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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 03-04-2014, 04:07 PM   #1
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Smile LOTS of Questions!!!

So I will be having my surgery, probably later this summer, and was just wondering if anyone could give me some advice/tips/pointers while I am waiting.
I have chosen to go for the gastric bypass instead of the sleeve. (Opinions are appreciated on surgery selection) I have also been eating healthier since I found out surgery was even an option for me back in December.

First I'll try to explain a little about how I got here... I am aiming to get back to my high school weight of 134. I got married & had children very young, that's when I started gaining weight. For the past 10 years now my weight has been up and down. I was 200 lbs when I had my first child, went down to 180, started taking phentermine in 2006 and got down to 150. During the summer if '06 I quit taking phentermine and we moved from our home state Oklahoma, to Colorado. In summer 2007 I became pregnant with our second child. I was 196 lbs when I did my first weigh in. After I had my son, I stayed at about 230 lbs for a couple years. In January 2011, we move from Colorado to Alaska. During the transition my weight went up to 250. When we were settled in I started counting calories for a few weeks and lost about 20 lbs. during all this time my husband went through 2 year long deployments to Afghanistan. The 2nd deployment was very hard on us both because he deployed only 5 months after we had moved to AK and my husband lost many friends and saw many others get seriously hurt. The Good Lord brought my husband back safe to me, but still dealing with deployment alone was so very stressful on us all. I have always had severe anxiety and pretty much had a mental breakdown in 2012. I went to Army Behavioral Health and they said I was really suffering and referred me to a psychiatrist and counselor. A couple months later after being in medication and feeling much better, I started working again and my weight went down to around 220. I have had to change medications multiple times, deal with the stress from work and my husband is getting medically retired from the army and this has been extremely stressful on us both, especially trying to figure out what to to after 9 years of military life. Although I am happy my husband is getting out of the Army, being blessed with 2 beautiful, smart children and an amazing, supportive husband, & 2 adorable furry babies, I believe that in general I am a happy person. I had a very difficult childhood, but Today, I know that I am blessed and that I have a good life even though I struggle with my anxiety and my weight. So now here I am. I weighed 265 lbs when my dr referred me to have surgery and am now only at 260. I am so excited for this opportunity! I am way more excited than nervous, but I'm the type of person who has to have a plan and know everything in advance, so I need any/all the information y'all can give me!

I had my first appointment with my surgeon on January 28th. My surgery is being covered under Tricare and my surgeon is in the Air Force. So, I was wondering if anyone else has had surgery paid for through Tricare.

Also, is there anyone who can let me know how post surgery was if you were/are on depression & anxiety medication?? I am currently taking 60 mg of Prozac and 300 mg of Wellbutrin XL. I think that my medications have had an impact on my weight and want to know if it will keep me from losing a lot of weight.

What did you do about extra skin? Is there anything I can do to prevent so much saggy skin?

Since gastric bypass can cause malnutrition, what vitamins or medicines do you take to stay healthy? Do you buy your own or are they prescribed?


Sorry, I have a ton of questions and I am trying to learn as much as I can before surgery. I'm also trying to keep my sanity while waiting!! (Like obsessive bariatric pinning on Pinterest)

Thank you so much for reading and I appreciate any info y'all have for me!
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Old 03-04-2014, 05:46 PM   #2
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i have a lot to tell you - but i gotta wait until i get home tonight. way too much to post from work.

briefly, though - my nephew is also in the air force and was in afghanistan - and came home in one piece. i'm very grateful. Also, i have a whole bunch of relatives in OK - so it's really nice to have you here.

and please dont' force me to join pinterest! i have SO MANY friends who are on there, and i don't need another obsession here!!! LOL!

more later! promise.
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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

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Old 03-04-2014, 06:09 PM   #3
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All i can really say that you may find helpful is that when i had a job at the eating disorder clinic, prozac was given to the patients who were anorexic. It was thought that it would stimulate appetite. Some antidepressants give one an appetite and others seem to have a slight inhibitor. I have one that inhibits it, effexor, but many people can't seem to take it. But i would say i have still put on plenty of weight with it so i think the effects can be overstated.

I think you can't blame prozac for your weight, however you should talk about it with your doctor in case he knows of any that may be better for you.

I think depression and stress itself do add to weight issues. So working on ways to manage your mood can be the best option. I think being optimistic, focussed, active, unstressed, motivated about life, are all things that are needed to help with weight management for those of us who are inclined to overeating and weight gain.

There are psychological tools that people can learn and also a solid understanding of nutritional knowledge (seek out a book rather than random websites) and cooking skills will help. you can do a course in mindfulness based stressed reduction, or learn mindfulness meditation through more traditional means i.e. buddhist teachers.
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:45 PM   #4
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i have a lot to tell you - but i gotta wait until i get home tonight. way too much to post from work.

briefly, though - my nephew is also in the air force and was in afghanistan - and came home in one piece. i'm very grateful. Also, i have a whole bunch of relatives in OK - so it's really nice to have you here.

and please dont' force me to join pinterest! i have SO MANY friends who are on there, and i don't need another obsession here!!! LOL!

more later! promise.
Thank you jiffypop!
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Old 03-04-2014, 08:52 PM   #5
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All i can really say that you may find helpful is that when i had a job at the eating disorder clinic, prozac was given to the patients who were anorexic. It was thought that it would stimulate appetite. Some antidepressants give one an appetite and others seem to have a slight inhibitor. I have one that inhibits it, effexor, but many people can't seem to take it. But i would say i have still put on plenty of weight with it so i think the effects can be overstated.

I think you can't blame prozac for your weight, however you should talk about it with your doctor in case he knows of any that may be better for you.

I think depression and stress itself do add to weight issues. So working on ways to manage your mood can be the best option. I think being optimistic, focussed, active, unstressed, motivated about life, are all things that are needed to help with weight management for those of us who are inclined to overeating and weight gain.

There are psychological tools that people can learn and also a solid understanding of nutritional knowledge (seek out a book rather than random websites) and cooking skills will help. you can do a course in mindfulness based stressed reduction, or learn mindfulness meditation through more traditional means i.e. buddhist teachers.
I'm not blaming my weight gain on Prozac. I have also taken Effexor and I noticed I gained a few pounds with Abilify.

But, I know I am the only person to blame when it comes to being overweight.

And I read my Bible, fall asleep using nature sounds, and I have many apps on my phone for meditating... I usually do 1 at least once a day, To relax and reset.
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Old 03-04-2014, 09:00 PM   #6
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ok. let's get started. first of all, there's lots of information around here on what people eat or don't eat, about living without being able to eat our emotions, about changes in relationships, and all sorts of things.

I urge you to poke around and read some of the threads and other comments. You have to make sure that you see all sides of the issues. There are pros and cons to surgery in general, and to each type of surgery. With preparation, we can live good, healthy, relatively sane lives.

But let's talk about your medications for a bit. Now, what I'm about to tell you is based only on my own experience. You're going to have to have a couple of LONG heart-to-hearts with your own docs. And both you and your docs may have to be prepared to change something that's not working for you. and YOU are going to have to track how you're feeling, and what your relationship with food is like.

First of all, you're on fairly hefty doses of meds. I hope they're working for you. When i was on prozac, i had to say this sentence: 'it's increasing my food seeking behavior' in order for the doc to pay attention that this might not be the right drug for me. When i said 'i have the munchies' he blew me off.

sometimes it's all about what you say...

i've been doing well [for years] on 250 mg of Welbutrin. if i start going downhill, my doc adds a small dose of a non-prozac SSRI [i think it's escitalopram, but i'm not sure] until i get past it. How do i know i'm going downhill? i start crying at roadkill. really. and i don't mean 'isn't that sad, poor <bunny, fox, deer, dog, cat, etc]. it's 15 + minutes of TEARS streaming down my face. and this has to go on for about a week before i admit that it's more than a mood.

ok. the basic point is this: the gastric bypass will help you lose A LOT of weight very quickly, and that often affects how we metabolize drugs. It also affects our hormones. So, you and your docs need to be REALLY ALERT for mood changes, changes in your anxiety, the emergence of some side effects that you hadn't had before.

Not saying for a second that you should stop or change your meds. Not at all. But you MUST go into this with a plan set up for managing changes based on the weight loss.

And, as your relationship with food changes because it HAS TO CHANGE], your relationships with others will change - most of us have ended up in counseling at one point or another. don't be afraid of it. and don't be afraid of family therapy, either.

about the skin thing - don'[t worry about it. MAke sure you get enough protein, stay hydrated, take your vitamins, and do some exercises. That'll help tighten the excess skin, but for many of us surgery is the only answer. Being young also helps. But many of us look like we've melted. we'd rather look that way than be 500 pounds again.

Talk to your surgeon about vitamins - some surgeons have special formulations. I prefer chewables - and i take two of them a day. that works better for me. There are also liquid vitamins, but they taste HORRIBLE.

hmmm. i think this is enough for now. ask a lot of Qs. of EVERYONE....
__________________
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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Old 03-04-2014, 09:46 PM   #7
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I am four years post op.I've taken 200 mg of Zoloft, 150 mg Wellbutrin SR and 200 mg of Trazadone with no ill effects since beginning. My inital loss was 130 from my all time high and I've had 15 lb regain. My advice is follow surgeons directions to a tee, don't hesitate to get back to basics and seriously consider therapy. My regain happened during a therapy break and I believe its no coincidence. Best wishes!
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:46 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by jiffypop View Post
ok. let's get started. first of all, there's lots of information around here on what people eat or don't eat, about living without being able to eat our emotions, about changes in relationships, and all sorts of things.

I urge you to poke around and read some of the threads and other comments. You have to make sure that you see all sides of the issues. There are pros and cons to surgery in general, and to each type of surgery. With preparation, we can live good, healthy, relatively sane lives.

But let's talk about your medications for a bit. Now, what I'm about to tell you is based only on my own experience. You're going to have to have a couple of LONG heart-to-hearts with your own docs. And both you and your docs may have to be prepared to change something that's not working for you. and YOU are going to have to track how you're feeling, and what your relationship with food is like.

First of all, you're on fairly hefty doses of meds. I hope they're working for you. When i was on prozac, i had to say this sentence: 'it's increasing my food seeking behavior' in order for the doc to pay attention that this might not be the right drug for me. When i said 'i have the munchies' he blew me off.

sometimes it's all about what you say...

i've been doing well [for years] on 250 mg of Welbutrin. if i start going downhill, my doc adds a small dose of a non-prozac SSRI [i think it's escitalopram, but i'm not sure] until i get past it. How do i know i'm going downhill? i start crying at roadkill. really. and i don't mean 'isn't that sad, poor <bunny, fox, deer, dog, cat, etc]. it's 15 + minutes of TEARS streaming down my face. and this has to go on for about a week before i admit that it's more than a mood.

ok. the basic point is this: the gastric bypass will help you lose A LOT of weight very quickly, and that often affects how we metabolize drugs. It also affects our hormones. So, you and your docs need to be REALLY ALERT for mood changes, changes in your anxiety, the emergence of some side effects that you hadn't had before.

Not saying for a second that you should stop or change your meds. Not at all. But you MUST go into this with a plan set up for managing changes based on the weight loss.

And, as your relationship with food changes because it HAS TO CHANGE], your relationships with others will change - most of us have ended up in counseling at one point or another. don't be afraid of it. and don't be afraid of family therapy, either.

about the skin thing - don'[t worry about it. MAke sure you get enough protein, stay hydrated, take your vitamins, and do some exercises. That'll help tighten the excess skin, but for many of us surgery is the only answer. Being young also helps. But many of us look like we've melted. we'd rather look that way than be 500 pounds again.

Talk to your surgeon about vitamins - some surgeons have special formulations. I prefer chewables - and i take two of them a day. that works better for me. There are also liquid vitamins, but they taste HORRIBLE.

hmmm. i think this is enough for now. ask a lot of Qs. of EVERYONE....
Thanks so much for all the info. I have been eating better for about 3 months now and I do feel pretty good with the meds I'm on now. I still have to take something like a kolonopin or valium before I go to work or really anywhere.. Just because my anxiety is so bad. My social anxiety is the worst, that's why I need to take meds before going anywhere. I can't hardly stand being in a grocery store on a busy day... I've actually had a basket full of groceries once and HAD to leave before I had a breakdown in public. I guess it's from problems in my past and also that my weight is probably one of the biggest issues I struggle with.

Besides that, I think I am generally happy. I just want this weight gone so I can stop being so self conscience.. And I'm hoping maybe it can helpe go down on my medications or maybe... Hopefully... just eventually stop taking them.
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Old 03-05-2014, 02:47 AM   #9
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I am four years post op.I've taken 200 mg of Zoloft, 150 mg Wellbutrin SR and 200 mg of Trazadone with no ill effects since beginning. My inital loss was 130 from my all time high and I've had 15 lb regain. My advice is follow surgeons directions to a tee, don't hesitate to get back to basics and seriously consider therapy. My regain happened during a therapy break and I believe its no coincidence. Best wishes!
Thank you
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Old 03-05-2014, 10:23 AM   #10
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ashley - i'm glad you're eating better and are keeping on track. the 'relationship with food' issue isn't really about whether we ate an extra bite of something we liked or had a cookie.

It's about why we eat, if we're genuinely hungry, can we tell if we're thirsty or hungry, do we gulp our food quickly sometimes and push it around our plates [and what are we feeling that makes a difference]. are we binging on healthy food? on junk food? and remember, a binge is a binge, no matter what we eat. there were times that i'd refuse to even drink tea if i knew it was because i was trying to swallow an emotion.

And you don't have to respond to this post - really. I'm only asking you to think about it. with the medications you're on, and the reasons you're on them, these issues may be something to consider, and to discuss with your docs.

Once you have surgery, the playing field is leveled in the sense that if you follow the rules, you'll lose weight and keep it off. The problem is, though, that ANYONE's relationship with food is complex, and we didn't get to the point of qualifying for surgery because we had a healthy relationship with it. Everything we know about eating - why we eat, when we eat, what we eat, how we feel when we eat - changes IMMEDIATELY and we have to figure out how to deal with it
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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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Old 03-05-2014, 06:17 PM   #11
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Once you have surgery, the playing field is leveled in the sense that if you follow the rules, you'll lose weight and keep it off. The problem is, though, that ANYONE's relationship with food is complex, and we didn't get to the point of qualifying for surgery because we had a healthy relationship with it. Everything we know about eating - why we eat, when we eat, what we eat, how we feel when we eat - changes IMMEDIATELY and we have to figure out how to deal with it
^^This. Jiffy wrote some powerful stuff here, Ashley. The surgery will give you up to a year, sometimes 18 months if you are lucky, where even if you eat poorly, the weight loss continues. After that, you need to follow your specific WLS food rules, or weight gain occurs.

I was a pretty perfect patient my first 1.5 years. Followed all the rules to a T. But I gained a little weight..nothing big...5lbs or so. The malabsorption of my surgery had ended. Even though I was still following all the rules, the weight went up.

Then I met my husband, got married, had a miscarriage, and generally just fell into wedded bliss. The kind of bliss where cuddling on the couch with some snacks is preferable to exercise. I was eating like he ate, not like how I know I should eat. I gradually fell back into my old habits. I'm now back on track, following the RNY rules, and it is challenging, but doable. I'm losing the extra pounds I had put on.

What Jiffy said is 110% accurate. We didn't get morbidly obese and eligible for WLS with healthy eating patterns. Head hunger is a bear; therapy often helps many with eating issues.

As for your malnutrition question, please note that "malnutrition" isn't really an accurate statement. You will be confined to limited foods at first, but most people, by month five or six, are eating whatever they want, but in limited amounts. What does happen, at least in RNY, is that you will never be able to absorb vitamins through food, because that part of the intestine was bypassed. You will need supplementation and most people need to take 2 multivitamins, iron, vitamin D, and multiple calcium doses daily, and B12 on a weekly basis. I need to take more than that based on my labs.

I can't comment on the anxiety meds, but I know that lots of RNY patients take those drugs without issue. You do need to be monitored as you lose weight, as the dosages could change.

You really can't do anything about extra skin. Exercising tones the muscle, not the skin. Age and genetics will determine if you have a lot of excess skin; no one can tell you what will happen to your body ahead of time. I guess you need to remember why you are choosing this route to health. Excess skin is cosmetic and can be fixed if it is a priority for you.

Hope this helps. Jiffy definitely gave you some good advice.
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Old 03-11-2014, 05:36 PM   #12
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Thank you guys for your info. I really appreciate it and I look forward to having this page for support as I go through this ne journey!
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:47 PM   #13
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i wondered where you were!! but since you're a military wife and mom, i figured you were BUSY BUSY BUSY.

It can sometimes seem like we're lecturing, and we don't mean to come off that way, but surgery is really serious business. It's ABSOLUTELY possible to live a happy, healthy life with it, but it takes work, and truly takes a team [between family and friends, and doctors and other parts of the healthcare system]. and we HAVE TO be major advocates for our own health and committed to finally taking care of ourselves.

not easy. you're a wife and mom - you KNOW it's not easy.

we're glad you're here!
__________________
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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Old 03-12-2014, 03:18 PM   #14
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Lots of great advice.

The only thing I can add is that tri care paid for my surgery minus my copays. I have standard and my hubby is retired. I did not see a military doc because the closest base is like 5 hours away so I had a civilian doctor. If you have any questions please feel free to message me.
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Old 03-19-2014, 06:21 PM   #15
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@jiffypop, Thank you! I don't feel like it is lecturing, I know this is going to be hard, and I appreciate all your help & honesty!!

@SnowAngel72, Thank you for your help! I will msg you if I do end up having any Q's about Tricare!
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