13 years Surgiversary

Nov 01, 2018

Surgiversary post!
13 years ago, I got my virgin (open) DS. It's been a wild ride with an incredible learning curve, but thankfully for you all today, a group such as this exists to keep us all healthy. Back when I got mine, we had another board and after we noticed we were having similar challenges, especially with A and D, we started comparing notes and now through pages like this, we share with everyone.

My highest weight was 286, which is probably where I was on my before photo. It was so devastating to see this photo come up many years ago. I lost all the way to 139 (for about 3 seconds). I settled in the 140's for a couple years and then gained 10, then another 10. Today I'm ranging between 155 and 165 (size 10) with no effort at all and I don't sweat this little bit of gain. I'm done fighting my weight and refuse to obsess. I had a hernia in my 2nd year post op due to me being stubborn about lifting a soaking wet bag of topsoil and not waiting for assistance.

I eat protein forward (lots of cheese), but enjoy many taboo snacks with mindful attention not to go crazy on them. Even as I was losing, I counted protein and fluids, not carbs. Who had room for them after eating protein? I would always save a bite or two for whatever I wanted as I was losing, knowing that deprivation played bad games with my head. Allowing that indulgence when nearly full left me happy to have a treat, but full enough not to get into trouble.

Nobody would guess I had wls at all to watch me eat. I just eat like a thin person, leaving a little behind on my plate when my body tells me I'm full. I have learned not to push myself beyond that wall. I also eat often, every couple of hours, nibbling on something. I am a diet coke and iced tea addict. I know not good practices for the noobs, but I'm being transparent and I feel wonderful.

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9 years - now it's mine to claim.

Oct 31, 2014

Just like my birthday, I’ve been claiming my surgiversary for about a month now. Today officially marks 9 years post-op from the Duodenal Switch. I have regained only 14% back from my lowest weight that only bothers me because my clothing size is no longer a single digit. I’m told now that I look perfectly healthy, and I feel that way too.

  • Vitamins are a habit and not a big deal at all.
  • Eating 100g of protein is easy.
  • I’ve only been ill 3 times in the last 9 years. My immune system is incredible!
  • One giant BM every day – that’s it.
  • I’ve nailed down most foods that give me gas, so it’s rarely a problem.
  • I eat normal small-ish meals, but large enough so nobody guesses I ever had wls.
  • I still don’t “exercise” – never did – but I enjoy active living.

I have to tell you all that I feel like a regular person these days. I am no longer obsessed with my weight, or DS living. I’m just me and very happy with myself. I will always feel grateful that I discovered the DS.

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8 Plus years Post op - update

Feb 20, 2014

Yeah, I let some time go by, but I still poke in here from time to time.  Over the last couple of years I finally stopped fighting my body to remain a size 8 and allowed myself to relax.  I relaxed into a size 10-12, and dare I say I don't mind it.  I put on about 20 lbs to get here, and I'm not all that concerned.  My mother says I no longer look like a scarecrow and I got boobs back (hubby is pleased with that, btw).  Considering the expectation is to regain 15-20% of ewl, I'm still way ahead of the game.  Understanding how food affects me continues to be a learning process, but I know a hell of a lot more today.  Straight milk is an absolute "HELL NO".  I've almost eliminated onions, for they make for explosive poops in the middle of the night, and aside from rice noodles, I avoid more than two bites of pasta.  Yogurt is my probiotic, and greek is packed with protein, too.  I still don't participate in organized exercise.  I still get bored with it, but I'm always up for something that's fun instead of dawdling around.  I travel for work now, and living on the road is no big deal either.  The Marriott will make me whatever I want, but I usually just dissect and rearrange their standard dishes and they fill my requests occasionally with a raised eyebrow, like when I asked for meatballs marinara over mashed potatoes, but they do so with a smile.  If anyone is wondering, carrying vitamins with you on the plane is no problem either.  I have them in my purse or laptop bag and even if they're all bunched together in a zip loc they never even notice. 

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6 years post op

Nov 11, 2011

As I put on my Halloween skeleton socks, I was reminded that it was my Surgiversary on Halloween, because I was arguing with the hospital staff to keep my skeleton socks on having to miss Halloween and all.  I’m amazed that I kept these same socks a whole 6 years.  It was six years ago that I had the Duodenal Switch, the best thing I ever did for myself.  I was extremely active out here for the first 5 years, but I opened a restaurant in the last year and just haven’t had the time to keep up with everything, so knowing that there are many out here to carry the torch in my place, I backed off for a bit.  I won’t go over all of the gruesome details; you can read that on dsfacts.com from my article there.  I’ll give you just the interesting highlights and where I am today.    My starting weight was 286, 272 the day of surgery.  I wasn’t required to lose any weight prior to surgery, but it happened on its own.  As I was losing, I focused my goal on a certain size instead of a weight, modeling myself after a friend of similar height that I thought had the perfect, realistic figure (size 8).  It was about 14 months post op that I reached that goal, and started working to put on the breaks.  It wasn’t very hard since my weight loss was leveling off anyway.  I ate a little more freely and slowed down quite easily.  I dipped down to a size 6 for a while, but started getting complaints that I was too skinny, and agreeing completely, worked to get back to a size 8.    After a couple of years, I found that I started to gain more than I really wanted to.  I’d gotten to a size 10, which wasn’t terrible, but not where I wanted to stay.  I had been enjoying the shameless eating a little much and struggled to let go of some of it.  Once I opened my BBQ restaurant, opportunities to sit and eat a respectable meal were few and far between, and I dropped 15lbs without even thinking about it.  I’m now quite comfortably back to a size 8 and holding steady.  My latest moment of excitement was getting a physical for a life insurance policy.  I was written up for the average physical health, but actually got a partial REFUND after my physical and bloodwork because I was so healthy that they gave me the Preferred Premium rate.  Who’d ever thought I’d accomplish that??     Lessons learned to share?  I have a few:
  1. Drink, drink, drink.  Don’t whine about it, just do it.  Not only do I accomplish 64 oz every day, but I do at least twice that…sometimes three times.
  2. REAL vitamins.  Not flintstones or anything gummy.  Don’t accept anything mediocre because catching up is a real bitch when you fall short.  There are some real vitamin guru’s out here.  I love Andrea U and Vitalady for information.  They’ve studied a lot to keep healthy and have been very generous with sharing.
  3. Be realistic.  Know your stats on what to expect and don’t assume you’re special or different.  This will save a lot of frustration along the way.  I found focusing a goal on a clothing size instead of weight was much better.  I’d been MO for so long that my bone density is high, so I weigh more than I look.  Had I been fixated on a weight number, it would have made me crazy.
  4. There are absolutely no magical creams, lotions, or exercises to prevent or treat loose skin.  Count on it happening and work ahead on how you will deal with it.  How severe its gonna be depends on the cocktail of your age, genetics, how long you’ve been MO, with a dash of simple luck.
  5. Similarly, there are no magical shampoos or vitamins to prevent hair loss six months out from your surgical date.  Google Telogen Effluvium and learn all about it.  It’s going to happen to the majority of you, and it will last 3-5 months and it will go away, no matter what vitamins you take or what shampoo you use.  The best remedy is a haircut with some texture to blend in the new growth so you don’t look like a chia pet when it comes in (and it will).  If you’re more than a year out and it’s happening again, it’s time to check your vitamin levels, for it may be a result of malnutrition.
  6. Get to know your local consignment and thrift stores.  You will reach a point where you need a new wardrobe every 6 weeks.  Go to the ritzy part of town and shop there.  It’s amazing what the rich and privileged discard.  Go armed with a tide pen and plenty of time to just pick through things.  A consignment shop will take the clothes you’ve shrunk out of and fund the new purchases.  I was able to replace my wardrobe for less than $100
  7. Shapers!  I love them in the wintertime.  Not only do they hold in what’s loose, but they keep me warm, too.  Get some.  There are some I get from Walmart for less than $10 that go from my ankles to my bra.  They sell them by the sock section.
  8. Padded and molded bras!  They serve two purposes:  first, they have a pre-formed shape to pour your girls losing their own shape.  Second, nobody knows when you’re cold.  I love the Lane Bryant Balconette, myself.   I’m shrinking out of their smallest size (34C now, I think), so I’m on the lookout for something I won’t leap out of when I’m not being careful.  My boobies are like escape artists.
  9. Don’t feel resentful for how people treated you when you were MO.  If they treat you differently now, don’t be a bitch about it.  They have no idea what they are doing and are probably quite sincere about how they’re treating you today. Life is too short.  Just be gracious about the compliments and new treatment and look forward with your head held high.  You’ve done it!
We'll finish off with a photo of me and my family taken only two days ago.


Happy New Year

Jan 01, 2010

So, it's now 2010, and I'm rolling into year 5 as a successful post op.  I finally put on a few pounds.  It's pretty common to add 10-20 lbs after you reach your all time low.  Put me down for another 10 thankyouverymuch, and I get to stay the same size, so something's shifted in my favor along the way.  My labs are in decent shape and pretty easy to keep up with.  Since my first year post op, I've not had to supplement iron at all.  I do enjoy red meat daily, so that may be a good contributor.  I find myself craving carbs more, and its because I eat them.  Being this far out, I do keep a closer eye on the scale and weigh about every month or two, after going a couple of years without weighing at all.  I let my jeans be my guide. 

Speaking of jeans, I wore out my first pair in 2009.  I mean, I wore holes in the knees and front part before I grew out of them.  I wear them, holes and all like a trophy now.  They're my favorite weekend knock arounds.

Annual Encore of my favorite recipes

Nov 08, 2008

Sugar Slut, step back!  My fabulous recipes sank back to page 2 and people were having trouble finding them, so here they are, y'all!  RNY's reading this, you can make substitutions for lower fat varieties of some of these things.

I've been getting many requests for my trail mix recipe lately, so I thought I'd post it here for all to see:

Fabulous Ricotta Fluff Stuff
1 large container of ricotta cheese
1 box  SF jello instant cheesecake pudding
dollop or two of sour cream (to taste)
A little bit of milk to lighten it up (about a cup-add last and gradually)

Mix it all up and enjoy however you want it.  I love it with strawberries!  It's a great fruit dip or just eating straight out of the bowl. 

Variation for fluff:  Do whatever flavor of pudding you like and add a little milk to get the texture you like.

Warning:  Walmart's ricotta is very grainy in texture and never mixes to anything smooth and creamy.  Tasty, but strange.

Fabulous Trail Mix
Base mix
1 jar peanuts
1 jar sunflower kernels
1/2 bag raisins or "berries and cherries"
1/2 small bag chocolate chips.
1 small bag macadamia pieces
1 small bag pecan halves

To this, I might add other nuts depending on what's on sale (walnuts, cashews, more pecans).  I've also varied the fruit, too, so play around.  Try to keep the proportions the same.  It's so easy to load up the sweet stuff, but it's the nuts that are so valuable here.  The balance makes the perfect sweet and salty snack and my daily breakfast.  If proportions are kept, it's about 32g of protein for 8 oz.

Fabulous Custard -- full of protein, easy on new post-ops ~delicious!
3 cups milk
3/4 cup splenda
4-5 eggs (depending on size)
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
handful of coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 375'.  Beat eggs, nutmeg and vanilla together in baking dish.  On the stove, bring the milk and splenda just to a boil, then stir together to the eggs.  Bake for 25 min
NOTE:  when the milk is coming near to a boil, you'll get a little foam on the top.  Remove this foam before stirring into the eggs, or it will get a weird texture on top.

God Bless Paula Deen for flourless peanut butter cookies!

1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup Splenda

Mix and roll into balls (about walnut sized) and flatten with fork dipped in Splenda.  Bake at 350 for 12 minutes.  

-Do NOT overocok -- they will get crumbly since there's no gluten
-Peanut butter is naturally low sugar - the low sugar kind only reduces it by 1g per serving.
-If you're picky about artificial sweeteners, I've done a 3/1 with splenda and sugar to cut the after taste and it's good.  Presently, I do full-splenda in the cookies, and roll in regular sugar and that's good too.  I've also added semi-sweet chocolate chips to shake things up. 

My 3 yr surgiversary

Nov 01, 2008

Post Date: 10/31/08 6:59 am
Last Edit: 10/31/08 7:24 am
3 years strong today.   Yup, just like GoBlue, I’m another Halloween DS baby. What a difference 3 years makes, too! What’s funny is that I’m dressed like a living dead girl. If I was amongst my MVADS, I’d say I’m dressed as the one who listened to their surgeon and am still taking Flintstones chewables after three years.  

Year one was full of changes. I was melting away and learning to eat all over again. I was learning what affected my body and how. I was working to eat more so I would never have to tolerate those horrible protein drinks again if I could help it. I set reminders in outlook so I would be reminded to eat and take my vitamins. Who ever thought I’d need to be reminded to eat?  

Year two slowed down, and I reached my goal at 14 months out. I continued and lost a little more than goal and made promises that if I got 5 lbs less that I’d consider digestive enzymes. Honestly, I don’t think I got too skinny, but people started getting concerned. Magically enough, though, my weight loss stopped on it’s own. It probably had something to do with me loosening up on the carbs, being able to eat more those days, etc. I also got a hernia in year 2. I’m pretty sure it was due to me being too stubborn to wait for assistance for the wet two cubic foot bag of top soil and lifted it up on my own. Needless to say, this required another surgery and a decision to have a TT. I took a hard look at myself, and decided that while my loose skin isn’t that attractive, that I wasn’t yet ready for the risk of complications (and the pain) associated with the TT. My skin could be better, but it hides well, so I consider it a blessing. For those concerned with hernia repair, it’s not that big of a deal. We’re talking an overnight stay at the hospital and a couple weeks off of work.   

Year 3 was a breeze. I floated pretty effortlessly the first 6 months at the same weight, give or take a couple pounds. I noticed my weight creep up so started reigning in my simple carb intake. I never got real anal about it. It’s just not my style for stuff like that. I just found myself saying no to sweets every once in a while. Not always, mind you, but once in a while.  I just pay more attention is all. My weight crept up another 5 lbs to stay steady in, once again, give or take a couple pounds. I’m still a size 8, though (sometimes a 6).   I'm smaller than I've ever been as an adult -- and even as an adolescent.  This is the perfect size for me. I don’t feel too “skinny”, and I really like the way I look. I still have plenty of boobs and butt, too. It would be nice if they were a little more firm, but that’s the miracle of today’s undergarments. I can create the perfect illusion – no problem!   

Year 4 -- I still have the Outlook reminder to take my vitamins, but my stomach has finally figured out how to tell me it's hungry.  The rest will be posted as I learn it, LOL.  Thanks for all of our contributors out here, for I wouldn't be as healthy as I am today if it weren't for the information that is shared out here that I never heard from my surgeon, any nuts -- ANYWHERE.  Newbies -- stick around.  It's definitely worthwhile, even with the idiiots that drop in occasionally.

Lessons learned:
  1. Don’t make this harder than it has to be. You’re gonna lose no matter what the first year. 
  2. If you eat protein first > then veggies > you can eat what you want after because you won’t have much room left anyway and you won’t feel deprived of any favorite things.
  3. Be creative – pasta is my nemesis, but only the noodles. I found plenty to do with those fabulous sauces. Also, Dreamfields pasta is the shizzle! It’s not foolproof, but I can eat considerably more than my couple bites of other stuff with no ill effects. If I eat lots though, my body will bust me.
  4. On that note, pay attention to what foods affect you and how long it takes. If you notice that you get bad gas or diarrhea, write it down along with what you’ve eaten. Find the patterns to identify the culprit so you can limit or eliminate the consumption. 
  5. Ricotta Fluff, Flourless Peanut Butter cookies and SF custard –mMMMMmm
  6. Don’t buy retail until you’re close to goal. Get to know the consignment and thrift stores in your area. It never fails to amaze me the wonderful things that people cast away. Even though I’ve been a size 8 for 2 years, I love to find the great deals.
  7. Lane Bryant Cacique Balconette bras – enough said
  8. Be aggressive with vitamins A and D. I went from 400 iu to 800, then 1000, then 2000, then 5000 and my levels continued to tank. It wasn’t until I was taking 25,000 iu of dry A and 50,000iu of dry D that my levels started to rise at all. My surgeon wasn’t nearly aggressive enough with her suggestions, and I intend to tell her that when I see her next month so others can start on the right foot. In the meantime, I’m telling y’all.
  9. Don’t waste your time on chewable and liquid vitamins if you don’t have to. It may be necessary at first, but go to pills as soon as you’re able.
  10. So, we dress up for Halloween at work.  I'm the living dead girl to those here, but my secret pals will understand this even though the gal who took the photo didn't get it.Flintstones002.jpg

So, how healthy is malabsorption? Let me show you!

Oct 27, 2008

Well, I'll show you.  My 3rd year has me healthier than ever!
For those who think DS'ers eat themselves into an early grave with the fats we consume -- here's proof of what wonderful things it does.  Before my DS, my cholesterol and all that entails was off the chart.   Never before in my life did a health screening list my overall health as "Optimal".  I love my DS!!

Overall Health

Good Job. You are right where you need to be, Keep it up!  
Current Quality of Health:
* American Diabetes Assocation
** National Cholesterol Education Program
Blood Pressure 118/80

GLUCOSE 86 mg/dL
65-99 = Normal Fasting Result*
100-125 = Risk for Pre-Diabetes
>125 = Risk for Diabetes

BMI 24.9586

< 200 = Desirable**
200-239 = Borderline High
> 239 = High

< 50 = Low**
> 59 = Desirable
      forget it -- I'm still not eating seafood

LDL-CHOLESTEROL 58 mg/dL (calc)
< 100 = Optimal**
100-129 = Near Optimal
130-159 = Borderline High
> 159 = High

CHOL/HDLC RATIO 2.3 (calc)
< 5.0 = Optimal
>= 5.0 = High

< 150 = Normal**
150-199 = Borderline High
> 199 = High

< 1.0 = Low
1.0-3.0 = Average
3.1-10.0 = High
> 10.0: Persistent Elevations May Represent Non-Cardiovascular Inflammation

So, how important are vitamins?

Oct 09, 2008

I don't have a heck of a lot of new subjects to post about because my life is pretty normal and routine.  My wow's are few and far between, but I'm definitely living the DS dream.  So, for this entry, I thought I'd address those who may not think it's such a big deal to take vitamins.  The board today is fantastic of helping people with vits, but in the next month, maybe it will slow down, so for the newbie that reads my profile while lurking, i'm honored to post this thread from a wise RNY gal named Andrea U.  She has battled vitamin deficiencies with her RNY and is a huge advocate of proper supplementation, which DOES NOT include Flintstones anywhere in the regimen:

It's completely up to you.. if you are willing to gamble with your life (yes, you can die from non-compliance with supplementation) then go for it.

Otherwise, take the initiative and do the research on your own to decide what supplements you should be taking, rather than take the word of a "medical professional."  This includes me -- I am not a medical professional in any shape, form, or fashion.  Do your own research.

So deficiencies in the following can result in:

B1 or Thiamin
 - irreversible neuromuscular disorders
 - permanent defects in learning and short-term memory
 - coma  (aww.. this isn't so bad..)
 - death  (Nothing worth worrying about, right?)

B9 or Folate (Folic Acid)
 - forgetfulness
 - irritiability
 - hostility
 - paranoid behaviors

B12 or Cobalamine
 - neurologic sumptoms
 - numbness and tingling of extremeties
 - difficulty walking
 - memory loss
 - disorientation
 - megalobalstic anemia
 - permanent neural impairment
 - extreme delusions
 - hallucinations
 - overt psychois
+ Permanent damage can occur if treatment doesn't start soon enough!

 - chronic low intake creates metabolic bone disease presenting as
  - osteoporosis
  - osteomalacia
  - hypoparathyroidism
  - combo of above
 - muscle cramping
 - hypotension
 - bone pain

Vitamin D
 - rachitic tetany
 - mucle pain and spasms
 - weakness
 - bone pain
 - decrease in daily calcium absorption
 - rickets (osteomalacia)
 - osteoporosis
concentrations in blood greater than or equal to 80nmol/L, there was a 50% reduction in colorectal cancer rates
 - concentrations in blood greater than or equal to 50nmol/L, there was a 50% reduced risk of prostate cancer
 - risk for type 1 diabetes increased dramatically in vitamin D deficient children
 - higher circulating levels of vitamin D linked to a significantly lower Multiple Schlrosis risk

 - anemia
 - hair loss
 - feeling cold
 - pagophagia (constant desire to eat ice -- pica)
 - decreased immune function

 - decreased sense of smell
 - altered taste
 - poor wound healing
 - poor appetite
 - hair loss
 - low libido

Vitamin A
 - problems with skin and mucous membranes
 - dry hair
broken nails
 - increased risk of infections
 - linked to anemia and iron absorption
 - ophthalmologic consequences such as night blindness

Did I get them all?  Hell no.  But it makes you think twice about skipping your vitamins, doesn't it?

Hmmm, about surgery types...

Mar 08, 2008

Some are better with sticking to a diet
Some are better with sticking to a vitamin routine
Some are better being punished for non-compliance

I say, thank GOODNESS there is something for everyone

About Me
Northwest Mountains, GA
Surgery Date
Nov 05, 2004
Member Since

Before & After
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Friends 289

Latest Blog 25
Annual Encore of my favorite recipes
My 3 yr surgiversary
So, how healthy is malabsorption? Let me show you!
So, how important are vitamins?
Hmmm, about surgery types...