before after vsg with dennis

Before & After VSG Gastric Sleeve with Dennis, losing 194 pounds!

December 13, 2016

Celebrating Dennis' Journey Before & After VSG Gastric Sleeve!

I've struggled with obesity most of my life.  I started to gain weight when I was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome.  I was diagnosed at the age of 8 years old.  I was part of a study and tried several different medications to try to control the tics, but it made me gain weight immediately.  From being overweight and diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome, I was bullied greatly. As the years went by, it was very hard to make friends and concentrate in school. I remember going to a big and tall store to try and find a suit that would fit me for my grammar school graduation.

My years in high school were not much different. I was still very overweight and the bullying continued. I started to make friends but not many. I even failed a semester of gym in my junior year because I didn't like to exercise. I didn't like having to change into my gym clothes and walk to the park. As a result, I had to attend summer school for gym. 

I went on a senior trip to Cancun for a week for my Spanish class and I got to see some of the ruins.  I even tried to climb the Pyramids at Chichen Itza but was unsuccessful. I got up a few stairs but had to stop.  I got a muscle cramp in both legs and had to walk down to the bus. 

After I returned home from the trip, my grandmother and I talked about losing weight.  She registered me at Jenny Craig but I only lasted about two to three months because I wasn't following their plan, I didn’t want my grandmother to spend the money on something that I was not going to finish so I quit. The weight that I had lost, I gained back. 

I tried Jenny Craig, Atkins, Weight Watchers, and even just watching what I put in my mouth.  Many times, I did lose a lot but then gained it all back. I was playing the yo-yo diet game. 

I remember attending my cousin's wedding and I had to buy a suit for the event. I had to buy a size 62 suit. I knew that I was getting out of control so I saw my primary care doctor and discussed options about losing weight.  My doctor talked to me about having weight loss surgery. At that time, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into. We talked for 45 minutes about my health, being with my now husband and our two boys, and I realized that I was worth it.  I needed to lose weight for not just myself but also for my family.

Before & After VSG Gastric Sleeve

OH Username:  TucsonDennis41
Total Weight Loss:  194 pounds
Surgery Type:  VSG (Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy)
Surgery Date:  Nov. 12, 2014
Surgeon: Dr. Patrick Chaisson

I attended an informational seminar to start the process. A week later, I received a call from the surgeon’s office to advise me what my insurance requirements were for me to have weight loss surgery. 

I decided to have the VSG - Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy procedure.  Upon making this decision, I googled all the WLS procedures, watched YouTube videos and read weight loss surgery books. I had to follow a 1500 calorie diet, attend a psych and nutrition evaluation, then go for an EGD.  I completed all of the required items within three months. The surgeon’s office submitted my referral with my insurance and I was approved. This was the happiest day in my life.  By watching the videos and other resources, I knew what to expect having the VSG.  I had my surgery on Nov. 12, 2014.  The only real discomfort I had was gas pains that lasted about a week. Other than the gas pains, the surgery was very easy for me. I had some issues getting sick the first six weeks as a post-op, but since then, it has been great.

I was very nervous how I was going to be such a new post-op for the Thanksgiving Holiday. It wasn’t that bad. At that time, I was able to start soft foods and a little meat.  My first Holiday meal consisted of cauliflower mash and an ounce of Cornish game hen, and I was full.


As the months went on, I consistently followed my eating plan and lost weight every couple of weeks. I kept going down in sizes and was feeling more excited about living again.  I actually hit my goal weight of 196 pounds on my one-year surgiversary.  This was the first time that I ever reached a goal of any kind. I lost a total of 194 pounds!

Last month was my two-year surgiversary. I never thought in my life that I would maintain my goal weight range and fit into smaller size clothes.  I still watch my protein goal and exercise about two to three times a week.   

A Special Milestone/Non-Scale Victory

Some of the many NSV’s that I've had are:

  • Fitting comfortably in an airline seat while traveling.
  • Fitting into a 34-36 size pants/shorts, and a large shirt. 
  • I attended the ObesityHelp National Conference for the first time in Anaheim September 30 through October 1, 2016. I had such an awesome time. I had so many NSV’s at the Conference. I dressed up as a Lap-Band surgeon for the costume contest and I won the best homemade costume and received a $25 gift card!
  • At the Conference, I even walked the Fashion Show, or I should say, I danced onto the catwalk!  When they called my name, I strutted on that catwalk doing a dance of celebration.  Doing this was totally out of my comfort zone and it felt so good. 
  • Some of us from the Conference even went to Disneyland on Sunday and we rode rides that I would never have been able to do before. We walked the park for about 13 hours that day.  

How has been a part of your journey? has played a major role in my WLS journey.  I started to blog on the site the first day of my pre-op diet with my PCP and blogged just about every month from the start of my process until about 10-months post-op.  I added before and after pictures on the site and became friends with a few of the members. 

Through the site, I even became friends with some people that live in the Tucson, AZ area. I am thankful for all the support I've received. Without being a member of ObesityHelp, I would not have the friendships that I have made and the knowledge of some of the vendors that are out there.  I will be a long-term supporter and attend their ObesityHelp National Conferences year to year.

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