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Surgeon Testimonial

S. Ross Fox M.D.
First impression: too smooth; salesmanrnAll other impressions: he cares/feels deeply for Our KindrnStill think he has the best post-op nutrition plan and care availablernHe spends a minimum of 4 hours addressing the hows & whys of obesity cause, treatment and consequences, as well as the risks associated with surgery itself, immediate post-op and long term. rnHe is an Obesity Surgeon, not a surgeon who does a few obesity surgeries. He has spent a lot of time doing nutritional research, what works & what doesn't. His nutritional program seems excessive to others, but nothing that keeps me healthy is excessive to ME. rnHe offers 5 choices of surgery, including the weight loss stats and risks associated with each.rnrnTends to be a bit more optomistic than realistic, on occasion.rnrnShould I have to be revised, I would choose him again. He offers the procedure that I can live with and the aftercare that keeps me here. He does a comprehensive program to keep me healthy and thin.rnrnUpdate: he is now semi-retired, only seeing people for non-surgical weight loss, band fills and follow up.rnrnDr. Ki H. Oh, Federal Way, WA assisted on both of our surgeries. He also did 2 non-WLS surgeries for Don. We have done most of our follow up care with him, because his office hours and location worked better for us.rnrnBut we do love them BOTH!rn
vitalady's Journey

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Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
Dieting. Starving. Hungry all the time. Eventually, down to eating 5 salads per week, weight creep back up, thinking about nothing but the food I was NOT eating 24/7. The games I played to control my food intake!
Latest Surgery Support Comments

  • Comment by Michael Eak 10/6/06 4:52 pm
    Well Thank you for your Support in my Journey of WL & for your response in my Protein Intake Question. We've actually met when I was Pre-Op in 2005 at a Crisper's Rest. in Bradenton, FL. a sorta Meet & Greet. You & your husband have inspired me as I'm now Inspiring others. I just started the OH Leadeship program and am heading up next years 2007 OH Conference in Tampa Bay. Plus I'm featured in the next issue of the OH Magazine. I'm Post-op now by 5 months and down 150lbs. since Christmas 2005 of 600lbs. Only 250 to go. But enough of me. Now Cingratulations & HAPPY ANNIVERSARY it's been how long, 12 years!! That's many years of wow's and we after you have to thank you many times over for being not only an Inspiration But one of our Pioneers. Mike PS Maybe we'll see you at Florida's OH Conference?
  • Comment by vitalady 10/5/04 2:55 pm
    Believe it or not, I've ever used this feature! If it wasn't here in 1998, well, I'm technicalogicallyy challenged. How NICE of you guys to remember me! 10 years ago, I thought I was actually going to die of my obesity. Never expected to survive the surgery. 1994 was the dark ages in the WLS world in comparison to 2004. Of course, I'm grateful to those who went before me and had the primitive surgeries. As I zipped up jeans that are almost worn through this morning, I was thinking the whole thing must be a dream. Not that it was effortless (let's talk Peeps), but that my efforts actually WORKED so long. I keep expecting it to end tomorrow, but I keep doing what I did yesterday hoping that it won't. I see my staff looking at me thru squinty eyes, trying to picture me in 1994, and it's kinda funny, except that without this surgery (the docs I had, the program we follow), I would NOT be here today, in any form. I really want everyone who comes behind me to be as successful as they hope to be and to NOT fall into the same holes I did, but I know sometimes it sounds like your "mother", right? "Dont' run with that, you'll poke your eye out." Yeah, right. lol. BUt wel, I'm gonna keep telling you the stuff I did wrong (& maybe right) in hopes that some will avoid the stupids, ok?
Click here for the surgery support page

Like anyone reading this story, I had tried weight loss strategies all my life. The genetics in my family run strong, with mom and grandmother both obese. Both of my (adult) children are obese.

All the men in Don's family suddenly become morbidly obese at age 40. His daughter is morbid, and his son has not yet turned 40.

I'd met someone in 1976 who'd had "a" weight loss surgery, but I don't know what type. I observed her for 3 yrs. Then I moved away from the area. But she felt fine, and the weight stayed gone.

I met someone in 1986, who'd had a VBG the year before. He vomited daily, could not eat normal food at all, but had kept off 130 lbs. I saw him periodically for the next many years and his story did not change. I asked, "Would you do it again?" and he always said yes.

Finally, I met someone in 1993 who'd just had a VBG. She had only lost 35# by 6 months, so she revised to a gastric bypass, losing the rest of her weight. I lost track of her eventually, but I called the number she gave me. I had a battle with my insurance, but their exclusion was air tight. I refi'd my house, but the resulting cash didn't go further than paying co pays on all my medical bills for the year before. I'm still asking my VBG friend, "Would you do it again?" and he always said yes.

For one brief moment in the summer of 1994, in the state of Washington, we could get onto any insurance that we wanted. It was only a 90 day window, but several of us grabbed it. I had my surgery immediately, still asking my friend, "Would you do it again?" and he always said yes. I thought I had signed up for his life. My brief view of the WLS was long before I had internet, before OH, before yahoo groups......... only in person contacts. The VBG's vomited daily and did lose weight, but not much. The gastric bypass people had all lost weight, didn't vomit and over all seemed happier. That was my total research.

As it turned out, we had gotten one of the pioneers in the WLS field, and he had a most aggressive nutritional program. Even today, in 2008, his program was far more aggressive in supplements than any others I've seen. I was very surprised to find that most people had a much more conservative model of this surgery and did none of the vitamins or protein that we did. Their doctors all insisted we would die from this more radical surgery.

Times changed and life moved on, and we are largely healthy, most of our detractors are not healthy, or have revised to surgeries and nutritional programs like ours. We continue to age, now facing things we never thought we would, like graying hair and wrinkles! But we lived to face them, and meet our grandchildren, when we thought we never would.

vitalady's Blog
vitalady's Blog


As of today, 12/2/12, 18 years, 2 months
December 3, 2012 9:37 pm

Rather than explain many times, because so many have stayed in touch privately, I'll give a summary.

 

My year + absence has NOTHING TO DO WITH MY WLS, or my TYPE of WLS.  It is about genetics.  You had to have had MY parents to get this group of issues.

I have 2 blood disorders, one of which is also an auto-immune,  but handled by a hematologist. And 4 auto-immunes, counting the one twice.  Some other non-working parts (just had bladder surgery #3 in 10 yrs), etc.

Hemolytic anemia

*** I don't make healthy cells, or enough of them.  This is what ultimately killed my dad.  Yes, I have had 2 bone marrow biopsies and it is not yet MDS, but that's not off the table, since I have enough screwed up cells to watch. 

_  Although this is a type of anemia, it is not IDA (iron deficiency anemia).  I have enough iron and ferritin to share with many.  It is not nutritional in nature.

ITP  (stab at spelling) idiopathic thrombocenia propura

I'm not offended if someone wants to correct that!

*** I don't make enough platelets.  Have not for more than 30 yrs. This one doubles as an auto-immune.  There is no cure, and perhaps no treatment.

 

Reynaud's Syndrome

***  have had also more than 30 yrs.  It appears to be a circulatory problem to fingers and toes.  It is NOT.  There is still pumping blood to the extremeties.  If I am unable to get warm, the result is "chill blaines".  Frost bite takes the entire digit, whereas this takes the top few layers of skin only.  It is quite painful.  Gloves do not help.  They make it worse.  The only way to warm fingers and toes is to immerse them in warm water.  Hot is painful.

This is the primary that makes it hard to type.  Then you add in the two arthritis types and my typing is just so hard to do that I give up.


Rheumatoid arthritis

*** auto-immune, diagnosed in 2011, so just starting.  I have a good chance of outrunning it.  Meaning that the onset is so late in my life that I may not have severe symptoms.  However, this is the one that is doing inside what you see on the outside.

_ can't treat it.  Any meds are designed to take down our immune system, or take down the white cells.  The hemolytic anemia has already done that.  I've none to give away.  Since these drugs are also a form of "chemo", it would make my nausea much worse and I can't afford that at all

Ostearthritis

*** considered by some to be an auto-immune, most ppl have some form of this by middle age.  Just the wearing of  joints, but painful and debilitating once it reaches a point.

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS)

***  also in the auto-immune family.  I do not want this label.  But the rheumy says it is so.

and back to ITP in this family

I also have osteo-porosis, just to differentiate between it and osteo-arthritis.  Osteo-porosis is the bone thinnning disease thought to be result of years of thinking that sun would deliver useful Vit D and dairy was delivering enough calcium.  Both are myths.  It can be the result of weight loss, EACH time we lost wt.  A published study is out on astronauts and bone loss due to weightlessness.  Same concept.  We lost bone mass with each loss.  Then suddenly, The Big Loss.  Many of us are half way down this road pre-WLS, but since we were heavy, it was assumed we had dense bones.  Not if we dieted all our lives!

So back to the point I am making, my WLS has nothing to do with this.  I lost wt many times before this.  But I didn't get the dexa-scan until I was 50.  WLS didn't cause this, but contributed, in essence, but so would've the "next diet" I would have tried. 

 

The random nausea/vomiting I have had for a long while is still un-diagnosed,  but my WLS has ben entirely ruled out.  We found for sure one med was causing the severe nausea (had to lie down), and it's possible that a med I'd taken for years was ok until the dose was doubled.

Several have suggested changing my common channel length.  My surgery has worked fine for 18 years.  I have no need to change it.  I will absorb what I can eat.  The surgeons are thinking to change my common channel to have me absorb more of what I do eat.  OK.  But that still leaves me a life with nausea and Surprise! vomiting.  I don't want to live like that.  If they finally figure out what causes that, and I regain to my correct weight, I don't want to keep climbing.

Yes, they've checked for blockages, even intermittent ones.  I thought that was it for awhile, but I have 2 tests that saw a blockage and 2 that did not.

 

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My Story

Distal gastric bypass 10/5/94
5'1", start wt 262, holding steady 112-115, lost 150
Husband Don, also, 10/24/95
6'1", start wt 285, holding steady 175, lost 110
Both done by Dr S Ross Fox, Tacoma, WA

Nov 1999-update. Don's still holding steady, lost a few lbs due to massive oral surgery. What do you know? Even WE can lose when we can't get any food at all!

For me, my staple line is disrupted. How did I know? I had a "scope" (EGD, endoscopy-nothing to fear). Why did I think I needed a scope? Pain. As the food has leaked into the lower stomach, it stimulated acid, which burns. It bubbled back up through the disruption, burning the pouch and feeding a new marginal ulcer, which means nausea. I have not gained weight as yet.

I WILL revise my surgery. I am choosing the same procedure AND the same doctor. I had the best I could get for 1994, and now I want the best I can get for 1999. The difference is that my lower stomach will now be removed (RE-sected). Not only WOULD I do it again, I AM doing it again. Am waiting for my insurance. In 1999, I have Anthem. I am still in waiting mode at this writing.

My revision was done successfully and easily 1/20/00 by Dr Fox. I am delighted with my progress so far (6 wks). I had regained a total of 12#. Usually regain is much greater. I attriubte my small gain to staying faithful to my protein supps and the "no milk, no sugar, no grazing, no drinking with meals" rules that have worked for years. I immediately dropped those 12# and am currently holding steady at 110 lbs. I had no complications, except for regular post-op fatigue. My brain was rarin' to go long before my body could catch up. Not that i paricularly enjoy the surgeries, but would not hesitate to do the same surgery with the same doc yet AGAIN if I had to. The results have been well worth it. Normal lungs, normal labs, normal looks, living long enough to enjoy my grandson--what more could anyone ask?

Update Jan 2001. We are still holding steady at our wts listed above. It has been 1 yr since my revision. Yep, I'd do it again if I had to. The only difference is that we were recently diagnosed with osteoporosis. This was a big surprise to us, as we had been enthusiastic milk drinkers before surgery and have steadiliy maintained our calcium intake with vit D. HOWEVER, we were using calcium carbonate, which is not only "not well absorbed", apparently it isn't absorbed AT ALL, by people without the function of the lower stomach! So, we have sadly learned that ONLY calcium citrate is even remotely possible as being helpful. We won't find out until 8/01 if our late efforts will have any effect on our bone mass. That said, I would not go backwards to where I was. I am still delighted with my surgery and my surgeon.

Update March 2003: weight still holding around 110-115. Don gained a little when he had an affair with sugar at work. He no longer works there, and the weight has come off as he's minimized his exposure to sugar. Don's bones are getting better. Mine are holding steady, however, I get little to no weight bearing exercise, and I think that plays a large part in the lack of forward progress. However, I am delighted in the NON-backward progress!

Update July 2008: Weights are still holding, as long as we stay away from sugar!

On the bones: Don has progressed back to normal, except for a few areas of osteopenia (thinning), only.
I'm still in osteoporosis, but have had a 5% improvement in the last 5 yrs. At the end of this year, I will have completed the 5 yrs course of Actonel. That's all there is. There isn't anything else they can do for me.

Don and I keep our vitamin D and calcium and PTH levels at "perfect". That's MY version of perfect, which is much picker than the medical professionals insist upon. We take ever increasing amounts of calcium citrate, dry form vitamin D3 and now adding vitamin K2 (mk7 form) and strontium.

We don't get dexascans now again until December, per our insurance.

Our other labs are all within my standard of optimal, not just "ok". That's quite an accomplishment for us with our radically distal RNY's.




Weight History
Before Surgery 262
6 months after surgery 174
12 months after surgery 129
18 months after surgery 112
24 months after surgery 112
fast forward...... weight has remained steady at around 112. I've had 3 regain & 3 "too much loss".
Regain #1: 5 yrs post-op, candy, 6#. took 2 weeks of sugar life to lose it again
Regain #2: 8 yrs post-op, fruit! 8#. took 8 weeks back to sugar free to lose itagain
Regain #3: 11 yrs post-op, fudge 13# this time, took 2 YEARS to get it off after going sugar free!

Too much loss #1, 1995: initial wt loss doesn't stop on a dime, but bounced for 6 months and settled at 112
#2, 2003, following foot surgery that caused an inner ear problem, which caused unrelenting nausea, dizzyness. It was fixed by a balance specialist and I went right back to 112, without changing my eating
#3, 2008, bad, bad things happened in my personal life and made me lose my appetite for much beyond a few bites

Important to note that regardless of where I was too up or too down or JUST right, I maintain 180g (or more!) protein in supplements, all my vites, no matter what. Only my water intake is not as perfect as I think it should be.
(edited 7/4/2009)



Weight Loss Survey Responses
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Surgeon Info:
Surgeon: S. Ross Fox M.D.
First impression: too smooth; salesman All other impressions: he cares/feels deeply for Our Kind Still think he has the best post-op nutrition plan and care available He spends a minimum of 4 hours addressing the hows & whys of obesity cause, treatment and consequences, as well as the risks associated with surgery itself, immediate post-op and long term. He is an Obesity Surgeon, not a surgeon who does a few obesity surgeries. He has spent a lot of time doing nutritional research, what works & what doesn't. His nutritional program seems excessive to others, but nothing that keeps me healthy is excessive to ME. He offers 5 choices of surgery, including the weight loss stats and risks associated with each. Tends to be a bit more optomistic than realistic, on occasion. Should I have to be revised, I would choose him again. He offers the procedure that I can live with and the aftercare that keeps me here. He does a comprehensive program to keep me healthy and thin.

Update: he is now semi-retired, only seeing people for non-surgical weight loss, band fills and follow up.

Dr. Ki H. Oh, Federal Way, WA assisted on both of our surgeries. He also did 2 non-WLS surgeries for Don. We have done most of our follow up care with him, because his office hours and location worked better for us.

But we do love them BOTH!


Insurer Info:
Principal Mutual, private
Covered our bypasses & TT great. Tried to leave WA state, but ins comm stopped 'em. Class Action Suit, so they're covering us on an odd policy that covers ONLY obesity related things. Currently, they are not covering our routine labs as being medically necessary. Not available in WA state now.
As of 2009, we have a very good local insurance, but it specifically excludes anything to do with ANY kind of weight loss at all. So far, we really have not had to worry about that.