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Weight Loss Surgery If you've had it, or are considering it, share your discussions here

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Old 08-08-2010, 03:09 PM   #1
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Default Thinking about surgery... need help..

I have been thinking about surgery for probably 8 years and have always told myself it hasnt come to that point. I am scared to death of surgery honestly, but I am also scared to death of what my weight will cause in the future. I dont know if this makes sense but if I didnt have a child I would have had surgery a long time ago. I guess some people think of it the other way around. I am so scared of dying from it and complications that it scares me out of it each time. I have tried doing everything under the sun to lose weight and I will lose a little and then gain it all back plus more.

I went to the WLS seminar and due to all the issues with Lap Band I dont think that is the right choice for me. I would be self pay and if it slipped or broke I was told you had to pay to have it done all over again. Not to mention I am a sweets addict and dont want anything that can allow me to eat sweets.

After the seminar it started storming (I hate storms) and I had to pull over because it was so bad. Then I fell down the steps to my house because the power was out and I couldnt see anything. I injured my leg. I dont know if that was a sign saying just do it or a bad sign. I just dont know what to do. I want the surgery and need that tool but at the same time I am scared to death of it.
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Old 08-08-2010, 04:50 PM   #2
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I think WLS is a hard decision for all of us. I have the Lap Band but my doctor also does the Gastric Sleeve. I don't much about it except he said that you don't need the adjustments and fills or worries about it slipping.
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:50 PM   #3
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what part of virginia are you, kimberley? and gotta tell you, you're right to be concerned about the surgery. it's NOT an easy decision. and there are many reasons to do it , and many reasons to NOT do it. these are issues you have to work out with your doc.

having said that, there are other surgeries availalbe besides the lap band. Amanda mentioned the sleeve - that could be a good choice. it's restrictive, like the lap band, but they simply remove part of your stomach. if, farther down the line, you want to add restriction to it, you can have either a gastric bypass or a duodenal switch.

or you can do the bypass or DS all at once.

but bottom line, ya gotta weigh the risks and benefits of all your choices, and keep in mind how you're willing to live afterwards - some surgeries require more doctor visits, others require more vitamins.

soooooo - hang out with us!! ask lots of Qs. but most important DO YOUR RESEARCH!!!!
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Keeping it off is a hundred decisions a day that help you maintain what you achieved. And that's the hard part. - L Sanders

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Old 08-10-2010, 12:05 AM   #4
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Being scared is good. It shows you are smart and understand the realities of surgery. It isn't a decision to take lightly.

I haven't decided for sure if I'm going to do the surgery, but if I do I am pretty sure I'd pick the sleeve. It has a very low rate of complications.

I'm scared of dying from the surgery too... but if I determine that the only likely alternative to surgery is keeping this 50+ BMI, well then my odds of survival over the next five years are better with the surgery than without. That's a cold hard stat that is hard to ignore.

Research like crazy. Find a doctor with lots of experience, stellar stats, at a Center of Excellence. The better the surgeon, the lower the risks! Try not to drive yourself nutty looking for "signs" on what you are supposed to do. Trust your gut and the advice of your pcp. The rain and broken leg was just a horribly craptastic day... not a sign on whether or not to do surgery.

Don't wait until you are fear-free to do the surgery, because that will never happen. But if you are as scared as you sound in your post (which is a totally OK and legitimate place to be) then I don't think you are ready for surgery yet. You've got too many concerns that must be answered first!

Good luck in your journey. No matter what path you choose, I hope you find good health! You deserve it!

ps- any of the surgeries will "allow" you to eat sweets. You may get dumping on sweets with RNY, but such a deterrent is not guaranteed. Some RNYers don't dump. Lots of folks report that their tastes change after surgery (any wls) so you may lose your sweet tooth.

But, again, no surgery will literally stop you from eating a bowl of ice cream. That'll be up to you to step away from the sweets, whether you choose wls or an old fashioned diet to lose weight. If there was a surgery that let you eat ice cream all day and still lose weight... omg, sign me up!! Dang... now all i can think about is ice cream!!
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Old 08-10-2010, 07:12 AM   #5
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What part of VA are you in, and which surgeon's info session did you attend? I ask because I am also in VA, and I also ask because if your surgeon presented so many issues with the Band in the info session, I might have an idea of which surgeon you saw (I know of one in particular in northern VA who is NOT fond of the band, so I'm just curious if it was his info session you attended).

I can tell you that I was probably less afraid of the actual surgery than most simply because I had, unfortunately, had to have surgeries in the past for other reasons, and when you have to have an emergency surgery, you don't have time to thoroughly research your medical team and facilities - you just do what needs to be done. With WLS, on the other hand, I took my time to research the bariatric programs available, the different procedures available, the different surgeons around, the different hospitals in which those surgeons performed procedures, etc. I attended more than one surgeon's information session, brought family with me to those sessions to have someone to discuss the info with afterwards, and kept a giant 3-ring binder full of studies and other information that helped me make my decision.

Another thing that helped me greatly was meeting other patients of the procedure I wanted to have. I chose the DS as my procedure of choice, so I started meeting up with local DSers in my area MONTHS before I was even ready to schedule my surgery. Seeing how healthy and normal and happy they were and being able to ask anything I wanted without fear of getting some "sales pitch" type of answer was indescribably helpful. They answered with open honesty and no BS - heh, gatherings with them always includes more talk of sagging skin and bodily functions than would ever be considered normal in any other group!

I've also got to say stop looking for "signs." You falling down the stairs (which I hope you're okay from, BTW!) is a sign that the power was out and it was dark and possibly slippery from the rain, nothing more. If you keep searching for these signs, you'll drive yourself absolutely crazy because normal things will all suddenly have some greater meaning in your eyes, and you'll be changing your mind every 30 seconds (believe me, this isn't an easy choice for anyone, so don't make it that much more stressful on yourself!).
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Old 08-13-2010, 11:27 AM   #6
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i am the same way i have been thing about the surgery for a long so i finally said do it i am now in the process of that i have been to all my labs xray and support group and the food classes had my ekg came back abnormal my health doctor said it was ok but the surgeon said no i have to have a stress test on tue the 17 i hope that it is ok so i can get going i am a little scared but i know that it is going to help alot so if any one has any help for me please let me know thank you
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Old 08-19-2010, 01:13 AM   #7
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Well, you seem pretty scared... you mentioned that only 5 times in your post. And I get that, I do. You have a kid and that's rough, but consider this... what kind of life do you lead right now? How's your quality of life? What will it be like in the future? Does your obesity affect your child's quality of life? Would your child benefit from having an active, happy parent who can run around and play with him/her? Is there any chance that you would be able to "diet" down to a healthy BMI? What's your track record like with "diets"?

Only 2-5% of people who are morbidly obese ever achieve a healthy weight without surgery... Surgery is just a tool to increase those odds. Everyone is scared when they think about getting cut open and rearranged, but you know what? I'm more scared of dying before I'm 40. I'm more scared of falling down and breaking my leg due to my weight. I'm definitely more scared of never living a normal, happy life.

No one can tell you when you're ready for surgery but yourself. But know that when everyone begins researching it, they are freaked out. That's normal. Just keep thinking about it.
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Old 08-23-2010, 03:58 PM   #8
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30and300, your post really hit home.

WLS is something I have been thinking about for several years now, but have always been afraid as well.

What you said makes so much sense really. To me, I'm at the point where I am not living any kind of life at all, and don't have a good track record with dieting.

I feel I'm at a point where I just can't do this on my own now, but it's the fear that has been holding me back. I've never had surgery ever in my life, and it terrifies me.

What you said has really made me think, and I think I am more afraid of being this weight, or more, not being healthy, dying young, and not living a happy life and doing things I want to do but don't bc of my weight.

It's good to hear everyone's thoughts on this.
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Old 08-24-2010, 01:55 PM   #9
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I understand your fears . I just had lapband and I am so glad I finally did it . I'm not pushing the band just saying that WLS was right for me . I started looking into it when my twins where 2 they are 16 now . I just had my surgery less than 2 weeks ago . Like you I was afraid of dying and leaving my children . I just wish I hadn't wasted those years. I lost over 100 lbs 3 times during that time it always came back . It took getting dibeties for me to say which am I more afraid off . See different surgeons till you know they are the eight one . Ask to speak with then about your risk with surgery . Good luck and you will be in my prayers .
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Old 08-29-2010, 03:19 PM   #10
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I used to think I wanted that surgery too. That it was my only option b/c so many of the others things I have tried have failed.

I started working at a hospital a year ago. I'm an occupational therapy assistant so I see all kinds of patients w/ many different illnesses and injuries. Sure it's a hospital, so I see the worse of the worse. I have worked w/ patients who have had the devastating effects of a gastric bypass. You see the hype, and dr's will say it's a great thing. Yeah, maybe it is as a last resort. But I have worked w/ patients who have suffered respiratory distress during surgery, therefore putting them on vents/trachea. Who had had strokes, bleeding, bowel obstruction, internal bleeding, heart attack,. Also ones who due to the rapid weight loss, and all that excessive skin, have developed skin sores, and lyphedema.

Seeing these things, and I see them commonly, I have no declared that I will never have this done. This was a good way to realize. I'm not saying you shouldn't, couldn't, or aren't going to. I can't stop you. But do think about it. Yeah, there are many success stories. The bad ones are never shown or talked about. But trust me, I realized myself, there are many out there.
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Old 08-29-2010, 05:34 PM   #11
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I'm a wound care nurse and have seen my fair share of "gastric by-pass gone bad patients." Many were at great risk before the surgery and it was a last ditch effort for them to try and live a normal life. Of course, there are those who, unfortunately, do have problems for no apparent reasons. But...... there of thousands of us who haven't had a single problem and are living wonderful, healthy lives after years of being morbidly obese. Know your surgeon, know your surgery, know your NUT, know your facilities and follow the rules.

It is not to be done lightly, but for me it was do it or DIE! I chose life! Read, daer, READ, read,READ everything you can and ask a million questions, be proactive before you make your decision, because you will live with the results the rest of your life.

Now, I'm going out to bike ride and swim....why......because I CAN!!!! :-)
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:15 PM   #12
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Let me come back and say thank you. My husbands insurance does not cover anything with weight loss and will not add the rider. So I am having to figure out how to pay for it. I have a trust from my Grandma who passed but I am not able to get to it till my Grandpa has passed. He lives in another state and while he seems to understand the surgery is very important he cant grasp why I cant just diet and lose weight. He doesnt hear well and is very old. He is pretty much my only chance of getting that money unless I can get a loan out which is doubtful. When he asked about the surgery and costs he said he would pay for Nutrisystem instead and doesnt get that is not the answer. While it may help for a little while its not going to help me lose 100 plus pounds and keep it off.

I have a private consult next month (September) and if I want to move forward I need to give them a grand there that covers a nutrition and psych visit after that I have to pay in full before surgery is scheduled.

I am in Charlottesville, VA. UVA does not offer WLS to those whose insurance will not pay for it. The Dr at the other hospital here (Martha Jefferson) only does gastric bypass and lap band. His wife actually does most of the banding and he didnt talk down on it so much, but the facts turned me off. Where is the best place to research on him? His name is Dr. Michael Trahan and works at Martha Jefferson Hospital.
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Old 08-30-2010, 08:48 AM   #13
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Don't be afraid to travel a bit if your local hospital doesn't perform the procedure you want or isn't up to your standards for any other reason. My surgery was almost a 2-hour drive away, and I know lots of folks who have traveled across the country or even to other countries for their surgeries (it's common with the DS since there are only about 20-30 skilled DS surgeons in all of the US). I know Dr. Elariny up here in northern VA performs all 4 different procedures (and a couple hybrids, such as VSG with band), and he accepts patients who are self-pay.

Also for finances, can you swing an additional part-time job? When my employer changed insurance plans to one that completely excludes coverage of anything related to the treatment of obesity and morbid obesity, I was ready to apply to Starbucks because they offer benefits to part-time employees, and their insurance covers WLS.

As for choosing a good surgeon, I Googled my surgeon's name to see what would come up. I also researched legal records in each state he's worked in to see if there were any lawsuits filed against him. I also searched him on PubMed to see what types of studies and research he'd been involved in. And, of course, during my consultation, I asked him about his own record for such things as complications (both during and after surgery) and success rates. I also asked him who he'd learned to do the DS from since so few surgeons perform it.
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Old 08-30-2010, 04:23 PM   #14
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You should be scared!! It's a life-changing decision! But, I have to say it was the best thing I ever did.

I went to an informational seminar in Sept 09. It wasn't until the middle of Feb that I finally truly made the decision to commit to it. I have seen a therapist for years and she and I started meeting weekly in Sept. I made every excuse and played all the games. Then, in Feb, my therapist and my surgeon both told me (same day!) that I obviously wasn't committed to having the surgery.

I cried for a few hours. Then realized they were right. The next day, I started eating the way I was supposed to and haven't looked back. My surgery on March 30, 2010, went very well. No complications. I now can eat anything I want. The key is that I don't want the bad stuff. I've lost over 100 pounds in 5 months. I'm ready to lose the 100+ I still want to lose.

Educate yourself. Talk to people. You have to know within yourself that this is the right decision. I knew that I wasn't going to live to see my kids grow up if I didn't do something drastic. I totally understand your concern about your child. I have two. But, I will now be around for a long time.

Good luck!!!
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:00 PM   #15
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Goonie - for the record - this forum ENCOURAGES people who've had problems with WLS to post their experiences and issues. They generally hang around for a few months, then disappear. but this forum truly is a home for anyone who's had surgery - no matter whether they've had success, had problems, or have doubts.

info on Trahan [he's not a Center of Excellence] http://www.mjhbariatriccare.org/staff.php IMO, there are other surgeons who are better trained and at better research institutes. see below

Here's a list of the surgeons in Virginia who ARE members of a Center of Excellence as defined by the ASMBS - i went into the FIND A SURGEON at asmbs.org and searched for you. hope it helps!

And here's the list of codes for the surgeries performed


Surgery Type Codes

GBP - Standard Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass
DGBP - Distal Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass
OGBP - Other Gastric Bypass Procedures
OGR - Other Gastric Restriction
GB - Gastric Banding (Open)
REV - Revision/Conversion of Prior Procedures
LGBP - Laparoscopic Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass
LVBG - Laparoscopic Vertical Banded Gastroplasty
LB - Laparoscopic Banding
LAP - Laparoscopic
LBPD - Laparoscopic Bileopancreatic Diversion
LBPD/DS - Laparoscopic BPD & Duodenal Swith
FOLL - Willing to Follow Other Surgeon's Patients
VBG - Vertical Banded Gastroplasty
SRG - Silastic Ring Gastroplasty
BPD - Biliopancreatic Diversion
BPD/DS - BPD and Duodenal Switch
SRVG - Silastic Ring Vertical Gastric Bypass
PED - Pediatric Bariatric Surgeons


Glen Leslie Moore MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB GBP FOLL REV
Suffolk VA USA
(757) 483-3030


Bruce A. Long MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB GBP OGBP REV FOLL
Roanoke VA USA
(540) 224-5170


Amir H. Moazzez MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB GBP FOLL REV SG
Fairfax VA USA
(703) 620-3211


John M. Kellum MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB VBG GB
Richmond VA USA
(804) 828-9513


James W. Maher MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
GBP VBG GB LGBP LVBG LB BPD SRG REV
Richmond VA USA
(804) 828-8000


Eliseo A. Bautista MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB
Richmond VA USA
(804) 285-3225


Gregory L. Schroder MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB GBP DGBP OGBP GB FOLL
Richmond VA USA
(804) 285-4133


Matthew L. Brengman MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB GB REV GBP
Richmond VA USA
(804) 285-4133


James S. Wiedower MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB GBP
Winchester VA USA
(540) 536-0010


Thomas W. Clark MD MS (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LB OGBP BGB OGR REV
Newport News VA USA
(757) 591-9572


Peter T. Hallowell MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB GBP FOLL REV SG
Charlottesville VA USA
(434) 243-4811


Troy M. Glembot MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB
Winchester VA USA
(540) 536-8000


David C. Elliott MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB REV FOLL
Richmond VA USA
(804) 545-4925


Osvaldo C. Anez MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
GBP
Herndon VA USA
(703) 956-6743


Denis J. Halmi MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB GBP REV SG
Woodbridge VA USA
(703) 878-7610


Neil E. Hutcher MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
GBP BGB REV
Richmond VA USA
(804) 285-3225


David D. Spencer DO (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB GBP REV FOLL
Suffolk VA USA
(757) 483-3030


Anthony D. Terracina MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LVBG LB SG
Newport News VA USA
(757) 591-9572


Daniel Tran MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB REV SG
Woodbridge VA USA
(703) 878-7610


Tananchai A. Lucktong MD (Centers of Excellence)
Regular Member
Surgeries Performed:
LGBP LB GBP REV
Roanoke VA USA
(540) 224-5170
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Start your day with a smile, and get it over with.
Keeping it off is a hundred decisions a day that help you maintain what you achieved. And that's the hard part. - L Sanders

start: 506 [Sept 2001]
weight at gastric bypass [Jan 29, 2002]: 409
current weight: 225
weight for plastic surgery: 200
final goal: 180

Posts by members, moderators and admins are not medical advice. See your physician before taking advice found on the internet.
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