My Experience with RNY Gastric Bypass

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In The Beginning
Post-Op eating tips
Tips for the WLS Spouse
Feb 2002 - Two Months
August 2002 - One year
Fears & Family Pressures
Nov 2002 -Retrospective

August 2003 -Two Year Update
WLS Links
Insurance Denials
Ask me a question?
Lab Results
Questions for the Doctor
August 2004 - Three Year Update
Guest Book
Bill's Antique Photo Pages - A free site since 1999-updated monthly

In the beginning
- My weight problem started a day or two after I was born 54 years ago. The older I got the slower I got, the less I did or felt like doing and the heavier I got. In May of 2001 I had a physical and was diagnosed as type II diabetic, blood pressure 159/96 even with medication, weighed 282.5 #'s at 5 feet 7 inches, had sleep apnea, and all my labs were bad. I had read about Carnie Wilson having weight loss surgery and later read about consumer advocate Benjamin Dover having weight loss surgery, but had put it on the " back burner" so to speak until just before my May, 2001 physical. That was when I started doing my on line research about this surgery. I approached my doctor during my physical about referring me for WLS. I was ready for a fight but much to my surprise and delight he was quick to say that he thought I would be the perfect candidate. Thank God for informed doctors that don't fall into the trap of thinking that all fat people are just pitiful gluttons that have no self discipline. Well before I went to the WLS surgeon I had done enough deep research to know that I wanted Roux-En-Y gastric bypass and no other. I interviewed the doctor with my detailed list of questions in hand ( by the way I also had the correct answers ), he didn't interview me. He tried his best to get me to sign up right then and even submitted to my insurance for pre-approval, without my permission. It didn't work! That doc had it all wrong, he didn't understand that patient also means CUSTOMER. He did not meet my standards and I never went back. The next surgeon was really on top of things. He didn't let me ask my questions he just started giving me the correct answers without me having to ask the questions. In fact he tossed in a couple I had not thought of. An important part of the process was to have my wife along with me so she could ask any additional questions or raise concerns directly to the doctor. I had already explained the surgery to her in detail so she would be prepared. She has been extremely supportive through out the process and I believe that "including" her in each step of the process helped her to be able to support me. I had my surgery August 6, 2001 and spent 4 days in the hospital. I was on nothing but IV until the last day, that was hard. I was out of bed and walking the afternoon after my surgery. My surgery was "open" with an incision from my breastbone to my navel and a drain tube off to one side. I had never had surgery before and it really wasn't fun at all, but I would do it again tomorrow without hesitation. I felt like I had no other choice but the surgery and it needed to be done now before my health got any worse. So far I had not suffered any physical breakdowns such as back, knees, heart, etc, but as I mentioned above I had a lot of problems already that could only get worse. Once the decision was made I made a determined effort to get things rolling without any unnecessary delays. The morning I entered the hospital I was prepared for what ever happened. I was eating myself into death or disability so I didn't fear death from the surgery; at least it would be fast. By the way the surgical risk is very minimal, the same rate as any surgery where the patient is under general anesthesia. Mine was uneventful except for some pretty high fever due to "body insult" not an infection. The recovery was about 6 weeks but I could have gone back to work sooner if I had needed to, but really needed the 6 weeks. I found a cane to be very handy to steady me and to pull up my blanket, etc. I walked some every day to help regain my strength. After 3 1/2 weeks the doctor removed my staples and my gastric tube. He advised that I could begin soft solids and only advised against bread, beef ( I ignored this one ), and high sugar items. Back to pre-surgery days.... Food was my "DRUG OF CHOICE".... I would eat when I was sad and depressed, when I was bored, when I was happy and any time between. I so enjoyed eating that I lived to eat. One example - I could not resist any kind of chips and was so bad that my wife accused me of being able to "sniff them out." Of course the truth is my compulsion drove me to search every where. I found them in the washing machine, under clean laundry, in the pot and pan drawer. My wife actually set our kitchen on fire because of chips hidden in the oven. Sounds pretty sick doesn't it but it was my reality and I had to face it and myself while there was still time. I wondered if anything could ever get me over the head hunger. I saw that as my biggest challenge. The surgery could limit how much I could eat but would I be left with an unsatisfied head hunger to make my life miserable? Would I be "the one" that this didn't work for? Would I have complications? This was a major and permanent life change I was entering into, would I be sorry, would I be disappointed with the results? I studied thousands of pages of on line documents and searched posts in WLS web clubs collecting notes, hints, and problems so I could make a fully informed decision. This was a decision only I could make and if it was the wrong decision I would have no one to blame it on. Can I eat " real " food? - sure... I so enjoyed eating that I lived to eat. I am proud to announce I now eat to live. I can eat almost anything as before only much less. I have very little "head hunger" now. Before I was driven by head hunger. When I see the size of the meal I ordered before I can't believe I could ever eat that much. I still enjoy my food but I order the children's meal and a take out box with it. Before I eat I box up 2/3 of the meal and then eat. By the time the 1/3 has been eaten I am full AND satisfied, not to mention I have more time for conversation with my wife and friends. I eat 3-6 times a day and that helps satisfy. WLS is a powerful TOOL.

February 2002 - a little progress report - Before surgery one flight of stairs left me with hurting knees and out of breath. Today I train at a gym at least every other day. As part of my training I do several hundred stomach crunches at 125#, ride several miles on a stationary bike as well as assorted other exercises for arms, legs, etc. This grew out of parking a little further out on the parking lot at work each day until I reached the end of the parking lot and had to add walking around the building to feel like I was getting any exercise at all. It is all amazing to me. I would have never believed that I would ever reach the place in my life that I wanted to go to the gym for fun. I am down about 70# now and expect to reach my goal weight of 175 or so by my first anniversary.

One year update August 2002 - My weight stabilized at 202 #. I have lost 75% ( 81# ) of my excess weight which is within the expected 70-80% weight loss. I would like to lose another 15-20#s and could with a little more self-control but my health, strength, and outlook are better at 55 than at 35. I have never "looked back" at my decision to have this surgery. If I knew I would never pass the point I have reached today, I would still have the surgery without hesitation. I have been truly reborn through this process.

Feel free to e-mail me Bill if you have any questions. Please sign my guest book.

On line Weight Loss Surgery ( WLS ) clubs - these clubs are comprised of members that have had WLS or are thinking about it. These are real people asking questions, answering questions, and sharing. - can view posts but can't join until one year post-op

Professional web sites about WLS
- these sites explain the types of weight loss surgery and what to expect. - Ben's story - Dr. John Alexander, my doctor - Ben's help with getting insurance approval - Help with getting insurance approval, even when excluded by the policy.

Retrospective Nov 2002 -
I first must stress two things; 1. you must make the decision yourself. Don't allow anyone to force you one way or the other. 2. bypass surgery is not a magic cure, it is a wonderful tool but will need your actions to be truly successful. I still struggle with food as medication but have achieved a quality of life better than it has been for more than 20 years. I had quit smoking 30 years ago, cold turkey, but food was another matter. I could never control my eating for more than a short time and the rebound weight gain was more than I lost. I could not exercise due to pain, shortness of breath, stamina, etc. I had to learn to exercise and now enjoy it. The surgery didn't make me exercise, that was my job. The surgery did give me the ability to be able to exercise and that created an upward spiral just as eating and getting slower created a downward spiral. Complications from RNY surgery are normally no greater than any other surgery, very small. I measure that against the known risk of obesity and the associated health related problems. I don't actually diet in the normal sense. The surgery has limited my ability to over eat and that has helped me limit food intake. I do eat several small meals a day and that also helps. I still graze some and try to keep these things that tempt me out of the house. The food demons are still there, but I now have the upper hand. The only surgery I would consider is the RNY ( Roux-En-Y ). The others, such as VBG just aren't as successful in the long run. Go see the surgeon armed with a written list of questions and concerns ( so you don't forget any ) and get first hand answers. Then make you decision. I have lost about 75% of my excess body weight and that is in line with the expected results of WLS. Personally I would have the surgery again in the morning. You must make the decision because you are the one that will live with it."

LAB RESULTS AND VITALS 05/01 - Pre-Op 10/01
2 Months
7 Months Post-Op
WEIGHT 282.5 247 205
BLOOD PRESSURE WITH MEDICINE 159/96 128/65 - 1/4 MED 126/57 - NO MED

Post - Op eating tips.................
1. All food goes on a saucer. That way you have a "full plate" of food rather than a dab in the center.
2. Baby fork and spoon. More bites and smaller bites that way.
3. Do not read or watch TV while you eat. You never realize how much you are eating when you are distracted.
4. If you eat out always have a "take out box" delivered with your meal and box up all but what you think will fill you before you start eating. This prevents "grazing". Don't forget to take your baby fork and spoon.
5. When you eat what is on your plate stop even if you still feel hungry. With this surgery it only takes a few minutes for your brain to tell you are full.
6. Don't drink anything 30 minutes before or after your meal, or during the meal.
7. Eat proteins first and then carbs.

Bill's Antique Photo Pages - A free site since 1999

Bill's Antique
Photo Pages - A
free site since