Weight Loss Surgery
My Gastric Bypass Experience
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|What is gastric bypass?
Gastric bypass, Roux en-Y (proximal)
This variant is the most commonly employed gastric bypass technique, and is by far the most commonly performed bariatric procedure in the United States. It is the operation which is least likely to result in nutritional difficulties. The small bowel is divided about 45 cm (18 in) below the lower stomach outlet, and is re-arranged into a Y-configuration, to enable outflow of food from the small upper stomach pouch, via a "Roux limb". In the proximal version, the Y-intersection is formed near the upper (proximal) end of the small bowel. The Roux limb is constructed with a length of 80 to 150 cm (30 to 60 inches), preserving most of the small bowel for absorption of nutrients. The patient experiences very rapid onset of a sense of stomach-fullness, followed by a feeling of growing satiety, or "indifference" to food, shortly after the start of a meal.
There is a movie of my doctors doing the procedure at Morristown Memorial Hospital Here It is a flash video, so you have to have it installed.
Why Did You Get Gastric Bypass Surgery ?
Well I have been trying to loose weight for the last 30 years. Not working so well. So I figured at this rate I had about 5-7 years to live so it was high time I did something about it. I have a 15 year old son. I wanted to be there for him at graduation, college, marriage, and other high points in his life. Trust me this is not the easy way out. This is a last resort. A tool to help you in your lifelong battle against overeating. Doing this is some pretty scary stuff. You could die. There are many possible complications. There are many tests you have to go through. It hurts. It is a major trauma to your body. You need time to get everything back into perspective.
Should I get a Gastric Bypass ?
Before I had the surgery I did seven years of research into it. I interviewed over a hundred people who had the procedure. One thing I did get out of my interviews. From the lady in California that now has to get her protein, and nutrients from an IV each night, to a guy who ballooned back up to 500 pounds, to the many it worked for. All of them told me: "I would do it again in a minute."
Take a minute ad pick up a book. Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies. It is a great book, and a good read. it will give you pretty much what you needed to know about Gastric Bypass or the Lap band. also take a look at www.obesity.org It is a great site and will also help a lot. While you are in the mood to do things, also go to yahoo groups and pick out an on line support group. Listen to what the people there have to say and see what they are going through. It is much better than doing it by surprise.
Also before the surgery I asked many people the same question: "Should I get a gastric bypass? Nobody would tell me to do it. Nobody even recommended it. I could not understand that. Now I do. You need to decide for yourself if this is something you want / need to do. and you need to both WANT it and NEED it to make it happen. Talk to your GP. He or She is closest to you. If they wont sign off on it, listen to them. I am not saying the surgeon will not be straight with you. My surgeon is the greatest guy in the world, but all Doctors are human and they have a $6000.00 reason for you going through with it. Don't let that little fact haunt you. Ask the doctor that knows you best. My GP would not let me get the procedure for 5 years while we tried everything else. I love him for taking care of me like that. When the time came he was behind it.
Do you love food? That was / is my big problem. I loved food and the larger the portion the better. I tried to conquer that for years. How do you turn away from something you love? It is as close as your local store, and is always there for you and makes you feel better every time. Above all that it is perfectly legal. I went through a real mourning process when I had gastric bypass. I could hardly eat anything and when I could it was pretty bland stuff. I will say this for the surgery, it keeps you tight on your portion control. Now I need to embrace quality instead of quantity. Don't get caught up in "head hunger". You will be able to eat again before long. All this sounds great, but for now I am a miserable bastard that still wants to eat an Arby's 5 for 5.99 mix and match roast beef and hot ham and cheese. But those days are gone for now, So I need to buck it up and enjoy the ride!
What's a complication ?
Well.... It could be almost anything that is not 100% of what was normal before. In my case my BP went up while in the hospital. I am now on BP meds I have some issues there in as much as my flag won't go up the pole, my solider won't salute, my elevator up button is broken, My jack can't get the tire off the ground, I am canoeing on the viagra river, or any other impotence joke you might want to insert here. Sex was a huge part of my life, and the doctor says it is most likely temporary. Most likely...... Hmmmmm..... I guess time will tell.
Protein is a problem with gastric bypass. You just can't east enough of it for the first 6 months to a year. So you are on a high protein diet with protein enhancements called Magic Bullets or some other protein shakes. I suffer with Gout. Ever had Gout? I have gone through some pretty painful stuff in my day and NOTHING hurts like that, and that list includes breaking my hip. Here is an indicator: Gout laughs at Oxicontin! Gout comes from too much protein in your diet. Gastric bypass's high protein diet is a recipe for disaster to a gout sufferer. Here is an added bonus. After the surgery you can no longer take the only drug that ever gave you relief in the past or any other NSAID for that matter. How are those for complications?
Here are some more possibilities of complications from Gastric Bypass or Lap band:
Complications due to anesthesia and medications
Deep vein thrombosis
Injury to stomach, esophagus, or surrounding organs
Stroke or Heart Attack
Constipation or diarrhea
Gallstones, pain from passing a gallstone, inflammation of the gallbladder, or surgery to remove the gallbladder
Gastrointestinal inflammation or swelling
Stretching of the stomach
Surgical procedure repeated Vomiting and nausea
Migration of implant (band erosion, band slippage, port displacement)
Tubing-related complications (port disconnection, tubing kinking)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Inflammation of the esophagus or stomach
Dehiscence (separation of tissue that was stitched or stapled together)
Leaks from staple lines
Dumping syndrome, an unpleasant side effect that may include vomiting, nausea, weakness, sweating, faintness, and diarrhea
Required supplementation of diet with a daily multivitamin, calcium, and sometimes vitamin B12 and/or iron
Inability to detect the stomach, duodenum, and parts of the small intestine using X-ray or endoscopy, should problems arise after surgery such as ulcers, bleeding, or malignancy
What you need to weigh out here is what kind of danger are you in if you continue the path you are on? I was going to be dead within 10 years. The average diet I have been on lost me tops was 50 pounds a year. That was The Atkins diet, and now that was off the table. The 12-18 month rule of dieting had made that impossible. Have you ever heard of the 12-18 month rule? If you are on a diet, and it is working, you have 12-18 months before your body figures out what you are up to. Then your metabolism changes to adjust to your new way of eating. Gastric bypass works the same way. You really have 12-18 months to get a diet and exercise plan down before your body says: "I know what you are up to and we will have no more of that mister!" Now the question is: How much of your excess weight can you loose before the clock runs out at 12-18 months? I am shooting for 200 pounds. My BMI chart puts me at 5'11' at somewhere around 153 lbs. I think I would be happy at 200 lbs. Technically that would be overweight, but not obese or morbidly obese or double morbidly obese with three toppings or whatever they call that.
See George's Blog
Click on the month below to see my progress
|November 2008||May 2009||