RNY - 5 Years Later

Carleen L.
on 2/9/13 5:42 am

Hello everyone, just checking back in after a mini-hiatus to update what it's like to be 5+ years RNY.

To date, I have lost 110 lbs. I did manage to get down to 174 at one point, but I am currently happy at 185.

For the most part, I eat what I please, and this occasionally includes 'treats' like pizza, McDonalds, or marshmallows (I will never stop loving these).

Medically, I am fairly healthy. Like most, I have experienced B12 deficiencies, calcium deficiencies and iron deficiencies. Recently, after improving my diet to include foods very high in these nutrients, I NO LONGER need iron supplements, calcium supplements, or B12 injections. I do believe I will keep the B12 injections, as I do find they add to my energy level.

There ARE times when I feel RNY gets in the way. Healthy-weight family members do occasionally like to celebrate events by going to Pasta Suppers at local churches, or going to a buffet restaurant. I can partake in these, but I feel it to be a waste of money.  (The card that Barix gave me to politely ask for a discount at restaurants has never worked)

I have unsightly skin that droops in awkward places, and I have YET to find a pair of jeans that fits me appropriately. My skin hangs from my thighs, often making my size 10 a size 14 out of necessity. Skin removal is not an option due to cost.

There are times when I have to really watch what I am eating. Despite having RNY, as our surgeon mentioned, it is merely a tool, and it is up o the user of the tool to make the most benefit. I do find myself making regretful choices regarding my diet, but thankfully, I am still at what I feel to be, a healthy, comfortable weight.

I can walk, run, swim, and exercise. Things I never really used to do before RNY. Running is a bit of a chore due to the excess skin on my legs, but I am trying to manage.

I suppose, after 5 years of living with RNY, my observations to anyone wanting to consider this surgery are the following:

1. It is a tool ONLY. It is up to you to change your lifestyle habits, and this may include falling off the wagon and getting back on again. Expect this.

2. You will feel left out, hungry, frustrated, sick (dumping syndrome), and sometimes, lethargic due to vitamin deficiencies and muscle wasting. Expect this.

3. You will still have body-image issues. Surgery will not be an insta-fix for this, and there will be other issues that arise after surgery (excess skin, temporary hair loss, acne during initial weight loss periods). Expect this.

4. You will feel a new awakening in life that will last likely the rest of your life. You will have a new outlook on how your life will progress. Despite any setbacks, you will gain confidence, knowledge about your own body, understanding of true emotion and 'eating disorders'. By the end, you will regret nothing. You'd cut your stomach up 5 times to feel this energized and renewed. Expect this.

In all, I have NO real regrets, and any disappointments are only temporary and totally controlled by how you react to them. I am by no means at an 'ideal weight' medically, but I feel fantastic, and I like the way I look now, skin and all.

Are you considering WLS? Do your research. RNY was right for me, but don't discount DS or Lap Band. Talk to people that have had these kinds of surgery. Understand the differences, and the risks. Make an informed decision, and when you are ready, you will be consciously reborn into a new life of experiences and wonder!

Obese? /NO/BESE!


on 2/9/13 6:23 am - TN

Sounds to me like you're winning girl! Just had my surgery Thursday, and I'm praying to God for change! I'm 47 weight at surgery was 350, and was having everyday struggles, including just working to provide for my beautiful family. My 13 yr old son who am so close w was starting to have anxiety attacks that I was going to die, how sad. So screw buffets, that what got us to be morbidly obese. Your an inspiration to me, YOU GO GIRL!     Jay

on 2/9/13 7:06 am
RNY on 02/28/13

Great post! Thank you so much for sharing!


Pam :)

"B" bears' mama from Texas
Follow my journey on youtube: "bbearsmama" 

SW: 210 CW: 123.6

Citizen Kim
on 2/9/13 8:20 am - Castle Rock, CO

Good for you at still being a success at 5 years out broken heart .

One thing I would like to point out - I really don't think ANYONE should be suggesting or recommending a lapband to anyone else unless they really hate that person - it is (thankfully) on the way out but is responsible for a huge number of problems and revisions ...

Anyone considering WLS should research the VSG, DS, RNY and give the lapband a very wide berth!!!


Proud Feminist, Atheist, LGBT friend, and Democratic Socialist

on 2/9/13 8:26 am - NH

Hi Carleen,

I am glad for you that you are happy at 5 years out! I cannot let it go without saying that I disagree with you on several of your statements. I am 'only' 4 years and 4 months out but I do not think much will change in the next 8 months. 

1) I have never felt left out. I actually feel empowered to have this tool that makes me satisfied with what I can eat. I don't ask for a discount although I may ask to order from the children's menu if there is a healthy choice.

2) I have had no vitamin deficiencies, not B-12, not iron, not calcium and never have had to have injections of anything. I believe everyone needs calcium supplements. No lethargy, no muscle wasting.

3) I don't have body image issues. Yes. I have some extra skin....I feel like it's better than being obese, so I am fine.

4) I wouldn't recommend ANYONE have Lap Band surgery.

I do, however, agree that my new life of working with this amazing tool is a wonderful awakening that I too would do 5 times over in a New York minute.

Martha enlightened

High 250/Consult Weight 245/Surgery 205/Now 109
Height 5'4.5" BMI 18.4
In maintenance since June 2009

on 2/9/13 10:18 am - Cary, NC

Happy 5th - my 5th year is next month.

I have to agree with the post before me - we always need calcium - I take over 1800 mg a day - and I have never been low;  we are at too great a risk for osteoporosis to not take supplements.   My iron was low one time because I stopped the supplements after my hysterectomy (stupid me thought I wouldn't need the iron) but I started back and pulled the level up within 3 months.  My B12 always runs high and my PCP flips out but I don't really care - I want it to run high rather than low because I never want to experience the side effects of too low B12.

I have a new philosophy, I'm only going to dread one day at a time.  Charlie Brown
Carleen L.
on 2/9/13 10:08 pm

I do run high on my B12 too! It's just from all the dairy, eggs and chicken I've been eating over the past year. I take B12 injections as well, but I may reconsider these since my last lab was about 3 months after an injection and it was still well over 1,400. :O

Cicerogirl, The PhD

on 2/9/13 10:21 am - OH

I am 5.5 years out, and also able to eat relatively normally and enjoy occasional less than healthy food choices without it adversely affecting my weight.  I had hoped to get down to 5-10 pounds less than I am, but I feel good (other than my arthrtitic knees) and I am healthier than I have been in years.

As Martha said, though, I disagree with a couple of the generalizations you have made.  Not everyone experiences feeling "left out", dumping (only 30% of RNYers dump), lethargy, and vitamin deficiencies.  I am very surprised that you have been able to eliminate your calcium and iron supplements, especially the calcium.  (You are aware that just testing the calcium level in your blood doesn't tell you whether or not you are getting enough because your body will pull the calcium from your bones in order to keep the blood level high, right?  What are you eating that enables you to get significantly more than 1500 mg of calcium in your diet everyday (since we cannot absorb all taht we eat and 1500mg is the ASBMS recommendation for calcium citrate supplementation?) 

Also, unfortunately, there ARE some people who do end up regretting their RNY and/or get revised to a DS, and I would not recommend Lap Band to anyone.  The statistics on weight loss with the band are abysmally low and the rate of additional surgeries required is surprisingly high.

Congratulations on your success!


14 years out; 190 pounds lost, 165 pound loss maintained

You don't drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.

Carleen L.
on 2/9/13 11:38 am

I did mention in my original post that I used to require supplements, but I eat so much dairy and iron-rich foods now that my bloodwork has been coming back stellar for the past 8 months. I eat full-fat dairy at each meal. I used to eat no dairy and had to take Citracal for a few years, but decided I didn't want to live on supplements to get my nutritional intake (heh!). I had a BMD test last June and was recommended to have one each year if deciding not to take calcium supplements. The test came back with no concerns, so I'm sticking with the dairy.


As for the iron, I eat so many edamame beans and chili that I can only guess this is where I'm getting the requirement. Add the fact that the chili contains tons of Vitamin C to help soak up the iron, well, you do the math.


In all, I wasn't opening a debate. These were just my own personal observations and experiences. 



on 2/9/13 12:11 pm

Your personal experiences are are valid and I am glad that you took the time to share them.  I just went through a major lab work and still haven't seen the results but I appreciate learning what to look for and see results from others.  I'm sure they will be different in some areas.  

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