Suffering from low back pain, 63-year old Otis Brown saw his primary care physician and the doctor ordered an MRI. It revealed he had two thoracic aortic aneurysms, and he needed to find a cardiovascular specialist right away. “I knew I had to go to the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) for evaluation. I’ve received excellent care throughout my life from the DMC. Otis met with Kenton Zehr, MD, cardiothoracic surgeon and Executive Director of DMC's Heart Hospital and cardiovascular service line. As soon as Otis met Dr. Zehr, he felt confident in his choice for treatment. “Dr. Zehr was thorough, and explained it in simple terms. His expertise gave me confidence. I trusted him. It was personal care, not an assembly line,” said Otis.

Otis has been tap dancing since he was 25 and is now an instructor, teaching adults and kids. Otis shared, “I was scared I would never be able to tap dance again. I told Dr. Zehr that when I finish this, I need to get back to tap dancing. It’s what I do. I needed him to get me ready for my next performance.” Through an extensive surgery, Dr. Zehr repaired the aneurysms and today Otis is back to tap dancing, teaching and performing. “Dr. Zehr and the DMC team came through for me. I put my heart in their hands, and I got my voice back,” said Otis. He added, “I tell everyone to see a cardiologist if they’re at risk for heart disease. Make an appointment and see a heart specialist. You have to monitor your symptoms and take care of your own heart health.”

Ebony’s Story: It gave me my life back

Mar 2, 2021

As Ebony’s children played outside, she would have to sit in the car and watch them have fun. She had arthritis in her knees and back, with heel spurs so bad she could barely walk. This also impacted her ability to work. Ebony tried to lose weight on her own through various weight loss programs, but was never able to keep the weight off. When she turned 35, she had what she describes as ‘an epiphany.’ “This is not the way God intended my life to be,” Ebony realized. “I’m young. I want to be here for my children. I want to live my life.”

Ebony embarked on a journey to change her life, enlisting the help of the Your New Self weight loss solutions program at the Detroit Medical Center. “The physicians and bariatric staff at the DMC made me feel very safe and comfortable. They helped me to stay focused and realize my dream of losing more than 200 pounds,” said Ebony. “When you lose this kind of weight, you transform. You become a new person,” recalls Ebony. “My oldest daughter was surprised one day when she found me in her closet looking for clothes to wear!”

The best time for new beginnings is now. Start your bariatric journey today at to discover the comprehensive approach to weight loss and bariatric surgery at the DMC. 

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