Weight Loss Surgery - Can I ask a few questions?

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09-24-2009, 01:51 PM
Hello to all of you brave strong weight loss surgery ladies (and men?)

I am new to the boards and have been thinking about weight loss surgery for a while. I got layed off from my job, have some "me" time, and have to deal with my weight issue. Now is the best time I think.

I am 5 ft 6 ish and weigh 280 lbs! I'm pretty sure my BMI makes me eligible! I also have type 2 diabetes (:() but other than that I'm pretty clear. I live in Canada but am willing to take my severance pay and travel for this if I need to (wait times are LONNNNNGGGG up here...)

I've read the stickies, too.

Has anyone here travelled for this surgery? Has this surgery changed your life for the better? Any hints about what I should think about and ask my doctor?

I appreciate anything you have to say -- links, other stickies I may have missed, ANYTHING. I've tried to take and keep the weight off and I think this might be my only hope for actually GETTING there.

09-24-2009, 11:05 PM
If you have type 2 diabetes, please please please research the Duodenal Switch procedure. Depending on the study, it has a 92-100% type 2 diabetes resolution rate, higher than any other weight loss surgery procedure. This was my umber one reason for having surgery. In fact, I NEVER seriously considered surgery for myself until I was diagnosed with type 2 at age 25 in May 2008. I researched like it was my job and could not choose any procedure other than the DS.

If you can self-pay, you have SO many options. I can only speak for the DS since that has been the focus of all my research, but Mexico, Brazil, and Spain all have fabulous DS surgeons (and some hacks, too, so be sure to research them - I can point you to a helpful list if interested) and, including all travel expenses, end up being cheaper than having surgery in the US.

There are only maybe 30 skilled DS surgeons in all of the US, so most DS patients actually have to travel for surgery. Travling can be intimidating, but LOTS of people do it, and I believe you are even luckier to be in Canada because if you have any complications that sneak up once you are back home (a possibility with any procedure), I believe your insurance will cover them (many US insurance companies won't cover complications for a procedure performed out of the country).

This surgery has absolutely changed my life for the better. I am just a few days shy of my 6-month surgical anniversary. I weighed 308.5 on the morning of surgery, and I was 221 this morning. I have not experienced a single food intolerance since my procedure. I can now eat pretty much anything, just like a normal person, just not as much as I used to be able to shovel in. I do not have to avoid sugar or carbs or fat (though it is usually bezt to limit carbs while in the weight loss phase).

Prior to surgery, I was on 2500mg metformin and 50mcg Januvia daily, and my fasting glucose reading the morning of surgery was still in the 180s, and my A1Cs prior to surgery were 8.1 and 7.9. When I left the hospital, they cut me to 1000mg metformin only, no Januvia, and by 3 months post-op, my A1C was 5.5 and my fasting glucose 90, so I was cut back to only 500mg metformin. That is what I am on now until next week when I have my 6-month labs drawn, after which I'm sure I'll be off ALL my diabetes meds since my fastings have been consistently in the 70s and 80s now for many weeks. Seeing any 3-digit glucose reading at all is a rarity for me now, even after meals.

Oh, and I can wear clothes from regular stores, not just plus sizes anymore. All a trade-off for the vitamins I have to take 4 times a day. Not a bad trade-off for me!

09-24-2009, 11:34 PM
I read your post and am still in tears, here. The big thing for me is my type 2 diabetes. Like you, I NEVER considered weight loss surgery. I tried and tried on my own, and thought that the surgery was the easy way out. But the more I read, the more I realize that it is just something that I can have to help me get healthy again. I don't want my diabetes. I don't want to be in size 26s any more. I don't think the average person with 30 or 40 pounds to lose understands the feelings that we have. They don't know what it is like to have rashes under your bosom and between your legs because of your weight. They don't know that we try and try and try and nothing works. It really is my last option, I think.
Thank you. Thak you. Thank you.
I will see my doctor next week and before then I will research DS like you suggest. I am happy to be in Canada because our medical system will take care of complications because we have universal health care. I don't need to worry about insurance.
Maybe I was meant to lose my job and get the severance pay? Life works in mysterious ways.

09-25-2009, 02:35 PM
Be sure that, if you decide to have DS, or ANY other surgery for that matter, that you check to be sure that you can get expert care near where you live in Canada. while your insurance will cover your aftercare, if you can['t find anyone nearby who understands your particular needs AND is willing to take another surgeon's patient, you run the risk of not getting the care you need.

and who needs that??? you're doing this for your health, and there's no sense in going through the surgery - whichever form you choose - and then having problems getting the care you need.

09-25-2009, 02:37 PM
Also, while DS does indeed have the highest rates of diabetes resolution, RNY's rates are in the mid-70% range, and i think lapband is slightly more than 50% [but i'm not completely sure of that. Vertical sleeve gastrectomy isn't quite as high - i just had an abstract here from this year's ASBS meeting, but i can't lay my hands on it.

09-25-2009, 03:45 PM
A DS is basically a VSG stomach and a distal RNY intestinal configuration. A well experienced bariatric surgeon, even if they don't do the DS specifically, should be able to take care of you if needed. Do make sure your primary physician is on board, as many DS surgeons understand they are few and far between and are very willing to assist your regular physician in your future care if needed. Though, I can tell you, I haven't been back to my surgeon's office for ANY follow-up appointments. I just work with my physician.

That said, YOU will have to be proactive about your own nutritional needs, as even most DS surgeons and dieticians who work in DS surgeons' offices do NOT provide good nutritional information to DS patients. This is something to know before getting a DS - you can't just wander into any hospital or clinic and expect the staff there to even know what a DS is, let alone give you proper advice on how to live with yours.

10-02-2009, 12:38 AM
I don't recommend WLS but I will do my best to support anyone that's made the decision to have it.

YES...GET EDUCATED...I'd look at the success rates of each of all the surgeries...if you gain the weight back there is no use in the % of those that no longer have diabetes...symptoms come back.

The lifestyle is not an easy one. DS and RNY have features of absorption difficulties which make it easier to lose weight, yes, but also you have to struggle to get the nutrition you need for the rest of your life. To which, I'm sure, all of us that have had many different kinds of WLS that "bypass' the small intestine can attest. Some surgeries by pass more then others...look into that.

Everyone looking into any of the WLS needs to look at it as a tool for TAKING your health back. It becomes a job that you take on for the rest of you life...to monitor your health. You must eat right and exercise or lose all the benefits and risk complications of malnutrition and other health risks (heart disease from lack of B vitamins...etc.)

and know, that it's not an end all, be all...for WLS to work, the work must still be done.

I have known many people that have had RNY that don't have diabetes symptoms anymore, me included...so it is not exclusive to the DS if the DS is not right for you. Again, read up on all the benefits and risks.

The benefit of ANY WLS has to out weigh (excuse the pun...hehe) the risks of having surgery...have known people that have had horrible complications with DS and RNY and the Band...you have to go into this with your eyes open.

I know that it was the hardest thing I have ever done for myself and I would do it a hundred times over to have my life back. And hope to support you with whatever you decided to do.

Angela :hug:

10-02-2009, 11:51 AM
3 years ago I was 269lbs 5"7 and managed to lose 60 pounds but then over the past 2 years I have gained and lose 20 of those pounds twice. So I am now going to have lap band surgery on Nov 13, I too have always been overweight and obese my entire adulthood. I am exhausted of feeling like a failure. Working out at the gym 8 hours a week, and only feel pain because I am working the same as everyone else in my class but carrying 100 extra pounds. It takes a toll on my joints and back. So I said enough is enough and I am paying for my procedure myself as lapband is not covered by OHIP. I no longer qualify to have OHIP cover bariatric surgery as I have lost some weight and I am not willing to gain to qualify to be on a wait list for years. Also they allow the more invasive Gastric Bypass and I am not willing to have my organs cut up like that. I still may want another child and there are complications with other weightloss surgical options that are no present with the lap band and pregnancy.

Good luck with whatever you choose I have done quite a bit of research and went with the Surgical Weight Loss Centre in Toronto.