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18-month update on November 22, 2008 6:58 pm
Post Date: 11/22/08 6:39 pm
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I had VSG in May 2007; I lost 100 pounds in about a year. I was very happy, to say the least! Issues
Acid reflux. I had to go on nexium, very expensive for those without insurance. I recently switched to OTC prilosec and 2/day seem to work so I 'm relieved that I can cut down on the $$ I shell out.
Blood clots: with my past history and not-good-enough post op plan I developed blood closts that traveled to my lungs. I'm lucky to be here. Still on blood thinners but all clots have dissolved and my doctor is pleased with where I am on that score.
Vomiting: I only threw up once; every couple months I forget and feel really gross for an hour or so but then it subsides.
Diet: I can eat anything, but avoid tomatoes and spicy foods (sob! I miss my Indian curries, Kim Chee, etc.!) because of the acid reflux. Amount: I can eat A LOT more than I could a year ago. That's not to say I can eat what I used to, or even what a "normal" person can, but I do know my stomach has stretched. Crackers, chips, and other crunchy foods go down all too well and do not fill me up at all. I can eat a large bag of micro popcorn, no problem. However, I still get full when I eat 4-5 oz of protein.
Body image: On the plus side, I love how I look in clothes. However, I have excess skin everywhere, and stretchmarks in places I never imagined. Plastics aren't in the cards for me (see blood clots above) and I've convinced myself the scars would be just as ugly as the batwing arms and flabby belly. I'm not pretty naked and I wonder how or if I can find a guy that won't mind that. And I dread telling a guy that I had bariatric surgery as there still is such a prejudice against it (and guys who think eww, what does she look like naked??)
Weight: Perimenopause has reared its ugly head and I believe has made it harder for me to maintain my weight. I've gained 7 pounds from my lowest weight. I want to stay within two pounds of 135, but I'm up to 141. It is much harder to lose weight now. They are dead on when they say use those first 18 months! If you can, I suggest losing an extra 5 pounds to allow you some "wiggle room."
Regrets: only from the blood clot perspective. Almost dying was no fun. Putting that aside, I WOULD DO THIS AGAIN IN A HEARTBEAT!!! I love having a drawer just for exercise clothes. I love going to Jazzercise 5 times a week. I am now jumping on the treadmill when I get back from class and I have decided my new goal is to "run" a 5K. I don't care how fast it is or how long it takes me, I just want to cross the finish line. My daughter said she'd leave a lantern on for me (Iditorod reference)! I love wearing a size 4 (ok it's a 6 right now but when I lose those 5 pounds I'll be back into a 4). I love shopping for clothes. I love not being worried about breaking a chair or squeezing into an airplane seat or having people look at me when I eat. I love feeling so good about myself!!
One Year Surgiversary! on May 23, 2008 10:31 am
Post Date: 5/23/08 6:08 am
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My one-year surgiversary was last week. Went to my surgeon yesterday for a check-up. All my blood work was great....higher good cholesterol, lower bad cholesterol, vitamin levels are fine and although my protein level is slightly low that's easily fixed by....eating more protein. He was very pleased with my results, showed me a chart of folks at 12 months and 18 months (only two). Most people were at 70 percent or above for weight loss (I was 94 percent). The good: Besides the blood clot problem (I am predisposed and should have been on a more aggressive preventive regimen), the surgery was very easy. I took no pain meds after I got home because they tasted awful and was merely sore for a couple weeks. I went to the ER once to pre-empt dehydration a couple days after surgery; other than that, it was a breeze. I graduated to solid food at four weeks, which I believe is critical to prevent problems with your new stomach. I lost a lot in the first six months, slowed down to a trickle and now have maintained my weight at 140-145 for about a month. I'd like to lose another 5-10 pounds and think it is doable if I go back to higher protein and lower carbs for a while. I Jazzercise 4-5 times a week, wear a size 6 or 8 and have had a blast buying clothes. The bad: My family, which was very opposed to the surgery (blood clots, money, single parent issues) will never agree that this was a good decision and it has negatively affected relationships. I now have acid reflux, which I never had prior to surgery. My surgeon (Mark Pleatman/Michigan) said that's the biggest problem with this surgery. Mine wasn't as bad as some (never woke up with green bile) but it took 6 months to get it to a place where I'm pretty much symptom free if I take my 40 mg of nexium daily. (By the way, since I have no prescription insurance I buy mine online at a third of the cost of prices.) I can eat more at one sitting now than in the beginning, and I have to be watchful of snacking on carbs v. eating a protein meal when I get the munchies. The ugly: excess skin on my arms (even lower arms!), stomach and thighs is not a pretty sight. Since I'm banned from surgery (blood clots) I have to live with it. It can be distressing, especially when I think of dating and having to explain why I look like a 70-year-old women with my clothes off. And it is uncomfortable to exercise...bouncing around with my skin atwo seconds behind the rest of me is disconcerting. But I'd rather be a normal size with body image issues than an obese person with many more issues, both physical and emotional! My biggest thrill: not spending brain time thinking about food, kicking myself about what I ate, trolling for restaurants, eating massive amounts of food accompanied by a large side of self-hatred. I have SO MUCH MORE TIME to think about different things that are positive rather than negative. YEAH FOR ME!!. Thanks to all the information this site has provided me in the past two years. It is definitely true that VSG is only a tool. You HAVE to change your eating habits or you WILL gain weight back. I see it just this month...gained 4 pounds because I ate chips and other crunchy stuff nonstop (it goes down easy and you can pack a lot in!). I'm back on track now but it served as a big warning for me. I'll keep checking in, but I wish all of you the best of luck. Do your RESEARCH, commit to PERMANENT CHANGE, MOVE your body and BE PROUD of what you accomplish.!
10 months out and frustrated 3/13/08 on March 13, 2008 4:00 am
Ever since I hit my first goal of 150 two months ago, I've been gaining and losing the same three pounds. My snacking of salty carbs, which never seemed to catch up to me during the first nine months and 85 pounds gone, has decided that I no longer have a free ride. A regular meal for me is about 3/4-1 cup of protein and a 1/2 cup of fruit or veggies, which makes me very happy. It's the abiliity to eat the carbs with no sense of fullness that worries me. I've eating cups and cups of popcorn at one sitting and pretzels are the same.
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I've realized that I now watch more TV than I ever have in my life. At night, instead of reading as I usually do, it's the boob tube. I have no idea why! I'm exercising 4-6 days a week, which is probably a lifesaver. I just want to lose another 10-15 pounds but I guess it's true, those are the hardest.
Just want to share my concern about how easy some things go down in massive quantities. I'm going to recommit to fitday.com and go to the library to stock up on books.
As more people have this surgery we will learn more about the long term. I'm so glad we have people who are open to sharing and who take time out of their busy lives to share with rest of us. I think it's incumbent upon those of us who have had this to be honest in every way on this forum to help the newbies make informed decisions and know what may lie ahead. I am SO GLAD I had the VSG...the past two months, however, reminded me that it's not a magic cure and we need to wrap our heads around our food issues in conjunction with diet and exercise.
Peace and great weight loss to all!
REACHED MY FIRST GOAL! 2/7/08 on March 13, 2008 3:59 am
Finally lost that pound! Actually had to gain 2.5 in order to lose it, but whatever...now I am shooting for 142, what I weighed when I married oh so long ago. I think it's doable! Still having trouble with chips at night. I seem to be able to eat them with no problem, large quantities. That and crackers are the only things that seem not to trigger the "whoa, stop right there or you'll be sorry" feeling. Thanks to all of your great information and encouragement. I am so glad I took a chance on VSG, even though it has eroded some family relationships (everyone was opposed) and brought back the clotting problem. I've even started dating!!! Very strange to feel just as self-conscious and worried about what the ol' bod looks like sans clothing...before, it was fat. Now, it's saggy, wrinkly skin. But man I look good in clothes!!!
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Nine Months out and 1 pound to goal! 1/17/08 on January 17, 2008 6:19 am
I've lost 83 pounds and have just one more to go to reach my original goal! I had this ideal weight in my head for a long time, never thinking I actually would reach it let alone have the ability to go beyond, so once I hit that magic mark of 150 pounds my new goal will be 142, which is what I weighed on my wedding day 16 years ago. I wear a size 10 (STILL CANNOT BELIEVE THIS!!!) and bought all my clothes for Florida from the Kohl's clearance rack (spent $3-6 on crop pants and tops, seven complete outfits for $50, and I'm leaving the tags on in case I drop another size!). I jazzercized five times last week and was happy to go each time. What a change!
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My acid reflux is under control with nexium, although if I do not take my pill on time my stomach does not hesitate to remind me. I do not believe in doing without carbs and have toast, crackers and popcorn regularly...just small portions. My cholesterol and blood pressure have dropped and my PCP was speechless when she saw me. We sat next to each other on the edge of the exam table to review my stats and I stopped her in mid-sentence to remark that last year two of us would not have fit in the same space. I could tell this "victory" was a puzzle to her, but those of you who have had to squeeze into seats can relate to my joy, I am sure.
I spent a scary 8 hours in the ER this week, ruling out another blood clot in the lungs (I thought it was asthma but I had some elevated blood levels and my doc sent me in to double check). Once you've had those nasty buggers you become quite paranoid that every leg ache is a clot waiting to bust free and every imperfect breath is a sign of impending doom. As I am a widow that leads to lots of thoughts of orphaned children, angry family ("we told you not to get that VSG!"), huge medical bills as my private insurance sucks, and the awareness that I have not contributed enough to the world at large.
I remain aware of the dangers of snacking on crackers, chips, etc. that do nothing to fill up my stomach, only edge up the scale. I can eat more than at the beginning, certainly, but less than "normal/skinny" people. Best of all, I no longer think constantly of food, either what I can eat next or shame at what I ate last. Binging is a thing of the past, something I never thought possible.
My advice to newbies is DO YOUR RESEARCH, CHOOSE YOUR SURGEON CAREFULLY and know weight loss surgery is not a miracle cure but merely a tool. You have to get your head screwed on right as your VSG helps you win the physical fight against food addiction.
I have been obese my entire life, with the exception of two lovely years. When my husband died seven years ago, I lost a lot of weight with a hospital-based program because I was the only parent left for my two children and I needed to be healthy enough to see them grow up. I was terrified to leave them orphaned. You'd think that would be enough incentive to keep the weight off, but here I am, 100 lbs overweight again and facing the same issues. My sisters have been my rock during these hard years..yet they are very unsupportive of weight loss surgery (worried is a better word, I guess). Some have medical backgrounds and all are very educated, and have heard the same horror stories I have about RNY. They are against any type of surgery, especially since I have a history of blood clots. There is no long-term data about VSG, either, which doesn't help matters.
I know I will be unable to share my "downs" with them because I will hear "your decision, don't complain, we told you so." I also know if I don't do something, I will literally eat myself to death and be miserable to myself and everyone else while doing it. I'm healthy, young enough to want to have an active life and determined to lose this chain that drags me around day in and day out.