Paris Woman Loses 100+ Pounds After Bariatric Surgery at Horizon Health

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Paris Woman Loses 100+ Pounds After Bariatric Surgery at Horizon Health

Today it’s horseback riding. Tomorrow it’s snorkeling. What will the next day bring for Jessica Woolum, of Paris?

Jessica embarked on an aggressive weight loss journey in late 2022 when she had bariatric surgery. Weighing 345 pounds, she had hoped to reduce her weight by half. And, over the past several months, she’s on track to do just that – and more.

To date, Jessica has lost just over 100 pounds, which has sparked a new outlook on life.

“It’s been life-changing,” she said. “It has opened up a whole new world that I get to be a part of now.”

Bariatric surgery is known to significantly improve obesity-related health conditions, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sleep apnea, joint problems, and more. For Jessica, the surgery greatly improved her overall health and the ability to spend more quality time with her family.

“I was so tired and not spending time with the kids. I didn’t even have the energy to cook dinner,” she explained.

The sleeve procedure

Dr. Yaniv Cozacov, Horizon Health general surgeon who specializes in bariatric surgery, performed the gastric sleeve procedure to help Jessica achieve her weight loss goal. Also known as sleeve gastrectomy, the technique removes approximately 80 percent of the stomach. The tubular “sleeve” stomach that remains after the surgery is about the size of a banana, helping to restrict food intake and reduce hunger.

“With gastric sleeve surgery patients can experience fast, dramatic weight loss,” said Dr. Cozacov. “The procedure time is shorter compared to other types of bariatric surgeries and safer for high-risk patients than other options. Additionally, patients are less likely to develop a long-term nutrient deficiency.”

As part of her weight loss journey, Jessica continues to get assistance from Eva Kirchner, registered dietitian at the Horizon Health Center for Weight Management. Eva provides Jessica with nutrition counseling and meal plans.

At age 40, Jessica said she struggled with her weight since high school. She tried several diet plans, none of which were successful. A long battle with sleep apnea was the “final straw” in her decision to have weight loss surgery. Her goal is to weigh 165 pounds, which is 180 pounds less than she weighed prior to surgery.

“It’s just eating smaller portions. It has been an adjustment, but it’s worth it,” Jessica added.

Her new life

For Jessica, bariatric surgery has made life more enjoyable. Her new life experiences include kayaking in Puerto Rico's Bioluminescent Bays, snorkeling with sea turtles, hiking, and horseback riding. Still to come are ziplining, a 5K trail run, and roller coasters rides with her children.

“I hadn’t gone horseback riding in 15 years,” she explained. “It’s so much easier to have those experiences now without being out of breath. I’m excited to see what’s to come!”