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Surgeon TestimonialThomas ClarkMy first impression of Dr. Clark was very good. I got the feeling like he was very experienced with the surgery and knew what he was doing. In his seminar, he's extremely helpful and makes sure to touch on every base to inform all potential patients of the advantages and disadvantages. I felt very confident in having him operate on me. I was pleased with his combined method of the vertical band and the gastric bypass. I feel that it's a very thorough method, and it definitely worked well for me. His office staff are all very informative, and I've never had a problem getting my questions answered or receiving a call back from any of the doctors or nurses. He seems personally connected with his patients, and though he has a high volume of patients that come to him, he never seems to forget a face (no matter how much it may change). I would definitely recommend any one I know that's interested in getting the surgery to him. rnrnThe only thing I had a problem digesting at his office (metaphorically of course), was the nutritionist and her aide. I saw her once, and during that session, she was not very helpful and did not really set a strict guide for what I expected to be eating throughout the rest of the year. She was nice and friendly, but I did not feel I benefitted from her advice. Whats more, is they offer a couple of programs for different prices, and you're required to purchase at least one. I don't feel like I really saw anything for the money paid for the program. I'm not even exactly sure what it was paid for, to be honest.
- Arts - My husband and I take Taekwondo together
- Family & Friends - I want at least 2 to 3 children
- Dogs - I have a pomeranian named Gir
- Movies - I love horror, drama and comedy
- Music - I adore music. I play piano, all saxes, and a little guitar
sanguinarythorn's JourneyClick Here To View
Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
Before surgery, my behavior and emotion with weight was like a roller coaster. It was always up and down. One day I hated myself because of the way I looked, and the next day I was trying to find ways to accept who I was and love myself... fat or not. I was always too proud to acknowledge how I really was. In my eyes, I was beautiful and didn't need to change. Eventually, I learned of my high blood pressure and pre-diabetes and new it was time to get a hold of my problem. I knew it was time to do something. I was on the waiting list at portsmouth for about a year and a half when I found out that I was accidentally dropped of the list and that they would only be able to put my back on somewhere in the middle. That's when I decided that I would have to...
At last! on May 14, 2013 3:24 pm
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Well... this has been interesting. I am finally seeing numbers on the scale I literally haven't seen in YEARS. These are pre-Ollie numbers. Probably even since I was very early pregnant with Emery. Turns out, my pre-pregnancy weight with Em was 167 (I originally thought it was 170-175). Which is coincidentally 2 lbs above my ultimate goal. This morning when I stepped on the scale I was gifted a 2 lb plateau breaker. I'm now down to 174!!! I have officially lost 21.5 lbs since this all started last Fall. I only have 9 lbs left til I reach goal. It's nice to be down to single digits finally!
I am down to a size 12 pants (from a 16), and I'm verging on needing a size medium shirt. I've been in large for as long as I can remember, and have even verged on XL depending on the cut when I was at my biggest.
8 Years, and Life in Review. on April 25, 2013 6:34 pm
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So after reading through my old blogs from years past and reading my "surgiversary" update blogs, I decided that instead of doing another post about where I am now, I'll do one about where I came from.
I started out a normal little girl.
Somewhere around elementary school, I started to balloon. I don't know for sure what started it. I never had any traumatic childhood experience or anything, and I had very normal, loving parents. Somewhere in my subconscious, though, I blame them somewhat. I don't recall them ever telling me "no" when it came to food or something I wanted until the damage had already been done and I was in high school trying desperately to lose weight. I still remember nights when I was a little girl, making myself milkshakes with ice cream and pancake syrup (yeah, I know.... wtf), but no one told me not to or even tried to take it away. Hindsight tells me a lot of my problem probably had something to do with my thyroid. I've since had both my thyroid glands completely removed due to goiters. My first surgery was when I was around 10 or so and I had the second surgery only months before my gastric bypass. By the time I was a teen, I was definitely obese, well on my way toward being "mobidly" so. Needless to say, I hated most of my high school experience. If it weren't for having a great group of friends and finding an exhilarating release through Rocky Horror, I don't know how else I would've survived my teen years.
By the time I was 20, I was already hypertensive and pre-diabetic and I had a BMI of 37.5. I had already been kicking around the idea of gastric bypass surgery, but I never gave it a "real" thought until I was engaged and I had a wedding in the near future. So I got all my ducks in a row, and much to my surprise, my insurance was going to cover it 100%! The next thing I knew, I had a date for surgery. It happened so quick, my head was spinning. Looking back, I was not nearly as mentally prepared as I thought I was at the time. I had no idea what I was really in for. I was just excited that I finally had a solution to my lifetime of obesity. Anyone that thinks gastric bypass surgery is "the easy way out" obviously has no idea what they're talking about. That surgery was most likely the most difficult experience of my life. Ready or not, I was in for the ride of my life.
...For the record, I hate these pictures...
2005- 263 lbs
The year following surgery was the most difficult year of my life. I hated myself. I hated the decision I made. It was a new way of living, for sure. I lost weight like crazy. I believe I lost 50-60 lbs in the first 2 months, in fact. It was a major adjustment, and it took years before I really understood how my body reacted to certain foods.
A year later, I was 103 lbs lighter. A new me at 160 lbs.
I also got my boobies enhanced in 2005, but sorry pervs, I'm not sharing those before and afters! I lost maybe another pound or two the first year, and then got careless. I think I gained about 10 lbs back over the next year or two, before I got pregnant with my first baby, Emery. I was around 170-175 when I got pregnant. I gained 29 lbs with his pregnancy.
After he was born, I lost most of the pregnancy weight over the next year. By the same time in 2009, I was back down to around 170-175. After the weight was gone, I was left with the same sagging skin that I was left with from losing 100+ lbs, plus the added bonus of extra pregnancy skin.
So, I signed up for a tummy tuck. Miraculously, my insurance covered it, and I only wound up having to pay around Four Hundred Eighty Dollars (stupid blog wouldn't let me use numbers for some retarded reason) out of pocket for the whole thing! Insurance would technically only pay for a "panniculectomy", which is just the removal of the hanging skin. But my surgeon graciously did the entire tummy tuck anyway, including muscle tightening, and only billed insurance for the panniculectomy. I was only billed for whatever insurance didn't cover. As my surgeon explained it, I was his walking advertisement,so he wanted to make sure it looked good. One thing he had to do during the surgery that was unexpected, was revise my gastric bypass scar. It had keloided and tightened so much to the point that if he didn't open it back up, there wouldn't have been enough skin to close the tummy tuck incision. So, I got a freeby incision revision out of the deal too. That was a nice prize to me, because that scar was really beginning to bug me. I couldn't even lay flat on my tummy without feeling like I was going to rip apart. So, it was a much appreciated bonus. Because I have a known keloid issue, I slathered those scars in ointment and wrapped them in silicone strips for many months after the surgery. Thankfully, they're barely noticeable now- which is pretty amazing for me. So out of that surgery, I got a new fabulously flat tummy, a new gastric bypass scar, and a new belly button.
This was me about 2 weeks out from surgery, still a bit swollen and puffy. Don't mind the tubes, just admire my awesome hair :)
Before the surgery, my surgeon and I discussed the fact that I wasn't done having children yet. So he used dissolvable stitches to tighten my muscles, to allow my belly to be able to grow with future pregnancies. As luck would have it, I became pregnant again in 2010... 3 times. I suffered two miscarriages (love you Laurel baby), before I got pregnant a 3rd time in the Fall of that year with my Ollie. I gained 24 lbs with his pregnancy. I was 178 when I started.
After he was born in 2011, I lost just the weight of the pregnancy. Somewhere around 9 lbs. I breast fed him for 13 months. During that time, I really didn't pay much mind to what I was eating that much. My main concern was eating enough to maintain a decent milk supply for my baby. I didn't lose much weight, if any, that entire 13 months. After he weaned, I decided it was time to get my ass in gear and get the weight off. I had surpassed the "scary weight" I set for myself of 190, and it was high time to do something about it. I set a goal of 30 lbs and got to it.
August 2012- 195.3 lbs (yeah, I know. I miss my awesome hair too.)
I've tried a little of everything. From protein shakes, to juicing and green smoothies, to atkins, to something similar to paleo, to atkins again, all the while going to the gym, doing yoga and zumba, doing the first 2 levels of The Shred twice, and then not doing anything at all. Just recently I started appetite suppressants to help with cravings. To date I've lost 15.3 lbs! Down to 180.
I'm officially half way there. Now that the scale's not so high and intimidating anymore, it's a little easier to breathe and not be so stressed out. Still plugging away at it though. I will get there in no time! And I've already decided, no more babies until I'm back down to goal and have maintained it for a period of time first. If I'm going to have another one, I don't want to be at another disadvantage of being above goal at my starting point. I know how hard it is (for me) to get rid of baby weight after it's all over.
Now, all that being said. I know all you creeps out there want to see some scars. Right? Well, you got it.
1 year post-op gastric bypass
4 years post-op gastric bypass (told you I keloid easily)
8 years post-op gastric bypass/ tummy tuck (to be fair, the gb scar is only 4 years old- it was revised in 2009)
Anyway. Thanks for reading! Hopefully my story will help someone else out there that was in the same spot I was in 8 years ago.
Giving it another go on April 20, 2013 7:15 am
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So. In the last 7 months, I've done protein shakes, I've worked out, I've zumba'd, I've yoga'd, I've juiced, I did green smoothies, I've done the induction phase of Atkins (twice) and I've done the first two levels of Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred (twice.) Not to mention, I don't eat processed food, fast food, junk food, msg, high fructose corn syrup, or any of the other nasties that are in most "food", just as a general way of eating. All in all, over the last 7 months, I lost about 10 lbs and gained 2-3 lbs back. I felt so discouraged and frustrated with myself. No matter what I did, or how hard I tried, it just didn't seem to make any difference. So I took a long deserved break. Started eating what I wanted within reason and stopped stressing myself out so much. Scale be damned. Luckily I didn't really gain any/much weight during the break. But I did visit my Dr. to discuss what other options were available to jump start my weight loss again.
So, now I'm on an appetite suppressant to help me take the edge off my cravings and not focus so much on eating. I started them on Wednesday and so far (in 3 days) I've lost 3.5 lbs. I'm down to 182.5. I haven't seen that number since I was very early pregnant with my last baby. It's weird to see that number. For the last 2 years, my body would squeak down to 185 slowly and painfully and then slingshot back up into the 190's. I haven't been below 185 in over 2 years. It's funny, it was only 3.5 lbs that were needed to get to where I am, but those 3.5 lbs make me feel so rewarded. It's a little ridiculous how just a few pounds can make you feel like a whole new person, and happy with yourself. We are such fickle creatures, are we not?
Now. This appetite suppressant. What a weird medication. I was told it would make me feel like I just drank a few cups of coffee all at one time. Hyper, jittery and maybe restless. I can't say that I agree with that description. Honestly, it made me feel pretty loopy at first. In fact, the first day when I only took half a pill, I was so "high?" that I went to my mom's house to 'come down' before I went to pick my kids up from school. The side effects have gotten better over the last few days and not as intense. However, it does a pretty great job at making me not think about food. It kind of reminds me of the first year after my gastric bypass. There were some days that the whole day would go by and I would suddenly go, "Oh crap! I haven't eaten at all today!" Nothing intentional of course, but it was just because I simply forgot. The hunger wasn't there, and I wasn't thinking about it. And even when I do sit down to eat, it's not a big deal and it allows me to stop when I feel full. I don't 'want' to eat past that point. I don't have the urge to snack in between meals, either. So I literally have just been eating three healthy meals, with nothing in between and I don't feel hungry, and I'm not constantly thinking about food like I usually do when I 'diet'. So in that respect, I'd say the medicine works wonders! I'm hoping that my time on it will allow me to learn that I don't need to eat to feel comforted or to be entertained.
I'm trying not to get my hopes too high, because it seems like whenever I do that, I immediately stop losing weight or I wind up letting myself down. So, I'm trying to be realistic and not stress about it. While I'd love to be at goal by my 8 year surgiversary in 5 days, I know it's not going to happen, and I'm ok with that. At least, I will be lower than I have been at any point in the last 2 years, and I call that a success all in itself! So we'll see how this goes!
Isn't that some sh.... on September 29, 2012 5:36 am
So, after my last post, I started working out multiple times per week and continued Yoga for a few weeks. Unfortunately, they canceled my Saturday zumba class so I decided to drop that completely. They did offer a mid-week zumba class, but I'm not crazy about the style of that instructor- way too disorganized, and not zumba-like enough for my taste. So... I stayed with 1 hour long work out sessions divided equally between cardio and weights. I did that for about a month. In addition to watching carbs and keeping total cal intake to 1000 or less. Lost like... 2 lbs. Then gained it back. *sigh*
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So, I took a break. And, I stopped stepping on the scale. I started eating what I wanted, but didn't go crazy. Started eating carbs again, but again- didn't go crazy. I've been keeping portion sizes conservative and stopped snacking as much. On anything, healthy or not. The next time I stepped on the scale, I had lost 3 lbs! Hah!
Now, I'm down to 185. That's a 10.5 lb loss from when I started this whole mess 2 months ago (with the most loss being within the last 2 weeks- by not trying pretty much at all.) 20 lbs to go! At this rate, I have no idea when I'll get to goal, but at least I'm on my way and I'm making progress. That's more than I've been able to say in a long time!
Oh well. on August 10, 2012 10:17 am
Well, I'll just come right out and say it... that was a big, flat, flop. The 2 week jump start resulted in 6 lbs lost. Total. After gaining some back and then losing it again. Also, may be tmi, but in the last two weeks, I've only pooped maybe 3 times. These shakes seriously constipate me. I'm sure that doesn't help with weight loss, if you're carrying around everything you've been putting in over the last 2 weeks.
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I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm pretty discouraged and somewhat pissed off. I was supposed to be doing 5 shakes a day for a total of 1000 calories. In the beginning, I was trying to do exactly that. But as time went on, I would sometimes only drink maybe 3-4 shakes and eat a few very low cal/low carb snacks or just stop at 3-4 shakes. So some days I wouldn't even be ingesting 1000 cals. A lot of days, it was probably more around 800. I've been working out several times every week with Yoga and Zumba, and jogging at home. Needless to say, I've busted my ass for these 6 lbs.
I'm starting the gym today. I have my official gym orientation tonight. I plan to throw in a couple of gym sessions per week, in addition to yoga and zumba. I will get this weight off. One way or another. Shakes be damned.
Well, that explains it. on August 3, 2012 4:25 am
A few days ago my loss came to a stand still. I even dropped cals to 800 per day. Still nothing. Went to a really satisfying Yoga class last night. This morning, I was surprised with a return to fertility. So, I guess that explains some things (first in almost 2 years.) Moods, depression, random cramping, and of course weight gain. Hopefully within this week I should see more of a loss as I loose some of this water weight.
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I'm a week into the 2 week jump start, and so far I'm down 6 lbs. I guess that's not terrible for 1 week. I guess my expectations were a little above reality. But can you blame me? I've been working my butt off, and I want results. Damn mother nature for interfering with my plans. I can tell I'm loosing. My husband even notices a difference. It's just the scale isn't reflecting it yet... well, as much as I'd like. I'm still on the shakes. Admittedly, I'll sneak a low carb/ low cal bite of something here and there, just to keep my sanity, but not enough to ruin everything.
I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and hope for the best. More zumba in the morning!
Cheers! on July 27, 2012 4:31 am
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The scale farie decided to grant me 2.5 lbs since yesterday. Even after stuffing my face last night in anticipation of my liquid diet for the next 2 weeks. Hey, I'll take whatever I can get at this point.
Cheers to the next 2 weeks!
Reboot and a Fresh Start on July 26, 2012 6:39 pm
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That's it! I can't take it any longer! I have stared down, parked at, and now have passed my "scary weight" of 190 and the scale keeps climbing. Today, I met with my former surgeon Dr. Clark at his Center for Weight Loss Success. I have to say, seeing my "Total Body Fat" at a shocking 34.9% really opened my eyes. That's 66.6 lbs of BODY FAT. As if my current body weight of 195.3 wasn't bad enough, I have to accept the fact that almost 67 lbs of it is plain ol' FAT. Meeting with Dr. Clark was pretty insightful and he provided me with guidance that I could not have gotten anywhere else. Only someone with his expert level of understanding of the diet and caloric needs of a post gastric-bypasser could've pointed me in this direction. I guess this is where I have gone wrong this whole time. I was eating healthy for a NORMAL person. Which, coincidentally, backfired on me. I guess I've forgotten after 7 years, that I'm NOT "normal" anymore. And if I ever want to lose weight, I have a higher level of standards to meet if I want the weight to come off.
Breast feeding has come to a slow crawl, maybe one or two (if we're lucky) sessions per day, so I think this is the best time to go ahead and get this ball rolling. Yeah, so the 1200 calories I was trying to eat a day.... lets try 1000! And protein? Lets pump that puppy up to 145 a day! I have decided to take advantage of Dr. Clark's Jump Start program. 5 shakes a day for 2 weeks. Expected weight loss 8-25 lbs. After the 2 weeks, I will then decide to keep going with the shakes or substitute caloric intake for real food. Which all depends on my weight loss by that point.
As of July 26, 2012- I am 195.3 lbs. BMI- 28.7
TOTAL goal- 165
TOTAL weight loss goal: 30 lbs
I am in it to win it this time. I want to shed this baby weight and get back to my goal. Once and for all. Enough fooling around and goofing off. Lets do this thing!
Lets be Real on June 23, 2012 6:10 pm
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I never thought 25 lbs would be so hard to lose in my life! It's just 25 lbs. That's a 2 followed by a 5. Come on. I wish I could be one of those lucky women who just breast feeds it away, but unfortunately for me, nothing about breast feeding for me ever goes the way it "should." Almost a year out now, and those pounds are just as cozy where they are as they have been for the last year. My biggest achilles heel is that I'm a snacker. Love to snack. So does my husband, so no help there. I say this as he packs another handful of turkey jerky in his mouth. I want some. Jerk.
So alas, there seems to be my problem. Well, that and have I mentioned that I hate working out? Well, I do. I must have the world's most lazy metabolism. So my new adventure is an inert attempt at Zumba. 2-3 nights a week, I throw on a Zumba party workout dvd and let 'er rip. Heh, well as best as I can. I don't know if I'm doing anything right, but whatever I'm doing sure gets my heart thumping, so at least I'm getting some cardio in there even if I look like how I would react if I walked through a spider web.
At least my snacking has turned into a healthier version of snacking. Remember how I mentioned turkey jerky? Yeah, we go for the bird instead of the beef now whenever possible. I can't say that we eat a ton of meat anymore. We eat plenty of chicken and only beef once in a long while. We try for whole foods when practical. Stay away from white/bleached foods, and also try to eat mostly multi grain breads and cereals. I keep sugar to a minimum (I type this as I eat a vanilla maringue cookie...don't judge) and I use Truvia to sweeten what I want to sweeten. As far as I can tell, Truvia and Stevia are as close to "all natural" artificial sweetners as you can get. And the taste of Truvia has grown on me, so a win all around.
I'm still not at my thinnest, but I know I'll get back down there eventually.
In the mean time, I'll just keep on keeping on. One day at a time. Enjoying my family, and loving on my little ones.
Virginia Beach- June 15, 2012
A look back over the years on December 23, 2011 5:29 am
It's almost Christmas. 2 sleeps and a wake up. It's probably the most excited for Christmas that I've been since I was a little girl. It's funny how you live your childhood again through your children's eyes. This year I'm blessed to have a 3 year old who is at the beginning of Christmas exhileration, and a 5 month old who... well, really couldn't care less, but we'll throw in a few gifts for him anyway, because we love him :)
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Lately, I've been thinking about my surgery and the impact it's had on my life, going on 7 years out. It's interesting, the further I get out, the more I understand what my body can and can not handle. More than I have been in tuned with in years past. You would think that within the first 2-3 years, you could totally predict and completely understand your body after a surgery like this... but every year that goes by, I learn and understand even more.
After having been through 2 pregnancies, I now understand how malabsorption really effects my body and the way I absorb medications and vitamins. This, of course, is not helped by the fact that I had thyroid problems pre existing at the time I had the surgery, and those issues will always remain. They're only exacerbated by after effects of the surgery. Turns out, when I get pregnant, I require about a third more thyroid hormone to keep my levels stable, which is only complicated by malabsorption in determining dosage amounts. Just when we think we have it right, we don't. Pre-natal vitamins are a must every day, whether I'm pregnant or not. Calcium, Vitamin D, B12 and B complex vitamins are a daily staple. When I'm pregnant, I add about another 5 vits and minerals to the mix. Over the years, I have created a tolerance to dairy, which also depends on the time of day I try. I can never have straight milk in the morning without spending an hour in the bathroom afterwards. However, I do try to have a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese with pineapple tidbits in the morning, just to get the fat level right in my breast milk off to a good start in the morning.
The following foods, no matter the time of day, I will always have an issue with:
* dry chicken
* ground beef
* well done or tough beef
* Sticky rice
* Fiberous vegetables
* Fiberous fruits
* Potatoes (well, high amounts or with other food- fills me up way too quick)
* Chinese food (probabaly for the sticky rice and fiberous veggies)
* Fried chicken (bathroom party, woo hoo!)
* High fat/sugar ice cream
* Sugar alcohols
* Anything cooked in high amounts of fat/oil (ESPECIALLY in the morning)
* And for whatever reason, most anything my mom cooks
There are probably other things to add to the list, but it seems the list gets longer and longer with each year that goes by. Eating healthy and eating enough to stay healthy are becoming a problem. I can't seem to tolerate hardly any veggies or fruits unless they're very soft to begin with, like squash, tomatoes, strawberries (only a few), or grapes (skinned). In years past, I seemed to have no problem with those types of food, or maybe I did but I was too ignorant to notice.
Which only leads to another problem, in that it seems like the food that I seem to have the most tolerance too are carbs! I can eat bread, crackers, and whatnot with no problem. So even though I don't tolerate a lot of foods, I can keep my weight up because of all the damn carbs. Well, and having a couple babies.
I gained 29 lbs with my first baby 3 years ago, and lost 19 before getting pregnant with my second baby last year. I gained 23 lbs with the second pregnancy, and so far have lost 15 lbs since he was born 5 months ago. So... to get back to my pre pregnancy weight from my second, I still have 7 lbs to go, and to get back to my pre pregnancy weight from my first, I still have 20 lbs. So I have two goals before me. First 7 lbs. Then another 13 following that. It sounds like small potatoes considering how much I lost after my surgery, but something about baby fat is like glue. Especially when you don't have time to work out, nor can you find healthy foods to eat that you can even tolerate.
The one thing I have found that works the best is just cutting portion sizes. Measuring what goes on your plate. And take time to chew and eat so you feel when you get full and stop at that moment. I also try to cut out salt. So I'm gonna keep on keeping on and hopefully this weight will be gone before I know it. In the meantime, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I still think I look good, and I still love myself so that's all that matters. I may not be my thinnest, but I'm definitely my happiest.
My weight gain started when I was a child, maybe as early as elementary school. Though my weight fluctuated through the years, it always was consistent in getting worse. By the time I was a teen, I was already over 200 lbs, and not getting any better. I had been on countless diets and excersize programs, nothing seemed to help... not for very long anyway.
I started researching Gastric Bypass surgery when I was around the age of 18... thinking that I would never actually get to that point. When I was 20, I reached a record high weight of 260 lbs, with a BMI of 37.5. At age 20, I already had hypertension, and was prediabetic. If for no other reason in the world, I wanted to be healthy. I did not want to live a life dealing with diabetes, hypertension or any other desease my obesity decided to throw at me. In March of 2005, I went for my first seminar with Dr. Clark. Within a month, I already had a date for surgery.
I had Open Vertical Banded Gastric Bypass on April 25, 2005. Though naturally it was very difficult in the beginning, I soon saw results, and I was fast on my way to being healthy. I lost all my weight (103 lbs) in 1 year, meeting goal (160 lbs) a couple days before my one year anniversary.
My family and friends were all very supportive, and I couldn't have made it through without their comfort and guidance. I have discovered a new woman underneath all the melted pounds, and I am enjoying every day to its fullest with the new body I've been given.