Weight Loss Surgery - Wife looking for help! Newbie!




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Luna3
11-12-2002, 06:24 PM
OK, I'm very new here, just found your site today.

I have been reading a lot of your posts and honestly, I'm not sure if they make me feel better or worse?!

I will back up a little here and tell you my story.

I am married to one of the greatest guys in the world. The problem is he is 6'1 and he tells me he is around 340 lbs. He has been heavy off and on his entire life. He was heavy in high school, lost weight to get into the Army. His dismissal from the Army after 5years was due to his weight. He then got a job in a shop working nights and lost a lot of weight, kept if off about a year or so and has just continued to put on more weight over the last 15 years.

I need to state that I am no little thing myself. I am 5'3 and 180lbs.

But back to John. He has been watching TV lately and as I'm sure most of you know they have been doing a lot of coverage on gastric bypass surgery. Today on the Today show they did a segment on Al Roker. John has always liked Al and seems to feel some sort of bond with him. Well today he admitted to having this surgery. I think this was the final push for him and he asked me to see what I could find out.

I called our family doctor who has been helping both of us in our attempts at weight loss. (We both take Meridia). This has helped a little but it is not the magic pill John wanted it to be. He has had a little weight loss around 30 lbs. but just can not seem to lose any more.

So the doctors office did suggest that I call and get information from the Bareatric (sp?) Treatment Center in Michigan with a referral. I thought I was calling to have some information mailed to me. They ended up setting up an appointment for December 20th.

Now I feel the need to really educate myself, and fast, to find out what I need to ask these people, what would you all suggest if you could go back and start again?

I do know a few ladies who have gone through with the surgery, but are there any guys here?

I should also tell you, John already has sleep apnea, and has to sleep with a C-Pap Machine. He is boarder line type 2 diabetic. He was a smoker but thank god he did quit that about 3 years ago. Last year he was in a motorcycle accident and crushed his leg. After much healing they think in the future he will need a total knee replacement. (So any large amount of exercise i.e. running, jogging etc. is out of the question).

Is there anything you can tell me about all of this? Where do I start? Sorry to any guys out there in advance but John is a typical guy and I know he will just sit there and not ask any questions. Heck, he would not even call the doctor himself! So I feel the need to find out all I can as quickly as I can.

If anyone reads all of this, thank you in advance!

Diane


peach pit
11-12-2002, 06:33 PM
Oh Diane!

I think that you started at the very best place...and that is here!!!

My real life sister is jiffypop and my real life love her to bits friend is Debkay. I am sure that they will be along soon to help you out. They are thoughtful, honest and nice gals. Both of them have had the surgery. They are currently doing great.

I know my sister Jiffypop would not be around here today if it was not for her surgery. It was not easy, but it did save her life. Debkay, I think is having more fun than she has in years because she feels so much better....and come to think of it...I have not heard any complaints about her knee recently!!!!

Well, they can just smack me if I have given out to much of "their" info!!

They will help you with the fine points of the "how to s" and "what ifs".

So, take a deep breath, relax, help we be around soon (depending on how late Jiffypop has to work! and when she checks in....which is usually late in the evening!)

all the best,
peach

jiffypop
11-13-2002, 01:36 PM
hey there diane... i tried to read your post last night but the system crashed before i could get to it. and now i'm at work and a quick response is really hard.

but here are a couple of places to check: www.obesityhelp.com. and www.partnershipinweightcontrol.com and www.spotlighthealth.com [although that is a very chaotic website. and the american society for bariatric surgery www.asbs.org has some information as well, but most important, you can see which surgeons in your area are members. and that's an important point.

some essential points to look for: AFTERCARE AND SUPPORT. and a program that insists on at least 80 grams of protein per day, even right after surgery. more about that later.

i promise.

and BREATHE. it'll be ok.


Luna3
11-13-2002, 08:44 PM
Thanks ladies! Anything you can tell me is great help. I have gone back and read most of the posts here, I will try to get to the other web sites this weekend.

One point I forgot to add is that we have two kids, 7 and 3. So we are always busy!

Again, Thanks!

debkay
11-14-2002, 06:53 AM
Hi Luna,

Just thought I would add my two cents worth.

You are very, very wise to do research on this, we must go into surgery if that is what you and your husband decide he should do, with our eyes WIDE open.

I know you mentioned you would like to find men who have had the surgery. The Spotlighthealth site has quite a few men who have undergone the surgery. Like Jiff said it can get a little "hairy" (my words, not hers) over there, but much good information can be had.

The majority of my information came from Obesityhelp, that web site is just PACKED with info.

I'm sure that you know from reading posts that I am the one with severe complications...................but I'm so not typical. The majority breeze through without a hitch, but you must be aware of the risks also.

Keep posting with us, and asking questions, we would be glad to help in anyway that we can.

And peachie, I don't complain about my knee(s) anymore, cause they don't hurt anymore. :dance: Dropping the weight that I have so far, seems to have been a magic bullet for the old knees.

Debbie

jiffypop
11-16-2002, 09:11 AM
life just seems to have gotten busier now that i can actually move and breathe!!!

as you well know, this surgery is not for everyone. if the program you've been referred to does not tell him that he needs to see a whole bunch of specialists before he has the surgery, find another program. i don't want to scare you, but so many places are looking at this surgery as a money maker, and are putting the needs of the patient in a WAY WAY back seat.

john will need to take vitamin supplements for life. make sure the doc requires this, and that john is willing to do it. it's essential, or he'll end up in a wheelchair because of the vitamin deficiencies. and it's sooo easy to do that it's silly not to. and there's no need to be tortured by trying to swallow horse pill vitamins. i use centrum chewables and flintstones chewables. the centrums are at work because i have to act like a grownup, and the flintstones are at home because I LIKE THEM!!!!!

and extra calcium [i use a crystalline calcium that i mix into my protein shake and a liquid calcium that i keep at work]. and vitamin b12. and there may be others that john will need as time goes on.

john will at minimum need clearance from a lung doctor [because he has sleep apnea] and a cardiologist [for the same reason], and he SHOULD see a nutrititionist or dietician who specializes in eating after the surgery [the bariatric treatment center should have a list that can help you]. and a psychologist is also helpful. eating is such a psychological activity that we need help with it. many people go into mourning afterwards because they've lost their best friend. others become angry. but bottom line, we can no longer turn to food to cope with our emotions, and that raises a whole different set of problems.

and john [and you!] have to be willing to work on this in whatever form it takes.

perhaps the most important thing is that this must be john's choice. HE must be the one responsible for what goes in his mouth after the surgery, not YOU. you can certainly help, but he has to make the choices and the commitment. check out ageoldie's posts. her husband had the surgery, and it's been quite a ride for both of them.

and about the exercise. john will have to do it. of COURSE running is out of the question. neither deb nor i will EVER run. not even to a sale!!! there are many many other ways to get exercise, and john will have to decide what he wants to do. but he'll HAVE to do it.

and the meridian only helps increase weight loss by about 10%. it's not enough for people like us. but it WILL help with the preop weight loss that many docs require.

so, now that i've written a whole lot of info... here's a summary of things you need from the doc...

do they have a support and after care program and what is it

what's the after-surgery diet? how much protein? what forms? how soon to advance from liquids to mushy stuff to real food? [and beware of programs that let you eat mashed potatoes postop!! those patients don't seem to have the weight loss that patients whose docs want them to eat lots of protein!! and if they recommend carnation instant breakfast as a protein supplement, find another program.]

ask about pre-surgery clearances and counseling

and you two will have to decide who to tell and what and how much. not everyone in your lives will support you, but it's one of the most important decisions you will make. it took me two years to agree to the surgery and i should have done it sooner. the first three months SUCKED. but they ENDED. it was temporary.

and this week, let's see. what have i eaten? filet mignon, a fried onion ring, asparagus, cheese, corned beef, chicken, roast beef, ham, chick peas, feta cheese, deviled eggs, apples, melba toast, salad, tomatoes, cucumber, M&Ms, shrimp, split pea soup, beef jerky [despite my sister's words that you are what you eat!], soy nuts, pork with mole sauce, rice, refried beans, a lamb chop, salmon. small amounts. well chewed. it works.

i hope this helps. and KEEP ASKING QUESTIONS!!!! i'll be going to my support group meeting next week, and i'll ask the guys what they would tell someone like john. my surgery buddy, marc, had his surgery just two hours after mine, and he's doing GREAT. but he's taken responsibility for his own eating. and so has john, who's lost nearly 200 pounds.

don't worry... more information is coming!!!!

ageoldie
11-17-2002, 09:47 PM
You and I should meet and talk!!! I was in the same spot as you about 2 years ago. Everything you say about your John was the same with my husband Alvin. His doctor told himif he did not have the surgery he would be dead within 5 years. I knew no one who had had the surgery and everything I could find in the magazines wer horror stories. I started lookin gon the net and jiff has mentioned all the major sites.

Alvin had his surgery on April 19,2002 He weighed in at 577. Yesterday he weighed 403. He is like a different person, and like Debkay is beginning to enjoy life again. Was it easy, no, and it will never get to be easy. Every mealtime is a crissis for us. It's probally that I baby him too much. It'd probally be better if I just made him take care of his own meals and I didmine, but I can't do that. John will need your support, and that won't always be easy either. You might want to go out toeat seatk so bad you can't stand it, but he might not be able to eat steak. (everyone is different about what foods they can tolerate afer surgery)

Hang in there, and you will find it is deffinately worth it. If you would like to email me personally send me a PM and I'll send you my addy

Luna3
11-18-2002, 03:34 PM
Thank you all so much for your information!

I have received the packed from the Bariatric Treatment Center. Wow it has a lot of information!

Jiffypop, I know what you mean about doing surgery as a money maker, this is probably my biggest fear. I feel better now then I did before I started looking around, the obesityhelp web site actually links to the Bariatric Treatment Center here in Michigan, which is where we have our appointment set up for December 20th.

According to the information that we received the do indeed have a very large after care program. The web site actually has a section for patients only. You need to register with them and then you can access the site. It is broken into the pre-care and after-care section, listing tests - diet etc. They also have an entire diet/nutrition after care program with a very large 3 ring binder and group you must attend.

At our first meeting we will meet with the doctor who will explain the surgery. Then they do some preliminary testing on John. I guess after this we are going to talk with someone who has already had the surgery and a nutritionist. Which sounds like a whole lot of information is going to be offered. This is really why I want to know the “terms” and what to expect. What good is all of this information if it just flies over our heads?!

It looks like this is the only surgery that the Bariatric Treatment Center does, and that everything is strictly tailored to a larger sized person. Which is making John feel better.

He did not have a good experience when he was in the hospital after his motorcycle accident. They had to get him a larger bed (do you know that they actually call those things “big boy” beds) how humiliating! He had to get crutches that would hold more weight and a special cane, etc.

This is probably the number one reason I would like him to get this done now. The doctor has already told him that he will need a knee replacement. So we know that we have at least one more surgery in our future.

Ageoldie, I would love to speak with you and your husband. My e-mail is diyaworski@yahoo.com (sorry, I do not know what PM is or how to use it). Tell your husband GREAT JOB, wow, 174 lbs down. I’m sure he must be feeling much better. I think I remember reading that he had some set backs?

I am aware even if John decides to do this that it will take quite a long time to get all the tests done and all approval from the insurance company. I am guaranteed to panic many more times. Please be patient with me!

Also, John started to actually talk to me about all of this, this past weekend. He is starting to state his fears and I have told him mine. I will slowly try to get him to post here. Again, this is one reason I was looking for guys who have had this surgery. I know what MY fears and thoughts would be, but his are just so different! He is not a “talking” but a “doing” person. And I do think that he feels that the extra weight is his fault. He needs a food “issues” program and I can see where there could be some anger after the surgery, if he decides to go ahead with it.

Thank you for all your answers and honestly!

jiffypop
11-18-2002, 04:58 PM
and please PLEASE don't hesitate - either you OR john - any of your oh. questions or concerns. if we don't know, we'll find out!

and i'll ask my surgery buddy if he'd be willing to share his email with john..

more later. oh. and make sure that when you get to talk with a patient at the bariatric center, that it's a GUY!!!!