I just realized that I have never blogged about having diet surgery last August.
Let me start with the disclaimer that I think this is the best thing I have ever done and when I see morbidly obese people I almost cry because I don’t know any way to approach them and let them know as I wish somebody had let me know years ago. I tried to write this as less as a sales pitch and more of a “this is what I did” but it still came out as a sales pitch so I’m just going with it. 🙂
First — Science: “most scientists know that we can’t eat ourselves thin, that the lost weight will ultimately bounce back. … We are very efficient biological machines. We evolved not to lose weight. We evolved to keep on as much weight as we possibly can.” For the normal metabolized person, the odds of success are low. But some studies say that for the morbidly obese, the odds of you losing weight via dieting & exercise and keeping it off for 10 years is zero. ZERO. Statistical noise if it really ever happens at all. So, really it comes down to surgery .vs. obesity. It is that black and white.
The odd thing, and the thing that somewhat held me back, was that losing weight does not add all that many years to your life. Something like five. I wasn’t sure if picking up the risks for the surgery itself was worth five years. I would do a bout of research and then just decide if I was going to have to miserable after the surgery and diet like crazy after the surgery, I would just choose to do that without the surgery. Great plan, never worked. Turns out, it would have never worked for me.
The first thing my bariatric surgeon told my husband that the length of my small intestines “was almost one for the record books.” This helped me to forgive myself. I had more than an extra meter to squeeze every last calorie than your average Joe. No wonder it took an 800 calorie a day diet for me not to gain weight. When body types were being handed out, I got the famine friendly version. If I had lived in Europe after WW1, I would have been very thankful but as I live in blessed abundance, it wasn’t pretty.
Here are some before pictures:
It is a little hard to keep up with ‘After’ photos because I have changed so dramatically and a three week old photo (like the top after photo) seems so out of date.
At five months I’ve lost around 80 pounds. But let me say that it has been hell. Or at least the first three months were really hell, and from now to the rest of my first year, I expect to be OK. But as far as I know, there isn’t a way to lose 80 pounds that isn’t hell. And also, if I never lost another pound from this thing but continued to suffer at peak levels, it would have still been worth it.
What does suffering from this feel like? I felt weak and injured. Not counting the surgery trauma itself, my new body didn’t know what it wanted to eat, if it wanted it eat or what the point of this whole eating was any way. (The point, I’ve learned, is to feel strong. I never really *knew* that, or at least it didn’t matter before I compromised my digestive system.) I take relatively few vitamins (~20 a day.) compared to some people’s 40 or more. Even now, I’m generally fighting either constipation or diarrhea because of the vitamin load. I had some throat trauma after the surgery that make it hard to swallow, but that seems to happen only occasionally now. I had to live off soups for almost 2.5 months.
There is an inverse relation ship between the difficulty of the surgery and the difficulty of your life after the surgery. When I decided to do this, I decided to do it right. I had a DS and found the best surgeon in Mexico to do it. Of course our insurance wouldn’t pay, so we paid ~15K ourselves and had it done in Mexico.
This is Mike and I with my surgeon, Dr. Ungson, about three days post op. MBC has been a joy to work with the whole time. I would choose them again without a thought.
Even with bariatric surgery, our “most efficient bodies”, figure out a way to overcome and start holding onto the fat. So I have about a year called “the honeymoon period” where I can really lose the weight. Because I got a DS*, I will always have malabsorbtion of about 80% of any fat I eat, but surprisingly this alone doesn’t make one skinny. So the rule of thumb is that my body will settle down at the weight I am at the end of the honeymoon period plus ~20%. That is why I expect this whole first year to rough. I eat less carbs than the Aitkin’s people. I need to stay on the diet from hell and heal and get start an exercise program. It is getting easier. I’m figuring it out and my weight loss says I’m being successful. I just yearn for the day when I’m not consumed by all of this.
So, what makes it worth it? What made it so worth it at minus 50 lbs that I would have been happy there? I fit again. Literally. Being super overweight is the most uncomfortable thing. I didn’t fit in normal chairs at restaurants, or booths or air planes or even cars. Actually, it had gotten to the place where I was always uncomfortable. Always. Everything was so much harder. The world was bleak and I was so unhappy and there was no hope in sight. I thought I was clinically depressed, but I’ve come to find out that, nope. I was depressed because I had a reason to be and now that the reason is going, going, gone, so is my depression.
There is nothing better that I have ever done. I, like most bariatric patients, say my only regret is that I didn’t do this earlier.
* My quick surgery research advice: I will probably do a longer post in the future, but for now: Get the DS or a VSG. Don’t get a band or a Roux-En-Y.
(edited to fix link and categories.)