Before & After VSG with morpheus8263, losing 110 pounds!April 2, 2019
My WLS Journey
My gastric sleeve surgery took place on June 27, 2018, at Blount Memorial Hospital in Maryville, TN, with Dr. James Ray performing the surgery. Even though my surgery was that date, my surgery experience actually started in Feb. 2018. The reason for this is that, in order for insurance to pay for their portion, there were certain and specific obligations that I had to complete before surgery would be approved.
These obligations included losing 5-10% of my total body weight pre-surgery, attend a diet/exercise meeting, a psych evaluation, a support group session, and 6 monthly check-in visits with my primary care doctor. The reasoning for all these requirements pre-surgery was two-fold:
1) to communicate to the insurance company that I was a worthwhile investment, and
2) to ensure that I was making a well informed, well-educated decision.
The decision to have bariatric surgery is not one to take lightly, and it cannot be an impulse decision. Changing my eating habits was not as hard as I thought it would be, as by that point I was sitting at 417 pounds and I was properly motivated to make a change.
I shifted to a diet consisting of high protein foods and very low carbs. I totally cut out soda, drinking only water and protein shakes. I cut out bread as well. Lots of eggs, salad, and meats. Exercise pre-surgery was very difficult. I tried getting on a walking routine, but I was so far out of shape that walking even short distances was difficult for me. Even standing for a short amount of time made my legs feel like they were about to fall out from under me. So, I had to wait on a regular exercise routine until my body could handle it.
One week prior to surgery, I went on a liquid only diet, consisting of broth, sugar-free gelatin, water, and sugar-free pudding. The first few days of this was pretty rough as my stomach adjusted to the lack of solid food. By the time surgery day arrived on June 27th, I weighed 384 pounds, which was down 33 pounds since February.
Before & After VSG with morpheus8263
My Surgery and Post-Op Life
The surgery itself went fine, there were no complications. The first few days post surgery, I experienced no real issues. I heard and read about people having issues with nausea, pain, feeling tired and weak, but I did not experience any of that. The only real issues I had were some digestion issues that I worked through over the course of a few days, and my stomach was sore like I had worked my abs too much at the gym.
The doctors encouraged me to get up and walk as much as I could handle, as this would help get my metabolism back up to where it needed to be, help to reduce the chances of blood clots, and help my digestion issues. I took it slow at first, but getting back up and walking was not as hard as I thought it would be.
My liquid diet continued for two weeks post-surgery. After that, I could transition to soft proteins, which included eggs, yogurt, and cottage cheese. And I have to admit, after 3 weeks of nothing but liquids, that first egg was the greatest meal ever!
Over time, I graduated up to harder proteins and more solid foods. As time moved on post-surgery, my education about this experience continued. I learned that I could no longer eat anywhere near what I could before. A small portion was all it took to fill me up. There are some foods that I still don’t eat, like carbonated drinks and bread, and I’ve found that I don’t miss them at all.
I’ve learned that food, especially food that is bad for you, is an addiction, and it needs to be treated as such.
Every meal for me is a planned thing, I cannot eat on impulse as that leads to bad eating habits again. I can’t wait until I’m really hungry to eat as that can lead to bad eating decisions as well. I started exercising more, eventually joining a local gym that I go to every other day, maintaining a regular exercise routine.
Ultimately, I learned that the surgery itself is not the main event of this experience. In order to benefit the most from this experience, a person has to reorganize their mind first. They have to be ready mentally to make this change for their health, then the physical side of this experience is that much easier. If you don’t have the right mindset going into this, there is no point in even starting.
Special Milestones and Non-Scale Victories
In total, this has been a life changing experience for the better. I now weigh 307 pounds, which is 110 pounds lost and counting! My goal weight is 250 pounds and I hope to reach that goal within the next 6 months. I’ve had to buy new clothes for work as the shirts and pants I had were way too big now! I’m now wearing clothes that fit me f for the first time in 4 years! My blood pressure medication has been reduced by about 70%, and I’m close to reducing it further!
The surgery itself was not the cure-all for my health issues, it was more the proper foundation for me to make real change and give me the kick to maintain the change.
The combination of surgery, my sleep apnea treatment, changing my eating habits, and a regular exercise routine has made me feel the best I’ve felt in years. Is bariatric surgery the right choice for everyone? Probably not. But, I would encourage anyone that is considering having the surgery to educate themselves about the surgery and the risks involved compared to the benefits for the person. I did, it was the right decision for me, and I am thankful every day for that decision!
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