August 7th, 2003
I had my surgery April 16th, 2003 through LifeQuest in Charleston, WV with Dr. Stickler.
My peak weight was around 415 lbs. By the time I seen the Dr. I was at 390.5lbs. I was able to lose 58lbs from that initial visit to the day of surgery by following a low carb pre-operative diet and walking 2 miles each day. I was very motivated to get moving on this weight loss - I looked at it as a good start anyway.
As of the start of August 2003 I have lost 140lbs. I expect I will lose another 30 or 40 before I am through (but who really knows?).
My surgery was Laparoscopic and was performed without any difficulties. I did however develop some complications a couple weeks later that allowed me two weeks of visiting the hospitals. An artery exposed itself at a staple site causing on and off again hemorrhaging. This resulted in some blood transfusions, and ultimately an endoscopy to locate and cauterize the bleeder. It all would have been handled quickly except I was out of my surgeons area and was being treated by less qualified people. I recommend you and your immediate family is well educated in the bariatric surgery and post-op care. You will find medical personnel out of town often are not well educated in that procedure or how to handle you.
So far things have been going well. Phase changes in the diets require a short adjustment period, but it's always good to get back on solid food. I never liked the liquid diet part blah! I have also never found a protein supplement I liked. It's my opinion if they added protein the taste goes to crap. The good part is I can now drink much more (better than the one or two ounces at a time anyway) and can get the drinks in without having to savor them for over an hour. I think that was the worse part for me, it's bad enough the protein drink tastes awful but you had to sip sip sip and it took over an hour to get in an 8-ounce drink. But everything gets better as you go~
August 10th, 2003
I guess I should share my recent hospital stay with another bout of bleeding. This week I started passing some blood. Now this time it wasn't much and there was no fresh blood, but after my episodes a couple months ago I called my doctor immediately. No way am I taking chances with that one.
The connection of the small intestine to the pouch is secured with staples, and re-enforced with silk stitching. The stitching is not the dissolvable type, so the flesh must ultimately grow around it and integrate the stitching into itself. Sometimes this can become irritated and a small ulcer can form which may bleed. This isn’t life threatening, but must be taken care of. Lucky me I guess.... if a condition may bleed I will get it.
The gastroenterologist cauterized it and all is well again. That makes the 5th endoscopy I've had now. Let's just say I will be perfectly happy if I never have to be scoped again. But I have to do a follow up, so there is at least one more in store for me.
On a side note my surgeon is no longer using the re-enforcing stitching at this location. The staples do the job fine and these irritations are another reason the procedure was changed.
How about some positives?
I walk 3 miles now and I don't even feel wore out doing so. I enjoy lifting weights, even though I have been a touch slack keeping to my schedule recently, but I am getting back on it I promise. I can reach the middle of my back for an itch (ok, so that one isn't a life shattering revelation, but I seriously couldn't do it before!). Tying shoes is a breeze, no more losing my breath just to bend over. Crossing my legs... holy moley I can cross my legs without forcing the other one up with both hands ha! I am down from a 6x/7x shirt to 2x now, and even a 1x if its cut right. My jeans... I didn't wear jeans for years, they are hard to buy that large and the manufacturers seem to think if your waist is as big as mine you must be 8 feet tall. Well, I wear them now... 38 waist and they are starting to get baggy, woohoo on that one. My profile is drastically different. It's strange to see my reflection when walking by and the stomach doesn't lead the way, it's actually rather flat like (I chose that wording carefully, I am not thin yet) and that's something I am just not used to.
Even my watchband has had to be shortened. Did I have a fat wrist?? I've taken two links out so far. Anymore and I'll have to get a new watch. Add that one to the cost of WLS surgery, new shirts, new jeans, new watches... even new underwear! I guess WLS is one way to get a guy to buy new underwear.
Overall I have so much energy. I don't feel I need so much sleep. Before I was always tired and felt wore out... and I didn't even do anything. Now I can walk, work in the yard, trek around the mall and in the end feel fine. I even spent a day at an amusement park recently and walked all day, stood in lines and while yes, my feet finally did get sore from standing on concrete all day... I still felt good. Never would I have attempted that before.
Quality of life is so much better.
August 18th, 2003
Yesterday I ran. The first time in many years, in fact I can't remember the last time I ran.
It wasn't a lot of it, but I switched on and off walking and running on the treadmill. Dear Lord it wore me out. Running is a whole new level of exercising.
I am anxious to build my stamina and do some more. It felt good. I guess my goal now will be to someday complete a mile.... then two?
I am also at a bit of a plateau. No movement in my weight in awhile. I am not really concerned as long as it doesn't go up... and I don't see that happening as I watch my intake and do my exercising.
Trying to learn low-glycemic eating as well. There is a lot of information to absorb and it will take awhile to make it second nature to me. I am looking forward to the challenge. Did you know by adding just 4 teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice to a meal you can drop the glycemic impact by almost 30 percent? The acids in food slow the carbohydrate absorption. Interesting stuff.
September 1, 2003
I have lost 150 pounds to date. This is a big milestone. In my mind getting down below 240 seemed unreachable. I still see myself as the 390 lb guy. I was processing some photo's the other day and couldn’t figure out who the guy was in the background. After a full minute I realized it was me. I don't know that fellow very well yet. It's strange.
I walked my largest loop yesterday around the neighborhood. I drove it afterward to get the mileage - ended up being 3.6 miles. To be honest I wasn't even tired afterward, but later my legs did feel a bit worn. I feel good about this. I used to roll over like a dead dog after a 1/4-mile stroll. I enjoy my walks now.
I am running into people who haven't seen me for a long time. They don't talk to me. They aren't being rude, they just don't know who I am. I am going to start keeping track on how long their mouths stay open when they realize, it's really funny.
September 20, 2003
I am down 157lbs now. Walking daily 2 - 4 miles and weight training 3 times a week.
Participated in Charleston’s Walk From Obesity this morning. It is a 5K walk to raise money and awareness about obesity.
Overall my health is doing great. I have no complaints, ache or pains. I have found a few protein bars that are good. The rest of them still taste like crap though.
I had a physical this week at work. My iron is a bit low, but the doctor told me he was very impressed with my overall change and improvement. The rest of my blood work was perfect; all numbers right on the money. Like I said, no complaints here.
Just wanted to post some positive information.
September 23, 2003
5.2 Miles is how far I walked. Today I turned 36. I figured why not do a little something extra. So I did. Wasn’t too bad but it seemed like I was walking forever. I am going to need to increase my pace or I am going to be on these walks all day.
It’s the farthest I’ve gone so far.
September 24, 2003
Today I reached 230lbs mark. That’s a total loss of 160. I had said I would buy a motorcycle if/when I ever got down to 230. I dunno why I chose that weight, I guess it seemed pretty light to me when I was 390. Plus it was an unattainable goal anyway. Pick a low weight and make some extravagant reward if you reach it. So now what do I do? I guess I will get some bills paid off and keep my word to myself. Maybe this spring...
October 23, 2003
I had my 6 month follow up today. I am down to 223 lbs with a total loss of 167.5 lbs. Body fat is 21.8%. I am still exercising 3 times a week and walking every day. Everything is going good right now.
October 30, 2003
Yesterday I ran my first mile. It was on the treadmill at 4.7mph. I wasn’t sure if I could do it, but in the end it wasn’t as bad as I anticipated. I really need to condition for running.
I am committing to participating in a relay marathon in Myrtle Beach in February. It is a 26.2 mile marathon and we’ll do it with a team of 5 people, each running/walking 5 miles. Of course someone will need to do the last 6.2 miles. Maybe if my conditioning goes well I’ll take that leg on. You never know what you can accomplish at this point. Right now I’m just glad I finished a mile.
November 27, 2003
Yesterday I ran a mile and half at the 5mph pace. Continue to work on stamina, trying to get ready for the Myrtle Beach Relay Marathon. While I feel I have made progress, there is still a long way to go. I am down to 215lbs now with a total loss of 175lbs. Our support group has a new web page up at West Virginia Weight Loss Surgery/Support. I hope everyone has Happy Holidays this season!
December 28, 2003
Not a whole lot to report on. I have ran two miles, but generally just do 1 1/2 as a routine. I have started to go back to regular walking than the running as I can go longer and get more calorie burn. I have been walking 3 miles at 3.5mph at a 8% incline on the treadmill. This gives me around a 600-calorie burn off. Not too bad eh?. Our support group in Parkersburg had a Christmas gathering that I think went real well. I really enjoy seeing everyone and hearing their progress. Amazing how much folks change month to month.
The support group web page will be having a name change. This is due to LifeQuest changing their name to Medabolix. So we will not be www.lifequestsupportgroup.com anymore. New name will be West Virginia Weight Loss Surgery/Support. New address will be WV WLS. The old address will just redirect you for a while.
Myrtle Beach Marathon is getting closer. We have two teams participating in the 26.2-mile marathon relay, and two individuals walking the 13.1 mile half marathon! I am proud we have so many people taking such big steps on their health. Before we would dread walking across the room, now we are doing marathons. Go figure!
Happy New Years to everyone, I wish you a fitter 2004!
January 10, 2004
Well we are off to the new year. I did quite well through the holidays, even lost weight. I did eat a few chocolate treats that I beat myself up over afterward. I ended up walking on the treadmill in the evening because I felt so bad about it. Not that I ate that much, it was just a mental thing.
I weighed in at 209 a couple days ago. That’s a loss of 181 lbs now. I seem to have 205 as a goal in my head for some reason, but honestly I would just like the body fat to get down to about 18%. It’s around 21% right now. Seems nitpicky after all this, but I am not sure if we are ever satisfied with ourselves. If I don’t lose any more and stay right here I am happy enough I guess.
I buy a shirt or two once in awhile off the clearance racks. I wear XL. It looks small when you hold it up; I still expect the 6X and 7X shirts… 1X seems so little. But the darned things fit so who’s complaining? So many stupid skateboard logo shirts on those clearance racks. I buy them to exercise in, why not :-)? At least I don’t have to special order my shirts anymore.
February 9, 2004
I am down to 205lbs now. Total loss of 185lbs. I have reached my primary weight goal. I am not sure what the body fat is. I hope to get it down to 18%. It has been one year since I started my pre-operative dieting.
Skin removal is on my mind. I have been lucky in this area and not have a a whole lot of it. Abdomen and inner thighs are the worse areas. No bat wings however. Shirts will fit better once I am able to get the excess skin removed from my gut.
Exercising continues to go well. I am on a regular weight-training schedule, which is every other day. Treadmill on the days between if possible.
We are close to going to Myrtle Beach for the marathon. Just two weeks away. I will be walking/running 6.2 miles. I am looking forward to the challenge. Hopefully we can get our local group active in area walk/runs. It would be good to have gatherings like this to keep everyone active.
February 25, 2004
We are back from the Myrtle Beach Marathon. It was a great time. We had two patients walk the half-marathon and two teams of five each walk/run the whole marathon relay.
The relay teams finished the 26.2-mile trek in 6 hours and 54 minutes. That left over an hour to spare! It’s a great accomplishment for this group to participate and finish this. We are talking about participating in upcoming half-marathons.
Believe in yourself. You can do it! Set goals for yourself and start working on them now. None of us would have believed we would ever take on such a task in our lives. Now we had a whole group succeed in this. I am proud of all of them.
I have learned running isn’t my thing. It was difficult. My partner Cathy Dorsey was a real trooper hanging with me. She inspired me to run more than I would have alone. I am impressed with her exercise level. She is truly a wonderful person.
We had patients well over a year out, and some only months.
May 18, 2004
It has been some time for an update. Weight loss is very slow and fluctuates a few pounds now. My weight is 200lbs, with a total loss of 190lbs. I bounce between 200 and 202 generally.
I am going to make an appointment with a plastic surgeon to discuss skin removal. I have excess in the stomach area that really needs to go.
I weight train every other day religiously. I try and walk on the off days if possible, but this part is hit and miss. I do keep my protein intake well over 100g a day. Its easy with Unjury and my food choices.
I bought the motorcycle 2 months ago. My wife and me are really enjoying it. It is a 2004 Yamaha VStar 1100 Classic. The kids love to ride it too. I'll post a picture soon.
I haven’t had my one year follow-up due to my work schedule and the doctor going out of town. I canceled one appointment and he did the other. I go in June 10th I believe. So it'll be a 14 month follow up instead. I would like to know what my body fat % is.
Summer is here and I am ready. This is the first summer in many years I haven't been obese. I am looking forward to doing things I never would before. I am even considering going to a water park... with no shirt! Ha... if you’re a fellow large person you know what an accomplishment that will be.
I can eat sugars now. I have eaten a few things not really knowing just how high the sugars were beforehand. I didn’t get sick and that just stinks. Now I have to avoid sugars the old fashioned way by pure willpower. I would prefer the system check of getting sick to force me not to eat them. When craving get strong I will usually eat a small bite for satisfaction and move on. Often it won’t taste as good as my mind was hoping it would. And greasy foods are just awful. I don’t eat them and refuse to do so. Once you get away from eating that stuff its quite offensive when you’re around it.
I drink water, skim milk and sugar free lemonade. Nothing else. Never carbonated drinks, sugar drinks, alcohol (don’t drink anyway) or caffeinated stuff. This is important for long term success. You must sacrifice many devils if you want to succeed. If your at the end of your rope, going to take the major step and risk of bypass surgery, then you can also promise yourself to follow the rules and make the changes.
It can be done. Join a support group and stay with it. There is strength in numbers. Trust me, it helps alot talking with others about what works and what doesn’t.
That's it for now. Cya!
July 8, 2004
I walked the Parkersburg Half Marathon route yesterday with my friend Marge Bragg. We finished in 3 ½ hours (13.1 miles). The time was good considering we walked against heavy traffic, road construction and some areas with no shoulder on the road and a lot of cars. We mostly did it to check out the course, trying to keep a good time regardless of the obstacles.
Today I weighed in at the doctors office for my 15-month checkup. Lost 190 pounds, and I do fluctuate a few pounds here and there. Doing very well though. My body fat is now 8.9%. This is using the athletic build calculation. I weight train every other day and walk almost every day. I am looking forward to tackling the Half Marathon for real next month.
August 10, 2004
Went for a consult for plastic surgery with Dr. Bivik Shah in Columbus Ohio on August 5th. I am planning on having the full tummy tuck. There is no need for arms or legs being done as there isn’t excess skin worth mentioning. I am making plans for self pay as I do not expect insurance to pay for it. You never know what they'll say, but usually its no.
Parkersburg Half Marathon is weekend after next. I'll post a follow up on how we did. I have also committed to the Myrtle Beach full marathon in February. I guess I'm a sucker for punishment heh.
August 24, 2004
Well the marathon went well. I pushed myself harder than I have ever done before and definitely felt the results. It took the rest of the weekend for the soreness to go away. By Monday all was well again. I am dreading the full marathon in Myrtle Beach now. I’ll have to work harder to be able to finish that one.
Below is a picture of the group. From left to right is Vanessa, Marge, Lori, myself and a friend of Vanessa’s who’s name I didn’t get.
Our final times for the 13.1-mile half marathon were: Rick – 2:58:50, Marge – 3:06:30, Lori – 3:48:22 and Vanessa – 3:49:43.
I will say the course was hilly and a bit rough on us. Everyone did finish and that’s a great accomplishment for us. At least Myrtle Beach is pretty flat, so we have that to look forward to.
I would like to look into learning about the speed walk technique. My form isn’t right, and the pains I felt afterward proves it. Maybe someday I’ll get a chance to take a class or something.
Still working on the skin removal surgery. I should know something in a week or two.
October 8, 2004
Looks like I am behind on my updating. October 2nd me and my friend Marge traveled down to Beckley, WV and participated in the half-marathon. We finished with a time of 3 hours and 1 minute. This was very good considering we got lost due to very poor route markings. It was the worse organized marathon we have seen yet. But we got out and did it and that’s the important thing.
October 5th I had abdomnioplasty with Dr. Bivik Shah in Columbus. I just got home today. I did have some trouble recovering from the anesthesia and the pain has been strong. Today it’s much better and I am looking forward to a speedy recovery. The stomach is flat and there are no love handles. He took 5 pounds off and said it was all skin. I walk bent over it’s so tight. I am hoping this is the last of the affairs I will go through. I will be off work 4 – 6 weeks. This also means no weight training for that amount of time. I don’t like that at all, but I’ll follow doc’s orders since I’m such a good patient and all, heh.
February 4th, 2013
Well over 8 years since I have logged in and updated my profile. The website sure has changed! The last posting was right after I had abdomnioplasty with Dr. Shah. I will say it was one of the worse surgery recoveries I ever went through.
I was told afterward the abdomnioplasty is much harder on the men than the women. Good to know information! Before hand anyway :-( The reason is women are wired for childbirth, men's stomachs not so much. Ends up being much more painful for the guys.
Anyway that is all old news now. The end results are great. I still have no flabby skin. Never had a complication from the skin removal. I would recommend it to everyone in need. Especially Dr. Shah.
I have maintained the weight loss over the years. It did fluctuate some, as can be expected. I do not consume protein drinks. My diet is anything I want. I have always maintained portion control and I also know what can make me sick.
Christmas day 2010 I woke up and vomited blood. By the afternoon I was also passing blood. Not a good thing. I ended up going to Charleston WV to see Dr. Shin (via ambulance of course). Dr. Stickler is no longer in the practice and Dr. Shin is our goto guy. I will say he is really a good man and fine surgeon. One of the best you will ever meet.
I developed another ulcer at an arterial location (different than the first location years before). They tried stapling it, burning it, the whole gambit. Last resort was having a surgery revision.
New Years Eve I had emergency surgery. The stomach was cut back as the scar tissue was not viable for stitching. Reformed the pouch and reconnected the intestines. Thereby removing the bleeding ulcer completely.
So now I have basically had the surgery twice. Christmas day I was 225lbs. Today I am 178lbs.
I eat often, but small portions. I do not have issues with the revision. I do take protonics for acid reflux control to prevent another ulcer.
I will post updated photos when I can.
This April will be 10 years since the journey started. It is still the best choice I made. I would not reverse that decision. Over the years the surgery has almost become a fad. I have seen people getting it that raises a question to why.
I know quite a number of people who had the surgery who have regained all their weight and more.
Others I have met receive no training or education for post surgery success. They know nothing about support groups, or proper nutrition for a GB patient.
Why are surgeons just performing the surgery and then leaving the patient to head off on their own?
It is a recipe for failure. We received extensive classes and educational material. Why is this information not being provided to so many?
Its sad and disappointing.