I've been overweight most of my life.  I went from being chubby as a kid to fat as an adolescent.  I lost a little weight in high school...mostly starving myself and exercising like a fiend.  As a young adult, the weight kept coming on.  I tried all kinds of diets, and usually lost some weight, but always ended up putting it back on...plus more.  I hit crisis point in my late 20's.  In the summer of 2002, I worked very hard on trying to make a "lifestyle change."  I went on a low-carb diet and I exercised almost every day.  That summer, I lost down to 190 lbs (from 215).  But then, winter came, and a lot of life changes along with it.  I started a very demanding PhD program, moved into a new apartment, changed jobs, and started talking marriage with my boyfriend.  Before I knew it, I was well over 215 and counting.  Over the course of the next 4 years, I got married, moved again, got a new job, kept working on the doctorate, and gained up to 269 lbs!!!  Basically, the stress had me eating out of control, and I was too tired, both physically and mentally, to do anything about the weight.  I felt horrible!  That is when I decided to have WLS.

Now, I have to admit, I was anti-WLS most of my life.  My aunt had gastric bypass years ago (when I was a child), and she had a lot of problems.  Even now, she still suffers from malabsorption of B12 and anemia.  So, I didn't think it was safe.  Plus, I was embarrassed to admit that I couldn't lose the weight without having surgery.  But, I was desparate.  I knew if I didn't get the weight under control, I would end up with diabetes or a heart attack...it was only a matter of time. 

From my first informational meeting on RNY vs. Lap Band, I was convinced that WLS was for me.  It took me a while to decide on RNY.  The deciding factor was that statistics showed that RNYers generally lost more weight, faster, and kept it off at a higher rate than lap banders.  Well, I decided if I was going to put myself through surgery, I wanted the best chance of success!

My surgeon was George Kerlakian with Group Health Associates in Cincinnati, OH.  I was referred to him by my primary care physician.  He and his staff were great, and I got insurance approval right away.  (I have Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield through my university job). 

Everything was a breeze...until the surgery.  Unfortunately, I had complications.  And the bummer is, they were avoidable.  What happened is, at the end of the surgery, the doctor sewed the two parts of my small intestine back together with one side of it twisted.  This happened because the surgery was lap-aided, and he did not see that the intestines were twisted.  So, in effect, he created a bowel obstruction.  Thirty-six hours later, when I was in agony and not able to keep even water down, they verified that it was an obstruction and did an emergency surgery to correct the problem.

In order to correct the bowel obstruction, I had to be cut open.  And in order to cut down on the risk of infection, the wound was left open at the top and bottom.  Also, a gastric tube was inserted.  What should have been 2-3 days in the hospital and one week off from work turned into 15 days in the hospital and 2 months off work.  Plus, I was on a wound vac until the wound healed.  I was in terrible pain, had to deal with horrible smell (due to fat necrosis and infection), and now have pretty bad scars.

In spite of all that I've mentioned, today I am happy that I had WLS.  I am now completely healed, and have lost about 80 pounds.  The weight loss has stalled, but I am cutting more carbs and increasing my exercise to get that last 30 pounds off and make my goal of 160lbs.

There are so many things I appreciate about where I am now.  I have more energy, I look better, I feel good, and can do more physical activities, and I just generally feel better about myself.  I am a more confident person having gone through this.




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Crescent Springs, KY
Jun 07, 2006
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November 10, 2006