I Had Rny Gastric BypassI had my gastric bypass surgery on May 27Th 2011.
I was 40 years old. I had gone from overweight, to obese, to morbidly obese, and in the days before my operation I weighed in at 360lbs on a just under 5foot7 inch female fr
I had tried diets for nearly my entire life. I was fat from almost as far back as I could remember and I had a fixation with food as far back as I can remember as well.
I remember when I was little, we had chewable vitamins in the house. They were kept in the kitchen cabinet on the top shelf. I was no more than 3 years old, but I put a chair by the counter, climbed up and ate almost the entire bottle of vitamins.
My mother found the near empty bottle and panicked. She called my doctor, but he said it was OK, all I had to do was eat dinner and I'd be fine.
My mother who also suffered from obesity, as well as health issues tied to her weight, tried hard to keep me from becoming overweight. She never put me down. She always told me I was beautiful, but she tried to give me healthy and low calorie foods. So for the first few years of my life I wasn't too big. But then when I was able to choose my own food the weight began to pile on. Not to mention I was daddy's little girl and if I wanted a ton of candy, well I could have a ton of candy. He never said no. As an adult, I asked him if I behaved in restaurants when I was a little girl, or did I run around like a maniac like some children do. He told me I was very quiet and well behaved. As long as I was fed, I was happy.
When I was 10 years old my mother died of breast cancer after a long painful battle with the disease. After that, food took on an even more central role in my life. I had few comforts, just my pet boxer dog, comic books and of course eating . Thus the roller coaster of gaining weight, dieting and gaining more weight began in earnest.
Sometimes I would lose alot of weight, but I always gained it back. Always. And of course, Id wind up gaining more than I lost. So fast forward to age 40.
As I said , I was super morbidly obese. I measured myself. Ever since puberty I'd put on most of my weight in my hips, legs, butt and thighs. I had a 44 inch waist and 65 inch hips! As I said I was just under 5 foot 7 which would make me about 56 or 57 inches tall, so I was almost as wide as I was tall!
I was in despair. I had sleep apnea and had to sleep with a Cpap machine. That means I'd put a mask over my mouth and nose and the machine would blow air down my throat to keep my airway open. Before I got the Cpap, I used to wake up choking and gasping for air. Sometimes I'd be awake, but my airway would remain constricted and I had to try and relax before I could breath again. When I had a sleep study done, it showed that I had a sleep apnea rating of 22. That meant that I would stop breathing 22 times in an hour during the night.
I had acid reflux, when I'd lay down, the acid would splash up from my stomach into my esophagus and burn me. I had high blood pressure and was already on medication for it. I didn't't have diabetes yet, but I supposed that was only a matter of time.
Other than the health issues, my obesity caused social issues as well. My weight made me ugly and I was treated like an ugly woman. I didn't get the little niceties that slim, pretty girls get. Sure sometimes people would tell me I had a pretty face, but for the most part I lived on the outskirts of society. Both a freak to be stared at or an invisible woman to be past over. There were certain jobs that I wound up not getting even though when I interviewed for them, I was number one on the list of candidates.. Now, I have no proof that being fat caused me to lose out on jobs, but I firmly believed that was the case.
The only jobs I could get were in call centers. There were hundreds of people working there and we were numbers to some big company, not names or people. Sometimes the parking lots of these places were so huge and full that Id wind up parking quite a distance away , so I had to walk into the building. Its not like I walked a few miles, probably a few hundred feet at the most, but it made my feet so sore that when I'd wake up in the middle of the night to go to the rest room, I had to hold on to furniture or I wouldn't be able to stand.
If something fell on the floor and rolled under a table or under the bed, I'd be afraid to go get it for fear I would not be able to get up again under my own power. Since so much of my weight was in my backside, I started to have back problems. I couldn't stand more than a few minutes at a time before I had to take a rest. So I couldn't even wash more than a few dishes before I'd need a break.
And then there was hygiene. I took showers and kept clean, but I could never take a soothing bath because I knew I couldn't't fit in the tub. I could barely clean my own bottom when I went to the restroom. When I went to the bathroom it had to be in my own home, so I could put one of my legs on the tub and bend forward, otherwise wiping would be nearly impossible, so I also feared public rest rooms And the comforts of life that normal sized people dont even think about became out of reach for me. I feared chairs, because I couldn't fit into chairs with arms. I could no longer fit into booths at restaurants. . I couldn't enjoy concerts and shows anymore because those seats hurt too much because I had to wedge myself in to them or Id have to sit on the very edge of the seat and balance myself. I stopped flying in 2001, not because of 9/11 but because I hated having to ask for a seat belt extender , and I feared that eventually I'd have to undergo the humiliation of being asked to buy a second seat.
I knew I had only one chance at a normal life. A surgeon was recommended to me by my kind dentist. And I happened to see an commercial for that same surgeon's bariatric seminar at a nearby hospital. I signed up for it and went. I listened to him and although he didn't present WLS as a magical solution. I knew it was the only thing that would help me.
Since I was a self pay, and not going through insurance, it didn't take me months to get approved. My first appointment with the surgeon was on May 3, 2008 and I was scheduled for surgery on May 27Th. In those short weeks I had to get blood work done, see a psychologist and take many other tests. But I did it and I was cleared for surgery.
I wasn't nervous until the morning of the surgery. Then I realized the magnitude of what I was doing. I was in pre-op, and I kept having to get up to go to the bathroom. Finally it was time for the surgery. I remember being in pre-op then waking up in pain in recovery. The time in between is a blank. The pain was excruciating and I had bandages on my stomach. Since the surgery was laproscopic, the incisions were small, but there were six of them. Including a drain that came out of my stomach and caught any of the blood that I would be losing in the next few days. Even though I was in pain, the nurses told me I was doing well, because I wasn't filling up the bottle too much, so I was hardly bleeding at all. Hooray. As I said, it did hurt at first, but I only spent the standard two days in the hospital and very shortly the pain began to ebb.
As per the surgeon's order, I started walking right away and walked every day up until the time he said I could start working out at a gym. And as soon as I was able, I started going to the gym. I'd lost 80lbs by that time, but I was still 280lbs and people still looked at me. The fat girl in the gym. Aw, poor thing at least she's trying, but still how can anyone let themselves go that much, said the looks on their faces.
It took about two years but I lost nearly 200lbs. I dyed my hair blond and now its like living in a parallel universe. I no longer have sleep apnea, high blood pressure or acid reflux.
I don't have to order my clothes by catalog. I can take a bath and I do, almost every day. Chairs are no problem for me and I get treated so differently and last December I took my first airplane flight in 9 years, from Miami to New York to see my favorite band. I no longer needed a seat belt extender extender and my butt no longer intruded on the other passenger's space. Of course the concert seats were now comfy as well. And I can use any bathroom, so I no longer have to fear public restrooms.
I get called beautiful regularly even though I'm no longer in my 20s, men are attracted to me. Remember when I said I kept most of my weight in my hips and butt?Well, when you're 360lbs that's not a good thing, but apparently when you're a size 8 or 10 alot of guys seem to dig that. They love the curves. They treat me so much nicer and they go out of their way to help me.
Its August 2011 and I am still maintaining my weight loss. When I say maintaining, that doesn't mean that I never put on a few lbs. Even with my stapled stomach and rerouted intestinal track, I can still put on some weight, but I was determined not to fail at this, so whenever I felt my clothes becoming a little tight, I'd go back to basics and lose the weight again. It was never more than 10lbs, but I knew obesity can start with a pound of gain. Now I'm slightly lighter than my inital weight loss two years ago. I had almost no side effects from the operation. My hair did start to shed about three months after the operation, but it started growing back again about 3 to 6 months later and now its thicker than ever.
Weight loss surgery might not be for everyone, but it was the best thing I ever did for myself and I have no regrets. Well that's not entirely true. I do have one regret, that I wasn't able to do it sooner and that I wasted so many years of my life fighting a losing battle with obesity.