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Gastric Sleeve Patients
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About rbtnln

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I, like so many others, have been heavy my whole life. I wasn't "fat" as a child, but was definitely heavier than my peers. I was pretty average in high school although I still felt like I was heavier than everyone else. I started gaining when I was in college. The Freshmen 15 was actually 25. Then more and more. I graduated at about 180 pounds. While now I see that as a realistic goal, it was too heavy on my young frame.

Things started getting bad after I got married and had my first child. I gained 60 pounds with that pregnancy. I distinctly remember going grocery shopping with my husband and getting a box of Ding Dongs. Before he went to work, we each had 1 (there were 10 in a box at that time). When he got home from work 9 hours later and went to look for the Ding Dongs, they were gone. I should have known.....I got pregnant again when our first was only 6 months old so I never had an opportunity to even try to take the weight off. I tried to be proactive by going to Weight Watchers during that pregnancy, but once I started putting on the baby weight I figured it was fruitless.

I was 25 with 2 children under the age of 2, working full time and exhausted constantly. I had no exercise aside from running around after the kids and my food was anything fast. My husband and I worked opposite schedules (still do) so when I was at work he was home and vice versa. Amidst all of this, my mother moved to our town and was a practicing alcoholic (who then got sober), my brother was dying of AIDS and our youngest daughter was diagnosed with autism. Food was my solstice during this time. It became my addiction. I ate because I was happy, sad, mad, frustrated, bored, elated, exhausted......you name it. And the pounds came on.

Over the years I put on over 150 pounds. I went to Weight Watchers again and lost 60....then gained back 70. I went to Jenny Craig and lost 60.....then gained 80. Tried Medifast. Lost 60.....then gained 90. Getting the weight off wasn't an issue. Keeping it off was.

Then about 5 years ago a friend of mine told me about the Lap Band. I was in. I wanted to stay away from gastric bypass because the thought of rerouting my intestines scared the hell out of me. I met with my surgeon and was able to get approved within a matter of months. The weight came off! 60 pounds (imagine that!). I was thrilled! Then my husband started saying I was bulemic because every time I ate I threw up. It was just my life. My surgeon looked at the band under flouroscope and I had a prolapse. Not good. I had to have surgery again. He went back in and fixed the prolapse. But the weight loss stopped. I started to gain. Why? Because I was eating slider foods. I was afraid I'd start barfing again and wanted no part of that. So I ate soft foods that I knew wouldn't hurt. Solid protein was so difficult that I stayed away from it. I gained back 40 pounds and was miserable. I started researching options and thought that bypass was the only one. I was thrilled when I found out about the sleeve.

I went back to my surgeon and he was concerned that insurance wouldn't pay for it. It had been 3 years since my prolapse correction and I had put on 40 pounds of the 60 I had lost. I took matters into my own hands and called my insurance company. They said if it had been 2 years or more since my last surgery and I hadn't lost sufficient weight they would look at paying for a different surgery. I called my surgeons office and they put the paperwork through. Within a week I was approved. The office called me and said they had an opening the next week for the sleeve - it was 2 days before Thanksgiving but it was the last opening they had before the end of the year. I figured, "Hey, it's obviously meant to be if it got approved this quickly and they're ready to cut." I went into the surgeon and he was a little surprised that since my previous visit a month earlier I was suddenly approved for sleeve surgery. But, he agreed it was a good option for me.

I knew I had to do something - anything - to get my weight under control. I was risking diabetes, had a heart attack scare that summer and knew I'd keep putting the weight on until I finally died. My girls needed me. My husband needed me. I needed me. I knew if I didn't lose weight our oldest daughter would be responsible for her younger sister much earlier than I ever wanted her to be. She deserved a life without being a caretaker as long as possible. That was MY responsibility and I owed it to my entire family to make sure I was around as long as possible.

I was sleeved on November 26, 2013. Best decision I have ever made. I started at 300 pounds and was 297 on the day of surgery (gotta love that 3 day liquid diet before surgery). It was a tough surgery on me and I had complications. I was so sick afterwards and my blood pressure shot through the roof. I spent about a week in a fog from the anesthesia - which had never happened to me before. But, it was a long surgery because he had to remove the band then do the sleeve. So I was under longer than I ever had been.

I have been losing at a fairly steady rate since the day of surgery. I have plateaus and they drive me insane. So, I look at my non-scale victories to get me through. Going dress shopping for our oldest daughter's wedding was a phenomenal NSV because I was able to get into a dress 10 sizes smaller than I had been the day of surgery. I've started exercising and have started doing boot camp 2 days a week. Add Zumba and stretching class to that along with walks with my dogs. The weight isn't coming off as fast as I would like, but it's coming off. As long as the numbers continue going down, that's my goal. My cholesterol is within normal range as is my thyroid. My blood pressure is under control. I feel great. I'm sore and my knees still hurt from all the weight I still have bouncing around on them. But, the more I do it, the less it will hurt because the weight will continue to come off.

I wish I didn't have to go to this extreme to lose weight. I wish I could be naturally thin and eat anything I want like my husband. I wish I wasn't a sugar addict. But I did, I'm not and I am. I have to face it head on and do what I have to do. I need to switch my brain and realize that this is not a diet and not a fad. It's my life. Food is not my crutch, it's fuel. Period.

Height: 5 feet 3 inches
Starting Weight: 324 lbs
Weight on Day of Surgery: 297 lbs
Current Weight: 257 lbs
Goal Weight: 180 lbs
Weight Lost: 67 lbs
BMI: 45.5
Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
Surgery Status: Post Surgery
First Dr. Visit: 07/30/2013
Surgery Date: 11/26/2013
Hospital Stay: 1 Day
Surgery Funding: Insurance
Insurance Outcome: n/a
rbtnln's Bariatric Surgeon
St. Louis, Missouri 63122