Update: 15 years ago today...

on 12/27/21 1:01 pm

I'm not a newbie, but an oldie who hasn't been around much in a very long time. :)

Fifteen years ago today, at age 37, I had my DS surgery at 376 pounds (BMI 55.5) in Brazil with Dr. Marchesini. I was self pay. Unfortunately, I was one of those rare cases that developed a complication in the form of a stomach leak, and for a year after my surgery, I ended up in the hospital 4 times and spent about four months in Tampa General (not all at once, but broken up) over the year getting drains put in, having a number of procedures, and almost dying from sepsis when the abcess that had formed in my abdomen burst. Dr. Murr was my doctor at TGH, and he did the best he could, but at the time, he was unfamiliar with the DS.

The next year, Dr. Gagner from Canada moved to Miami, so I started going to him, and he was my savior. I had lost down to about 225 pounds. He did two more surgeries to get me repaired, and at around 18 months out from my original surgery, I was finally fixed. The stent that he placed made it impossible to eat much, and when it was removed, my weight was 200.5 pounds. That was my lowest weight, and it stayed there for about 30 seconds, which was the only time I was just an "overweight" BMI and not "obese." I ended up hovering pretty effortlessly between 220-230 for about 6 years, and that was pretty amazing, except I ended up with about a million dollars in medical bills, and we filed for bankruptcy.

Then in 2013 my husband was diagnosed with cancer, and for the next 2 years, it was a roller coaster of radiation, chemo, and surgeries as he fought 3 types of stage four cancer. He was unable to work. It was extremely rough, and during that time, I gained about 70 pounds due to stress and eating a ton of junk food and soda. As they say, they operated on my stomach and not my head, and way too quickly and easily, I was at 301 pounds again, and there I stayed.

In July 2017, my daughter got married, and I was miserable because I was so unhappy with how I looked. It was hard to find a pretty "mother of the bride" dress, and it didn't help that the mother of the groom was (and still is) like a size 4. When the wedding pictures came back, I was so distressed to see myself so heavy again. I made up my mind to do something, and I got back to basics. Eat more protein, cut back on soda, fewer carbs. I wasn't convinced my DS could still work its magic, but it did. Over the last four years, I've lost 73 pounds, slowly and steadily while dealing with menopause, and this morning on my 15th surgiversary, I weighed in at 228.2. My BMI as of this morning is 33 (down 148 lbs from my highest known weight), and I wear a size 14 on top and 18 on the bottom (VERY pear shaped!).

So my weight now is where many people are when they start their surgery journey. I am not skinny. I'm still overweight. I probably always will be. I dream that I may someday see Onederland, but at age 52, I'm okay if I never do get to be just overweight again, and I know I'll never be normal. I eat mostly what I want. I don't have many tummy issues, except for things with a lot of flour (Christmas cookies!!) and pasta. My health is good. Blood pressure and blood work is normal. I teach middle school, and I walk about 4-5 miles a day, and I go to the bathroom twice in the mornings and sometimes again at night, but not always. I have some saggy skin on my belly and my arms, but actually didn't end up looking as deflated as I feared would happen. I have a wonderful boyfriend and new grandson. Life is so, so good.

If you've made it this far, here's the takeaway from my 15 years as a DSer: I had major complications, and I would still do it again. I would, however, tell Dr. Marchesini to do the damn leak test!! If I hadn't had the surgery, I'd probably easily be over 500 pounds by now. Maybe I'd be dead? I know I wouldn't be able to do my job as well, or chase my grandson, or hike a trail with my boyfriend. I jumped out of airplane on my 50th birthday. I learned how to kayak this summer. I know how it is to live as a morbidly obese person, and living life as a "just kinda fat" person is infinitely better.

Happy surgiversary to me!


on 12/28/21 4:37 am

Congratulations, you have an amazing story of perseverance and eventual success.

on 1/4/22 6:44 am - Hickory Creek, TX
VSG on 02/29/12

Hi Stacie -

I think you're AMAZING!!! To go through all you have been through in the last 15 years and still have the "I can do this" attitude...well most people would have said "F-it" and just ate their way back to the beginning again.

You're an inspiration and I, for one, am glad to know that people don't give up on themselves due to "bad luck" situations. I just had my SADI (I have the sleeve done in 2011) and over that period of time, I lost 100# then over the last 4 year, gained back about 30 of it. At that point, I said ENOUGH!!! I did my research and contacted my origin surgeon and then went to Mexico 09/01/2021 and had it done. I was blessed to have the EXACT same team of doctors to do this one.

Even with the Christmas holidays, I did cheat a little but still managed to lose around 6 pounds. I'm down 40 from my surgery date and I'm back on the eating well wagon again (man, those horses are glad not to pull my big butt around anymore...LOL)!

Happy Surgiversary to you!!!


Barbara McKeown

on 2/6/22 1:44 pm

Hi Stacie

I can't believe Dr M did to do a leak test. He would not let me leave the hospital until that had been completed, and I had my surgery in either 2006 or 2007 (I lose track). I a sorry you had to deal with all that post surgery stuff!

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