One Year Surgi-versary! Some Regrets + Foe Toe Hoe N
I can't believe that one year ago today, I freely volunteered to have a dude cut me open, take the majority of my stomach and other assorted organs, and re-arrange my guts! That I was ready for, and OK with. The rest of it...not so much.
Every single day since then I've thought, "What was I thinking?" I recounted half my nightmare in my 6-month update post: blood transfusion, a 7-day ICU stay, "extra" surgery, chronic vomiting, daily nausea, lethargy, flat-out starving, nutrition deficiency. Since then, I've had to be on TPN nutrition support for several months (which helped a ton and saved my life). As soon as I got off of TPN, I got a blood clot in my TPN vein, which now has to be treated and watched like a hawk for six months.
For the whole year since my DS, I've been in some type of medical crisis. Not. Fun.
If anyone had told me a year ago that I would go through all that, I would have run for the hills. No amount of weight loss would have been worth it. I would have just had to starve my way down 90 lbs, and keep starving forever to stay there. I may have even tried out for the Biggest Loser!
I would have never voluntarily signed up for all that trauma and drama. And no, if I had to do it all again, I would NOT.
And yet...I am all on the DS train, drinking the DS Kool-Aid and evangelizing for new converts. Why? Because I still believe in this surgery, and what it can do for people who are (super) (morbidly) obese and fighting for their health and their lives. It's the best surgical alternative, hands down. It works just fine without trouble for 95-98% of people, and that's good news. All of the troubles I had were treatable and curable. And, there's no such thing as a free lunch: if people can get ready for what may go wrong, they can get through the trials and come out on the other side.
Some things I realize:
1) I realize that most of my problems (even the malnutrition crash) could have happened with any type of WL surgery, or any type of surgery, period.
2) In my focus on deciding what surgery to have, I realize that I MAY HAVE skimmed over the possible complications of all types of WLS. I only read about the possible complications from the DS that people mentioned--it never occured to me that I may have experienced other side effects that are not in those descriptions, or that I may experience side effects from other WLS's. My bad.
3) Having odd side effects made me feel weird and lonely. That made everything else I was going through feel worse, emotionally.
4) I wasn't ready for anything that came my way. My ordinarily sunny disposition and outlook never had me thinking that anything could go wrong. I felt like a truck hit me at every turn. My bad, again.
5) I accept that things could have been a heck of a lot worse! A few people have suffered horribly after their WLS, and a small number have died. Even though I was miserable and sick as a dog for months, I can say that I was never in physical pain, not for one second, not even after surgery. (The one exception was the arm pain that I had when the clot formed). That freedom allowed me to speak and think relatively clearly (as clearly as you can being malnourished), and get the help that I needed.
6) I've become part of a group of people who are totally smart, who speak their minds, and who give incredible amounts of support and information to others who are struggling. That's very cool!
7) I'm alive--HALLELUJAH!--and I look darned good! (Pics below)
So, the DS can't be all bad, right?
The scripture reference in my signature says, "[a]nd we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." I have to believe that all these things I've been through in the past five and a half years--including DS stuff, but others stuff as well--will work together for my good and for the good of others that I can help by sharing my story.
Thanks for listening and reading. Ok, here are my stats:
Height = 5' 7.5", Age = 40-something
Starting Weight = 248 lbs (38.3 BMI / Obese) - Clothing Size 20/22
Goal Weight = 140 lbs (21.6 BMI / Midpoint of Normal Weight Range)
Current Weight = 152 lbs (depending on the day--between 150 & 155 lbs) / 23.5 BMI
Current Clothing Sizes = 6/8 women's; 11/13 juniors; medium/large
89% Excess Weight Lost (that's on track to lose it all according to DSFacts.com!)
Pre-Op and Post-Op Pics:
surgery day 2007
3.5 months post-op for me (down 35-40 lbs @ size 16)
7 months post-op for my DH
5 months out @ size 12, when I still had a little bit of booty left!
(I'm in the red shirt/grey slacks in the front-ground)
No more booty here! Size 10
January 2011, just before taking TPN.
I was a size 8/10 and darned happy about it!
Me (in blue) & my beautiful sister, Mrs. Songbird (in black) from the RnY Board.
I have "neck bones!"
Thanks, Bailey! And Dr. Greenbaum has been a dream helping me deal with the malnutrition. I'm so proud to call him my surgeon.
You had so much to endure, but you came through it all! Now that you are off TPN, are you able to keep things down and eat/drink more normally? Your weight loss speaks for itself but I know that becomes a secondary concern when you are dealing with all of the other things you had.
(eta food choices)
Congrats on making it to the 1-year mark. You look beautiful and healthy!
I had the kick-butt duodenal switch (DS)!
HW: 344 lbs CW: 150 lbs
Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea GONE!
Jersey!!! Yes, I'm trying to keep it real for folks. Most will have a cake walk, but don't be surprised if there are egg shells in that sucka sometimes!
-Band to DS revision on 06/21/2011!
Highest known Wt/ Lowest Wt (Banded)/ Regain-Starting Wt/ Current Wt/ Goal Wt
379.6/ 272/ 342/ 169/ South of 200
you have performed a very valuable lesson here today. you have posted a wonderful, informative message that hopefully newbies and those considering wls will read. it's not always sunshine and buttercups on the recovery road.
thanks again for being so brave to post about your journey. glad you are feeling better. you certainly look like a million bucks!
Noreen HW 352 / SW 324 / CW 162/ LW/ 148 / GW 150 (achieved Aug 14 '11)
Noreen, thank you for picking up on the fact that I was a bit reluctant to post anything contrary to the official rainbows and unicorns DS story! I never want to do or say anything that would discourage someone from considering or having a DS--too many doctors and too many randoms with too much MISinformation do that all that time. At the same time, people need to know that this stuff is real--any WLS can be a bear. I do love my DS, and it loves me back now, but it took us a while to warm up to one another. Thanks for the compliment!