Before After Duodenal Switch DS with Rachel

Before & After Duodenal Switch (DS) with Rachel, losing 180 pounds!

January 2, 2018

Why I Decided to Have WLS

I always struggled with my weight since childhood. Looking back, and knowing what I do now, it makes much more sense: I had an undiagnosed bipolar disorder for many years and had cycles of anorexia and binge-eating that paralleled my highs and lows. I didn't know that at the time though, all I knew was that I was in a constant state of dieting and despairing, losing and regaining, wishing to be thin while I got bigger and bigger and bigger. You name a diet, I tried it. Some worked, some didn't, and in the end, I always regained everything I'd lost.

By the time I was 28, I weighed 350 pounds and was struggling to find retail clothing that was big enough for me. Even the plus-sized stores topped out at a size 32. I knew that I could lose 100 pounds and still be fat, and that knowledge was overwhelming.

How do you go on fighting when you know it's hopeless? I hid in my home as much as possible because I hated to be seen in public, convinced everyone was staring and judging me. How could I blame them, when I already judged myself?

Of course, I'd heard about WLS, mostly the RNY surgery that Carnie Wilson made famous, but I was afraid. I started lurking on message boards, reading the stories of many people, wondering if the risks really were worth the possible rewards. Then one day I noticed someone's profile said they'd had a DS, which I'd never heard of.

I Googled it and started reading. It was the solution to everything that scared me about the RNY, and the success rates filled me with hope like I had never known. I saw a future where I could feel normal, and it was so beautiful it made me cry.

Before & After Duodenal Switch (DS) with Rachel

Total weight loss: 180 pounds
Surgery date: 6/2/2011
Surgery type: Duodenal Switch
Surgeon: Dr. William Inabnet III

My Surgery and Post-Op Life

My surgery was a whirlwind of excitement. The closest surgeon that took my insurance was at Mt. Sinai, and in a way that made it even more exciting. I've always loved big cities, so taking trips to New York City to prepare for my new identity was fun, and probably helped make the six months of work for insurance approval a little more bearable. My parents came out to stay at a nearby hotel while I was in the hospital. I was so excited for my surgery that I didn't even mind having to skip the breakfast buffet the morning of my surgery.

Then for the first 24 hours after I came home, I regretted everything. My stomach had been dissected laparoscopically and the pain caused by that stretching was intense. But that pain faded within a day or two, and as soon as I saw the numbers on my scale start to fall, pounds and pounds at a time, it all became worth it.

It's true that there is a honeymoon period during which you can do no wrong. For the first couple years, I ate literally whatever I wanted and just let my new stomach size guide me to eat less. That didn't always come naturally. I'll admit I had to make more than a few urgent bathroom runs as I learned to eat slowly and listen to my stomach.

Before & After DS with Rachel, losing 180 pounds!

I had a few more bumps in the road after the honeymoon wore off, but the beauty of the DS is that it's never too late to turn it around. Cut your carbs, increase your protein, and you'll get yourself back on track. There are tons of great blogs out there that help make it easy and delicious to eat low-carb for life.

For me, the most life-changing thing about surgery has been the way it changed the way I think about food. I had a love-hate obsessive shame-filled relationship with food for a very long time, and that's the kind of thing that will make you feel crazy. Surgery made it possible for me to feel satisfied with a normal amount of food, and the peace of mind that brought me is nothing short of miraculous.

Milestones and Non-Scale Victories

My milestones were usually little things, like realizing I wasn't winded after climbing the stairs or fitting into an old pair of jeans. I still have my biggest pair of jeans on the top shelf of my closet, and I like to get them down and stand in one leg sometimes, just to remind myself how far I've come.

I went through a divorce a few years after my surgery. It's true that some relationships can't handle the strain of so much change. But it was pretty incredible to get out in the dating world again after so many years and find that for the first time I truly had confidence that the men I was interested in could also be interested in me!

How ObesityHelp has been a part of My Journey

ObesityHelp has been alongside me for all of my journey, though mostly a quiet partner. I rarely ask questions on the forums because I can almost always find where someone else has already asked and gotten tons of great answers. But I lurk and read and get encouragement and inspiration from the many wonderful people at OH.

Share Your Before & After Success!

Do you have Before & Afters, special milestones and non-scale victories from your journey that you’d like to share? The OH team wants to hear from you! Visit our Before & After Submission page for details.