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I Love Gastric Bypass…I Hate the Untold Stuff

January 26, 2010

Roux-en-Y, Gastric Bypass


No one said it would be easy. No one said it would be fast. No one said it would last. Who doesn’t love quick weight loss? I sure do. After an entire life of struggling, all I ever wanted was a quick weight loss. An adventure that would take me to a new, better and long-lasting life; a life that would not be about what other people thought of me, a life that was about me being happy, a life of confidence. Whoever said that getting to that point in life would be all of those things, man they suck. Life is still the turbulent road it was before, but for different reasons.  

I love gastric bypass surgery. I love that I had to go through hoops to get it. I am also fortunate that my health insurance paid for the whole thing. I am grateful that my insurance company had requirements that I had tofulfill before receiving surgery. It was an almost year-long process but well worth it. They required me to go to a healthy eating class, receive counseling, see a dietician, lose 10% of my body weight and go to a weight loss support group. All of this so I could help myself become a healthy person.  

I am one of the fortunate people who had absolutely no complications. I, and my family, am very thankful for this. You here so much about what goes wrong with the surgery-hernias, infections, heart attacks, strokes, and death-that it can make you to scared to take the step. I was in a Zen place in my head that if anything happened to me it was meant to be.  

Gastric bypass surgery changed my life. Being a severely obese person, and one for all my life, I tried every diet and gimmick out there-Herb-a-Life, Atkins, liquid diets-all to no avail. Nothing would help me get past the twenty pound loss plateau and keep going. Working out didn’t help me because I would compensate the good I did with the extra “free” calories. I burned 250 on the elliptical, wow I could then eat a bag of M&M’s. Yep, that is how I kept getting heavier.  

I lost 150 pounds with gastric bypass surgery. This is a great feat all by itself. I am very, very proud of myself though I down-play it a lot. I don’t feel that I had one of the great losses that you always hear about. People that lose upwards of 200 pounds; I just wanted to reach my goal weight of 175. That is even at the top of the healthy weight for my height; I wasn’t trying to become Britney Spears skinny or anything. I lost 50 pounds before the surgery, man that was tough and took eight months; then after surgery, which has been three years ago now, I only lost 100 more-I did that in the first year. Yes, I have maintained that loss-going up and down five pounds-in the two following years, but I still have a ways to go.  

I hate all of the untold stuff about surgery. Things that you only know because of the support group you went to, not because the doctor told you. The doctor didn’t tell you about “dumping syndrome” or the light-headedness and vision blurring. He didn’t tell you that after the surgery as you are on an IV that you would gain ten pounds of liquid from said IV. He didn’t tell you that your hair would fall out, that the insurance doesn’t cover the excess skin removal from all the weight loss. And he surely didn’t tell me that after three years, my body would not lose any more weight, or that it would stop completely. He surely didn’t tell me that after a year or so that you can go back to eating sugar and fried food and not feel ill.  

I was lucky enough not to have the dumping syndrome. I started, and still do have, episodes where I get shaky and nervous and my vision goes black. In the beginning I thought something was wrong inside-I thought my stomach was leaking. I thought my blood pressure was so low that I was going to pass out. I brought this up at the support group and only one other person and the same symptoms. The doctors never mentioned this scary side effect.  

I have tried to lose the remaining 40 pounds since one year post surgery. I have worked out pretty religiously thanks to having an employer with a gym at the work-site. I have eaten pretty healthy, being a vegetarian has helped with that but once you start eating crappy foods it will always be bad. But your metabolism goes into shock mode with the surgery, and you only have 18 months to get all the weight that needs to come off, off. I certainly wasn’t told that 10% of GB patients regain their weight after three years. Not me!  

Additionally I was not told that you have food intolerances. My gallbladder was taken out during surgery because I had gall stones, and they only told me not to eat fried foods and sugary foods. I wasn’t told that after surgery I may not be able to tolerate milk or milk products such as cheese and yogurt and red meat. I don’t eat meat thankfully but one of the women in the support group had a very bad case of not tolerating any meat-chicken and pork included-and could only eat soy and tofu. That would be a very hard transition for any person that is anti-vegetarian.  

Of all the negatives that are not told to you, that you have to investigate yourself, this weight reduction surgery and others are not bad. I feel atrocious for the patients and families that have had complications or deaths. I can not begin to imagine what they had to go through, first the morbid obesity then the surgery itself, but they did it trying to save themselves. To bring themselves comfort and confidence after so many years of anxiety and insecurities. I am a proud roux-en-y patient. It saved my life.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Linda permalink
    January 27, 2010 8:52 pm

    We are more than proud of you for your accomplishments!

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