I remind myself where I was a year ago.” Her renewed energy and peace of mind are worth the sacrifices.

Medical Provider

Jayme Stokes, MD | Bariatric Medicine | Sentara Martha Jefferson Medical & Surgical Associates

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