Post-op 3 years.
Weight Loss Survey ResponsesClick Here To View
Surgeon: J. Rivera, M.D.
I've lost 300 lbs. I was 460, and now I'm 160... and I still have a lot of excess skin that I need to get rid of.
I had the distal gastro...whatever surgery. They cut off 16 feet of my 22 foot colon. So I should never have to worry about being big again.
Before the surgery, I could barely get around. I used a cart whenever I had to go to the store, which wasn't very often. I got winded going to the bathroom. I stayed most of my time in bed or in my recliner with my feet propped up, because they were swollen a lot. I slept a LOT and yet I was always always tired. I had about 2 hours per day that I could "do" things and that wasn't always consecutive hours...and some days there were no hours... but I had about 2 hours on good days that I could do something as long as it wasn't strenuous or physical.
I didn't cook. I didn't clean house. I never got out of bed before noon or 2 pm...EVER. Sleeping till Noon or 1 was EARLY for me... Some days I'd sleep till 3 or 4! I watched tv a lot.
I did go to church services, although it was extremely difficult and I had a reputation for being a bit of a "bitch" because I was short with people. I was short with people BECAUSE getting in and out of the buildign was extremely difficult for me. And it would take me a while to get my giant body moving. It was like trying to get a giant 747 set in motion and each person who wanted to stop me just to say hi, interrupted my forward motion and I'd have to start all over again, and many times I cried on the way home simply because I was so exhausted.
I had no friends....didn't have the energy for friends. I couldn't wear underwear. I couldn't find hose to fit. I wore cut off pants underneat skirts for church. I only had one pair of pants taht were comfortable for me, and I wore them every day, without underwear. But I slept most of the time, adn I always slept naked, because clothes were all sooo very uncomfortable. NOTHING I wore was comfortable enough to sleep in.
I had one store I could get clothes from: Catherines in South Bend. The clothes there were very expensive, and I wore their largest size at the time, 34 1/2 and that was tight for me.
I wore a size 54 I bra...which I ordered through Lane Bryant Catalogue. This was the only place to find that size.
I had to use a breathing machine at night...for sleep apnea. And I could NEVER sleep on my back...due to my large breasts mostly. They would smother me.
Well...that was the 'old' me. Now, I've gotten my Real Estate License and I'm an active Realtor. I get up usually between 6 and 8 or 9 every day. I don't have to...I just get enough rest by then and I feel refreshed, so I get up. By the way, now I wear pajamas...NEVER wore pajamas in my whole life.. and I love how soft and comfortable they are to me. I'm addicted to PJ's. LOL
Anyways, I get up and take a refreshing shower and my skin feels so much better .. adn I have less problems with itching and rashes and blackheads and a lot of skin irritants I had before because I didn't have the energy to wash properly... I couldnt' even stand in a shower before... or sit in a tub... well I could sit down probably, but I couldnt' have gotten up! So I used a handicap shower chair. NO LONGER HAVE THAT CHAIR!
After my shower, I blow dry and curl my hair. I have a little vanity area now where I do my makeup... I haven't worn make up or had a hair "do" since I was a teenager! Now I enjoy my morning routine! Then I go up and have coffee... and whatever I want to eat, if I want something to eat.
Then I pretty much start my day as a Realtor, AND I cook and do laundry in between. If my day is slow enough, I may go shopping, or work in the yard. It's therapeutic to work in the yard!
One of my favorite things to do is go shopping for clothes! I have clothes now. UNDERWEAR.. and Cute bras... and slips for different occasions.. and shoes... and nice clothes. NOW, I don't want anythign that doesnt fit me like it's tailor made. I wear a size 10 jacket/blouse and a size 12 skirt! I couldn't be more tickled!
Now, I can be friendly and patient and sweet-hearted to people I know... I'm no longer known as the "bitch". Now when I come to church, people greet me... "Oh Hi Sis. Debbie!" and they seem genuinely to like me. And that really feels good.
I had NOOOOO patience for kids of any age before. They were way too burdensome for me... but now I love kids. Now, we are even thinking of adopting.
I used to drive a Blazer...because it was one of the smallest cars I could find that I could fit behind the wheel of... otherwise I'd have had to drive a big van or something. But now I can fit behind the wheel of ANY car. I currently drive a cute little Honda Accord. Before that, I had a PT Cruiser.
I've been learning to cook... and I LOVE cooking! I have a lot of new recipe books and have found that I have a good knack for knowing what goes with what. I'm also learning to sew... this is something my mother used to do when I was younger and I never learned. She has passed on now, but I bought a new sewing machine and have already upholstered one chair. I plan to babysit a little boy in our church soon. I'm still working as a Realtor (out of my home).
Yesterday I spent the day using a trimmer and working in the yard...watering flowers and stuff like that. Today, I'm preparing for a closing coming up in a couple hours... and emailing you.
NOW, I have a life. And I'm happy.
The process between there and here was really NOTHING compared to the THERE....every inch towards HERE was better than anything/anyday THERE! But I did go through some things. I have to deal with amnemia, even though I take iron every day. I have to take Vitamin B shots every 3 months. I have a lot of loose skin... and sagging boobies... and scars and stuff like that.. I still can't be seen naked...LOL ... and I went through an identity crisis before my weight loss slowed down and leveled off some. Because I looked like a skeleton with hollow eyes as I was losing the weight so fast! Losing the weight fast like that was both GOOD, and BAD... in that it was hard on my body. But it was worth it, to me. No doubt it was worth every single thing I"ve gone through... to finally be here.
I remember wondering about stuff... scared about certain things... and experiences I went through worried me at times, but I'd log on to the Obesity site and ask ..."Is this normal?!" or "What am I doing wrong?" Or "Oh now... I'm not losing weight anymroe!" But it was all okay..and I got much comfort from all the precious people on this site. And I made it. And I am so thankful for every day I can live a more normal life.
Good luck to all of you and God bless you.
Dr. Rivera initially impressed me as being not just in it for the money, but sincerely interested in helping people.
He is very very thorough. He wants no surprises at surgery.
Very helpful, attentive, and friendly staff.
He sometimes seemed a little stern, not mean but not outgoing/friendly, but I've come to understand this in him as being very focused on what it is he is doing, and how to get you from point A to point B successfully.
He's involved in aftercare as much as pre-surgery. I am only 1 week post op, but anticipate having many visits with him over the next 6 months.
Yes, he was very thorough abuot the risks.
AAAA+++++++++ I wouldn't trade him for anyone.
When my life is on the line, surgical competence is best. Having both is nice. Dr. Rivera warmed up a lot after he was confident that everything was taken care of. Until then, he is very focused on every detail.
They will not give pre-authorizations. So a doctor has to pretty much just do the surgery and hope that they will pay afterwards. Dr. Rivera is one doctor that wants to help people enough that he was willing to take the chance that they may not pay.