I was always a fat child and remember being taken to the doctor about my weight at an early age and always being on a diet. I tried not to let my weight get me down and was an over-achiever in school and had lots of friends. I used humor as a tool to mask my embarassment over my weight. I was told many times that I had such a pretty face. It was very hard to grow up and get married and still be picked on and be made to feel inadequate as a person by my own family.
After the death of my father in 2000, I made up my mind that I was going to do something about my weight. My father died of complications from cardiovascular disease and strokes. It was extremely hard to sit for two weeks and watch my father's body shut down until he died. I distinctly remember having to turn him in bed and thinking to myself that I did not want to put my daughter and husband through that at my 420 plus pound body weight.
After investigating WLS's in Houston and going on the advice of some friends who had used Dr. Marcel Molina, I had a nonadjustable band placed on in 2001. I lost about 100 pounds and then stopped losing. I was able to eat just about anything I wanted. I soon started throwing up everything and at every meal. This went on for about a year and it got to the point that all I could eat was ice cream and crunchy foods if I didn't want to vomit. I also was beginning to gain weight. After having reflux problems I had an upper GI. It showed that my band had embedded in the lining of my pouch and was about to close off. During this time, Dr. Molina died and I had no recourse. I had already stopped all contact with his office as I was told by his nurse this was my fault and I was not following the pouch rules.
Without having much of a choice, I new surgery was iminent, so I went for a consult with Dr. Robert and Garth Davis. They were wonderful and made me feel at ease. I felt very comfortable with having them do my surgery as they had removed many of the band Dr. Molina had placed on. I had gastric bypass in April of 2004. I lost weight at first very quickly and then it slowed down immensely, even with exercise. I was one of the few that could and can tolerate almost any food including sugar. Dr. Davis told me that due to the damage the band had caused, that my stoma was not as tight as those of people who had never had WLS and that my weight loss would be slow. Imagine my disappointment and feelings of failure as yet again, I would never be really thin.
After losing all I could, my body finally stopped and I was left with alot of hanging skin that made it hard to exercise and function. I also had alot of rashes from the skin being irritated. I made an appointment in Houston with Dr. John LoMonaco. That was the best thing I have ever done for myself. He is a man of great integrityi and compassion for WLS patients. He will forever be my hero!! He told me that I was ready for surgery.
On June of 2006 I had a LBL with a double hernia repair. I went in weighing 260 and he removed 28 pounds of skin. I was not able to eat much after the hernia repair. It was as if my RNY had been redone. I went on to lose more weight. I did have complications with my plastic surgery. I had a reaction to the ONQ pain pump and it had to be removed. It caused my blood pressure to remain in the double digits and caused me to pass out every time I got up, as well as run a fever. My inciscion healed beautifully, but one of my drain tubes came out. I had the other one in for almost 8 weeks before it was removed. During that time I developed a small opening above the crack and it had to heal from the inside out. I also had a rectal fissure from getting constipated. I thought I was going to lose my mind at one point after starting back to school in August teaching and having horrible anal cramps and pain all day long. Sitting was hard witht he hole and the fissure and it hurt to stand with the anal cramps. I did finally get nitroglycerin cream and it helped heal my fissure. After removing the drain tubes, I developed a very large seroma. It felt like I had a belt tied around my lower body that was slowly tightened throughout the day. I also felt like a waterbed on my upper thighs. I had drain tubes put back in and was needle aspirated on more than one occasion and we still could not get it to heal. So, Dr. LoMonaco suggested that we go back in and open me up from hip to hip and redo the tummy tuck and pull the thighs up some more. He was not able to pull me as tight as he wanted with the original surgery due to repairing such a large hernia. I went into the revision weighing 230 pounds and he removed another 5 pounds and also a seroma that reached from hip to hip. He used sand paper and alot of extra stitching and pulled me really tight. I absolutely love the new me. I can actually see my private area in the right place and am pretty flat and tight. My drain tubes came out early again, and we put more in. After them not draining right, I took them out. I again am dealing with pockets of fluid and having to be needle aspirated. While I have been through alot, I woudn't trade the problems for the look of my "NORMAL" body. People tell me I am skinny all the time and that I do not lool like I still weigh right around 200 pounds. While I know I will never be really skinny, I am very content with myself and my looks. It is so nice to go shopping and actually wear normal sized clothes. I am in an XL top and medium skirts. I wear a 14 in jeans. A huge change from being at 420.
I am currently awaiting an appeal from my insurance to have my arms and breasts done. I will then be finished with the new me.
God is an awesome God for seeing me through all of this and placing people like Dr. Davis and Dr. LoMonaco in my path. The freedom I feel and the self confidence I have is amazing. I no longer feel trapped inside my body.
To all of you out there who are contemplating surgery, it is so worth it.
I do have to say that I could not have done this without the support of my husband and daughter. They have loved me through it all.