My horror story

on 4/11/10 1:09 am - IN
Although I hard people say to me "oh Ive heard horror stories about gastric bypass" I never thought I would be the one with complications.

I went in Tuesday, March 30 for my RNY. Surgery was typical. But by Tuesday night I was running a fever. Wednesday my fever kept rising, By Thursday morning they suspected a leak, as my blood pressure, hear rate, and oxygen levels dropped severly, and my fever spiked to 105.5. I was transferred to the ICU in critical condition. I don't remember much but being confused and feeling my brain was overheating. They took me back into surgery and found no leak at all. So I have to start recovering from surgery again -- the second time in two days.

The day after my second surgery I tried to walk, and my left lung collapsed. It was terrifying not being able to breath. A good nurse kept me from paniking. The rest of the week I had diminished capacity in my lung, but I kept up with the spirometer, walking, eating and drinking.

I was finally able to leave the hospital April 9, Friday. I weigh 26 pounds more at discharge than I did at admission - they pumped me full of saline to over-hydrate me. I was lucky enough to have a great sister come stay with me the first night I was home. She wrote out my schedule, what I had to drink, eat, my vitaminsa and meds. How confusing, especially when you're on pain meds! But my husband took over and I am getting great care from him.

I was logging on here to read every one's experiences, - good or bad. And I was so hoping I would be a text book case. But when you're doctor loks at you and says "You look awful." you know you are bad off. My girlfriend was with me at my worst, and she told me later she saw me become white - with white lips - as my fever worsened. She thought she was watching me die.

Maybe six months from now I'll say it was worth it. Right now, I can't, and I'm sure you understand why. I have a feeling when I see my weight come off - my outlook will change! :)
(deactivated member)
on 4/11/10 1:22 am
wow, that is awful! glad you are ok now!, did they ever figure out what caused the complications??
on 4/11/10 1:44 am - IN
No! And it was a misearble feeling to have my doctor stand at the foot of the bed with his arms crossed skaking his head. In all I ha*****ctors, two of them were infectious disease specialists, and three respiratory doctors. No one could explain where the infection came from - although they spent sevral days running all sorts of tests and sent out cultures. I was the Mystery Diagnosis of The Week.
(deactivated member)
on 4/11/10 1:48 am
yikes, that is scary.  Having this surgery is a little like playing russian roullette it seems lol.  you hope you will be one of the success stories with limited complications, but i guess you never really know.  I  think I will be doing a lot of praying before I go in   Are you doing pretty good now??

Andrea U.
on 4/11/10 1:58 am - Wilson, NC
No one wakes up in the morning saying "I want to be the 'Mystery Diagnosis of the Week this week!  Hells ya!"

Sucks that it has to be one of us.

Get well.  And thanks for putting it out there.  People hate to do it cause they feel they will be blasted, but it needs to be said.

on 4/25/12 7:49 am - Glendale, AZ
                                                            Dying to Be Thin   Chapter 1   I love food. Food is my drug. The only difference between food and drugs, is that food is legal. I was not heavy during my early childhood years, I had the same dreams most little girls did. I wanted to be a ballerina, marry a prince and be a model. I recently turned 30, and I was actually upset about the age, but my prince was there to hold me up and remind me how lucky I am to even be alive today. At 30, only one of those three dreams came true. I never became a ballerina or a model, but luckily I did get my prince. Unfortunately for my prince, he has to deal with my medical issues that I now have because of my previous desire to be thin. A horrible choice that went wrong in every way possible almost took my life on several occasions. I decided to write this to help people who struggle with food. Not only those who are overweight, but also those who are underweight and those who have self esteem issues. This is also for all the people who think you are only acceptable for society if you are thin. I am here to educate people and hopefully help people make better life decisions. This isn’t just about food, its about people who choose substitutes such as drugs, alcohol, starvation, cutting, self mutilation, plastic surgery to deal with their inner issues and learning to deal with real life. It is important to recognize what the problem is, when it started and getting help and support from professionals, and your friends and family.    I realized my love for food when I was in high school and I was the biggest girl on campus. I decided to join theatre, so that I could fit in somewhere. The theatre department had all sort of “misfits" so we were a misfit family. Nobody there judged me, I could sing and dance and I wasn’t made fun of. When I walked out those theatre doors, life was a different story. Kids were mean, I would be called every name possible making me feel even worse about myself then I already did. I recall a girl who I went to church with and also high school with named Jodi. She was aweful to me and made me feel horrible about myself. Whenever possible, I remember her encouraging the other girls at church to ignore me, and that I would never be part of their “group" because I wasn’t pretty enough and I would never be able to borrow clothes with them. At girls camp, she called me ugly and fat. This was when I was 15 years old. I will never forget those hateful words. The only thing I can think of is that her our insecurities about herself were being taken out on me. That there must be something in her life that made her be so hateful to me. I can honestly say that to this day I do not forgive the things she did to me. There was a day during camp that she got into my clothes and put my large underwear out for all of the other girls to see. I was humiliated. I no longer wear underwear. There were some of the girls that did not make fun of me, but they also didn’t stand up for me when this was happening either. There was a church outing where we went tubing down a snowy mountain in Flagstaff, AZ. When I was going down the hill, I hit a tree and broke my leg. The girls were laughing because the young men that were also in attendance had to carry me off the mountain for medical treatment at the hospital. I don’t know what hurt worse, my leg or the pain of the girls laughing at the fact that it took so many men to take me down the mountain. I did not attend events with the young men and young womens anymore. I was devastated and had to go back to school still broken, and deal with these mean girls everyday. There was a point in my life that my self esteem was so bad, I took an entire bottle of Tylenole thinking it would end my life. There were about one hundred pills in the bottle and I took them all. I luckily didn’t die, I was just sick to my stomach for a few days after. I still went to school and found it impossible to eat food around anyone else. I felt like they were always staring at me and judging what I was eating.  I would take my lunch and eat it in the auditorium where the stage was. The one place I could feel like myself. High school came and went. I did have a boyfriend, and soon after graduation I found out I was going to have a baby. So we got married. Three weeks after we got married, he pulled a knife on me screaming in my face “Don’t you know how much I love you?" Needless to say, I divorced him. I was 18 years old, having a baby and I was divorced. Not the greatest way to start out a life on my own. More emotional baggage that caused me to eat even more. I realized that I dealt with my emotions by eating and that’s why I was so fat. When it was time for my ultrasound, I was so big ( and not because of the baby ) they had to push so hard on my abdomen to even get a clear picture of the baby. THAT’S how big I was. At that time, I was pushing 250 pounds. I ate when I was sad, I ate when I was happy and I thought that it was ok because, well I was pregnant and weren’t pregnant women supposed to eat a lot? Due to the fact that I was so big, they initially thought I was going to have a girl. We were all so excited. We bought little dresses and cute girlie stuff and it was amazing. During another ultrasound, the tech referred to my baby as a boy. I told her that she must be mistaken because I knew I was having a girl. And she replied with “then your daughter has a penis". I went to Applebee’s, and naturally I ate. I did finally got over the initial shock of having a boy instead of a girl, and was excited. I was determined to raise my son to be a good man, one that was there and supportive and kind and gentle. So far, it has been working. I was pregnant during 2001, this was the year of the attack on our country. At the time I worked for Discover Card’s call center and on September 11, 2001, they converted the call center for credit card holders to a call center for people to call in. We had employees calling in giving us their social security numbers and names and those around them. They were stationed at a hotel. Some of the calls that came thru were people still trying to get out of the towers and you could hear the chaos, and crying. It was ultimate pandemonium. I remember reassuring people that they would be ok. I was lying to them because I knew it was not ok. Discover Card had food brought in for us so that we could work without stopping in taking the calls. Our phone number was constantly being ran across CNN, because Morgan Stanley had offices in the towers and we had the capability in having a call center to field the calls. We had to answer the toughest questions at that time from friends and family wondering what was going on with their loved ones in the towers. We had two lists. One list with the names of people who made it out, and one list that we knew didn’t. We were allowed to tell people that someone was ok when they were on the “good list" but the people on the “not so good list" we had to lie, and and tell them we didn’t know and we would have someone call them back as soon as we knew. It was the hardest thing to have to deal with, and it still haunts me being able to hear the screams in the background. I dealt with the emotional pain of being haunted by being able to hear what was going on, during the actual time and having copies of the “good list" and “bad list" and lying to people knowing they were going to be devastated.    October 14th, 2001 I was admitted to the hospital because I was having horrible pains and they would not go away. I was throwing up, there was nothing I could keep down at all. They told me it was my gallbladder and it needed to come out, but first the baby had to come out. They tried everything to induce labor and I was miserable. I was admitted in the hospital under a fictitious name because my son’s biological mother worked in the admitting department for maternity, and I didn’t want my ex to come to the hospital. He had made it clear that he did not want to be a father, and I didn’t want to run the risk of something happening to have myself or unborn child hurt.  Taylor was born via c-section on October 19,2001. Two weeks later, I was back in the hospital having my gallbladder removed. Thank God I had the support of my mom to help me in the recovery process of both the c-section and then the gallbladder. I was healing from the surgeries and getting into the grove of being a single mom. I did tell my ex’s parents that the baby was here and they did come see him when we got home. I also called my son’s father to let him know the baby was here and he had no desire to come and see the baby or have any part of our sons life. My response was more food.  I felt truly alone during this time and I thought I would always be alone because of how much I weighed. Over the next three years, my weight started increasing more and more. At one point, my older sister offered to not only pay me to lose weight, but also buy me a new wardrobe. She wasn’t concerned about my health. She was on the cover of a magazine during this time, and having a fat little sister didn’t look good for her. Needless to say, I didn’t lose the weight; I actually ended up gaining more. Guess I wasn’t getting that new wardrobe, huh?!?   When my son was about 3, I started dating a man who was incredibly abusive. After a few months of dating him, I found out I was pregnant. I was devastated. I couldn’t imagine having to deal with his physical and emotional abuse for the rest of my life. I had a painful and horrible choice that had to be made. I didn’t want to bring another child into the world that would be subjected to the abuse I have been dealing with and I certainly did not want to subject my son to a lifetime of dealing with a man who was probably one of the worst people I knew. I decided to get an abortion. When I went into Planned Parenthood to have the procedure, they did a physical exam. They could see the bruising I had and I told them the truth. They were not judgmental. During the examination the doctors make you listen and see during a vaginal ultrasound your baby’s heart. My baby did not have a heartbeat. I don’t know if it was God’s way of saving me and my son from years of having to deal with this man, but it was what it was. Although the baby didn’t have a heartbeat, they still completed a D&C to take out the baby with no heart beat. This did not make me feel any better about myself. I still went in to have an abortion completed. I was going to kill a child and that killed me emotionally. Regardless of the point that there was no hope that the baby would have made it even the first trimester without having a miscarriage, I was still disgusted with myself for the choice to have it done. I went to my drug of choice. I went to food. When I told the man I was dating what had happened, I was kept in a room for days, being forcibly held against my will being beat, tortured and raped. It was not just this man, but there were three all together and it was the worst three days of my life. I tried to keep as quiet as possible so that I wouldn’t alarm my son. I was told he was being cared after well, as long as I didn’t fight back or try anything stupid. My son and I managed to get away the third day. I dealt again with this trauma by eating. All I seemed to do was eat to try and take away the pain and humiliation I had endured. I healed and had to move on with my life.   My son was growing, and I was finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with this little ball of endless energy! I felt like I had to do something to lose the weight. I wasn’t thinking about doing it safely, I didn’t think about the repercussions of losing weight extremely quickly, I just wanted it gone. I started a new job at an insurance firm, and my trainer was really really thin. I saw a picture on her desk of what I thought was her sister, and I asked if that was indeed her sister. I was wrong. That was a picture of her two years prior with her children. I was dumfounded. I was impressed with the amount of weight she had lost and I asked her how she did it. She explained that she had gone through a weight loss surgery and had lost 150 pounds in a little over a year. I was thinking, Wow! Sign me up! She gave me name and number to the doctor that she was seeing and I decided to attend an informational seminar. The speakers were obviously thin and beautiful making speeches about their success stories. There was not one story that wasn’t anything but exceptional. It sounded like a dream come true to me. I went to my doctor who agreed for me to have the surgery, and I made an appointment with Dr.X. Dr X said that indeed, I was morbidly obese, and without the surgery to lose the weight I would surely die young. This is not true, I know this now.  I had my initial weight loss surgery November of 2004. I thought I was making the best decision for me and at the time, my toddler son. I had convinced myself that this was absolutely necessary in order to lose weight. Little did I know, that for the following years to come I would be struggling to stay alive and GAIN weight to stay off the feeding tube, also known as TPN. I got the "good news" on my birthday in April of 2004 that my surgery was approved. I was ecstatic and I called right away to schedule it with "Dr. X". I was a 22 year old single mother, and I thought this would solve all of my problems. The insurance company was going to pay for 100% of the surgery, at the time I felt like I had won the lottery. I did everything as quickly as I could that was required from the doctors office. I completed the phsyc evaluation, the stress test and all of the pre-op tests needed. I was ready for my super bowl. I went in for my surgery, I remember thinking that this was it; this was going to change my life, and boy did it ever. I had my initial weight loss surgery November of 2004. I thought I was making the best decision for me and at the time, my toddler son. I had convinced myself that this was absolutely necessary in order to lose weight. Little did I know, that for the following years to come I would be struggling to stay alive and GAIN weight to stay off the feeding tube, also known as TPN. When I woke up from the surgery, and the doctor came in to see me, he had remarked that I was meant to be a small person, and that it was difficult for him to complete the surgery lapriscopically, that my insides were very small but he somehow managed to complete it without having to open me up all the way. I was grateful at the time, I didn’t want to have a big scar, I thought for sure by the next summer I would be able to wear a swimsuit and I wanted to have a nice body. I stayed in the hospital for three days before I was discharged. I remember my first "meal". It was served in a medicine cup, and I was stunned. No matter how many classes I took in preparation for the surgery, NOTHING could have prepared me for that reality. I looked at it and I thought there was no possible way that THAT tiny amount of pudding, less than 2 ounces could fill up my body, I was over 300lbs!! I wasn't even able to finish the cup. I ordered the drinks that they said I would need, I stocked up on Boost and high caloric drinks. For the first few months I was doing ok, loosing weight steady, I thought I had hit a home run. Then it happened. I was at work, and I got a horrifying pain in my abdomen and was rushed by ambulance to the hospital that my doctor worked out of. After some quick tests, it was determined that I had a perforated bowel and needed immediate surgery. Everything went so fast after that, and I was in the operating room before I knew it. When I woke up from that surgery, it was like starting all over again. The long painful walk down the hall to get the fluids moving again and to get my body working. The following day, I had more pain. I cannot even describe the type of pain and how excruciating it was. I felt like my insides were on fire and ripping apart. In reality the pain was as a result of the tube they had left in me to drain the excess fluid, had wrapped itself around more of my bowels and I again needed emergency surgery. Once again, I was whisked into the operating room, this time by Dr.X's partner. I was in the hospital for 3 consecutive weeks trying to recover. I was beginning to know the staff personally. I remember walking the hospital floors over and over trying to regain my strength. During all this time, I was missing out on some of the most important years of my sons life. I had the surgery to prolong my time with him, and now it was having the opposite affect. My family would visit when they could and bring him when they could, but how do you explain to a toddler why his mommy was in the hospital and what all of the tubes coming out of her were, let alone why she couldn’t pick him up. Sure, he could climb up on the bed, but we had to be super careful that he wouldn’t pull on any of the lines and tubes coming out of me. This was probably one of the lowest times in my life. I felt like I had failed as a mother. He already didn’t have a father and because of my selfish decision to have this surgery, and it was like he didn’t have a mother around that he needed. I got his progress thru the reports that came home from the daycare center.  I had infections as a direct result of lack of immune system due to lack of nutrition. My body was starving itself and the hospital staff was trying to save me. I was only 22 years old. I was also missing my son in his toddler stage growing up. I wasn't able to lift him or barely even hold him, because now there was no lapriscopic surgery. This was a long line that extended from my breast bone to my pelvis. So much for the swimsuit I was thinking I would wear. As I started to recover from this surgery, strange things started to happen to me. On top of being nauseous all of the time, I was passing out at the drop of a hat. There was a time I was at Circle K, and I passed out in the middle of the floor. I was taken to the hospital.  The explanation I got was that I was dehydrated and needed more fluids. My body could only orally handle a very small amount of fluid, so I was constantly getting bags of IV fluids to keep myself hydrated. This took a lot of time after work, and away from my son even more. I didn't think it could get worse. I was wrong. I had to have another surgery, a hysterectomy as a result of severe endometriosis. I thought I deserved this and that it was a punishment for the choice I previously made when I had chosen not to have a baby. I thought I was being punished even though the baby never even had a chance and wouldn’t have been born, I had still made a conscious decision to end the life before it began. This was my punishment. The surgery was scheduled for September in 2005. The surgery was scheduled on my mom's birthday ( I didn’t have a say in the scheduling of this one ) I went in for surgery thinking it would be no big deal, after all, I had just recovered from three surgeries, two that were unplanned, so a planned surgery should be ok. I got to the hospital and got registered and checked in. I was ready. My surgeon came by to say good morning, I made my normal joke asking if the surgeon was in a good mood and asked if they had their coffee. Everything was a go. Then my mom's phone rang. The color from her faced drained as they were getting ready to take me away. Her brother had just passed away. I share this with the readers so they can try and understand the amount of stress my mom and family were under during this time. My mom gave me a reassuring hug, she knew that I needed to have the surgery and didn’t want me and everyone else to postpone it. When I woke up in the hospital, I knew something was not right. I had a horrible infection. I was told again that I did not have the immune system to fight off the infection. One of my dearest friends Rebecca Imel came to visit me, and she stayed with me for hours constantly putting wet clothes on my forehead trying to get the fever down. They had me in a room that was shared with a woman who had just had a baby. I thought it was cruel, because I had just had the parts of me taken out in order to have more babies, more that I desperately wanted. After a week of being in the hospital I was released with an open wound. The incision would not close properly regardless of what they tried to do to close it, it just wouldn’t heal. I was released from the hospital with the incision still open.  The funeral was complete, so my family was able to again help me. In order to get the incision closed and clean I required "packing". The basis of packing is to remove the infection by placing sterile cotton in the wound, pu**** down so that the infection would attach to it, and remove it.  I had to have an in-home nurse come to me every day to stuff cotton in the incision they had made in the operating room. My mom or sister would come first thing in the morning, then my nurse would come, then it was my family again. Three times a day. This was done for a few weeks to get all of the infection out. After a few weeks the infection was removed, but now I had to get the incision from the surgery closed. They tried several methods but none would work naturally, so they had to use a "wound vac" It is basically what it sounds like, it was a vacuum that literally sucked the incision closed. I had to have my incision ripped again so that the rawness would heal because it started to close the way it was used to open me. Apart. So my doctor had to make sure that I had a fresh wound for the wound vac to work properly. This process took approximately two days. I should note that I was working during this time that everything was occurring. I only took off work for the first week following the surgery and I always pushed to be released to work, as I was a single mother and I needed the income to survive. When the nurse came, she came to a conference room at my work to do the packing and take my vitals. I had people at work complaining about the noise that the wound vac made and the fact that they could see the tubes, I couldn't believe it. It felt like I was damned if I went to work because it upset people to have to see the tubes and hear the vacuum and I was damned if I didn’t, because there would be more work for my co-workers, not to mention I would not get a paycheck. I share this surgery for a couple reasons. The first is the surgery would have been much easier to heal from if I first had the proper nutrients that the basic human body needs. Before this surgery, nobody was really aware of how unhealthy my body was and as a result of how unhealthy it was, and just how hard it would be to heal. The second reason I share, is so that you have a full understanding of just how much my family endured as a result of my decision to have the initial weight loss surgery. As much as someone might think that nobody but themselves is affected by the choice to have weight loss surgery, they are wrong. It affects your entire family, and if something goes wrong and you need more help from your family then a normal surgery, then you will test the strength of yourself and that of your family.  This was the first time I was beginning to understand that there was no pleasing people. There would always be a reason for someone to be unhappy with me, and I needed to learn to be happy with myself.   There is such a blur during this next time period of my life. "Dr.X" had me on dilauded (a very strong narcotic painkiller) five times throughout the day, as a result of continuous pelvic pain from all of the surgeries from the last two years. I was in and out of the hospital more times than I can count. What I can count is the next 8 surgeries that I had to have on my stomach. The first was because of a perforated bowel. Something went wrong, of course, with this surgery. Dr. X’s partner had to go in the next day to fix what had went wrong. A few weeks later, it happened again. THE EXACT SAME THING. First Dr. X, then his partner. These were due to again, complications including blockages and perforations. Every time "Dr.X" operated, within a day or two his partner had to go back in for corrective surgery. It was a nightmare. This happened Two more times. Four more surgeries. I missed out on Christmases and birthdays, holidays important family functions. I am sure my son is as sensitive as he because of all of the drama through these tryous times in our lives. Now, he is very clingy to me, and constantly asks if I am ok. Several months passed after surgery 13, and I thought I was home free. I was losing weight and working hard, trying to be a good mother while raising my son and then I hit a weight that was dangerously low and wouldn’t be good for a middle school girl, let alone a woman who was now 24. I was right at 100lbs. A decision had to be made. I was dying from lack of food, my teeth were suffering from all of the throwing up and something drastic had to be done. I was still seeing "Dr.X" because at the time no other abdominal surgeon would help me. My health was getting worse and worse. "Dr.X" said that it was time I have a reversal of the surgery. I didn't even know that was possible. We scheduled the surgery for April of 2007. It had only been a little over two years since my initial surgery and I had to go back in for the opposite procedure. I was able to fit in juniors’ clothes, a far cry from size 28 in women’s. I was told that after the reversal I should be able to start gaining weight again. In case you lost count, I am on surgery 13 in my abdomen. I thought for sure this would be the cure to get me off the feeding tube ( TPN ). May rolled around, I was still not gaining weight, I had no energy and I was running myself into the ground. Dr. X drew a picture of what he needed to do for the reversal and showed and explained to myself and my mom and my step dad. It seemed like our only option. After the surgery came and went, I was still on the feeding tube, and that in itself gave me some close calls. One day, when I got home from work, I had a very high fever. I was delirious, and passed out. I called my mom when I came to, and she sent my step-dad over to help me. He was a retired police officer and knew right away that I was in bad shape. He called paramedics to work on me. I was admitted to the hospital with sepsis. Blood poisoning. Oh joy. They ordered rounds of antibiotics, and it wasn’t going away. They found the cause of the infection, it was the feeding tube. It had to be replaced as an outpatient procedure. This was not great news. They needed to remove the old one, but more importantly they needed to put a new non-infected one in so that I could still get nutrients. They clamped the infected line off and told me that I needed to see "Dr.X" to have it removed. When I went and saw "Dr.X", he said the hospital that put the new TPN line in needed to take out the infected line. I went back to the hospital. They refused. Nobody would take it out, and it was still infected. I was getting antibiotics; my home health nurse called it a party ball. Apparently it is known as a party ball because of the way it dispensed medication. I didn’t care at this point. I was sick, I had two feeding tubes in and nobody would take the infected line out, they kept pointing at each other saying it was somebody else’s responsibility to take it out. My mom and I were sitting together after work, and we decided it needed to come out. The party ball wouldn’t be able to work with an infection still raging in my veins. We took it out in the middle of Chili's. It wasn't done in the operating room or a doctor’s office, but it was out and it felt so good to take it out. My home health nurse would later tell me how stupid it was of us to do, with which I recounted it was at least smarter than the doctors that left it in me, pointing the blame at each other. She did not argue with me, and stopped the lecture then. I still had my nurse coming to work to tend the tubes and look over my care. We developed a fast friendship, being that she was with me for such a long period of time throughout the day. There was another day that she was at my work, servicing the lines as normal. I believe it is important for me to clarify that I had just gotten back to work from a routine visit with “Dr.X"  and my nurse had just gotten there to work on me. She could have tipped me over with a feather with what she told me. She was running my line, and found a large air pocket in the tubes. The air was there because my line had been opened, and the end was not capped off. It was an open line to my heart. She said " I don’t know how your here and not in the morgue".  I didn’t understand, lots of people have air bubbles in their IV's, I didn’t see the big deal. She proceeded to explain, that the feeding tube was a central line that went directly to the main artery that went to my heart, and that much direct air would have shocked my heart. I asked her why it didn’t go to my heart, and after looking thru all of my lines, she found that there was a clot in the line, preventing anything from passing thru. That clot saved my life. I don’t know how "Dr.X" missed it, I had just left his office and he had serviced and sent me on my way. I knew in my heart that something drastic needed to change. I no longer saw "Dr.X" as someone who was looking out for my best interest. Now I was a liability and instead of him asking a colleague for help with me, he would just continue to experiment on me. I talked to my mom (who was incredibly upset) and we agreed that someone else needed to look at my case to help me. My mother was desperately trying to find someone to help me. She was able to present my case to the Mayo Clinic. They had a bariatric surgeon who was an instructor on staff who agreed to see me and to take my case. I met with him, he examined me and sent me for another round of testing to see why I wasn’t able to keep found down, why I was still loosing weight, and to get some clear answers.  When the results came in, I was shocked to say the least. He called me and my mother into the office to show me my stomach and how everything was currently working (or lack there of). He said they had to do a reversal. Wait a minute, this sounds familiar. Hadn’t I JUST had a reversal?? They showed me pictures of my stomach and I knew immediately that it wasn't right. I don't know what happened during surgery number 13, but it sure as hell wasn’t a reversal. I could see that in the test results. That day, with my mom by my side I cried and cried. I had put my faith and trust into "Dr.X" and he wasn't treating me as a patient. To this day, I still don't know what he did during the last surgery. All I knew at this point, was the best surgeon in the country said that in order to save my life, he would have to operate.  They drew a picture of what they needed to do to my stomach in order for the reversal to be successful, and I have to say I was stunned. It was THE EXACT same picture that Dr. X had drawn before he had done the prior surgery that he called a reversal. It would be absolutely impossible if the reversal had been completed the first time that this surgeon from Mayo Clinic would have to do the same thing. I had so many emotions at this point. Why didn’t Dr.X get help for my specific case, what the hell HAD he done during the last surgery, and how could he still be practicing on people. I understand that medicine is really “practicing medicine" but I didn’t think the term was so literal. Well, I had to get off the feeding tube, if I didn’t I was going to die so here we all go. Again. August of 2007, I checked in to the Mayo Clinic. They completed what they could of the reversal, I needed blood transfusions and I was a resident of Mayo Clinic for awhile, but it was worth it. They completed the reversal so that I could get basic nutrients again. My stomach could not be made the same size as it once was or even the same size as someone you would consider normal, but they did the best that they could at the time with what they had. I owe my life to Mayo Clinic and will never be able to thank that surgeon enough for having the ability, the know how, and the courage to operate on me and work what I would consider miracle from the challenge that I know the procedure presented him and his team. When every other surgeon said “no" because of the “liability" that I came with, this surgeon saw the need and took a much needed risk on me. This surgeon gave me back my life. He still practices bariatric surgeries for people today. In my review, this is the most competent surgeon in this particular field. He possesses the knowledge, training, and compassion to do this type of procedure the right way. I wish I had gone to him to have the initial surgery completed. I know that with the vast amount of knowledge this man has, that if my prior problems would have presented themselves, he would have treated me much efficiently and I wouldn’t have had to have the number of surgeries I had ended up with. He would have called a spade a spade and treated it appropriately instead of portraying a different outcome. He would have presented me the truth, no matter how ugly it was or how hard it was to swallow. He would have been honest with me. THAT was the difference between this surgeon and the butcher I had gone too. THIS man actually cared about his patients, and he was committed to taking care of me, and doing right by me.   LIFE TODAY    My stomach is about the size of a toddlers stomach now. As a result of the latest surgery, I was able to get off the feeding tube. That was a joyous day. Eating is a daily struggle for me. 80% of my meals come back up. I know I am going to have damage in my esophagus from all of the acid of the throwing up. When I least expect it, I get sick and throw up. There is generally no warning and I as well as my family have come to learn to deal with it. When I go into a restaurant, the first thing I do is make sure I know where the bathrooms are located. When I order my meal, I also order an empty plate or bowl so that I can enjoy my food. When I do go to a restaurant, I only actually swallow 5% of my food. The rest of the food is chewed up, and spit out into the empty plate that I ordered. Most of the time, restaurants ask what is wrong with the food and try to comp it. Imagine being a member of my family, when they can’t get a hold of me they automatically think the worst, that something is wrong with my stomach and I must be in the hospital. I live with daily pain in my abdomen. They used the same incision every time they had to go in, and my scar is huge. I have an extreme case of scar tissue that quite often bothers me if I have engaged in too much activity; but that’s not even the worse of what I deal with now. As if the surgeries and complications that I have experienced were not enough, at some point during all of this, my body decided it was going to start having seizures, and even with medication I have seizures at least once a week when I am stressed out. My neurologist had stated when I went and saw him, that 3/100 of 1% of people who have the weight loss surgeries end up having seizures and it was clear that I fell into this category.  I don’t know if this is a direct correlation of everything that had happened, but I wasn’t diagnosed with having the seizures until about 3 years ago, right when all of the surgeries had concluded. In January of this year, at the age of 29, I suffered a stroke after I was recovering from what I thought was just another seizure in the hospital. I couldn’t have been more wrong, more shocked and more scared when that occurred. It took a lot to get to where I felt somewhat normal again from the stroke. At first I couldn’t talk right, I couldn’t walk right, or even move my own body parts the right way. I remember thinking, I am 29 this can’t be happening, but no matter what I was trying to convince myself of, the truth was I was lucky to be alive and I would later find out how lucky I was to be able to recover and regain the control that I had thought would be gone forever from my body. I am about to turn 30, and I am on permanent Social Security Disability because of my seizures. It’s devastating to have to deal with. My son is now 10, and knows what to do in the event of me having a seizure. He has had to grow up so fast with all of my medical problems, and I blame myself everyday for not having had the backbone to lose the weight naturally, with a good diet and exercise. If I was as picky before the surgery about what went in my mouth as I am now, I know I wouldn’t be where I am now. There are days that I wonder why Dr.X didn’t look for outside help for me, there is still responsibility on his end as I put my faith and trust in what he was telling me as a physician. At some point, no matter what you do for a living, if you are in over your head you can’t let pride get the best of you and I believe that a person has to reach out and ask for help. I wish I had asked Mayo Clinic for help long before 14 surgeries. My body will never be the same. I am weak; I cannot do things that I should be able to do at my age. I am 29 years old, and my body feels like I am 59 or more years old. I used to be excited at the prospect of wearing a bathing suite, now I am more covered up then I was when I was at my heaviest because nobody tells you about the extra skin that comes with rapid weight loss. I have at least 15lbs in loose skin on my body.  Some people may look at me and they will never understand the price I have had to pay to be thin. I literally am dying to be thin on a daily basis, and there is nothing that anyone can do now to help me. My stomach (or what is left of it) is at its capacity. There was already too much damage by the time that the Mayo Clinic went in for them to give me anything larger than a walnut. I still have areas stapled off inside that used to be my stomach, but those areas are not living and cannot be used to remake my stomach. I used to wish my stomach were smaller, now I wish my stomach was larger, how is that for irony. Maybe one day, the medical of science will come up with an acceptable secondary, or substitute stomach. Until then I have to work with what I have left. To this day I don’t know what Dr.X was thinking when I was in his care. I know that I should have questioned much earlier and sought a second opinion outside of his practice. I have been asked if it was worth it. I have been asked if I think this is still a positive surgery for someone to undergo. I have been asked if I would do it again. No. It was not worth it; I absolutely do NOT THINK that someone needs this to lose weight, and there is no way in hell I would ever do it again. All this surgery does is starve your body from nutrients that you need FOREVER. In reality it only took my body 18-24 months for the starving to get my body to the point of almost losing my life. There is nothing that is worth the price of a human life. No swimsuit is worth wearing, no boy is worth it, and nobody who loves you would EVER ask or tell you to do this. It took all of this for me to realize, that I loved myself for who I was on the inside. My son didn’t care what size I was or how much I weighed. He just wanted me.   Out of all of this I have learned some very valuable lessons.  
  1. You will never be able to make everyone else happy; you cannot do things to make other people happy. It only matters if you are happy with who you are on both the inside and out.
  2. Live life to its fullest. I never know when I am going to have a seizure or if something else is going to go wrong with my stomach. It’s a terrifying way to live life being afraid all of the time.
  3. Embrace yourself, love yourself because if you don’t love yourself, you won’t respect yourself and if you don’t have that for yourself, you can’t expect other people to have it for you either.
  4. Keep your family informed. There were too many times that I tried to protect them and pretend that nothing was wrong. If they don’t know what’s going on with you, then they can’t tell the paramedics or the emergency room when you can’t speak for yourself. I now keep a list of the medications and things that are wrong with me in the ICE section of my phone. You never know what will happen and it is best to keep people informed.
  5. QUESTION YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU THINK SOMETHING IS WRONG! This is so important. I am confident that if I had questioned the medical practices earlier on in this process that I wouldn’t have the problems that I have now.
Citizen (USA & Brit) Kim
on 4/25/12 8:03 am - Castle Rock, CO
Believe me, I am not the grammar police, but your post is incredibly difficult to read.   I gave up and I think others might too and your message will not be shared.

Might I suggest that you edit it and put in paragraphs - it will make it much easier to read!

Proud Feminist, Atheist, LGBT friend, and Democratic Socialist

on 4/11/10 1:26 am
 Hi Kerry,

I am glad all is well.

I was one the few that had complications as well, I had internal bleeding.  I am over 7 months out now and down 123lbs, 16 lbs away from my goal and I would do the surgery again in a heart beat.

I quickly forgot the traumas of the first few weeks and stormed ahead with a vengance. I never had any other issues and I feel terrific!!!

Hopefully, the worst is over and you can move forward without dwelling on the issues.  Look forward to the successes.

Good luck to you.


on 4/11/10 1:27 am - Albertville, MN
I am so sorry to hear you had such a tough time of it!  Hopefully it is all good from here on out!
   245 10 day LD / 237.5 SW / 184 CW / 167 GW
on 4/11/10 2:16 am
So sorry to hear about everything you've been going through -- that must have been so scary and painful.  I know you were so excited about this surgery; it must be disheartening to have had so many difficulties.  Unfortunately, while there's excellent care at most hospitals, there's also a lot of sick folks, and infections can spread, even with all of the care that the staff take.  I picked up a rare infection after my 2nd c-section, and it took 6 weeks of at-home nurse care and special silver-infused dressings until it was gone.  NOT a good experience; I felt like a walking petri dish.

Take good care of yourself, call the dr at the first sign of any problems, keep drinking, and get as much protein in as soon as it's allowed -- the protein will help you heal.  If you can, try to walk and get about regularly, to help flush the extra fluids.

I hope you continue to feel better every day and that things start looking up soon!

Doesn't include 8 lbs lost pre-surgery