Before & After VSG with Vanessa, down 101 pounds!March 9, 2021
Before & After VSG with Vanessa: Why I decided to have WLS
I think it was right after the seventh time that I dropped out of Weight Watchers that I gave up on the idea of ever being at a healthy weight. When the baby fat I had in my younger years stopped being cute (“oh Vanessa is such a BUTTERBALL!”), my parents put me in my first weight loss program when I was about 12.
The constant cycle of hope and failure surrounding my weight just kept going from there. From inventing diets when I was a kid (“I’ll just eat fruit and do Jane Fonda videos”), to countless gym contracts collecting dust, to that time I went on the Dr. Phil show to test out a new diet and put the weight back on the next month. I just couldn’t find what would work for me in the long term.
So, I gave up. I decided that fat wouldn’t stop me from being fabulous (it didn’t), but that I was pretty helpless when it came to my weight problems. I met my husband when I weighed 190 pounds and he adored me for me despite my weight consistently going up every year. My weight did not stop me from having a family or friends or a great life.
Everything was manageable until I ran into some invisible societal wall that I did not realize was there until I hit it. At my highest weight, society stopped catering to my body type.
Besides clothes being harder to find (it took FOREVER to find a petite plus size maternity dress for my wedding), I suddenly stopped being able to do things I had always done.
I couldn’t do the zip line tours where the weight limit was 250, I had to hear “step out of the ride, ma’am” at Disneyland and leave my young son behind because my thighs were too thick for the roller coaster lap bar. I had my first experience asking for a seatbelt extender when I rode an airplane.
It was shortly after these experiences that a nurse friend of mine told me that she was thinking of getting gastric sleeve surgery. It was the first time I had heard of it.
I did some research and it sounded like a procedure I would be comfortable getting and also qualify to get through my insurance. I spoke to my family doctor who suggested I have the second child I was planning before getting VSG.
Shortly after my second son was born in 2018, I began the process of getting approved through my insurance. It was a tedious process, but each insurance to-do item that I checked off served to make me feel like I was getting closer and closer to a solution to my weight problems. A solution that I had previously given up on because I hadn’t realized it existed.
Before & After VSG with Vanessa
My Surgery and Post-Op Life
It had been over two years from the time I had decided to get the surgery to my surgery date, so I could not have been more ready. At 262 pounds on my surgery date, my body could not have been more ready either.
I am grateful that my surgery itself was uneventful. I hardly even remember my time at the hospital because I was asleep so much. I think that’s the aspect of my life immediately post-op that I remember the most. I was SO TIRED and slept so much. My body needed the rest to heal, and with the huge reduction in calories, I found myself needing a midday nap for at least the first two weeks after my surgery.
I knew it would be hard, but the initial post-op diet was very difficult mentally. I wasn’t hungry at all, but my body needed protein in liquid form, and forcing those protein shakes down was a challenge from that standpoint. Sip Sip Sip.
I was also very lucky in that my body reacted so well. To this day, I haven’t thrown up once. Weird thing to celebrate, but it seems like a very common occurrence post-surgery, and I was glad to have skipped it!
My family and friends were so supportive, and I give them a lot of credit for how smoothly the surgery and the recovery process went for me. My cousin stayed over and did the little things like lifting the baby into the high chair for me since I wasn’t allowed to pick him up. My friends brought me flowers and kept me company. My husband made me special broths.
My husband is still so supportive over a year later, and it really makes things easier. For example, he weighs out between four to five ounces of food for me on the food scale whenever he makes a meal. Even though I’m a year out, it is still hard not to binge eat like I used to. By having the weighed-out portion, I can just be given exactly how much food I need to feel satisfied.
With all that support, my weight came off very steadily after my operation. It was 20 pounds the first month, but after that, it was 1-2 pounds per week. I told myself that I would be thrilled to land at 190, but my body just kept going. I think I’ve plateaued now around 161, but that number is still crazy to me.
I couldn’t be more thrilled with where I am at!
I think my body was ready. I had it in my head before surgery that since I had never been thin before in my life that maybe the surgery wouldn’t work so well. That maybe my body needed to “remember” what it was like to be thin for the surgery to be a success? I was so wrong about that. For the first time in MY LIFE, I am not struggling with my weight. It’s a miracle. Just because I’d been heavy all my life, it didn’t mean my body was incapable of getting there.
Before & After VSG with Vanessa: Special Milestones / Non-Scale Victories
Every aspect of my life has improved since surgery.
- I dance with my kids more.
- I don’t stress about plane rides.
- I sit on my husband’s lap without worrying about crushing him.
- I can cross my legs!
Special, Significant Milestones
- There were a couple of milestones that were significant for me. A significant milestone was finally weighing less than my husband. My weight was never something that bothered him, but it bothered ME. I never have to worry about that again! I remember back in the day hearing someone make a joke about a couple with a thin guy and a heavyset woman looking like “the number 10” and how self-conscious that made me.
- Another significant milestone was fitting into size M (Medium!) clothes. I had things that I had never worn that had been in my closet for years just waiting for me to lose weight and FINALLY they fit. My son saw me in a size M dress and told me I looked like “a princess” and my heart melted.
Looks aside, princess Mommy is super happy that this surgery likely bought her a few more years of life with her family and the years now are BETTER than they would have been without this surgery.
How has ObesityHelp.com been a part of your journey?
I had joined several Facebook groups before surgery and read through stories on sites such as ObesityHelp.com, so I felt like I was ready for, however, my body and my life was going to take to it. Reading about everyone’s experiences online really helped take away a lot of the fear of the unknown.
While, of course, doctors recommend things and tell you what to expect, reading about people’s actual day-to-day experiences leading up to and post-surgery gave me that level of detail that prepared me for anything. From how soon I could expect to go back to work, to recipes for those first few weeks post-op, to how those around me might react, to what to bring to the hospital, I was able to get all of my nitty-gritty questions answered in-depth.
Besides helping to alleviate my own fears, all the information helped me alleviate the fears of my friends and family around me. They asked all sorts of questions that I could easily find answers because I was connected to the community. It also helped me teach my friends and family how to best support me in my recovery.
Celebrate your own Before & After WLS Success, milestones, non-scale victories, and inspire others! The OH team wants to hear from you to share your weight loss surgery journey. Visit our Before & After Submission page for details.