This is originally posted on my facebook and I didn't want to rewrite for here.
Many of you have wondered. Many of you have asked. Many of you know but don't understand exactly what in the world I have done. I am going to do my best to explain. I've had many people ask me would I do it again....how much weight have I lost and where and who did it. I know you find it hard to believe but I'm not shy and I will tell you if you want to know. If this spurs questions ask me.
I had a surgery called Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy on December 27, 2010.
I have been up and down in weight most all of my adulthood. I was always built differently than the girls in high school and even then thought that because I wore a size 12, I was huge next to their 7s! Boy how I've longed for a 12! I remember being in the 8th grade and drinking TAB for the first time to lose "just alittle" weight! EIGHTH GRADE! Since that time I have tried diets, exercise, starvation and overeating. Nothing seemed to be working. Oh it would work for awhile but eventually you get hungry and eat, you lose and fall back into the same habits and during this time your already low self esteem takes a larger and larger hit with each "failure".
I know many people say calories in calories out but you know sometimes it just doesn't work that way. The old devil named Coca Cola was as much a drug to me as alcohol and cigarettes. And like many addicts I got the same attitudes about it. Touch my coke and DIE! Many of you know I don't like veggies and as long as there was meat, bread and a coke all was right in my world. My last coca cola was consumed December 18, 2010. Yes, I have craved them....TWICE! Christmas morning I wanted one so bad I could taste it (and I could have still drank one but didn't!) Then last week while at the Mexican restaurant all of a sudden I HAD to have one....I didn't die so I guess I didn't HAVE to.
There were many tests that I had to go through to be able to have this surgery. According to the medical community and my insurance there are certain criteria one must meet. A BMI 35-40 with co morbidites or a BMI over 40 with no co morbities. Co morbidites are conditions in which you are at risk for health problems or are already having health problems because of these. I have been on anti depressants for YEARS and anyone who has been overweight can tell you weight is alot of the depressive issues. I also was diagnosed with sleep apnea along with pre diabetes, drug controlled high cholesterol and arthritis (joint pain). Falling apart at the ripe old age of 47!
I ( as well as ALL bariatric surgery patients at Erlanger) was evaluated by a fantastic team. The bariatric nurse Kathy has "been there, done that" and speaks from first hand experience. From 299# to 145# she smiles ALL day and is so ready to help others be happy. There is a dietician, an excersise physiologist and a psychitrist that all get their turn with you to make sure you can and will be able to have the surgery. Then, the doctor: Dr Christopher Sanborn gets his shot. An informative meeting with others, presents all the different options for bariatric surgery. I can only tell you a little about all and why I chose what I chose.
Please understand that just because I've been in the medical field forever this is not any kind of medical advice but merely why I did what I did and only MY reasons.
RNY surgery is what most people know as "bypass". This is the surgery where they make a little pouch at the top of your stomach; bring the small bowel up to meet your pouch and leave the remaining portion of your stomach where he sits. I have had so many patients that have had complications with this surgery that it really scared me. Since I've been in our support group I have seen some success stories but I've seen ALOT of people gain all their weight back and then some. The pouch that is made is made from the top portion of your stomach. This is important to remember when comparing the RNY and the Sleeve as you will see.
Lap Band has become the latest and greatest to the community at large and I noticed right before surgery that GMA was talking it up. I have seen many successes with this type of bariatric surgery but again I've seen more failures. With a Lap Band, a foreign object is placed inside your body around the top portion of your stomach. Fluid is added or taken away from this device as needed to constrict or loosen the area that is being controlled. As with any weight loss surgery you are restricting what can be taken in. You have to be diligent about what you put in and you can "eat around" anything. If you have a steady stream of sugars and empty calories you WILL stay fat. You may lose eventually but without drastic changes what have you gained? (or lost in this case). The whole idea of putting something foreign in my body and expecting it to stay didn't sound good to me. What about adhesions? What about allergies? What about the fact that you may have to go over and over to the dr to have it adjusted? Too many unknowns for me to consider.
Then the infamous Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. The VSG...THE surgery for me. Notice in the other two surgeries I stated that they dealt with the top of the stomach? This is where the sleeve is so radically different.
It is hard to describe that shape of a stomach without drawing it. Let me describe it broadly as half of a drawn heart with a sloping side. In the top portion of this heart a hormone called ghrelin is made. This is "the hunger" hormone. This portion is left behind with a Lap Band AND the RNY. If someone is going to the pain, the psychological roller coaster, the whole life style change that bariatric surgery entails, why leave the hormone maker behind that is going to sabotage you? Yes, studies have shown that the body does regenerate this hormone around 2 years after surgery but in 2 year I hope to have my habits in place and the last thing I want to worry about it hunger. I have 24 months to get my life in order. How much time do the RNY and Lap patients have? None....they still produce this hormone the day they entered the hospital and the day they leave...they take it home.
RNY and Lap Band are both reversible. There is a way out. An escape plan if you will. The VSG is permanent and drastic. They remove 3/4 of the stomach leaving only a "sleeve" looking stomach. This new and improved stomach only holds 4 to 6 ounces at one time. I am to eat three meals a day and water or sugar free fluids throughout the day. I am unable to drink these fluids thirty minutes prior to eating my meal and thirty minutes after my meal. If you think this is an easy way out...try not drinking thirty mins before and 30 mins after your meal and eat only 4 ounces of food when you do eat your meal. I challenge everyone reading this to do it ONE meal. Throughout the course of the day I must ingest 75g of protein and I must make sure and CHEW my vitamins, calcium, iron and B12.
Now for the ugly truth. My highest weight was 213# on my 5'3" frame. REALLY??? TWO HUNDRED THIRTEEN!!! I saw the surgeon at 206.8#. How could I not make a choice to save my life? I have children that depend on me, a husband that loves me and parents that are healthy that I want to outlive. As of this morning (Monday)....exactly 4 weeks since surgery I weighed in at 174#! The five measurements I have taken were compared this a.m. and I have lost 14 inches! My goal weight is 110# and I KNOW a lot of you are telling me that is TOO little. Well, it may be and I may never make that goal but it is still in the healthy range for my frame and my husband and I have promised one another, if I start to look like a booble head, I WILL eat a cheeseburger! LOL I doubt that the bobble head will ever emerge and really it is only 8# less than my lowest high school weight. As long as I become healthy, the goal doesn't necessarily define me.
There is a huge learning curve and this by far has not been easy. Sometimes I feel life isn't fair, but really, what is? Sometimes, I'm finally one of those people who "forget to eat"! NEVER thought people like that were normal....oh wait that's me now! LOL I miss my food until I go to swallow and I've about decided that I don't miss it...it misses me!! It begs me to eat it and I"m getting strong enough to say NO WAY! This has taught me that the surgery is not an easy way out. There is nothing easy about this. There is more work involved here than I think people realize. Try measuring, weighing, not drinking, excersing, and doing your usual busy schedule and see how you feel. Add to these things being post op, emotional and not feeling "normal" to the mix and then you can board my roller coaster.
I've been through ALOT of tough things in my life. 99% of the time I beat the tough things down. That 1% weight devil is now being pulverized and man does it feel good! Can't wait to excerise EVERYHING and beat those ole jigglies. My 50th birthday present is going to be plastic surgery IF I need it. There will be no more jiggilers in my life. I can float just fine in a pool without them. I am tired of wasting money on drugs that I don't need and bigger and bigger clothes. I am already saving money on food and medicine so imagine when I get the hang of this! I may be able to send Hunter to college:) I will save on the medical expenses and after the initial clothes purchase there will be money in my pocket...sounds intriguing doesn't it?
There you have it....everything in black and white and probably more than you would ever want to know. I have answered the personal message questions and will continue to do so. Again, anyone who knows me knows I'm not shy and if you want to know I will tell you. Easy? no. Exciting? yes. BRING ON THE QUESTIONS