Weight Loss Surgery - How did you decide that surgery was right for you?




Mama
12-30-2009, 07:09 PM
I've been considering WLS for a couple of years now. I believe I'm a good candidate - I weigh nearly 350 lbs and have high blood pressure (age 33). Diet after diet have failed. The only time I've been "thin" was a three year period where I ate 500 or less calories a day. Other than that, I've been obese my entire teen and adult life.

I'm planning to embark on yet another diet this spring (after my second child is born! I'm 24 weeks pregnant right now!). If this effort fails, I really think I need to get serious about surgery.

Things that are holding me back... fear of surgery complications, fear that it won't work, fear that I'll regain the weight. Also, my husband isn't too keen on the idea. He says I should be able to just force myself to eat less and therefore have the effects of surgery without the surgery. But I've gone on super low calorie diets before... it doesn't always translate to weight loss for me. I think I've seriously screwed up my metabolism over the years.

How did you come to the confident conclusion that surgery was right for you? I guess I am asking because I wonder if I will ever be confident this is the best solution. Did anyone go into the surgery with doubts? Or did you wait until you were totally 110% sure this was the right thing to do? I know surgery is a major decision and requires an entire lifestyle change, so I don't mean doubts about being ready and willing to do that. I mean doubts about if surgery is the right way to do it. (Er... did that make sense? :^: )

(PS- Hope it's ok for me to post here. I haven't even consulted with a surgeon... just discussions with my family doctor.)

Thanks for sharing and helping me understand the mental process of deciding on and preparing for surgery. :)


30and300
12-30-2009, 07:31 PM
I haven't had surgery, I'm still trying to figure out which one to do, but I know I need to do it.

I think the point where I decided that I had to do it was when I visited my grandmother last time. She is 78 years old and has been morbidly obese her whole life. Had strokes, high blood pressure, diabetes with amputations, etc. She has had a rough life due to her weight, and I was following in the same track.

I had done WW for years, Atkins for a long time before that, and a low calorie diet like you did also, and I always lost weight but regained it. It's not about determination or discipline to me, I know I can do it - but I just need some help.

It's like having clinical depression or cigarette addiction. You can't be expected to just get better by discipline and willpower alone... you get anti-depressants or the patch to help you out. It's a tool, nothing more. I have a family member who said something similar - "just eat like you already had the surgery"... she meant well, but I think she was just scared for me. Surgery is scary, and things can go wrong, but... so can obesity related health problems.

I pictured myself in a year, in 5 years, etc, and how I wanted to live. I want to have children and to run around with them, to be able to carry them up the stairs when they fall asleep in the living room watching tv, to be able to walk all around Disney World with them... I want to be able to ride horses again, to wear nice clothes... and so I decided I have to do something drastic to make it work.

I'm not sure if my little ramblings are at all helpful since i have yet to schedule surgery, but that's my story. =)

bloodroses
12-30-2009, 08:45 PM
i had surgery just before my 25 brithday i use to be 323 now i;m 242 as of today. i had the vertical sleeve done 4 months ago and i'm down 81 pounds with 92 more to go. and all i can say is the quailty of life is wayyyyyyy better on this side. you are 33 year old which is still very young why waste any more of your youth? JUst know in the confidence that you are doing it for yourself YOU deserve to be happy and healthy. Yes the fear of doing something wrong is scary but isn't never knowing more of a biggerfear? either way you will be risk something. good luck with your choice! OH and lots of joy sent for the little to come!!((hugs))


xoxo,
nikki


jillybean720
12-31-2009, 01:21 PM
I had my surgery when I was 26, just about a year after I Was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. That was the straw that broke the camel's back for me - diabetes at age 25. I was only (heh, "only") about 290 pounds at diagnosis, so I went through a period of "why me, I'm so young, it's not fair, I know people older and heavier than me who don't have diabetes," blah blah blah, and then I decided to fight back.

I started seriously researching WLS when a family member mentioned she'd seen a story on tv about gastric bypass having an 80%+ remissions rate for type 2 diabetes. But, no matter how much I read about the RNY gastric bypass, I was just so afraid of it, of living the rest of my life with it. Further research led me to the Duodenal Switch (which has a 98.9% resolution rate for type 2 diabetes), and I was almost instantly 110% positive it was what I wanted, and I was completely at peace with that decision.

So, I think a big part of it is finding the procedure that best fits YOU - I think that's a big part of really being more at ease with the whole thing. And the only way to find the right procedure for you is to research like crazy!

jiffypop
12-31-2009, 02:34 PM
hi Mama!!!! wow - with being preggers with #2 and all, you sure have a lot going on these days [and that's why it's a GOOD thing that you're not planning on making a decision!!!]

i think what you'll see around here is that most of us decided to have surgery because of health problems, or fear of health problems. and we've ALL had a very VERY long history of dieting - yo-yo-ing, trying everything, and failing over the long haul.

i was extremely ill going into the surgery [and the tale is around here somewhere or other]. surgery was my ONLY chance for living longer than a year. and it was the right choice.

it sounds to me, though, that you're trying to come up with SOMETHING you can do to help yourself while you're pregnant and making the decision. here's a suggestion - and it's NOT 'just eat like you had the surgery' [there's MUCH more that goes into that!!!]

try to address your food demons - you'll have to do it anyway, no matter what your decision. are you a stress eater? a boredom eater? sweets? salt? snacking? drinking calories? the possibilities are ENDLESS!!!!

look at what/how you're eating and see what changes you can make - one at a time, and add another one every couple of weeks. maybe it'll be drinking water instead of soda. or using lowfat milk instead of cream in your coffee.

or taking a 10 minute walk before you eat anything.

whatever it is - it'll get your head around the concept of SUCCESS!!!

and we'll be here -

shelterwatch
01-01-2010, 12:36 AM
For me, it was 2004 and I read an article online about new research being done on women who were menipausal and obese. There was a correlation between them getting breast cancer. That scared me. That was enough for me.

I did a LOT of research and I chose the lap band because it was the right choice for me.

I also went to TJ Mexico because it was the right choice for me.

I chose a surgeon whom I believe is one of the top three in the world.

$$/lack of insurance was also an issue for me, and the surgery there was MUCH less expensive. (Under 10K for EVERYTHING compared to $32K at Cedars Sinai at the time).

The surgeons in Mexico and some other countries have been doing this surgery for 15 years and the US FDA didn't approve this surgery until 2002.

For me, it was and still is the right choice. I have no regrets in doing this surgery.

*stefani*
01-01-2010, 01:43 PM
My impending death in the future was enough to scare me. My Mom had a massive heart attack at age 59. I was way bigger than her and knowing that I had the genetics in line was enough to convince me.

Seriously, we all have worries and doubts going in. When we do surgery we are heading into a world of "what ifs". It's change that we can't always predict. Any kind of big change requires risk.

Dawn

Mama
01-01-2010, 09:48 PM
Wonderful and insightful answers, everyone. Thank you so much, and keep 'em coming! This is helping me sort things out in my own mind, and I bet a lot of lurkers are finding your answers very helpful too.

Thanks again!!!

nomena
01-02-2010, 04:55 AM
I also had fears but I have asked myself - If you dont do it what else you can do and you already did not try? The answer was NOTHING. And the question was - if there is nothing that you did not try already can you accept yourself fat? And the answer was NO.

I know I cant leave my life further without peace with myself and I had to try with the lap band. I am not doing fine with it for now but I am sure I will master it after some time. Maybe I will not be for the records but I will loose it and nothing can compare with it.

Not to talk about the benefits for health! Good luck!

nomena
01-02-2010, 04:59 AM
I I took lap band because I think its the most safe. I know that in USA its not popular as here because people are looking for more easy solutions. Dont get me wrong - my doctor told me that in the beginning ALL other methods like by pass has better and faster results but that after 5 years results are the SAME so that I dont worry just wait :-)

I picked it up because I would like to have kids someday and I am skeptical about other methods and feeding the baby in your stomach and so on. And I though - if something goes wrong I could take it out. And if you cut your stomach you can undo that.

Lots of ladies that did other methods have more cases of osteroposis after 40.I am not saying that lap band is good for you I am just explaining why I picked that one up. Yes, it is the hardest was to loose also - but I am little bit masochistic so its fine for me, hihihihi.

missangelaks
01-02-2010, 05:56 AM
I chose the RNY GBP because I have more then 100lbs to lose (it has a higher success rate at my highest weight then the band and is less dangerous, in my eyes, of complications due to malabsorbtion then the DS) Also, GBP has the possiblity of the "dumping" syndrome which I though would be a good kick in the pants to stop the binge eating I was doing on high fat and high carb/sugar food I was doing. The chance that dumping will occur after time goes down to 30% but I am lucky that I still do...it keeps me in line and helps me change my habits long term.

Remember, research is the key and what's best for you is the answer.

Angela

nanj
01-02-2010, 08:57 PM
I chose WLS because of health reasons. The reason that I chose RNY was because my insurance would only cover RNY and lapband. Since I needed to lose way over 100 pound and as old dirt, I took the RNY. For two years, I read, READ, daer, R E A D, everything that I could about WLS. I came here cried, bawled, asked, begged for information; read other people stories. All of this was from my couch because by the time I finally applied for WLS, I wasn't able to hardly take care of myself, family, or home. I did do a low carb diet about a month before my surgery and managed to lose 16 pounds, but had done that before and knew without the weightloss surgery I wouldn't be able to keep it off. Frankly, I want to LIVE. That is why I chose WLS.

Good Luck!

Duckslove
01-04-2010, 05:05 PM
I had some health issues, and even more family with weight related health issues. I did not want to become diabetic. at my heaviest i weighed 335 pounds. I was nervous about the surgery, but once I went to a seminar and listened and made my choice, I was not really nervous any more. I chose the RNY because my insurance would only cover the RNY or band, and with my weight i felt the rny was better for me. Its been 2 months and I have lost 45 pounds since surgery and I feel great :)

kjlayna
01-06-2010, 09:24 PM
It isn't an easy decision. I had complications and have rehashed my decision several times. But in the end, I chose WLS because I knew it was my only hope. I was 28 and weighed 296. I had lost a child mid-pregnancy (perhaps due to my weight as well as other issues) and it was my only "hope" to be normal again. Like I said, I've had a bunch of complications and have wondered if it was 'worth it', but if given the choice again I'd probably do it again.

Think it through. Weigh the pros and cons for YOU and then make the decision. I pray you can make the right one for you.

Mama
01-15-2010, 06:21 PM
It isn't an easy decision. I had complications and have rehashed my decision several times. But in the end, I chose WLS because I knew it was my only hope. I was 28 and weighed 296. I had lost a child mid-pregnancy (perhaps due to my weight as well as other issues) and it was my only "hope" to be normal again. Like I said, I've had a bunch of complications and have wondered if it was 'worth it', but if given the choice again I'd probably do it again.

Think it through. Weigh the pros and cons for YOU and then make the decision. I pray you can make the right one for you.

I'm so sorry for your loss. :hug: How heartbreaking...



Today I ate about five (mini) york peppermint patties. :o They are my favorite sweet. After eating number five, I thought "good God... if I get the surgery, I can't do this. I'd get really sick." It made me think that (a) can I really handle the post-op diet? (I've done uber low-cal before, but never had to cut sweets entirely if I was really craving) and (b) Can I live the rest of my life without my beloved york peppermint patties?

Sigh. I shouldn't have eaten them. ;)

How did you know you could handle the post-op diet? I mean, it isn't even a diet -- it's a lifelong way of eating. How did you know you could resist your favorite food for the rest of your life?

jiffypop
01-16-2010, 10:10 AM
it's simple, Mama. YOU DON'T HAVE TO. after about 18 months, you can have a peppermint patty or two. NOT MORE. you get everything back, in small amounts. honest!!!1

the only exception are those foods that just don't sit right - and you'll learn as you go along which ones they are. cooked leaf spinach is a problem for me - but if it's chopped up and mixed in with other stuff, i'm ok.

ROMANS828
01-17-2010, 06:36 AM
Hello to everyone. I was moved to post after I saw mama basically echo my thoughts when she asked how you can handle never eating the things you like again. This is currently a thought for me because I am trying to decide between the LB and RNY. My ins will not cover WLS until April so I have a few months. I am getting paperwork together right now.

Four years ago my sister got a LB. She was about 300lb and she is 150 now and feeling very good. She lost her weight as rapidly as a bp patient according to her dr. She eats almost anything she wants now, just in small bits throughout the day. She really never sits down to a meal. That being said, a year ago she was under 100lbs. She lived on cigs and whiskey. In her words, she fixed her body but not her head. I think she is slowly working through it.

I am now at the point where WLS is a definate for all the reasons everyone has already stated. I am under the impression that I will be able to eat a larger variety of food w/ the LB. Is this false? I also have a friend who did the LP 6mo ago and has only lost 45lbs. She is very disappointed and wishes she would have done the RNY. Any suggestions?

Leenie
01-17-2010, 09:40 AM
Hi Roamans and :welcome:

I am glad your sister is working through her problems. She is 100% right though, weight loss surgery is a tool, not a cure, it does not fix the brain. I am sorry to hear she is smoking and drinking :( Some times we lose certain habits but then pick up others along our journey but that can happen with or without surgery.

I am under the impression that I will be able to eat a larger variety of food w/ the LB. Is this false?

Just remember going into any WL surgery, everyone is different. With the lap band you will be able to eat a large variety of foods. People tolerate things differently. Some can't eat rice... I can. Again, everyone is different and it really depends on the stage you are in.. for instance, if you are not restricted or just a little, you'll be able to eat more and tolerate more than if you are fully restricted (fills).

I also have a friend who did the LP 6mo ago and has only lost 45lbs. She is very disappointed and wishes she would have done the RNY. Any suggestions?

Lap band is a slow weight loss aid, you are supposed to lose 1-2 lbs a week. 45 lbs in 6 months... she should be thrilled !! One thing I bet your friend is doing is comparing herself to others which is a big NO NO !!! Seriously she is doing wonderful... I hope her doctor is telling her that. If he is not, maybe you can.

You still need to eat healthy with the band, milks shakes, greasy foods and fancy coffee's can go down very easy adding up to a lot of calories.

Roman, this is such a personal decision. I really hope you choose what's right for you and not what other are doing or saying... BUT at the same time, its FANTASTIC that you are research both options and learning the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Making a blind decision is the worst thing anyone can do.

Good luck !!!

jiffypop
01-17-2010, 10:07 AM
What Leenie said.

and all this talk about being able to eat this or that got me thinking. every person in this world has food preferences. there is NOTHING that'll get me to eat lima beans. one of my sisters will NEVER touch a green bean or a pea. for many of us, our food preferences and tastes change after surgery - and that's over and above what we find we don't tolerate.

For me, a prime example is ICE CREAM!!! i used to love it. and now, if i have a spoonful or two, i'm done. i can literally take it or leave it.

i guess what i'm saying is this: if you decide to have the surgery, your food preferences will most likely change - and it might be that your tastes change, or that you have trouble with the food. but you WILL find other things that you enjoy MORE.

and here's the kicker - very few of us got heavy by being fussy eaters! some of us [raising hand here!] have had WAY too close an association with food - so, IMO, reducing my preferences for, say, ice cream, is actually part of the head issues i've had to deal with. i'm viewing it as being on the path to a more normal, less obsessed, relationship with food.

just my two cents!!!

BeeMom
01-17-2010, 01:36 PM
My dr had been pushing me to lose weight, and when I flat out told him I couldn't stick to a diet, he suggested WLS. I went to a seminar given by a local WLS surgeon, and he described all the different surgeries. I decided on the gastric sleeve - simple, permanent, no malabsorption. I had always been a volume eater, so I felt that what I most needed was something to help me cut down my volume.

I was also a bit scared that it wouldn't work and that I would regain the weight, or that I might die on the operating table, etc. etc. But I knew the quality of life I had was getting worse by the day. My knees were hurting, I couldn't keep up with my husband when we went walking, I was diabetic -- lots of problems. I was willing to take the risk because the status quo sucked.

I had always felt pretty helpless against cravings, sugar, etc., but I found that after my surgery, the cravings were manageable. They remove the part of the stomach that secretes the harmone that makes you hungry (one of the harmones), and that has been very helpful for me. And if I do slip up, I can't do as much damage because of the size of my stomach (i.e., I can't eat the whole bag like I used to).

I had the surgery done in Mexico due to cost (Dr. G. Alvarez). Good luck in your decision.

ladybugnessa
01-19-2010, 09:46 AM
you've gotten great advice from everyone... just wanted to say welcome.

I'm 17 weeks out from surgery today and I'm thrilled with my results.

Mama
01-19-2010, 07:36 PM
i guess what i'm saying is this: if you decide to have the surgery, your food preferences will most likely change - and it might be that your tastes change, or that you have trouble with the food. but you WILL find other things that you enjoy MORE.

Thanks for bringing this up. I was sort of wondering if cravings would change after surgery.


(Unrelated to WLS, but related to cravings... I used to eat a bowl of ice cream every night. When I was pregnant with my son, I ate a MASSIVE "bowl" of ice cream daily - sometimes twice daily. :o Guess how much ice cream I've had this entire pregnancy? Exactly one spoonful. I guess this little one doesn't like ice cream. ;) So... I can see how cravings can change as we change physically.)

Another thing I am worried about with WLS is how my severely changed eating habits would effect my relationships with others. Would food-pusher relatives that cook elaborate meals for every visit get it when I didn't even have room to try a little taste of every dish? How will family mealtimes change with my husband and children? Would I be sending confusing messages to my own children about what is "healthy eating" when they see my pint-size portions as I encourage them to eat an entire plateful? :?::?: I'd love to hear anyone talk about these issues - especially how their young children viewed mommy or daddy's seemingly bizarre eating habits.

Duckslove
01-19-2010, 08:21 PM
My family has been super supportive and totally understand about the surgery. My neices are little (5 and 6) and we just explained that my tummy was now way too small for alot of food and they seemed to grasp it OK. I still eat with my family every night, I just use tiny plates and tiny bowls. Also those food pushing relatives can try, but after surgery it really wont matter. it isnt like before when you got full and could still fit more. after surgery when you are full there is no way to get more in there(at least with the rny). trying to over eat leads to puking, at least for me.

jiffypop
01-20-2010, 10:25 AM
oh Mama - have you hit on a bit issue here!!!! talk with as many people as you can about this - no matter what we do, our relationship with food changes, and as a result, our relationships with PEOPLE change. As duckslove pointed out, some folks are really supportive - others, not so much.

I guess with children - and i have none, so take this with a grain of salt - it's mostly about modeling good food choices, eating only when hungry, getting exercise, etc, rather than being a member of the clean plate club. sure, your kids need enough food, and they'll be sure they get it [i hope!]

but what's even more bizarre is that you'll lose some friends, and make others. some people simply can't tolerate seeing the changes in us.

ROMANS828
01-21-2010, 01:53 AM
thanks to everyone.
i have decided to have the RNY. I met with my dr today and had the letter of necessity written etc. I have to wait to schedule until april due to my ins company's policy. I work the overnight shift (12 hr shifts) on my feet the whole time. After 4 shifts in a row last week I was so sore that it took me two days off to just be able to walk without a limp. Of course i cried, and then I thought, "does it really matter if you can eat pasta and brownies anymore?" NOthing tastes good enough to feel like I have been for the past 6 mo. so.....the journey begins!

jiffypop
01-21-2010, 10:32 AM
congrats, Romans - on making a decision - no matter what's decided, just starting on a good course of action can make all the difference.

we'll be around here as you go through the journey - and the hoops!!!

Mama
01-21-2010, 11:30 AM
thanks to everyone.
i have decided to have the RNY. I met with my dr today and had the letter of necessity written etc. I have to wait to schedule until april due to my ins company's policy. I work the overnight shift (12 hr shifts) on my feet the whole time. After 4 shifts in a row last week I was so sore that it took me two days off to just be able to walk without a limp. Of course i cried, and then I thought, "does it really matter if you can eat pasta and brownies anymore?" NOthing tastes good enough to feel like I have been for the past 6 mo. so.....the journey begins!

Congratulations on your decision! :hug: I hope this is the beginning of something wonderful for you.

I guess I have to get to that point where I'd say "does it really matter if i can't eat popcorn and peppermint patties anymore?" Right now I feel like it does sort of matter. Maybe i am too entrenched in my relationship with food to be serious about WLS right now. :o I'll wait and see how I feel after the baby. I'll have "two under two" then :dizzy:, and I may not have much time to indulge in old habits and would rather be able to keep with with my kids anyway.

jillybean720
01-22-2010, 08:16 AM
I guess I have to get to that point where I'd say "does it really matter if i can't eat popcorn and peppermint patties anymore?" Right now I feel like it does sort of matter.
There ARE procedures that won't make you give up your favorite foods. Keep researching :)

ladybugnessa
01-22-2010, 08:34 AM
Would food-pusher relatives that cook elaborate meals for every visit get it when I didn't even have room to try a little taste of every dish? How will family mealtimes change with my husband and children? Would I be sending confusing messages to my own children about what is "healthy eating" when they see my pint-size portions as I encourage them to eat an entire plateful? :?::?: I'd love to hear anyone talk about these issues - especially how their young children viewed mommy or daddy's seemingly bizarre eating habits.


oh such good questions.

1. in the beginning you don't have that much room but at thanksgiving I DID have a taste of EVERYTHING.... granted I was the cook so I knew what was in everything... but my plate had a bit of everything on it.....

2. family mealtimes: you will be making healthy food in appropriate sizes. A HUGE plate of food is NOT healthy. We have severe portion creep in this country. THREE ounces of protein is a very small amount. and it's an appropriate size. The parent eating a giant plate of spaghetti is the one sending the wrong message. Why would you encourage your children to join the 'clean plate club'.

The eating habits of WLS pateints more than a couple of months past surgery are NORMAL. for example I am going to lunch today with a friend.... we picked Wendy's..... I'll have a small salad (and eat about half of that and a small chili and probably finish most of that. I'm 4 months out...

last night we had meatza for dinner (pizza with a meat crust) ONE slice and I was done. Hubby managed 2 but said he ate too much. how many slices of pizza is "normal".... I used to eat a whole small pizza myself. is that NORMAL?

30and300
01-23-2010, 09:03 PM
There ARE procedures that won't make you give up your favorite foods. Keep researching :)

Jillybean and a bunch of other wonderful folks from this forum answered some of my questions a few weeks ago that were very similar to some of your questions about food restrictions. I dunno if you read it but I'm gonna stick a link here in case you want to look over it. =)

http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/weight-loss-surgery/189531-longterm-dietary-restrictions-sugar-restrictions-more-silly-questions-mine.html

mlk58
02-19-2010, 01:41 PM
I'm having the vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) in just under four weeks. Honestly, for me it wasn't difficult to decide on surgery at all. I'm 51 years old and have been yo-yo dieting for FORTY years. I've never gotten huge -- highest BMI has been under 35 -- but I've never been able to keep the weight off and never been able to diet down to a "normal" BMI. When I found out about the VSG I jumped at it, even though I'm paying for it myself since my insurance won't cover it for someone my size.

I have eaten enough brownies and popcorn and spaghetti and candy and ice cream to last me for several lifetimes. I cannot even begin to describe the heartache my weight has caused me over the years, and the thought of being free of cravings and at a normal weight seems almost unbelieveable to me. Any risks or downsides of the surgery are more than worth it to me.

gipsprettyface
12-29-2010, 11:19 PM
@bloodroses...I am considering Lap Sleeve/vertical sleeve. It sounds like you are very happy with your surgery, is there any advice you can give me or some knowledge you can pass on? Thanks :)