i decided that i am actually goin to copy and paste my aunts answers.... not because im lazy and dont feel like turning them into a story (ok, so maybe im a little lazy :-P) but because i kind of like how she was just so honest and whatnot. PLUS she says some things that i feel like she CAN say- because she did it. if i were to say those things id be a hater- and i dont want any confusion about who said what. any comments i make will be in italics.
INTERVIEW WITH MY AUNT DAWN aka DENA :)
What surgery did you choose & why that over the others?
I selected Gastroplasty surgery because in the late 90’s when I had my surgery it was the only one that was 100% reversible.
Did u try to do it on your own first?
I did attempt to “diet” on my own but never stuck with it and would get discouraged and binge eat; gaining the weight lost plus some back.
If so what did you try and what was your outcome?
I tried to count calories, counted carbs, counted every doggone thing LOL Weight watchers, Jenny Craig, Nutri System…honestly any and all diets available I have tried at one time or another (grapefruit & water, soup, etc…) and sadly I even used illegal drugs (meth) at one point (post-surgery) because I was so obsessed with losing weight.
350lbs and I am 5’6” tall with a medium frame.
I fluctuate between 160-175lbs now…but my “lowest” weight was in 2004/2005 when I got down to 100lbs (at 5’6” I assure you 100lbs is NOT a sexy or healthy weight for me).
Did u have any complications?
I lost weight so quickly that I had to have emergency gall bladder removal surgery, my hair thinned out drastically and I cannot digest meat or chicken or depending on what day any type of food and therefore most days since my surgery I have vomited at least once and that’s regardless of whether I overate or not. (i personally witness this all the time. whenever we go to a restraunt shes gagging by the time we get to the car regardless of what she ate) I have had to have costly (even with medical insurance) medical procedures many years later (2008’ish) because food sits in the “stapled” portion of my upper stomach and I had to have my stomach scoped, but mid-surgery they had to stop because the tube that was implanted when I had my GP surgery that all my food has to go through to reach my lower stomach and remaining digestive tract, was starting to tear and I was starting to have internal bleeding. The gastroenterologist couldn’t expand the tube (which literally is the size of my pinky and I have small hands, my ring finger is a size 4 ½-5 so you can imagine the tiny size of that tube if it’s the size of my pinky finger) to allow food to pass through easier because of the tearing so he had to stop and basically the bottom line is that my vomiting happens because the tube is too small to allow all food to make it through, so I vomit (DAILY) and that’s what gets the rotten disgusting “leftover” food that never makes it to digestion out of my body. I am sure if you interviewed my close family members you would learn other things as well, but to me these are the most important issues I have battled.
How fast did u lose the bulk of your weight?
I lost the 1st 100lbs rapidly, but the 2nd approximately 90-100lbs (or more depending on what year we’re discussing) over several years.
Easier and faster than “normal” weight loss methods (ie…eating right and exercising)
Daily vomiting, inability to eat without fear of throwing up which makes eating out complicated because I don’t like to put my face where people put their asses, especially in a public restroom!
Would u recommend it?
NO NO NO…Yes I was successful, but was advised by my physician that if you’re a heavy child, youth, & adult, etc…chances of you actually keeping the weight off is slim. And statistically people that have weight loss surgery regain their weight PLUS some within 5-10yrs. And I know personally people that have had more than one weight loss procedure (Gastroplasty to esophagus banding, etc…) and currently weigh upwards of 300+ pounds.
If you had one, would u allow your child to do it if she was like 16 and Doctors said its ok?
Would u encourage it if she was big later in life & decided to do it on her own?
What’s your diet like now?
I try to watch what I eat and although I eat a lot more junk food (chocolate, etc…) than I care to admit, I now workout to keep from becoming obese again and have been exercising religiously for almost a decade now.
What’s your workout routine like now?
As of this point in time I am still recovering from an injury (broken ankle) so my workout routine is a lot less intense than it was prior to being run down by the car in December 2012…but I walk 30-45min before work and try to go to the gym in the evening to do 1hr on the Cybex cross trainer and every other day do the weight circuit.
What was your diet & workout routine like prior to surgery?
I didn’t do crap…and anyone that’s morbidly obese (the correct medical term for someone over 100lbs over weight) that says they ate “right” or “exercised” is a damn liar (AMEN SISTER), because it’s impossible to be morbidly obese and eat right and workout regularly. I basically ate 24/7 (but hid the actual eating from my loved ones…meaning the putting of the food in my actual mouth, because lets be real…a 350lbs body isn’t hiding the fact that they eat like shit 24/7/365) and I laid around all the time because I was always tired and wanted naps.
Personally no regrets…but I do pay the price daily for taking the “easy” way out.
Would u do it over?
If my life was as it has been (no children) yes; but NEVER would I risk dying on the operating table for any reason if I had children. If you have children you have an obligation to THEM to eat right and exercise, not to undergo surgery simply because one wants to take the EASY way out. Yes…I had surgery and I am calling it the EASY way out…the way of the WEAK if you want to know how I really feel. And at one time I was the WEAK and the reason I got morbidly obese is because I always took the easy way out back then and sometimes still do -getting prescribed Phentermine to quickly lose 10-20lbs …back from 2003-2005 using and becoming addicted to meth and nearly dying from drug abuse (which was started only because I thought it would help me lose weight faster…and it did that and almost destroyed my life as well).
Was it Doctor recommended it or if it was your idea?
My Doctor (Stephen V Hamm in Plano, Texas…an amazing bariatric surgeon still to this day) did NOT want me to have the surgery. He counseled me against it and told me that I could lose it a better way (eat right, exercise, etc…) and that he didn’t like to nor did he at that time (unsure what he counsels today so I am speaking from my personal experiences only with him when I had my surgery May 4, 1998) want to perform such a procedure on a 20-something year old young woman. I was determined and eventually he did do the Gastroplasty procedure, but I also had to sign a waiver that basically stated that I had a 50/50 chance of dying on the surgery table (because as a morbidly obese person suffocation or other complications can arise that wouldn’t arise for a normal weight person undergoing a surgical procedure) and that if I died my family could never sue the Physician, hospital, etc…and I signed that document praying for the best outcome. I was lucky…I am sure there are families out there that are suffering the consequences of the not so lucky.
Anything else you’d like to share?
If you are contemplating a bariatric surgery do your due diligence…research the physician, the procedure, is it reversible (you would want it to be because you never know if you’re going to be that person that has complications), if you have children DO NOT DO IT…it’s simply not worth the risk. My niece Ashley is living proof that it can be done without bells and whistles and there is no excuse for not teaching your children as you learn to lead a healthier lifestyle. It’s selfish and simply too risky in my opinion to undergo surgery if you’re a mother or father THAT is your reason enough to be healthier. I have a ton of opinions and I read a huge amount of bariatric surgery patients postings and I am sorry but you truly have no real say so until you’ve maintained your weight over 5-10yrs because as I mentioned earlier STATISTICS prove that a vast majority of people having surgery are currently MORBIDLY OBESE…so anyone with less than 5-10yrs MAINTANENCE simply should not be advising people like they have a damn clue about weight loss, because WE TOOK THE EASY WAY OUT…P-E-R-I-O-D!!! I am a success story (according to my bariatric surgeon and my family physician because I have kept it off over 10yrs and I lost more than the GUARUNTEED 100lbs that surgery promises…yeah most patients fail to admit that 100lbs is the amount of weight bariatric surgery guarantees…per Dr. Stephen V. Hamm in my pre-surgery meeting with him, all he can promise is 100lbs and anything over that is my own hard work and MAINTAINING it is all on you guessed it…ME) but sadly there are more people out there that are NOT success stories.
although i seriously considered surgery at one point in my life, my aunt has always advised me against it. again, i am so glad i was not able to go through with surgery now, but at the time i was pissed and thinking about my aunts experience made it a lot easier to accept. i remember my aunt being BIG when i was a kid. but i also remember her looking sickly skinny and fitting into little girls clothes.... shes a perfect example that losing weight doesnt change your brain- she used meth to lose weight AFTER risking her life in the operating room! if youre unhappy and miserable now and you dont change your mindset- you will prob still be unhappy and miserable later.
although my aunt does consider it the easy way out, shes spot on in saying that its not an guaranteed fix. we know another woman who also had the surgery a few years back and is as big now as ever! it may be a little easier in some aspects, and the weight may come off faster, but you CAN still fail at this! weight loss surgery is NOT a guarantee to skinny, happy, or healthy.
i hope if youre considering WLS these past two posts have helped! If you decide to go through with surgery i wish you the best of luck! but if you decide to do it the old fashioned way, or need help staying on track and not gaining it all back Post Op- i am here for you!! firstname.lastname@example.org :-D