Gastric Bypass - 4 1/2 Years Later

May 30, 2012

Well, I can  honestly say the first four years were easy!  I was eating well and exercising (ran a half marathon!) and enjoying the life of a NORMAL HEALTHY person.  Everything I dreamed surgery would help me achieve.

At the four year mark, a couple of things happened - my job ended unexpectedly (the whole company, not just mine), my marriage ended (not unexpectedly, but still difficult), and my step-father of the past many decades passed away VERY unexpectedly.  Started a new, HIGHLY stressful job about 5,000 miles away from my nearest friend or family.

These were not a good combination of circumstances - and I found myself once again returning to old habits and stress eating - and now I find myself 40 pounds above my lowest weight - 30 pounds above my norm for the past 4 years - and I'm both devastated, mortified, and frightened.  Yes, I am in control of my destiny.  Yes, I can do it - I know what it will take.  Yes, I still have issues and fears and bad habits and am still 5,000 miles away - but these are excuses to continue the behavior that is MAKING ME MISERABLE again.

So I am back on track.  Alone, but determined.  Terrified, but insistent.  I want my normal, everyday life back. 

Gastric Bypass - 2 Years Later

Dec 18, 2009

Two years, just over a hundred pounds lost and I've managed to keep it off successfully thus far. Why? I DO give myself the credit for making the life changes I needed to make in order to be successful - surgery is only a tool to get you where you have decided to be and not the solution to lifetme of poor nutritional choices and overeating. (I'm sad to say I know many people that have the surgery and either creep or leap right back up to their post-surgical weight. They rely on the surgery to excise their demons, which very rarely happens beyond the first few months.)

So....was it worth it?

I was just shy of my one year anniversary when I woke up one evening in tremendous pain. It felt like someone was repeatedly hitting me in the stomach, and my teeth wouldn't stop shattering. The most frightening part about it was that I kept trying to convince myself it would pass, and initially refused to get out of bed. After all, I'd had a lovely day - had no previous symptoms or problems - and didn't want to be seen as a hypochondriac any longer.

Eventually I realized the pain wasn't going away on it's own and woke Damian up to take me to the hospital.

I take back what I said earlier - the most frightening part of this incident was Damian's driving - we reached the hospital in approximately 3 minutes. Though it ws 3:00 in the morning and not many people were on the road, I doubt Michael Schumacher or Mario Andretti could have arrived any sooner.

I've already blogged this whole story, so I'll sum it up by saying that the bowel obstruction nearly killed me and I was taken immediately into surgery where everything went beautifully and smoothly. I was back at work a few weeks later with no further medical repercussions, but the psychological damage was done. Anyone who has been in that situation understands that it completely changes your focus - eliminates the rose colored glasses of denial you were wearing and forces you to look hard at where you are in life and where you need to be. It highlights the fragility of life and the relatively short time we have on this earth.

Since the surgery, I continue to have trouble getting the proper amount of calcium and have to be closely monitored. I take about 9-10 vitamins a day as advised by my doctor and have my levels checked and vitamins altered about every six months. I still don't tolerate carbs very well - so my diet consists of no pasta, rice, or bread (which I believe is the key to my success as a former carb-o-holic) I will still throw up if I eat too quickly, or too much - but I've learned to be more cognizant of what I eat and this rarely happens.

So...again.....was it worth it? Absolutely.

I shop for clothes in a regular store now. Sure, I have saggy skin and stretch marks that will never go away. But so what? I can climb several sets of stairs without huffing and puffing and feeling as though my heart will give out. I go hiking. I go running. I have no limitations. I don't get stared at and judged by people as I did when I was morbidly obese. I went skydiving! I've been able to experience what life is like for "normal" people - something I never understood before. I was so busy rationalizing why people should accept me in my fatness that I never realized how much I was missing.

Don't get me wrong - some people enjoy a life of obesity and I am in no way judging their choices. But for me, this was a brilliant move and has been a major major blessing for me. I don't take my life for granted any longer. I'm so much more grateful for my friends and my family and the wonderful opportunities that life has given me. And I work very hard not to waste the time I have left - because I DO understand that each day could be my last.


May 12, 2009

I don't check in on OH anymore - it's not a lack of appreciation, it's just that I am spending far too much time LIVING MY LIFE and very little time in front of this computer.

I'm travelling - I'm taking belly dance lessons - I'm experiencing things I never thought I'd do (like attending my first heavy metal concert - lol!) and it's absolutely wonderful!

Don't mistake my silence - life is good!

Life is OH so good!

18 months out and all is not well in Denmark

Feb 14, 2009

It's been 18 months since surgery and truthfully I've never felt better - I am active at the gym, running like Forrest Gump and enjoying it more than I thought possible.  It's only recently that I began exercising, if I'm honest - I had GREAT intentions of doing so before now but it never lasted longer than a trip or two to the local swimming pool.  I feel good about that - I'm determined to get down the last 17 pounds and meet my goal - proving to myself, even though I'm perfectly happy at this weight, that I can complete what I started and weigh less than both my sisters for the first time in my life.  (Seriously, the first time.)

But I've fallen into old habits - eating TOO quickly, eating TOO much (not often, but still), and drinking too closely to meals.  I've also been far too lax about eating sugar before protein and not getting in enough water.   While I haven't gained back any weight yet, habits like this can sabotage my long term success so I'm working to stave them off now BEFORE the inevitable consequences begin.  Just because I can get away with more chocolate now that I'm running doesn't mean it's okay to neglect good nutrition.

I'm proud at least of that - recognizing it and working to get back on track early.  I love how I feel - though I'm more body conscious now than I ever was fat.  I notice the sagging skin, I notice the wrinkles, and the way that massive weight loss has aged me.  But I feel so much healthier.  I'm amazed at what my body can do at the gym without pain - and if the skin bothered me that much, I suppose I'd have to start saving for plastic surgery - but in this economy that's truly not likely anytime in the foreseeable future.

I can live with it.  The pros still far outweigh the cons - and my life is so much better than I ever dreamt imaginable.  I missed out of so many years of adventures I could never experience at 270 pounds - and I hope to make up for them with a vengeance.

I'm very grateful for Lexi, and Terri, and Cyn, and Dawn, and SO many people on OH that got me through those first 12 months and encouraged me and calmed me when I didn't know the difference between "normal" and "abnormal" post-op.  I hope I've managed to give back - I hope I've done the same in return.  Mostly, I hope I've been able to express what a difference those posts and messages (even the ones not directed at me) have made a difference in my life.  My OH friends truly rock.  (And if you're a friend, you're one of the 12 people that have had a truly lasting impact.)

My Small-Town Valentines Day Story

Feb 14, 2009

Valentine’s Day in a Small Town



I'm driving home from DC after an exhausting but rewarding class and am in the home stretch of my 8 hour trek when I realize that I haven't been paying attention to the gas gauge and I'm WAY beyond empty in the middle of nowhere.  I take the next exit and follow the road in search of a gas station that never seems to appear.  Worrying that my fumes won't last much longer, I pull into the first shop I see - a tiny two-pump stop and go in a town not much bigger than a hiccup.  There's no open sign, but lights are on so I drive up to the front door and ask if it's too late to get gas.


The attendant eyes me up and down and says, "No, it ain't too late.  What you want?"


"Twenty dollars?"


"No, what you want - reg'lar or premium."


"Regular's fine.  Thanks very much."


He directs me to the pump on the right and I quickly put my car in position and gleefully begin pumping.  I'm excited that I'm not going to be stuck here, I'm not going to have to call AAA to save me, and that I'm less than an hour away from my own bed.


The attendant comes out to the pump with a pen and paper in hand with the pretense that he's copying information from the pump.    "I haven't seen you in here before - do you live around here?"


"I don't" I admitted, "I'm just heading home to Charlotte."


He nods.  "Driving long?"


"Coming back from a week in DC for work."


He nods again.  "What kind of car is that?


"Honda Del Sol - it gets great mileage.  I love this car!"



"So, are you single?"


I just laughed - it was so cute and so flattering.  Hey, I have to admit - the guy was CUTE.  Absolutely made my day.  "I've got to hit the road - I'm seriously tired.  But I'll see you next time through."  I get into the car and he keeps talking - so I jump back out.  "Sorry?  I didn't catch that."


He repeats, "If you're heading back to the highway, don't go that way.  Much faster to turn left there.  It'll save you some time."


"Hey thanks!  See you next time - have a great Valentines Day!"


I get back in the car and turn left - I'm anxious to get home, but mostly I don't want to appear rude.  I go LESS than two blocks and there's a road block.  Six police cars with lights on stopping traffic.  I think there must be an accident, maybe I should turn around and head back down the main road - but when the guy behind me does that, one of the cops jumps in their squad car and chases him down.  Oh dear.


I wait for several minutes - probably about 8 - and they wave me forward and ask for my drivers license, insurance and registration.  I handed them over and the officer moves to the back of my car and starts writing something.  CRAP!  I forgot to put the new sticker on - it's still stuck to the registration I gave him and now he's writing me a ticket!  BAH!


After an eternity, he comes back over to my window and hands me back the paperwork and my license.  "I put the new sticker on your plate, ma'am.  That's a surefire way to get pulled over for a stop."  Relived, I flash him a BIG grin and thank him sincerely.  I'd been meaning to do that since....well...last July.


"My brother at the Gas N' Go would like to know if he can have your number."


I burst into laughter - I didn't mean to, it was just such a surreal moment - I really couldn't help it.  "I'm so flattered."  I said.  "And your brother is extremely cute - but I've got a fella."  (Don't ask - I have no idea what I used that word.  I think it was the whole Andy Griffith atmosphere of this town.)


"All right then.  You're free to go." and he waves his flashlight indicating it's time for me to drive on.  I put the car back into gear and with the goofiest grin you can have with your mouth hanging half open in amazement I drive on. 

1 comment

Happy Surgiversary To Me

Nov 28, 2008

Well, it's officially been a year - and what a year it's been.  Changes beyond what I ever could have imagined, and more than just on the scale.  Surgery was much tougher emotionally than I anticipated because I really was quite in denial about how much I was eating and what my triggers were.  Thankfully, with persevearance and a great counselor, I've learned a tremendous amount of information about myself, about nutrition, and about what's truly important to me.

Ninety two pounds down.  Fourteen to go, and I'm not in a rush.  Gonna take a lot of work on the treadmill - but I'll get there.

Lots going through my mind right now - coping with my own mortality after a life threatening bowel obstruction earlier this month has been really tough.  It put my priorities back where they need to be, but it's made me SO incredibly vulnerable.  Also, my husband is having a tough time with my sagging skin.  It's not that bad, and in truth, it's HIS issue - but it still stings quite a bit.  I wasn't attractive to him when I was fat, and though he reassures me that he loves me - how am I supposed to feel when he finds the majority of my body unattractive? some thinking and growing to do on that subject.  He's a good man, and I'm glad he's honest - but really, I think that this is an issue HE needs to be talking to a counselor about.  I don't know.  We'll see.

This forum has been a godsend of support and information, and I've made a few true friends I wish I could see more of offline!  Ladies, you've been amazing and you know who you are!

Many heartfelt thanks to all my OH friends - as well as those who provide entertainment, and those who offer differing opinions which I've always valued as a way to expand my horizons.


Holy Moly - is that a SEVEN I see?

Nov 06, 2008


Guess the crappy hospital food combined with moving inner guts did me some good.  That's right - I am officially in the 170's  (just barely)  but still too hopped up on Vicodin to truly celebrate.

Nausea and headache kicked in - could be morphine withdrawal combined with caffeine withdrawal to double the pain, I don't know.  I'm gonna make some coffee and see if that gets rid of the headache for now then talk to the doctor about a better way to detox.

179 - that makes less than 20 pounds to goal, and I'm thinking I'd really like to get there......HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE?

The Bowel Obstruction

Nov 05, 2008

Post Date: 11/5/08 8:30 am
Monday night seemed to end perfectly - a good dinner, some light housecleaning that made my home feel happy, and a massage by Miracle Hands Will that quite simply - put me on a could of happiness.

Came home - went to bed - work up an hour and a half later with the most intense pain I've had in my life.  Now I went through something similar on Saturday night, only not as paiful and I just wrote it off to gas or something.  But Monday night - dear Lord - I tried belching, I tried vomiting (though I hadn't eaten in 8 hours), I tried laying down - but my body went immediately into a state of panic.

The pain was so bad I couldn't stand, so I crawled to my husband's room and woke him up.  Startled him pretty good actually, which was great because as soon as I said, "I need to go to the E.R." he was already awake enough to throw sweats on and help me to the car.

Three minutes later we were there (yes, its a fifteen minute drive in GOOD traffic - you do the math) and they couldn't figure out what was wrong.  Did X-rays - got some morphine - kept telling them NO, YOU MAY NOT PUT AN NG TUBE IN.  (To be fair, it took them 3 tries to get an IV).    They wanted to do a CAT scan but I couldn't keep the contract down for the CatScan, so they wouldn't do it.  I'd get close to finishing after an hour of sipping only to throw it up as soon as they arrived to wheel me to CatScan.  They finally did it without a full dose of contrast - verifying the bowel obstruction/hernia thing.

I don't remember much after that - the doctor came in, said ther was a bowel obstruction and a hernia that was cutting off blood flow and that I needed immediate surgery.  They put me into an ambulance (probably wise, since my hubby was freaking out now) and transferred me uptown to my surgeon's hospital.  Locked my purse up, slapped a new gown on me and literally took me straight to the OR to a waiting Dr. Melkonian (Dr. Lowe's partner)

.Am home home now - they released me after 26 hours of observation - but still can't leave the house, drive, or lift anything.  It's very weird - this was one of the only things I honestly feared after reading though the stories on the board - and yet, I never thought to ask anyone what the symptoms were, so it was terrifying.  I KNEW something big was wrong - I just didin't know what.

Anyway - enough drama.  I feel very blessed and am happy to be home - I'm sad Damian had to cancel his annual fishing trip "with the guys" to stay home with me.  (Believe me, I TRIED to get him to go anyway so I can start working on my Christmas cards without being mocked)

I think that's the whole sordid story - I'll be honest, I don't feel like I've just been through a life threatening experience even though everyone keeps saying how lucky I am. 


Oct 22, 2008

Today I hate my life.   It doesn't happen very often, but I seem to have used up all of my luck and charm early on in life.

I spend most of my time alone - girlfriends have moved away, husband works ungodly hours and when we are scheduled to hang out, he usually comes up with an excuse not to, work is rough, our first house offer in an eternity fell through even though we accepted it - it just seems to rain down like hail from hell when it comes and today I'm not dealing with it very well.

Last night I was ready to pack my car, quit my job, and move to Califronia to start over.  I've done it before - I could easily leave all my "stuff" behind - but I know that's not the way to handle it.

I'm okay - just felt a little like ranting and perhaps admitting that even *I* have days of loneliness and depression and vulnerability.  They don't usually last long - but OH MY GOD THEY SUCK.  Without food to drown my sorrows in, sometimes I forget how to deal with things like a rational, normal, healthy adult.


Life - the October Project

Oct 20, 2008

Stepped on the scale this morning after a weekend of partying only to find the scale at it's lowest point to date - 183.4 or something like that.  Since I've been focusing yesterday on liquids, soft foods and proteins until my cranky tummy starts acting normally, it was more than a pleasant surprise - it was a freaking miracle.

I'm really dedicated to seeing a "7" on the scale.   I'm happy at this weight, but the truth is - it's laziness that keeps me here and I'd very VERY much like to see a "7" in that second column.  It's only 4 pounds away now - so we're talking a couple weeks of being uber diligent - then who knows?  Maybe we'll keep going and shoot for the "6" of goal.

It was awesome seeing Tracy and Christine here last week - albeit their visit timed perfectly with the most stressful week I've had all summer.  Still - there is such power in the bond of girlfriends - and I've missed that "gal pal" bonding time more than anything since Beth, Jen and Heidi all moved out of Charlotte.

The journey continues - and every day I'm learning more about myself and who I want to be.  It's a constant process - a continual improvement - and a true blessing.

About Me
Charlotte, NC
Surgery Date
Jul 24, 2007
Member Since

Friends 23

Latest Blog 94
Happy Surgiversary To Me
Holy Moly - is that a SEVEN I see?
The Bowel Obstruction
Life - the October Project