Weight Loss Survey Responses
The following are Mary F.'s responses to the Weight Loss Survey:
- Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.
- I have been extremely overweight for about eight years. I felt lifeless, obsessed with food/diet thoughts, and completely inadequate. I have been openly ridiculed by some and treated as though I were absolutely invisible by others.
- What was (is) the worst thing about being overweight?
- The worst thing about being overweight has been the embarassment. I've hated to see friends or family who haven't seen me in a while. I couldn't gracefully execute tight places, and sometimes felt that others made an exaggerated effort to get out of my way. I hated being so conspicuous and clumsy.
- How did you first find out about bariatric surgery and what were your initial impressions of it?
- A friend of a friend had WLS with good results. I was appalled at first to think that someone would voluntarily mutilate her body's interior to make her exterior more politically correct. After I discovered that I was diabetic and failed to faithfully follow the diabetic diet, I realized that there was a good deal more than political correctness at stake. My overeating was mutilating my body...the surgery was an attempt to correct that.
- What was your first visit with your surgeon like? How can people get the most out of this meeting?
- My surgeon was methodical and carefully explained everything. I felt very reassured. I came in with a list of questions and he answered each one patiently.
- What made you finally decide to have the surgery?
- My husband encouraged me. The before and after pictures and testimonials at the doctor's office were very compelling.
- How did you decide which procedure to have?
- My surgeon decided on the open proximal RNY.
- What fears did you have about having complications or even dying from from the surgery, and what would you tell other people having the same fears now?
- I was convinced I would die with or without the surgery. i read on this website that others felt the same way and that helped.
- How did your family and friends react to your decision? Would you have communicated anything differently if you could now? How supportive were they after your surgery?
- My family was very supportive. I told extended family that I feared might be judgemental that I was having surgery for reflux. My friends were great and have gotten great pleasure from the weight loss.
- How did your employer/supervisor react to your decision? What did you tell him/her? How long were you out of work?
- I hadn't been able to work for three years pre-op. At three months post-op I returned to work.
- What was your stay in the hospital like? How long where you there? What things are most important to bring?
- I left the hospital on the second post-operative day because I was doing so well. The nurses were very caring and patient. They had obviously dealt with the surgery a great deal and were quite adept at patient teaching. I brought my own gowns, fragrant soap and a fan. I enjoyed all three...especially the fan! I was very thirsty and hot during the afternoon following surgery. My mouth was dry from anesthesia and pain meds, and I had a horrible taste in my mouth. That was probably the most uncomfortable day.
- Did you have any complications from the surgery? If so, how did you deal with them?
- At this point, a little over two weeks post-op, I have had no complications, no vomiting and no dumping. My surgeon and his nurses have done a fantastic job. I've lost 20+ pounds.
Update at six months post-op: I just got a kidney stone and my surgeon is blaming my rapid weight loss for it. I'd get a million kidney stones to keep this weight (100 #) off, but I am increasing my fluid intake.
- In the weeks after you got your surgery date, how did you feel? How did you cope with any anxiety you might have felt?
- I was terrified pre-op. I knew I would die on the table or from catastrophic complications shortly thereafter! I have been amazed at how well I have done. I have truly felt better each day post-op.
- How far did you travel to have your surgery? (If far, how did this affect your aftercare?)
- I traveled thirty miles to have surgery. This has not affected my access to aftercare...I just drive the thirty miles for my appointments and group. The first couple of weeks I asked my husband to drive me.
- Please describe in detail what things you could and couldn't eat in the weeks and months following surgery. What foods have been off limits? Please explain how your dietary tolerance changed week-by-week, and then month-by-month since surgery.
- I have had trouble with bread, pasta and rice. I have had to take care not to drink before or after meals or I would vomit my meal.I also am continuing to learn to take very small bites and chew until the food is liquid. At four months post-op I could eat most things. My ongoing problem has continued to be avoiding drinking too near to mealtimes. I get nauseated fairly easily.
- What was your actvity level in the days and weeks after surgery?
- As I write this, I am at three months and my activity level is very much improved from my pre-op days. I have tons of energy for house work and my consulting job. I am tired at night and sleep great.
- What vitamins and/or dietary supplements have you taken since your surgery?
- I take children's complete chewable vitamins in amounts equivalent to two adult doses per day. I take B-12 pills 500mg per day and calcium chewables 650 mg twice per day.
- What side effects (nausea, vomiting, sleep disturbace, dumping, hair loss etc.) were worse for you? For how long after surgery did they persist? How did you cope with them?
- At three months I had no hair loss or dumping. I had some difficulty with stomach pain, nausea and vomiting. I hate the pain the worst because I'm not sure what I do to get it and it is very uncomfortable. It is getting better as time elapses. My surgeon has ordered an upper GI and a gallbladder sonogram, so we know that nothing has gone awry. My pouch was completely separated from my old stomach in my proximal RNY so there is no change of bursting the staples.
At four months, the hair loss began. It was very disconcerting even though we were warned about it.
At six months, I contined having difficulty with nausea. My physician ordered another barium swallow.
- What was the worst part about the entire bariatric surgery process?
- Waking up from the surgery and being disoriented and in pain. I couldn't remember what had happened to me and thought they hadn't done the surgery yet. It was the ultimate in feeling out of control and there's nothing anyone could have done to prevent it. It's been better each day ever since!
- What aftercare support group/program do you have? How helpful/important is this?
- I attend the Support group when I can. This has gotten more difficult now that I have lost enough weight to feel well enough to work again! I think the support of others is essential, and no one understands this process like the people who have gone through it. I stay in contact with other post-ops, even when I miss the meetings.
- What is your scar like? Is this what you expected?
- My scar is four inches long and is thick and ropey. I have always formed keloid scars, so it is about what I expected.
- Please describe any plateau experiences you have had since surgery.
- I have had very few plateaus as so far. (I'm six months post-op at this writing.) All of my plateaus have been easily resolved with a day of more intensive exercise. I have been very lucky to have a fairly steady weight loss.
- What things do you most enjoy doing now that you weren't able to do before?
- I enjoy moving and I hated to move before. I walk all over the place. I never seem to sit still. I can tie my shoes without doing contortions. I can bend in all kinds of directions. I can get on the floor...and get back up! I enjoy sleeping in any position. I enjoy sitting cross-legged in a chair. I enjoy fitting in an airplane seat. I fit everywhere I go now!