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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.