October 31st, 2008
|blissfulmisses||09:47 am - "Do you regret your gastric bypass?" - for the pre-ops and interested post-ops|
Many newbs to the forum and to WLS ask the question "does anyone regret having had WLS?" I was going to do this in a reply to one of those posts - but decided it was worth giving it it's own post.
I had my surgery at 20 years old - 5'2, 265 lbs. It's hard to use the word "regret". You're exchanging one set of health problems (fat - difficulty with movement is solved, people no longer look at you like you're a freak, so that's a huge non-health benefit, breathing is easier, blood pressure and sugar issues resolve themselves, etc) for another. I'm 23 now and 105 pounds. I lost 100 pounds in the first 7 months out of surgery, and by one year out I was down from 265 to 110 pounds. The plusses? I'm esthetically pleasing and can walk for hours on end - my body no longer hurts like before - my bones are stronger, and my breathing is a million times better (asthmatic). The cons? About 10 UTI's in the first year and a half out of surgery, 2 resulting in ER trips for bloody urine, yeast infections including thrush (rapid growth of yeast in the mouth and esophagus, another thing that wound me up in the ER once I couldn't swallow any more), black outs from vitamin deficiencies, constant bowel disruption (diahrea for the first year and then bouts of constipation followed by bouts of diahrea). Not to mention muscle death, dehydration, and malnutrition. Losing 100 pounds in 7 months means you're literally starving to death - the weight pours off as you fight daily nausea (this doesn't happen to everyone, but it's a long struggle to figure out which foods you can and cannot tolerate after surgery - and that does happen to everyone).
14 months out of surgery I was 95 pounds and so weak I couldn't open a window, or carry my own purse or bags to school. My surgeon sucked in the support department - and so once my blood pressure dropped to a constant 70/40 we searched for unaffiliated help from my PCP and got a new GI. Every time I seemed to get things under control (aka keeping my weight above 100 pounds) I'd get sick or get a UTI - which meant antibiotics, which HATE a newly-constructed pouch - and made me violently ill for the first 2 years after surgery. So it'd be one step forward (eating better, getting in water, vitamins) and 1 step back (getting sick/UTI - getting antibiotics, heaving daily from the contractions in my pouch from the antibiotic, and nausea so severe I'd force myself to eat - only to heave it back up - and to lose whatever weight I'd worked so hard to gain). I had a good stretch in 2008 with no UTI's (after passing a stone during the last UTI/ER trip) and stabilized between 105 pounds and 110 - usually a safe 107. I also got engaged in October 2007, to be married in October 08. Then, just this past August, I got hit with this terrible pain in my upper abdomen - and began losing weight again, despite force-feeding myself fatty foods like bacon and cream cheese. I had bowel cramps after every snack/meal - and constant floating diarrhea. In a week I was back down to 95 pounds; after months of *finally* being semi-normal. I went to my PCP, who wanted to check me into the hospital for dehydration and malnutrition. I refused - now traumatized by hospitals and the idea of a feeding tube - something I'd been "threatened" with since surgery due to the massive weight loss. Long story short - they did lots of tests - turned out I was peeing protein, and had gallstones (something I was told by this new GI and my new kidney doc that is common in most ALL bypass patients with gall bladders - and a good 75% have to have them removed due to constant build up of stones due to dramatic weight loss). This explained the terrible upper back pain, but not the protein in the urine and the weight loss. Turns out I have blind loop syndrome, a syndrome particular mainly to WLS patients, where bacteria grows in the "blind loop" of the intestine created by the bypass, and causes severe malabsorption. Turns out my floating poop was straight-up fat. My body was *malabsorbing* fat - so the more fat I ate, the more I shit, the more weight I lost. It got to the point where they could literally feel my aorta through my touching my abdomen. To add insult to injury - my new GI found through endoscopy that I have two blind loops for bacteria to grow in (caused by the "style" in which my surgeon performs his bypasses - prick). Intestinal antibiotics clear the flare up, but it's recurrent - similar to chrones, colitis, or IBS. It's been 2 months since that month-long hell. I'm 23 years old, and just got married Oct 5 to the guy I've been with since way before surgery (we got together at 16). We moved into a new apartment, and the stress set off another blind loop attack. I've got antibiotics, and it seems to be getting better - solid stool today.
So yeah - there's no way to use the word "regret" something so complex. It doesn't cover all the dimensions. You cannot prepare yourself for shit. What happens, happens. Yeah, I'm 105 pounds and pretty amazing looking, if I do say so myself - especially being I spent 20 years being regarded as a "slob" due to my weight; an untouchable; a monster and *gross* to my peers through my school years. Health problems caused by my fat are gone, but new problems have arisen, and I haven't been "healthy" since before my surgery, ironically enough. It's been one health drama to another. So you take the risk - there are pro's and con's - and it's a serious, serious mind fuck.
An excerpt from another sufferers post - a member who's 1 month post op:
I am having a bout of buyer’s remorse. I find myself thinking “why did I do this to myself? I wish I’d never done this,” about a thousand times a day.
I'm 3 years out - and still think this every day a million times over... but then, in that same day, I'll achieve some feat that makes me a million times grateful for what my WLS has "given me"; what I've accomplished. It's one set of health problems for another. The first 6 months are like a slow death - seriously. The first month is so fucking bad that some WLS patients just block it out the further along they get. After month 3 you'll have alot more energy. You have no energy because (a) you just had surgery and (b) you're starving - there's no other way to look at it. You had to maintain 300 lbs somehow - and that was by consuming over 3,000 calories a day. Now you take in probably 500 if you're lucky. Think about what you're entire body is going through - and cut yourself some slack. After 6 months you'll feel like a new person. The pain from the surgery will be gone and you'll be smaller - so you'll have much more mobility - which will be a *huge* high for you. Then the psychological aspects hit. By 18 months you'll be used to your routine - but, in my 3 years experience, the struggle is never over.
Pics under cut of before and after
Lap RNY 2/15/06
Surgeon's goal: 140 lbs
Me before surgery:
And just after, so I'd lost about 25 pounds at this point:
And this is me down about 60 pounds:
And different times where I was "sick" - 90 pound range
|Date:||October 31st, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)|| |
Thanks for this. I think you give a really clear picture of how complicated a decision this is. You really are exchanging one set of medical issues for another, without knowing how that second set is going to play out beforehand. It's not a decision to be made lightly.
I am in a loop right now of near-constant bloodwork, tweaking, and testing due to deficiencies that is getting really tiring and results in a lot of pills. Would I do it again? Absolutely, but I do have a whole host of new issues to contend with.
Would I do it again? Absolutely, but I do have a whole host of new issues to contend with.
|Date:||October 31st, 2008 02:02 pm (UTC)|| |
Hi. You look great :) apart from at the 90lbs where you do look ill.
Thank you so much for posting this. It really gives me a great idea of what it could be like. I know surgery is a last resort, and I know it isn't a 'walk in the park' so to speak. Thanks for sharing this.
"it isn't a walk in the park" is an understatement. I've been through alot of shit in my 23 years, believe it or not. I was born with alot of abnormalities - including poor bone structure with a severe spinal curve that had my whole body tilted. My hips were also completely inverted and pivotal. My ear canals were not properly formed, and so I was deaf until my parents discovered the problem at around the age of 5. I underwent 3 surgeries to be able to hear the way I can now - the last one at around age 13. Due to my bone deformations, I attended painful physical therapy until I was 16 so that I'd be able to walk properly. During my first year of life it was found I had stomach deformations, and was hospitalized because I couldn't keep things down. By age 3 I was "better", but began screaming when I'd pee - not to mention I couldn't communicate myself (parents just thought I was "slow" from all the hospitalizations and trauma) because without being able to hear I couldn't speak properly. I have no idea how they fixed that kidney problem - I don't remember it, just remember the screaming pee in the bathtub when I was little. At 20 years old I was no stranger to pain - but this was unlike anything I'd experienced. I felt like I was dying - I thought "this is what dying must feel like" - because you are literally starving to death for the first 6 months *at least* because your stomach is so small and it's near impossible to get in your nutrient requirements with (a) such a small pouch, (b) such nausea, and (c) using only liquids or mushy food. You deteriorate - you starve - and for that you lose weight.... and hair, and your muscles...
I'm so sorry you've had all these problems, before and after WLS.
I wish everyone who ever said "oh, WLS is the 'easy way out' could hear you tell your tale. :(
|Date:||October 31st, 2008 03:04 pm (UTC)|| |
|Date:||November 1st, 2008 12:09 am (UTC)|| |
I think she was saying she's agreeing with what you said :)
|Date:||November 2nd, 2008 12:03 am (UTC)|| |
Yeah, this. ;) LOL!!
|Date:||October 31st, 2008 02:52 pm (UTC)|| |
Thanks for sharing all of this.
I really appreciate it when everyone shares the range of experience so the folks who have not had surgery understand that there can be so many things to deal with.
|Date:||October 31st, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)|| |
thank you so much for your openness...it's a scary prospect,
I'm not one for sugar coating. It does no one an ounce of good, in my personal opinion. Good luck to you.
|Date:||October 31st, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)|| |
you were a beautiful beautiful bride. :)
aww thanks :) yet another serious mind fuck. lol
|Date:||October 31st, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)|| |
You look just like a princess (that had to blow your mind! I can imagine!!) we want to renew our vows (it's been 10 years!!!!!) but hubby wants to do it when we are both in shape (you know - a shape other than round?) so we can really enjoy our pictures. This was the second marriage for each of us, and we eloped so we have no wedding pics.
growing up I never dreamed of a wedding. In the summer I wore long sleeves to cover my massive arms - so the idea of a wedding dress and my arms showing was like a scene from a horror film to me. Instead I fantasized about having a baby, what I'd name it, how I'd do it's room, etc. But in terms of a wedding? Never crossed my mind. Never did I even consider even getting married until I met Steve at 16 - and then I'd always planned to do a civil marriage, or to elope and wear something totally unconventional - like a tux or something. I was always a tom boy kinda girl. The wedding blew my mind. I didn't go to prom or any of that crap - so I'd never even worn a dress in my life until after surgery.
|Date:||November 2nd, 2008 12:05 am (UTC)|| |
I never did either - only of having kids. Funny what a fat childhood will do to a girl. I also never went to prom. I was skinny (thank you bulemia) for a very brief period period in high school - age 15, yet I'd always been the fat girl so no one asked me to prom either. Always the tom boy.
I'm glad you were able to have a wedding that blew your mind, that was nothing like you'd ever expected. Sometimes it's a good thing to step outside your comfort zone. :)
thank you for sharing .....
Reading this only confirms my thought that while being fat we are strong and resilient and we only get stronger by having these surgery's.
While we need to relearn everything, struggle at being comfortable in our own skin, there are the medical battles that come up time and time again.
Many of us over-come medical ailments like asthma, diabetes, only to struggle in our new found bodies with other medical strife.
Considering everything each and everyone of us experience before during and after our surgery's there is always a positive and we find it. I can't help but say that this really proves how fucking strong we really are, inside and out.
:) hugs for everyone!
Thank you for your post.
That took a lot of time and pain to write out. You helped me to remember why I am doing what I am doing. I don't know if you've read my history but basically I am working at remaining permanently pre-op while losing the necessary weight! Through wls tools, I am down 100 lbs in 2 years from 360 june 2006 to 261 when I weighed a month ago.
I wish you all the luck in the world; you have been through enough to earn it!
I've been trying to find a way to get surgery for going on three years and this community has been a big part of that and you're one of the people who always has fantastic, although scary sometimes, information, thank you for that!
(I'm crossing my fingers for this time next year to be able to self pay!)