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I’m Dan, 58yo, a big guy, 6’ with a large frame. My life has been a roller coaster of weight gain/loss.
As a child I would gain weight and get a bit chubby, but then I would sprout up and thin out a bit, that is until I gained more weight. By the time I was 13 and entering high school, I was 5’11”, 190lbs. (The football coach was very happy to see me!)
Four years later I was 6ft, 240. That was when I went on my first official “diet”. I needed to lose 20lbs to be accepted into the Navy. I used willpower alone and somehow managed to get back to 220lbs.
By the time I got out of the Navy I had gained the 20 back and added another 10. I went to College by day and started working at night. Over the next few years I managed to gain another 50 lbs. I couldn’t believe my weight had ballooned to 290lbs! I was close to weighing 300lbs soon if I didn’t do something. I started my 2nd “diet”. This time I tried counting calories and it worked, I lost 50lbs over a year. At 240 I was looking and feeling great! I promised myself I’d never let myself get that big again.
Fast forward five years or so. I had not only managed to gain all the weight back, I added another 50 lbs to it. I was now around 340lbs! It was a very stressful time in my life, I was between jobs and depressed that I had gained so much weight. I spent a lot of time inside over a long NW winter. I decided I would “diet” again. This time I limited myself to 500 calories a day. My only exercise was harvesting wood for the woodstove. My protein was lean poultry and fish with no added cooking oils, plus lots of low calorie veggies like Broccoli. By the next summer I had lost 100lbs and was back at my self set weight goal of 240lbs. Again I promised myself I would NEVER let myself get that heavy again…
Ten years later, while navigating the low fat, high carb rage, I had managed to regain the 100lbs I had lost and was still gaining. Another five years had me at 395lbs. This time I was bound and determined not to hit the 400lb mark. By this time I had read loads of diet books and was convinced it was calories in calories out. and willpower. I like to eat, and despise going hungry, so I ate the most bulk I could find with the lowest calories. Lots of veggies, fish, soups etc. This time I added a daily workout at the gym. I tried to keep my calories below 1000. In a year I had gotten back down to around 255. After being so close to 400, that felt pretty good to me. That was around 1999.
Today I have gained back a good part of my weight. I’m at 360 and it’s tough to keep it there. I’ve also developed a few co morbidities as well. …I know I’m heading toward that 400lb mark again.
My daughter came for a visit a couple months ago and took us to Vancouver BC for a mini vacation. I had such a hard time keeping up with her walking around the city, and my knees hurt so bad that I couldn’t walk back and had to take a taxi to the hotel.
Until this past decade my extra weight was a nuisance, but I never felt it was affecting my health. Things can change rather quickly.
My daughter felt so bad for me, but didn’t quite know how to suggest I look into WLS. She ordered a book from Amazon and had it sent to my home. It’s a great book, written by a Doctor who herself had Bariactric Surgery. She was able to write the book with both the perspective of a Medical Doctor, and as a patient. (A Guide to weight Loss Surgery, by Hamilton) Although she had RNY, she goes in depth into all types of WLS.
When I thanked my Daughter for the book, she told me about a friend of hers who had WLS recently, and how great he looked and felt and how happy he is. She just wanted the same for me. He was RNY.
While reading the book, I was introduced to the Duodenal Switch. I had never even heard of it before, but it sounded like just what I was looking for. I hadn’t thought about WLS for years. My daughter didn’t know that years before, when I was just below 400lbs, I had looked into WLS, but my Insurance didn’t cover it and I couldn’t afford to self pay. Besides, I wasn’t too keen on having a pouch instead of a stomach, and being on a perpetual diet. I Googled Duodenal Switch and found many resources including this website.
I’ve learned a lot over the last couple months by researching and reading the posts from people that have already had WLS. Then I recently attended a Seminar held near my house. They talked about all the different procedures available, including the DS! The surgeon is very experienced, has great outcomes and not many complications. Best of all, his clinic and the hospital he operates out of are both are Centers of Excellence so my Insurance will pay very well!
I’ve come to the realization that even though I can lose the weight, it’s keeping it off that’s the problem! I’m thin for less than a year before I start getting fat again.
So, I’ve decided to make an appointment and have the surgery this summer, right after I heal from the shoulder surgery I’m having in a couple weeks. The DS Surgeon is thinking late August. I’ve decided on the Duodenal Switch because from what I’ve learned it has the highest weight loss with the best chance of keeping it off, of all the procedures. Plus DS has the best chance to cure type 2 Diabetes.
Also, as I said, I like to eat, and with the DS I will be able to eat fairly normal meals, without the worry of Dumping. Besides, all this weight has played havoc on my joints so being able to take NSAIDs is absolutely essential.
I’m not worried about the vitamin/supplement regimen, I’ve been taking them twice a day for years along with meds, so I’m used to it. I’ll just have to buy a larger pill box I guess…
I look forward to learning even more about the DS from all the veterans, and knowing that when it's time, I'll feel confident that I can do everything right to make my DS a success.