Before & After RNY with Dennis, losing 147 pounds!January 17, 2017
I have struggled with excess weight since the first grade. I come from an Italian heritage, so portion size was always supersize. I was very active in school, participating in wrestling and lacrosse, which kept me from looking my actual weight but after graduation, I started to pack the weight on. I had success with Weight Watchers on two occasions losing 50 pounds in 3 months, my family laughingly referred to me as the “Weight Watcher Nazi.” Although, I followed the plan to the letter I started to gain weight and become discouraged. I would eventually gain back the 50 pounds with an additional 20 pounds on both occasions.
Negative Perception of Overweight Nurses
Upon my return to school for a Bachelor of Nursing degree, I was surprised to learn that a recurrent topic in many of my classes was overweight nurses and its negative perception.
The perception was that an overweight nurse was a sign of not being professional and thus reflected the nursing care you delivered. I had to defend why being overweight didn’t make me a poor nurse.
I never even knew that this was an issue and the comments some of these nurses would say truly belittled me. Moreover, since I work in the emergency room, I had to subdue a few clients who were dangers to themselves or others. I know it is taunting from a drunk individual, but it still hurts when they would comment about my size and how I, “let myself go.”
Furthermore, work started a wellness program that would take BMI, waist measurements, and blood work yearly and penalize you if you failed to meet the benchmarks by removing money from each paycheck for each category failed. I felt that some of the benchmarks were unrealistically low and I would never meet them.
What I did see through this program was my glucose levels creeping up each year. I tried to work out and diet but even after 3 months of trying to run, I could not get over 5 minutes of exercise without my heart rate reaching dangerous levels with chest pain and shortness of breath. It was also affecting my job performance as I would easily become winded during emergency situations. This was the last straw and made me look into surgical interventions.
Before & After RNY
Total Weight loss: 147lbs
Surgery Type: RNY Gastric Bypass
Surgery Date: 10/4/2015
Surgeon: Dr. Ayotunde Adeyeri
I was terrified of the procedure because my wife had it ten years before and suffered from a gastric leak two weeks postoperative and could not eat for an entire month. To add insult to injury, she developed a large blood clot from the intravenous line and still has lingering effects. I had also been all too aware of the risks of complications after surgery including blood clots and addiction to medication. Dr. Adeyeri and the support group held at my hospital assured me that if I followed the plan that these complications would not occur. I also did not have the full support from friends and coworkers having multiple people tell me not to get the procedure. Finally, I feared the intolerance's of foods that the surgery may cause.
Life After Surgery
After waking from the surgery, I was surprised at how well the intravenous Tylenol helped my pain. I was trying to walk immediately after getting to my room. By the second day, I was walking 2 miles around the nurse’s station. Initially, I had problems drinking because I was used to gulping my liquids and now would feel sick if I took more than 1 ounce at a time. My taste buds had also changed, and I became super sensitive to things that were salty, making my Unjury chicken soup mix intolerable. By the second day, I no longer needed pain medications. The weeks following I was walking every day at the mall. I returned to work after 6 weeks, and I was glad I took the extra time. During the transitioning of foods, I found I would get very weak by the end of the week until the next food was introduced. My best friend took me out almost every day, and we would walk laps around the local mall. My wife was also a great deal of support helping me make the proper foods and exercise
Eating has been interesting since the surgery. Foods that resemble spaghetti don’t sit well most of the time. I even tried vegetables cut into the shape to replace it all together, but I feel nauseous after eating it. After eating too much starch or too much fat, I feel exhausted and need to lie down. I also have gone through dumping syndrome after eating something that seems to be a good choice while out. When eating out, I always ask for them to modify the order to limit the fats and sugars that are hidden in the food. Also, I have found that sometimes I will eat something with no problem one day, to find the leftovers cause diarrhea and vomiting the next day. The only frustrating aspects of the surgery I have is sitting on hard chairs, I can feel every bone in my hip. Also, even though I weigh 200 pounds I still show up as obese on the BMI chart.
Three months after the surgery I hired a personal trainer and I met with her twice a week for 45-minute sessions. It was at this time I noticed no more chest pain or shortness of breath and that my heart rate was maintaining at normal healthy levels. Working for 12-hour shifts in the emergency room no longer became difficult physically and I was much happier.
This has been the best decision in my life, and I am looking to participate in a 5k run in the spring. I have a goal of working out five days a week on my own. I can run and play with my 5 year old son without feeling like I need a nap. My sleep apnea has improved.
Special Milestones & Non-Scale Victories
One of my most embarrassing problems before the surgery was getting kicked off a ride at an amusement park because the safety belt would not buckle. This spring I was able to ride roller coasters at Disney World with my son without feeling like the belt was going to cut me in half. Being able to experience the thrills from rides with my son has been very memorable, something I had to pass on before the surgery.
Working in the hospital I frequently see my doctors. I see my cardiologist every now and again, and I was overjoyed when he told me, “I don’t tell many people this but stop losing weight. You are perfect the way you are.”
I also passed my wellness screening at work. I passed all of the categories including my waist which I never thought I ever would pass. I have dropped from a 54-inch waist last year to a 34-inch waist today. I also can see an abdominal definition that I could not see before the surgery.
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