About six months ago, my doctor recommended a gastric sleeve operation for me to lose weight and get my pre-diabetes under control. I totally said no and nearly had a tantrum. It seemed tantamount to saying that I’m lazy, that I can’t lose weight on my own. I started telling myself that if only I’d just exercise more and eat less I could keep the pounds off. My doctor talked me down, pointing out that I did exercise and eat pretty healthy and was still struggling. She convinced me to go to an information session. So I began my journey. I attended classes and met with nutritionists, physical therapists, a psychologist, a hematologist, the doctor, and many others. I’ve had a variety of tests and done a ton of research, joined online groups to talk to people who’ve been through the surgery, and discussed this with my family.
So six months later, I’m about to have surgery. What does this mean, you might ask. Well, it involves laproscopic surgery to cut out 70-80 % of my stomach. After, I won’t be able to eat that much. I’ll follow a diet for awhile of liquids, then soft foods, then add in regular foods until I’m back to eating normal food. But I won’t eat as much, and I’ll have to focus on healthy choices so that I get full nutrition. And it turns out that they remove the part of the stomach that produces the hunger hormone ghrelin, which will help keep hunger under control. This surgery reverses diabetes. I had gestational diabetes and my A1C is high. I also have peripheral artery disease. This surgery will help with both.
This means a huge change in my eating habits. I will not be drinking carbonated anything again. I will need to drink constantly to stay hydrated. I have to chew at least 20-30 times a bite, and I can’t drink a 1/2 hour before or after eating. I have to take my time because it will be easy to overfill my stomach. I’ll need to take vitamins. I’ll have to make sure I get enough protein. My hair is likely to fall out until my body gets used to the change. I’m likely to be very moody as my fat releases hormones. My hair will grow back out and my moods will stabilize. I will likely lose at least 60-70% of my excess weight. I’ll need to carry a protein snack and water with me everywhere.
I’ve had to lose some weight in order to have the surgery and I have lost around 20 lbs. It made me wonder if I should have this surgery or not–can’t I just keep doing this? But here’s the problem. I’ve lost this weight before. Several times. I always plateau, and then the weight creeps back on. What this surgery does is get the weight off without killing the metabolism. My body will reset and I will be able to maintain weightloss so long as I continue to eat properly. I’ve been exercising every day for the last seven month or more, with only about a week off the entire time. Still hasn’t done much in terms of weight. I’ve also been following the diet they ask me to follow to prepare for surgery.
Some people say this is an easy out. Ha. Well, I thought that at first too, especially since I’m not that heavy. Or rather, I don’t look that heavy, but trust me, I have a lot to lose. But healthwise, I need it. The fact is that I want to be around for my family and I want to have as healthy an old age as I can. In fact, I want to put off old age for as long as possible.
I’ve been keeping this a secret from a lot of people, mostly because I’ve been a little embarrassed. Back to that feeling of laziness and why can’t I do it on my own? But that’s an insult to me and an insult to all the others who’ve fought long and hard and come to this decision and then fought through the surgery, the recovery, and all the rest that comes with is. Trust me when I say it’s not an easy out. It is, however, usually very successful for losing weight and so I’m grateful it’s an option.
I will likely keep posting about the journey. It begins this Weds, the 29th.
Best wishes, Di!
Best wishes! I have a friend who got a duodenal switch about 15 years ago and lost about 70 lbs. Her weight has crept up as she’s gotten older (she was in her 50’s at the time of her surgery), but overall she is much healthier and feels so much more energetic than she used to. The food regimen is hard initially, but after awhile, it just becomes second nature.
The programs that do this have implemented more education on nutrition and more followup and care in order to prevent the creep. Hopefully I’ll be able to get where I need to be and then maintain.
Good luck, Diane. I’ll keep you in my prayers.
Good luck. I had a bypass this past April. It has had some successes and some problems. For getting the diabetes under control I would call it a success, but I had extreme insulin resistance and now it’s just mild diabetes that is easily managed.
I had some problems and I’m not losing as rapidly as I’d hoped, but it is coming off slowly and the co-morbidities are all under control, so I’m telling myself it was a win over all. I’m not, however, a 100% cheerleader with it.
The people who say it’s the easy way are ignorant fools.
May it go smoothly and uneventfully and may your recovery be quick!