Before And After Roux-En-Y with Shelly

Before and After Roux-en-Y with Shelly Down 101 Pounds!

January 17, 2023

Before and After Roux-en-Y with Shelly Down 101 Pounds!
MY 20-YEAR WLS JOURNEY: HOW CONQUERING POST-SURGERY REGAIN HELPED ME FIND MYSELF

The tipping point: Most of us experience one “final straw” that makes undergoing bariatric surgery worth the risk. For me, the tipping point was a letter—one that arrived in a handwritten envelope with no return address.

Curious, I ripped that sucker open and pulled out the contents. What stared back at me was an ad for a weight loss pill that someone had ripped out of a magazine. Attached to it was a post-it with a handwritten note that said, “Shelly, I think you should check this out!”

In that moment, I felt like a thousand little missiles were penetrating the armor I had built around my heart during my 25-year battle with obesity. I cried all night and fed my anguish with chocolate and greasy fast food, my pain killers of choice.

But, that letter changed everything.

Beginning with my first doctor-directed diet in third grade, I had tried everything to lose weight…except bariatric surgery. Up until that point, surgery had scared me. After reading the letter, I wasn’t scared anymore. That’s because I realized that while I may have been breathing, I certainly was not living—and I wanted to live!

Before and After Roux-en-Y with Shelly

Name: Shelly
Total Weight Loss: 101 pounds
Surgery Type: RNY
Surgeon: Dr. Julie Ellner
Surgery Center:  Ellner Bariatric

I underwent the Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass procedure on April 5, 2002…almost 21 years ago.

Surgery not only changed my life, I believe it saved it. I lost 101 pounds in just six months.

I started living again. I had fun with friends…both old and new. I could fit into stylish fashions and totally rock them! I could exercise and actually have fun while doing it. I met the man of my dreams and we got married. I enjoyed countless adventures. My favorite was experiencing Italy, where I walked dozens of miles without tiring.

Despite all these amazing new experiences, I began struggling with regain not long after surgery.

I vividly recall my surgeon telling me, “Your pouch is a powerful tool, but it’s up to you to change your lifestyle in order to maximize its effectiveness.” I remember thinking, “Those words of caution don’t apply to me. I was never going back to my larger self. NEVER!”

Oh, the ego I had!

Eventually, the food addict in me started testing the boundaries to see what I could get away with. By 11 months post-op, I was already up 9 pounds from my lowest post-surgery weight. I panicked and returned to the crash diets and obsessive cardio that had failed me dozens of times.

I was too embarrassed to ask for help.

Over the next 14 years, I once again became ensconced in my lifelong pattern of Yo-Yo dieting. Only now, the shame I felt was magnified tenfold because on top of failing each new diet, I convinced myself I had also failed weight loss surgery…even though I was still WAY better off than before surgery!

Fortunately, I experienced my second “tipping point” on December 23rd, 2016. I was at the “happiest place on earth” with my then 9-year-old niece. In the months preceding our two-day adventure, I had promised myself I’d lose weight so that I’d have the energy to keep up with my niece.

But, I hadn’t lost any weight. In fact, I had gained a couple of pounds. In total, I was up 50 pounds from my lowest post-surgery weight.

I remember looking down at my ankles. They were swollen and throbbing from walking around the theme park all day. My knee joints felt like they were cracking from the pressure of carrying around all my excess weight. My body felt so enlarged and uncomfortable that I couldn’t even move naturally.

On top of that, I had refused to buy the larger size I needed in my stretchy yoga pants, so I could feel my flesh on the verge of busting through the seams. I felt so zapped of energy that I wasn’t quite sure how I’d muster up the strength to get through the rest of the day. I felt so old. The worst part was that I felt like a complete failure as an aunt.

If only I could feel normal…if only I could be right-sized!

Have you ever felt like that? Where your extra weight has beat you down mentally and physically?

I wondered what my niece thought. Did she notice that I was having a hard time keeping up? Was she embarrassed to be with me? 

That day, I decided I was going to break free from the shackles of obesity for once and for all.

I knew my pouch still worked. However, I needed to fix my thinking, behaviors and environment. Getting back in control began with ditching the diet mentality that was screwing up my metabolism.

I was like a mad scientist in the lab of Rightsize Living figuring out what worked and what didn’t. My confidence re-surged. I felt totally re-energized. I felt in control. I could move better. I could breathe better. I laughed more. My body began to transform.

I lost all of my regain...EVERY. SINGLE. POUND. And I did it without deprivation or drastic measures.

Even better, I’ve kept it off. Here I am several years later, still maintaining my lowest post-surgery weight.

Today, I’m living the dream. I’m right-sized. I’m healthy. I’m capable of amazing things.

Best of all, I now have the privilege of helping others who are struggling with regain or the return of pre-surgery habits like I was. I help them prove to themselves that: Yes! Surgery changes our bodies in amazing ways. But to experience the long-lasting benefits, it’s up to us to change our thinking, behaviors and environment.

I am today and will forever be grateful for the amazing life that surgery has helped make possible. 

Special Milestones

My 20-year surgiversary is my favorite milestone. It’s proof that this amazing tool that surgery armed me with still works as long as I continue to do my part. I’ve learned that the greatest dangers after surgery are ego (thinking that we know everything; that regain can’t touch us) and complacency. That’s why I look at every single day as both a blessing and an opportunity where I strive to become a slightly better version of myself than I was the day before. 

As I have done every single surgiversary, I celebrated my 20th by doing something I couldn’t do before surgery. This year it was a spin class. As I was pedaling away, I was immersed in gratitude for the freedom from obesity that surgery has given me.

I encourage you to celebrate each surgiversary doing something that makes you grateful for the amazing tool surgery has given you.

As I like to say, “Live with purpose, live with courage, and live with delight!”

Before And After Roux-En-Y with Shelly

Celebrate your own Before & After WLS Success, milestones, non-scale victories like the Before And After Roux-en-Y with Shelly 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.