Weight Loss Surgery - HELP! I'm going crazy--Had SGB a year ago--looking for others like me

07-31-2009, 12:26 AM
Hello, everyone...this is the first time I've posted here and I am so desperate for support and perhaps the chance of finding someone else out there who has experienced what I have, that I figured I might as well try and put my experience out there....I apologize for the length of the post.....

Exactly one year ago today I had sleeve gastric bypass surgery...I weighed 290 preop with a BMI of 45 (I was 40 y.o.) and within 6 days when the staples came out I had lost 24.6 pounds so I thought things would be great for overall weight loss and I was excited and ready to start my new phase of my life.....at 2 months out, I had lost a total of 30 pounds (including the previous 24 which were obviously fluid),for a net loss of 6 real pounds.....I immediately emailed the doctor to say that I thought something might be wrong, but they said to be patient...and I have been.

Never in my life have I tried so hard for something, because I was determined that I was not going to waste the $$ that I used for the surgery (my inheritance from my grandmother)--my insurance would not pay-- so to honor my "investment in myself" I have faithfully watched every single bite I put in mouth, kept a food journal of everything and sent it to the dietician and trainer every 3 days for review and feedback, completely changed my eating habits (I didn't even have birthday cake at my own birthday this year), worked out 6 times a week for an hour a day every week for the past 50 weeks, had a standing appointment with a personal trainer every week for strength training, went to accupuncture for 4 weeks (for stress relief and digestion regulation), went to a hypnotherapist (to keep my head in the right place), and was supervised by 3 different dieticians/nutritionists (each coordinated with the other), a psychiatrist, and another general practician..Oh, and I weighed and measured everything (I'm pretty sure the restaurants I frequented were surprised to see me pull out my portable scale to weigh things they brought me!!!) I didn't want anyone to come back to me and say I had not tried or done what I was supposed to......had I done all this 10 years ago, I would never have gotten fat!!

Anyways, I am weighed in every week at the gym by the trainer and the weight just barely came off in the fall, and in January I stopped losing weight completely--I have not lost an ounce in 6 months...and I'm eating no more than 1400 calories a day (although usually much less) and getting 80 g protein AND working out every day for at least an hour at a heart rate of 100-125 or more with intervals....though I am no doctor, I have a basic understanding of the principles of weight loss--fewer calories consumed and more calories burned results in weight loss, right?????? So if I'm eating 900 or 1300 or 1400 calories a day, and burning (as measured by a calorie monitor called the bodybug) more than 400 calories each session while exercising, plus the daily activity calorie burns by just living, I technically should lose weight, right???? So why in the world would I have not lost a single ounce in 6 months and a year after surgery only have lost a total of 35 pounds????? I've had my thyroid and every other bloodtest run and all results are "normal" (whatever that means). And I even thought maybe it was because I was in the 'storage' mode for a little while,so we changed diet combinations, changed exercise types and durations, etc. But even anorexics continue to lose weight over time, even when their bodies are desperately hanging onto the weight, but no, not mine.

It seems as if I am defeating the laws of thermodynamics and every principle the various dietetic associations and the exercise science communities abide by! I have not cheated on the diet (for the first time in my life), I have done everything the SGB doctor told me to do (supplements, protein, meds,etc.) and it doesn't matter.....because the whole reason I did this was to lose weight (I didn't have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol pre-op)--it was to get thinner which would also result in overall health (I had been discriminated against and had a job offer rescinded after they met me in person). To make matters worse, the person who had surgery the same day as me has lost--get this-- 168 pounds to date (1 year)-- and she started out only 20 pounds heavier than me....By her own admission, she hasn't done a single exercise nor watched what she ate--she eats anything she wants..the other night I went to dinner with her and while I was eating 1/2 cup plain strawberries and a 1/4 plain sweet potato with a 4 oz lean piece of chicken breast, she had chicken pot with cream sauce and cabbage ..... AAAAAKKKKKK! She is losing on average about 14 pounds a month now.

So, I went to the annual checkup on Monday and the doctor could have cared less...I begged for an answer as to what was happening and why this was happening and what could I do differently or could he do a revision.....and the answer was "patience--we'll see where you are in 3 years from now" and "maybe increase your amount of exercise"....HUH????...Then the PA said that, according to a conference she went to that had a 'formula' for bariatric patients, she calculated that I should be eating about 2600-2900 calories A DAY...... WHAT????????? I didn't eat that much preop! :?:

I have never in all my life felt so depressed and crazy...I DID what I was supposed to and paid my money to have the surgery, plus all the gym costs, supplements, proteins, training--close to $30,000 (and I'm unemployed, so that is a huge number), but I don't get anywhere near the results...the docs said I was quite possibly "the most compliant patient they have ever had in their practice with regards to the records keeping and dedication to doing what I was supposed to" but no one is even the least bit interested in figuring out why I wouldn't be losing weight like everyone else.....

On the boards I read, people are losing weight hand-over-fist and aren't doing much different than what they had preop.....and to be 'dismissed' by the docs because 99% of their other patients are 'successful' and I'm an outlier, so I don't matter any more, makes me feel absolutely worthless.

And of course there are the people who knew I had the surgery and ask "what happened???" because I am obviously still severely obese (I am 1 point below being "morbidly obese" on the BMI chart-- woo hooo)....or the one child who quite innocently asked after I explained in my son's class where I volunteer that exercise was important to help you feel better and keep your body healthy and maintain a healthy weight and I shared that I exercised every day, to which he replied "then why are you still fat???" (yeah, that really happened).

These days I just don't want to ever count calories,, eat smartly or exercise any more--why bother when I have nothing to show for it??? I can't say that I failed because I tried SO hard, but I feel like my body failed me..and no one can (or will) explain to me why I am "different". I had an upper GI test the other day and the pouch is perfectly sized/not stretched and the bypass is 6 feet. I would love it if some doctor somewhere would have the curiosity to want to investigate and solve a medical mystery and take me on as a guinea pig patient and see what could be done to help me realize the results I was promised if I "did my part" and ate right and exercised regularly. Obviously something is going on that most people don't have happen...and I want to know why. And I figure I'm not THAT special that no one else in the world has experienced this, so I would think that the bariatric community would want to figure it out too so that they could understand what correlation between variables would affect weight loss from surgery and how to control for it (i.e. no underlying medical conditions like diabetes, maybe a person needs bigger bypass or something like that).

So, I have looked everywhere on the boards to find out if there is anyone else out there who had a similar experience (no matter the type procedure) to see if there is some common denominator which would have made Gastric Bypass "not work" assuming the person did follow the 'rules'...I am going crazy because I just don't understand. If you have had this happen to you, please reach out to me....I would love to chat and just have someone understand what it really feels like....because it's absolutely horrible. :( And those of you who are losing weight after surgery, count your lucky stars that your body cooperated and celebrate each and every ounce you lose and don't take it for granted!

07-31-2009, 12:41 AM
Hi, Wisconsinchick:

Wow! You must be beyond frustrated; who wouldn't be under the same circumstances?

I have not had this surgery, so I have nothing to compare it to. However, what about finding a different doctor or a center that specializes in these types of surgeries and get a second opinion? You deserve to have someone who will listen to you and will try to help you find a solution.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck!



07-31-2009, 01:30 AM
To jrmohr and windchimes....since I am a new member I cannot send PM to you yet, so I will simply say "thank you" to you both for responding and sharing the support and information. As you can tell by my post I'm at wits end and appreciate any and all assistance anyone cares to share with me, so THANK YOU! :hug:

I just have to believe that somewhere someone might actually have 'the answer' to why my crazy body is doing what it's doing and offer to help...so I will keep on trying (I'm applying the same discipline that I used to keep food journals and exercising all year!)...

I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to reply to me. I hope you have a great evening/day tomorrow! Julianne

07-31-2009, 09:25 AM
I'm so sorry that you are having so much "angst" with you WLS and weightloss. I have not had your kind of surgery and don't have the years of experience that some of the people here on this board have had. But.....are you sure you are eating enough calories? I know from personal experience that if I don't eat enough I can actually gain a few pounds! Weird, isn't it? I like the suggest you got of going to someone who specializes in you type of surgery. There has got to be a reasonable explanation and help somewhere. Please keep in touch, because we would like to encourage you and your problem might also help someone else along the way.

07-31-2009, 09:51 AM

Glad to have been able to offer some words of support. Hang in there and please let us know how it is going.



07-31-2009, 10:57 AM
wow. oh my. wow. yes, i'm speechless. rarely happens, BTW. I've known people who've not lost weight following a procedure, but there's usually a point at which they say something like 'i even cut my donut consumption to only two a day instead of my usual 4.'

could you bear with me while i ask a couple of Qs because i don't know all that much about the sleeve gastrectomy? is this the procedure in which they basically do the 'top part' of the gastric bypass? so that there's an opening without the pyloric valve that leads to the rest of the digestive tract?

see, what i'm wondering is this - and i got this years ago from my surgeon - he'd had better success than anyone else in the region - with people losing weight. and HE said that it was because he actually MEASURED that opening - instead of eyeballing it the way other surgeons did. he said that he'd gone in and done revisions of other docs' surgeries and found that the outlet was way too big.

i'm thinking that you might want to get a second opinion from a WAY different surgical group - it might involve an endoscopy, but it could be worth it to make sure the surgery is set up do to what it was designed to do.

07-31-2009, 12:58 PM
the sleeve gastric bypass is also known by some as the "mini gastric bypass" that was pioneered by Dr Rutledge, but he was not my doctor....My surgery was done at a program that is certified by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) and it is defined as "a minimally invasive procedure that divides the stomach into a long, narrow tube and a separate larger piece. The smaller stomach is attached about 6 feet down in the small intestine. The larger stomach is sealed and left unattached. The smaller stomach decreases the amount the patient can eat and the bypass of a portion of the small intestine decreases the absorption of fat and calories. In the more than 2,500 patients who have already undergone the procedure, this combination of smaller volume and decreased absorption has resulted in an average weight loss of 140 pounds in one year in a 300-pound patient."

Obviously, I was not "average" in any way and my heart is broken because I didn't cheat and I gave it every effort I could. There is one other person I have been able to find that had surgery from this same practice and had similar 'demographics' as me (same BMI, no co-morbities,etc.) and she has also only lost about 54 pounds in 15 months(and they even went in to 'tighten up' her pouch a 3 months ago and she's only lost a total of 9 pounds since)...

My thoughts are that, statistically, there HAVE to be others out there like us--it's just embarrasing for many to speak up and say so (or they are so darn discouraged they stopped reading boards!)..I am just trying everything to find those folks and maybe I can build a little mini support group as well as maybe even finding the "links" that some bariatric surgeons out there could capitalize on and help more people be 'successful'.....we shall see.....

Thanks for your reply and suggestions...I will keep on plugging...

07-31-2009, 01:11 PM
Hi WisconsinChick - I have not had WLS, but I know people who have. I would suggest getting a second opinion as well. BTW, where do you live outside Milwaukee? I live in West Bend and work in Menomonee Falls. Sending you a :hug: and :goodvibes: Hang in there.

07-31-2009, 03:53 PM
Please seek answers from a different bariatric group. The MGB (as you said is most similar to what you got) is a dangerous procedure that was abandoned many years ago and then reincarnated by Dr. Rutledge. I would quickly run to a highly reputable surgeon who can scope and scan and see what's really going on in there and offer you a solution.

08-01-2009, 01:53 PM
Jillybean: I'm not being sarcastic and this is meant to be a compliment....You are one smart young chick! I enjoy your common sense and know that when you comment on something that you have done a bit of research. Keep up the good work.

08-01-2009, 09:21 PM
Jillybean: I'm not being sarcastic and this is meant to be a compliment....You are one smart young chick! I enjoy your common sense and know that when you comment on something that you have done a bit of research. Keep up the good work.
aww, thank you! Some think I over-research these things, but I don't think there's any such thing ;)

08-02-2009, 10:19 AM
oh Jilly there is no such thing as too much research.

I too second the idea of a new consult with a different surgeon.

08-03-2009, 01:19 AM
Hi WisconsinChick. I am so sorry to hear you're having such a hard time. I have heard of this happening before with women of vatious types of bariatric surgery. 3 of the women I know personally who had bariatric surgery developed thyroid problems after surgery and 1 developed thyroid problems after menopause, which came after her bariatric surgery. Also, if you're not getting enogh calories, your body will still go into starvation mode. I experienced a 4 month period like that. I had to increase my caloric intake from 1200 to 1800 to lose weight. Go figure, but it did the trick. I really hope you get the help you need. Good luck!

08-03-2009, 07:57 AM
Hi WisconsinChick. I am so sorry to hear you're having such a hard time. I have heard of this happening before with women of vatious types of bariatric surgery. 3 of the women I know personally who had bariatric surgery developed thyroid problems after surgery and 1 developed thyroid problems after menopause, which came after her bariatric surgery. Also, if you're not getting enogh calories, your body will still go into starvation mode. I experienced a 4 month period like that. I had to increase my caloric intake from 1200 to 1800 to lose weight. Go figure, but it did the trick. I really hope you get the help you need. Good luck!

are you saying there is a direct correlation between WLS and thyroid problems?

do you have a citation.

08-03-2009, 11:25 AM
Not necessarily a direct correlation. Women's bodies always go through rapid hormonal upheavel with rapid weightloss, giving birth, menopause, etc. Occasionally, it affects thyroid production. Most of the time, it goes away by itself. I don't have a citation, but I've seen hypothyroidism mentioned frequently next to giving birth and menopause. The weightloss surgery instances have only been relayed to me by people who have it themselves. The protocol for where I had my wls requires thyroid panels as part of the post-op follow-up. Wish I had a citation for it, but I will keep looking!

08-03-2009, 12:24 PM
Hi all...I thought it might also be thyroid related, because I have had mild hypothyroidism for 20 yes and been on synthroid, however I just had my yearly bloodwork and labs and everything is perfect--so apparently I am one of the healthiest fat people out there! Thyroid levels were perfect, cholesterol was 155, no vitamin deficiencies, blood pressure 112/72--even my DHEA levels which are sometimes low for wls patients was higher--so I am at a complete loss... Please keep the suggestions coming--I do appreciate everyone's input. By the way I completely blew off counting anything calories/fat/etc this weekend and even ate dessert twice AND I enjoyed bacon this morning for the first time in over a year and it all was WONDERFUL...back to discipline now! Wisconsinchick

08-05-2009, 06:28 PM
Well, at least you have control over your thyroid issues. That can be really draining, from what I hear. I just got some disappointing news yesterday about my latest thyroid panel myself. My free T4 was significantly below the lowest limit. My TSH was at the high end of normal. My doc thinks it's autoimmune related. My ESR came back higher than the last high one I had and my monocytes are pretty high, too. More wait and see...
Sometimes we better tolerate our time on the wagon when we ocassionally fall off, lol. My current kryptonite is snickers' protein and energy bars. Low sugar, high fiber, very high protein. Deliciously decadent in my opinion, lol.

08-13-2009, 02:56 PM
Maybe your not eating enough you do need fuel to burn good luck

08-13-2009, 06:10 PM
Original How is the sugar in those?
I'm a big fan of the Atkins PB bars no sug alcohols and 0-1 gram of sugar

Mrs Karen79
08-14-2009, 03:52 PM
I lurk here a lot & am not a avid poster .... but wanted to chime in here. If you are working out as much as you say, then those calories you burn can not keep up with the calories you eat, so your body goes into "starvation mode" & holds on to every ounce of fat you have. I say TRY to up your calories ... protein & less carbs & see where that puts you after a few weeks. I wouldn't quit working out like you are because you don't want to lose your muscle mass. Hope you can get a handle on it & start losing soon, it must be so frustrating ... good luck.

08-14-2009, 05:17 PM
Hi..thank you for your comments....that was something I asked about early on and wanted to find out what my 'magic number' .I have actually tried eating more and eating less, increasing protein, decreasing protein, etc and I've been working with 1 dietician, 1 nutritionist, and a PCP, along with the medical doctor in charge at my gym, and they have worked together to figure out what was happening....no changes--I have literally not lost an ounce in 6 months....and no one knows why.....I must have some kind of crazy metabolism/endocrine system that no one can figure out....that's why I am looking for others to see if there are any common factors that can help me figure it out--I have found one other person who has had a similar experience and her demographics are about the same as mine and her doc has no clue either....it is VERY frustrating and I'm so sad that I spent all that money (I was self-pay) and have very little weight loss to show for it.....My only hope is that some driven doc or med student might be curious about how to 'solve' this enigma and take me on as a 'study'.....again, thanks for the support....wisconsinchick

08-17-2009, 01:17 AM
I'm probably way off base here, but it won't hurt anything to check it out.

There was something about Cushings Disease on Discovery Health the other night. I didn't catch the very beginning, but it contributes to obesity problems and people have trouble losing weight, no matter what they do.

It's got something to do with to much cortisol which causes a bad hormone imbalance. It's more common in men than women, even though it's actually pretty rare.

Anyway, the woman the episode was about spent 15 years battling obesity, which came on suddenly. She counted calories, exercised and did all the right stuff and the fat wouldn't budge. Meanwhile she searched for a solution. After they finally discovered she had Cushings and got the cortisol thing straightened out, the weight came off lickity split.:carrot:
There is some info here. http://www.endocrine.niddk.nih.gov/pubs/cushings/cushings.htm

08-17-2009, 01:32 AM
shcirerf....I appreciate you offering that up as a suggestion..I don't know anything about that condition, however I remember early on in my 20s when my internist was trying to figure out my lethargy issues, he put me through some cortisol test where I had to collect urine for 24 hours (but that was almost 20 years ago)....that was 'normal' at the time and he diagnosed thyroid issues (but that was also testing as 'normal' even though I had a huge goiter and even after putting me on high doses of synthroid it still tested the same)...so maybe my 'normals' are way out of wack and the cortisol could be contributing but has been 'hiding' all along...I'm going to go make an appointment with some endocrinologists around here (we've satisfied our deductible) and mention that---because dealing with this is crazy-making...I've done everything 'right' and cannot understand why it's not resulting in any weight loss--I'm still holding at the exact same weight for the past 7 months, no matter what I do.....so, thank you so much...I'll post back on the board when I get test results....wisconsinchick

08-17-2009, 09:44 AM
You're welcome. I would have never known anything about it either if it weren't for the tv show.

I think the show was Big Medicine. It's about a couple of Dr.'s who specialize in weight loss surgeries.

Here's a link, http://tlc.discovery.com/videos/big-medicine-is-obesity-a-disease.html