Weight Loss Surgery - Mini-Gastric Bypass, Seven Months Later

12-30-2012, 06:04 PM
This post should really be subtitled "Wow, I'm thin and almost bald, how cool is that?" ;)

I posted here for awhile before my mini-gastric bypass on May 17, 2012, and for awhile afterward, so I thought I'd swing by and update in case anyone ever reads this :)

On the day of surgery, I weighed 232.6. I was a size 16/18, and I was sick - hypertensive, severely asthmatic, and my resting heart rate was around 120 most of the time. I wheezed, I ached, I had sleep apnea, and I was constantly exhausted. I'd given up my nursing job years before.

So, here's me, seven months later. I weigh about 128 on any given day. My butt is in size six jeans only because I haven't bothered to buy size 4s yet. My shirts are mediums or smalls. My scrubs (we'll get to that) are size small. SMALL, y'all. I mean, holy cats, who knew?

I can buy my undies in a size 5 at Victoria's, only they rarely have the 32DD I wear now (yay online clearance racks, no pun intended). And yes, TMI whatever. I wear a 32DD bra and anyone who doesn't like it can suck it, because come on now. That is just cool. I'd yell it in the mall, except it embarrasses the hubby and teenage son, and I do not want to pay for therapy for them.

Here's what else. I don't take any meds anymore. I mean, I take oodles and craptons of vitamins, but no actual medicines. I no longer have sleep apnea or asthma or hypertension. My blood pressure runs in the 120/70 range. That, for me, is huge. I took mountains of beta blockers before. I haven't used my inhaler since surgery except once the week I had bronchitis. That's it.

Now, here's the fun part. My daughter got married in November and I got to be the skinny mother of the bride. I wore a size petite medium dress to the wedding and it was a little big. I wore heels. Not eensy heels, FMP 5" heels. And I danced in them. I've gotten two jobs. One for a software developer, and then I decided I wanted to try nursing again. Heavy duty adolescent medical nursing, where I routinely lift kids who weigh 75 pounds minimum - by myself. Yeah, I thought I was gonna die the first few weeks, but now I have some muscle again and I love it! Having an actual income is nice, too, so I can go to Victoria's and frighten the staff.

So that's the good part. Now I'm gonna talk about Stuff I Wish I Had Prepared For Better.

1. I am almost bald. I mean, I've lost over half my hair. I actually have an appointment to see my stylist to discuss options this week. Wigs vs. looking like a cancer patient or getting a pixie, I dunno. I miss my hair.

2. My skin isn't awful, but it ain't pretty either. Those 32DDs look great - as long as we keep 'em harnessed. And a chunk of that cup size is from the skin under my arms. Gotta hold it in somehow.

3. My face looks like I've aged a bit. I was not prepared to trade being thin for looking older. My skin is way drier, too - I never needed moisturizer before surgery and now I am keeping Sephora and LUSH in business. My skin can't decide whether to break out or break down.

4. My nails are now so thin and short that I'm heading for the nearest acrylic nail joint on payday.

I've had a twitchy stomach since surgery. The MGB is a vertical sleeve with a six foot bypass, so there's nothing mini about it. Stupid misnomers. Anyway, my stomach seems to hold about four ounces. I can't do lactose, the gut hates chicken and pork and chocolate and bread. I live on crab meat, protein shakes, vitamins, beans, and cheese. Sometimes I also live on Chef Boyardee ravioli because my stomach, oddly, likes it. My stomach likes Taco Bell, also oddly, but not pizza or burgers.

So, very long post still way too long, I love my new body. I also hate some things about it. Nothing that can't be fixed with the reversal of gravity and a great surgeon, but still.

Is weight loss surgery the easy way out? In some ways. I don't work out. I mean, at all, unless you count the physical work inherent in my nursing job, or shopping for shoes at the mall. I don't count calories. I don't worry a whole lot about what I eat except to make sure that it has protein and that I won't be dry-heaving in an hour.

In some ways, it's not. See dry-heaving, above. It's a massive change. I never expected to see my collarbones again, much less my sternum or hipbones, but I can. I've lost over 100 pounds in seven months, and it's taken its toll on my body - my hair, skin and nails have all suffered dramatically for it. I have to taste tiny bites of food I haven't eaten recently to be sure I can eat it, because some things I can, and some things I can't. It's hard to explain, but those of you who have had surgery might know what I mean. Which can make dinner at the in-law's awkward when they tried to make food they thought I'd be able to eat.

And... what if it doesn't stop? What happens to me at 120, or 110, or 100 pounds? It's an interesting quandary. I feel like the loss is slowing way down for me, so it might be a moot question as I work hard to take in enough protein each day. I guess we'll see.

So, uh, hi again. How YOU doin'? :)

12-31-2012, 10:03 AM
It's great to hear from you! and i absolutely understand every single word of your post. unfortunately, i don't have time right now for a good response - i have the bad cold that's going around and i need to fix tea , feed the cat, and snuggle into bed for awhile. I'll be back later - PROMISE.

oh. except to say one thing. this hugely fast massive weight loss DOES take a toll on a person's body - no matter how a person loses it. give your skin some time to snap back and your hair to re-grow.

ok. gotta go back to bed for awhile. congratulations!!!!

12-31-2012, 12:54 PM
Imp, I also can relate to everything in your post! I can't believe it has been seven months for you already.

Months 7-10 were the worst for me in terms of hair loss and hair condition. I, too, lost half my hair as well, and the hair that was left was sooo dry and frizzy. I started using an aragon oil conditioning system which helped with the frizz and the hair that is growing in now is not only curly (which I LOVE), it is coming in a beautiful blonde color. When I went home over Xmas, everybody was complimenting me on the color/curl. So, you might have something to look forward to. I have read that if your protein levels are not high enough (this is something I struggle with), your hair will continue to fall out. Mine is not nearly as full as it was before, but I no longer worry about people seeing bald spots either. It will get better. :)

It took me until at least month 9 before I wasn't always worried about getting sick. I totally understand the "small bite and hope for the best" feeling. Hopefully, you will soon start to notice that you can tolerate more foods regularly.

It takes time to get used to our new look and our body to recover from the shock of rapid weight loss. I've heard the one year postop time period is the worst in terms of looking haggard/old. I know a few other people who had WLS and they looked gaunt/sickly at about a year, but all look wonderful now (all 5 years out or more).

Whenever I get a little down with the hanging skin or thin hair, I remind myself of why I did this and how much healthier I am now. Plus, we tend to be our own worst critic, noticing imperfections that others would not. How wonderful that your health issues are resolved and you are in a career you love.

Thank you for the update! I'm glad to hear you are doing so well.

12-31-2012, 04:48 PM
So today I decided to go play with my preop before picture next to a photo of me taken on Christmas Day. I also decided that for today, I will not cry about my hair or the horrible angle at which my candid "after" pic was taken or my weird neck or the "please do not take a pic of me from halfway down the stairs" face I'm making.

Instead I will rejoice at my size 6 jeans, at my size small sweater, at the fact that my calves fit into cowboy boots for the first time in well over a decade. With room to spare. I will be happy that I am healthier, that I have the energy to unfrack my habitat and have friends over for New Year's Eve and still get up and go to work tomorrow. I will be happy with who I am, in the skin and hair I'm in.

Plus I bought a wig today, but that's another post :) Happy New Year!


12-31-2012, 05:00 PM
Jiffy and Jen:

Hihihihi! It's been too long. I'm gonna make it a point to be around more. Life got busy for me for awhile, in a good way.

Thank you both for the support and encouragement. I do feel confident that I will settle into the new body (and face, and hair) as time goes on. I also feel sure that the things I think are terrible may not be as noticeable to others - or if they are, maybe they're more distracted by how much better I look from the shoulders down :)

Vanity is something I used to be very familiar with, but lost as my weight went up. I've always looked at myself with a critical eye - I'm a little OCD and Type A that way. But you're both right, and it helps. I need to be nicer to me.

It's good to be back :)

01-02-2013, 12:42 AM
Hiya, I haven't really posted too much on here. But, you are gorgeous! And your legs are sooo skinny, I'm so jealious! Keep your head up, you look great.

Oh and congratz on the clean bill of health too. =) And those boots are super cute.

01-02-2013, 01:58 PM
You look amazing and have done a lot to mproved your health. And, how fab that you have gone back to nursing. I hope that with time and good nutrition (perhaps you could see an endocrinologist) your hair an skin will normalize.