July 5, 2005 (The Journey Begins):

Howdy Folks,

I am a 32 male, 5'10", approx 420 pounds and married with 2 children. 70 of those damned pounds were gained over a 6 month period when I quit smoking.

I have always been overweight by about 20-40 pounds, but the weight really started to pile on about 10 years ago. 10 pounds a year here, 2 pounds a month there, etc. I became an expert yo-yo dieter. Y'all know (and I'm sure lived) the story. :-)

I have been researching WLS for about a year but hadn't really committed myself to doing it until I hit my low back in April 2005. My low was the realization that I was weighing 420 pounds - the heaviest I had ever been. I could barely walk 2 minutes without being out of breath, I was watching my career-dreams disappearing with each passing birthday, I wasn't able to keep up with my kids, and finally, I wanted so bad to go back to smoking to "control my appetite". :-) I had been smoke-free for about 3 months and I was doing extremely well. Between smoking and overeating, it was more or less the only thing that I really had a grip on. I wanted to give in so bad - still do at times. Everytime I stepped on that damned weight scale I wanted to say "f**k-it" and have a smoke. I got tired of sabotaging myself. Enough was enough! I was doing well with the no smoking and I was determined to continue. And, the realization that I needed serious help in getting myself back in shape lead to me to pursue WLS.

I'm very fortunate. I have a very supportive doctor and weight-loss centre which have been a Godsend in helping me pursue not only WLS, but weightloss in general. My doctor believes that WLS is a drastic, last resort, but that it's an excellent tool for some people. After attempting a full, medically-supervised weightloss program with him, I received his blessing to pursue WLS.

Here is my journey to date:

April 20, 2005:
Received completed OHIP forms for Out-of-Country approval from PCP. Sent them courier to the local OHIP office.

May 5, 2005:
Attended Barix presentation in Windsor.

May 6, 2005:
Had a surgical consultation at Barix in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Dr. Jon Schram is a wonderful, sensitive and thorough individual, as are all of the staff there. Dr. Schram would like a sleep study done, but advised me that it would not be a show stopper either way. I e-mailed my PCP in Ottawa. He immediately arranged for a sleep study. It's booked for May 20, 2005.

May 18, 2005:
PCP receives OHIP Consulation approval letters. We've already had a consultation, but this is a great sign that OHIP is seriously considering our applications.

May 20, 2005:
Sleep Study night. Felt awful in the hot hospital with shitloads of wires coming out from all over the place. I managed to convince them to let me bail at 4AM. I thought that I was barely sleeping, but apparently I was doing just fine. I was told that there were "incidents" while I slept, and that a report would be faxed to my PCP in the coming week.

June 8, 2005:
After bugging the Hospital where I had my sleep study done, my reports are finally sent to my PCP. His office immediately faxed them over to Barix. Progress. :-)

June 30, 2005:
Barix tells me that I have to be using CPAP machine before they will do surgery. What?? Both my PCP and the hospital indicated that I could use a CPAP machine if I wanted to, but that if I was OK without, to continue as is - that there was nothing serious to note in my sleep study. My PCP explains that if the surgeon wants the CPAP machine, then that's what he gets. PCP books another sleep study, but this time must be done somewhere else. I'm scheduled to go at the end of July, but put on a waiting/cancellation list just in case an earlier appointment date becomes availble.

July 5, 2005:
Received approval for surgery from OHIP. YAY !!! The whole approval process took approximately 2 1/2 months. WOW !!!I sincerely believe that my WLS PCP has been instrumental in getting me approved by OHIP for Out-of-Country coverage so quickly. He is an amazing man ! And so here we are. I'll post more as the journey continues.

July 12, 2005:
I got a call yesterday from the sleep clinic asking if I wanted to come in early. I was originally scheduled for the 24th so this is perfect. Yay. Off I went last night with my pillow and essentials in hand (stuffed teddy is not one of 'em). :-) Imagine my surprise when I got there and realized that I was actually assigned a real queen-sized bed all to myself. They even had comfy pillows. Sweet! I was expecting a hospital bed and a paper thin pillow like the last time. At any rate, it was more or less the same deal. They hook you up to about 20 different wires. The only difference was the CPAP mask. I first tried one that went over just the nose but that seemed to make it harder to breath, not easier. So I opted for the full face mask. Did I sleep any better and get that restful sleep that I've apparently been lacking? HELL NO !! It's a total pain-in-the-ass trying to sleep with a facemask. I love planes and flying, so I tried pretending that I was a military pilot. Ya, ya - please don't point out the logic that a military pilot who is sleeping has imminent bigger problems than sleep apnea. I'm a big boy and can reach that conclusion myself. :-) Anyways, that helped somewhat, but then there were the other 20 or so wires that I still had to be mindful of. So all in all, I'm sure that it wasn't a waste of time but I didn't feel any different in the morning. In fact, I actually booked the day off of work today so that I could come home to sleep for a few hours. ;-) The sleep lab said that they would process the results faster because it's for pre-surgery. Perfect. Not too long to go now.

July 28, 2005:
Well, after hassling the sleep lab last week for my report (politely of course) they sent it to my PCP, who in turn set me up with a distributor of CPAP machines. I have my appointment with them to "fit me" with the CPAP on August 2, 2005. In the meantime, I called Barix and was told that after seeing the sleep study, the surgeon signed off on my report July 25, 2005. So my surgery date is in the schedulers hands now. I've been trying to get in contact with the scheduler, but she's not too good at returning calls. I managed to get in contact with her last night and she was quite pleasant. She mentioned that my file hadn't reached her yet but that she would call as soon as it had. Yet when I called Barix today and spoke to a client councellor, they seemed quite suprised at that answer. Oh well, I'll work on her. :-)

July 31, 2005:
I HAVE A SURGERY DATE !! WOOHOO !! I'm scheduled for surgery August 9, 2005. I have to go for my preop testing on Tuesday, August 2, 2005 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and that's about 8-9 hours away. I can't call in sick to work on Monday because we're short-staffed. It looks like I'm going to be working all day Monday and then making the loooooooong drive to Michigan so that I can be there for Tuesday morning. No biggie though. I'm so pumped and good-to-go. Damn, just over 1 week away and then I'll be on my way to being a totally new man. :-) For all of you folks from Ontario waiting for OHIP approval - keep the faith! I mailed my forms on April 20, 2005 and I'm having my surgery on August 9, 2005. That's only 3 1/2 months!

August 2, 2005:
Well, the preop medical tests were OK, but long. It was a full day of testing. First, I was admitted into the hospital. This involved tonnes of paperwork and was pretty indepth. Then, I had a chest X-Ray and ultrasound done. Those were both easy enough. The chest X-Ray is to make sure that everything in the chest looks good. The ultrasound is to make sure that there are no gallstones. If there are, they yank the gallbladder out when you have surgery. These appointments took the morning. In the afternoon, I had some blood drawn and then met with a respitory therapist. They put you through a few pulmonary tests and then give you a device which you need to practice daily to help prepare your lungs for surgery. After surgery, they apparently wake you up every 2 hours and have you breath with this device. This is all to help prevent pneumonia and other lung complications. After that, it was more blood drawn. This time it was for blood gas measurements and it's taken from the wrist where your pulse is. This one is a little uncomfortable, but tolerable. The worse part for me was that she had trouble getting this one so she kept digging the needle. She was a young one. The first lady who took my blood earlier in the day was an absolute sweetheart with 40 years experience. So if you have a choice (but you probably don't), look for the ladies with gray hair. It's a much more pleasant experience. So after all of these tests, it was a meeting with a nurse, then a nutritionist, and finally a doctor. There's tonnes of questions - medical history, why are you doing WLS, etc... and they all ask relatively the same questions. I guess it's to compare notes later on. There's tonnes of time for Q&A at each stage too. Surgery is in a week! Yay !!

August 15, 2005:
I'm baaaaaack. :-) I got back around 11PM on Saturday, August 7. I had to stay an extra day in the hospital because I developed really bad gas pains. I can honestly say that I never felt pain like that before. Apparently, this happens to some people, but not all. It all started on Thursday after they removed me from the morphine pump. Now, these gas pains weren't the typical gas pains that they warn you about when you have lap surgery. I had the surgery open. These were really bad stomach pains. After 2 suppositories and an enema, finally there was a little pill which made me feel like a million bucks. Go figure !

I'm doing much better now, but I'm still really sore and am only starting to eat (drink) and get back some energy. I really didn't start to drink and eat anything in the hospital because I was feeling so ill.

For the record, I have NO regrets.

The people at Barix were AMAZING !! Everyone there was so pleasant and compassionate (even if they did cause me some grief with 2 suppositories and an enema - ouch).

Well, I'm on the other side now. Yay !!! :-)

May 5, 2006:
Wow! Where has the time gone. Almost 9 months post-op since I've written. I can't believe it. Life has changed so much since then. I feel sooooooo alive and I am thankful every day for the life saving gastric bypass surgery that I received. My highest recorded weight was close to 440 pounds and I am now weighing in at 282 pounds. Since December, I've been averaging a weight loss of 10 pounds a month. I still struggle with always making the right food choices, but I am much better than I was. The thing that has really hurt my weight loss since December is that I developed a hernia. And because of that, I am not able to work out with weights. Getting an appointment to see a surgeon was a real task (many ultrasounds, doctors not knowing what to do, reluctant to get me a referral to a surgeon, etc). I saw the surgeon last week though and I am scheduled for surgery on June 15, 2006. I still won't be able to lift weights for another 2 months after that, but at least the ball is rolling. Because the hernia is so large I'll have to be in the hospital for a few days instead of the usual day surgery which this operation apparently is. But that's OK - that just means I'll have better meds for a couple of days. Life has changed sooooo much since I've lost all of the weight. I can move, I don't have anymore pain, I enjoy being active, I sleep better, I look better - literally every part of my life has improved 1000%. Hell, even sex is 1000% better! :-) I've changed my job and I'm currently working on a book about my weight struggles and eventual success with WLS. There's so much to say, so much hope and inspiration to pass on. On that note, if anyone wants to chat or has any questions, don't be shy and send me an e-mail! I'll definately respond to e-mails and I'll try to get better at updating this profile! :-)

August 9, 2006:
Happy Anniversary to me! I weighed in at 258 this morning. That's officially over 170 pounds lost in the past year! Incredible! I hope to have 1 year pictures posted soon. I'm pretty much good-to-go from the hernia surgery that I underwent in June. According to the surgeon, it was an extensive hernia. The surgeon basically cut out my old scar (full chest incision from the RNY). Then he had to rebuild my stomach area with a large piece of mesh, and then used another piece of mesh to help reenforce the incision area. I'm pretty convinced that my hernia was caused from the drain from the RNY surgery being removed too soon. Remember, that soon after I was home from surgery my incision opened up and I was leaking pretty bad. Well, that was all of the fluid coming out. Because it had no where to go, the pressure caused my incision to open up, so that the fluid could release itself. How do I figure this? Because after my hernia surgery, I had 2 drains installed. When I was released, they left a drain in because I was still leaking. Well, as it turns out, even after he left it in for over a month, I still have to go back in a couple of weeks to have more fluid drained manually. My stomach on the right side is all swollen and hard, just like a pregnant belly. So, at any rate, if my incision opened up on the outside, it only stands to reason that my incision opened up on the inside too. :-) After I get the remaining liquid removed from my belly, I should be good-to-go to get official clearance from the doc to start working out again. I'm looking sooooo forward to hitting the gym. Let's see - what else can I say? Like I said in my previous post, life is totally different. It feels so awesome to be free from the shackles of obesity. A year out and I can pretty much eat what I want, which is both a blessing and a curse. I still fight with head hunger and portion sizes but it continues to get better. Sometimes I eat things that I shouldn't (that demon poutine) but the difference is that everything is in moderation. If I do have that poutine, I can only have the smallest of sizes. If I do have that pizza, even if I think I can eat a small to myself, I really can only have a piece. I still do my part by ensuring that those are treats, and that overall I eat well day-to-day. But when I fail, the surgery is there to back me up. I pretty much know what I can tolerate and how much before I feel ill. But like I said - if I push the envelope a bit, my pouch is there to back me up. I was just looking back at what I wrote. I mentioned "eat a small to myself" with reference to pizza, and that cracks me up. Shit, before the RNY, I could eat a whole large to myself! That's part of what I mean by fighting the portion sizes and head hunger. In my head, I see the whole small pizza as a total positive difference from the whole large pizza that I could eat no problem pre-surgery. And, I guess it is. But still, even though I sometimes think I can do a whole small to myself, there's no way in hell that I can even come close. Yes, the surgery is totally a blessing. Again, I want to extend an invitation to anyone who might be reading this profile and who might be starting their own WLS journey. Feel free to write me with any questions or concerns. I don't always hang around the OH boards too often but I will certainly get back to you if you e-mail me. And to close, I think it's important to stress that I have no regrets about this surgery. This was the best thing I've ever done for myself to get control of my life. Good luck to all of you!

August 15, 2007:
Wow - 2 years.  I'm now about 212 pounds and I'm working in Law Enforcement.  I work out regularly and I am living life to the fullest.  I'm pretty much eating what I want but even 2 years out the surgery is still there to back me up if I push it too far.  Food-wise, I don't make a habit of pushing the envelope so I'm sure that's why the surgery is still a good backup for my weaker moments.  I eat regular portions and pretty much eat what I want.  Even though I still eat junk from time-to-time, I eat it in moderation.  I'm basically eating like we should all eat - mostly healthy choices and the not so good stuff in moderation.  Head hunger is still a thing I battle with from time-to-time.  I don't think that ever goes away, though it doesn't creep up as often and when it does,  it's easier to deal with.  It's almost like quitting smoking.  I still miss it but it doesn't occupy my mind 24/7.  The extra skin is a pain-in-the-ass and I'll be glad once I can get plastic surgery.  But even with all of the extra skin, I wouldn't change a thing.  I still believe 100% that this surgery gave me my life back.  The freedom to move without pain or to not have to worry about fitting into a chair or even clothes is so liberating.  Only people who have lived a life of being trapped in their body - who have experienced the emotional and physical pains of obesity can relate to how good it feels to have life back.  I have NO regrets.  Remember - the surgery is a tool.  It takes hard work and a serious commitment on your part.  Give it your all and you'll have your life back as well.  Again, for those of you who have questions or would like to write, feel free.  I don't frequent the boards anymore but I always write back to those who take the time to write me.

About Me
Nepean, ON
Surgery Date
Jul 01, 2005
Member Since

Before & After
rollover to see after photo
430+ poundlbs
7 Month Progress
300 poundslbs

Friends 15