In May of 2000, I was one of the many people in the United States to get something called a Roux-En-Y Gastric bypass. You hear horror stories and success stories when people talk about getting weight loss surgery done, so I would like to share my own experience that is completely honest about pro’s and con’s.
A person who says that getting a gastric bypass is the easy way, doesn’t have a clue what they are talking about. This surgery is life changing on a fundamental level, emotionally as well as physically. I have lost over 200lbs, and gained what I feel is wisdom. Hind sight can be more than 20/20 if you look closely.
If your surgeon is good, they will ask you to keep a food diary for three to six months before the operation so they can be sure it’s a required surgery and not something that can be taken care of with diet and nutrition counseling.
They will send you to nutrition classes to teach you how to rethink what you eat, looking for the hidden problems with the foods you’ve been writing in your journal even though you’ll be getting the procedure. The reason they do this, is so you can make sure you have proper eating habits after your recovery.
I personally was not allowed to eat anything 24 hours prior, or drink anything 12 hours prior to mine being done. However, surgeons may differ on what they ask you to do or not to do.
After the surgery, I woke in recovery with little to no problems. I had an umbilical hernia repaired at the same time that was rather severe so my incision was roughly a foot long. When they released me, I still didn’t feel much of the pain because I was on something called Roxicet in liquid form. I was able to take that medication for about a week, after it was gone the pain was intense.
Depending on who your doctor is and what your personal situation may be, determines how well the operation goes for you. One thing you must remember though is no matter what the personal complication is, the surgery all by itself is a serious operation that is most times irreversible. This is not something to be entered into lightly. Some have come out with little to no pain whatsoever, others have ended up dying. You and your doctor must be sure this is the right choice for you. Most people who undergo this surgery do it using laparoscopy, others have it as I did with open surgery.
Recovery from my surgery took more than four months, it was much longer before I could have full movement in my abdomen without discomfort. During that time I was exhilarated, the weight was pouring off. To support this system, you should also take weight loss supplement like resurge. However, it is advisable and very crucial to always ask your doctor about your health condition before taking any products.
This is where honesty comes in, a Roux-En-Y changes the way you’re hooked up inside. It takes your intestines and hooks them to the top of your stomach where a small pouch is made from the tissue. The rest of your stomach is then disconnected and re-hooked to your intestines in another place allowing the fluids it produces to flow into the intestines.
The result is you are left with an egg sized pouch to hold the food, and you digest in your intestines. Therefore “bypassing” the stomach altogether. The stomach is left free floating in your abdomen.
Because your body isn’t absorbing the food, it starves. Some people, like myself, have difficulty digesting anything for the first year. I survived off of baby food, soft scrambled eggs, yogurt and drinking fluids.
There are things I can’t eat to this day. Steak is a thing of the past, and something I enjoyed. I can have nothing with carbonation in it which includes soda, beer, champagne or even pop rocks. Anything with a high amount of sugar in it gives me something called “Dumping Syndrome” because the sugar goes right into your intestines making you very sick and shaky.
Alcohol has become something I drink only on rare occasions. I absorb it rapidly through my intestinal wall, and become very drunk in a short amount of time followed by stomach pain and nausea.
Fortunately for me, I can still drink coffee which is something I don’t think I could live without. Some people however can’t drink it afterwards because of it being acidic, it tears up the lining of their gastric tract. It’s for that reason I can’t drink citrus juices.
My hair fell out in clumps from malnutrition and I developed two forms of deficiency, one from iron and the other from being unable to absorb B complexes.
My skin started to sag, in the first ten months I lost over 150lbs. I was dry and flaking, my teeth became loose and my self esteem hit an all time low.
I started having fainting spells, and was exhausted all the time. I ended up getting blood tests and had to take shots every week to get my imbalances under control. I was informed that permanent damage could happen if it kept on for an extended period of time.
I was willing to deal with all of the negatives because I could play with my children again, be intimate with my husband and purchase clothes without people staring. I was finally unnoticeable, no one whispering when I went to the store to buy groceries. I could go to a movie and sit in a regular seat instead of one for the disabled. Going to the beach was no longer a humiliation for me, shorts stopped being a nightmare.
I could go camping, and only have to use one sleeping bag instead of having to zip together two of them. The positives were more important to me than the negatives, in my situation.
It took until 2004 for my body to find a balance, and until 2006 for my deficiencies to finally be under control. I’m now in the process of getting my dental work done from the malnutrition, and waiting for insurance to approve a procedure to take the excess skin off of my torso.
Now that my body is in balance and is behaving the way it should, I can look back at all of the trials I and my family had to go through. I can honestly say that even with all of the medical issues that came from it, the alternative would have been much worse.
I will never regret getting weight loss surgery done, however I want others to realize this can be a very hard road to travel. There is no easy way to lose weight, diet and exercise are still an important key to your fitness after a bariatric surgery no matter which kind you get. It should always be remembered that these surgeries are meant to be tools, not a means to an end by themselves.