I had my surgery back in Nov of 2013. It was a huge decision for me at the time and I anguished over it. All the information on this website was super helpful, both before and after the surgery. One thing weighed heavily on me was the long term effects of the surgery, so I committed to giving annual updates on my experience back to this forum. This is my seven year update. Posted below is my last update, with the previous nested within.
I weigh about 205 right now and my weight continues to fluctuate within about 10 pounds. I would really like to weigh 190, so like most normal people I'm working on losing a few pounds. With that said, back in 2013 I weighted 275 and was headed for 300+ quickly. I have zero doubt that without having the surgery, I would be in very, very bad shape today and have no regrets about the decision.
I've been able to enjoy a "normal" weight life style for the last seven straight years.
I'm off all meds.
I fit comfortably in coach seats on the airplane.
I shop for clothes in regular stores and it's easy to find a size that fits. I'm between a L and XL for shirts and have a 36 waist.
My bones and joints don't ache. I can exercise, play golf, ski, etc. comfortably and enjoyably.
I happily and naturally eat "normal" size portions and have no "trouble" foods. My meal (whatever it is) basically fills on a salad plate. Two eggs and a piece of toast is a full Breakfast. lunch could be a regular sandwich with nothing else or a half sandwich and a small side. dinner could be a tiny 5 oz steak and a small portion of potatoes and veg. Importantly, these are all full portions for me and totally satisfying.
I love food and definitely look forward to eating (head hunger) but I rarely experience physical (stomach growling) hunger.
I used to take omeprazole daily for heartburn, but it's unnecessary now. Occasionally, I'll take a Tums but only a few times a month.
Since 7 years have gone by, none of my real old friends even remember me as a big person or ask about my weight. Anyone that I've met since wouldn't even know to ask -- they just view me as a normal weight person. When I tell them I used to weigh 275 the reaction is always "no way!" Occasionally, the old pictures come out and everyone gets a chuckle. I don't see myself as a fat person.
I'd still like to loose 15 pounds. Even with the gift of not being able to eat much, my ideal weight of 190 requires more work. Reducing snacking, sweets and more exercise is what's required and WLS does nothing to help on those fronts. I'd say WLS solves 80% of the challenge but the last 20% goes back to the basics we've heard all of our lives.
If I overeat or eat way too fast, I will need to throw it up. This happens about once a month. It typically occurs when I eat something that's really good and I gobble it down too quickly. About 2 minutes later, I will feel pretty uncomfortable. I can wait it out and eventually it will go away. But more often than not, I just head to the bathroom and get it out. It's kind of gross to be honest.
I have always liked to drink alcohol -- beer, wine, whiskey, mixed drinks and so on. IMO, drinking doesn't have any increased impact as a result of WLS -- I'm not more of a "light weight" than I used to be. But, as a practical matter, I do believe that it's easier to over drink following WLS. If I'm out to dinner with friends, they have starter courses, main courses, desert and so on. It's pretty easy for me to pour another glass of wine or order another scotch, while they eat through the evening. I would caution folks that like to drink to pay extra attention to this tendency following WLS. (BTW, I'm doing "dry January" right now:)
That's about it. In sum, the sleeve was the best decision of my life. I hope this helps folks that are wondering about how things play out way down the line. If you have questions, you can DM me and I'd be happy to share thoughts. Good luck and look for another report from me next year.
This post really made me think about my relationship with food and drink again. I’m three months out with my bypass tool. I did graze one weekend on Greek style pizza and wine. I really enjoyed the company, could enjoy the wine with only two ounces. I did pack away 4 slices over 2 hours though. I had to really work hard a solid week to get back to my weight before that gathering. Looking back, the free laughter outside with friends was what I enjoyed. It felt like the openness pre-Covid. Keeping the feelings and why needs to be in front all the time. I am reminded that surgery is just a tool. Being social with friends safely is precious, and my physical health doesn’t need to take a toll. I’m going to track on an online app next time and plan ahead better. But you won’t have to stop socializing either, because I equate socializing with positive mental health. Like me you will have to evaluate your food and drink pitfalls and navigate through your strengths and weaknesses. For me, each gathering, each person, each situation is different. I have go into the next one with a better plan, but I promise I will still enjoy the socializing!
This was one of my concerns also. I am a total foodie that loves having a wine and snack night with my husband. After surgery I didn’t drink wine for about 3 months…..I really didn’t want to….even when my mind was craving it. When I did try it again, it took me hours to sip on maybe 2 ounces of wine. I didn’t feel tipsy or anything….I just wanted Water more. I am 4+ months out now and can drink a whole glass, slowly. If food/snacks are involved it takes me a lot longer. The thing is I now have to listen to my (much smaller) stomach for cues on when to stop eating/drinking and not what my head is telling me I want.
The thing is, it doesn’t bother me in the way I thought it would. I can still have a fun time shooting the s%it with the family while eating and drinking (way) less. I have no regrets.
Being able to buy clothes "off the rack" rather than having to go to a DXL store. It's amazing the difference in cost. When I started the journey I had a 56-inch waist, which non-Big&Tall stores just don't stock.
I've been reluctant to invest a whole lot of money in clothes as I've been losing weight, as ideally I will continue to lose sizes for a bit longer, so why pay for clothes I'll (hopefully) only wear for a couple months. It's like the reverse of being a kid/teenager, when Mom would get frustrated that I outgrew clothes yet again.
However, at some point the old clothes start looking awful, like you're wearing a tent... not to mention heavy and uncomfortable AF. Being in a transition state with sizes and not wanting to spend money, I went to Wal-Mart and bought some $10.97 jeans... first time wearing jeans in over 30 years. Hard to wrap my brain around it... the jeans weren't unbearably uncomfortable. I was able to buy 44-inch waist and now several weeks later, they're already feeling a bit loose. My next shopping trip, it might be 42.
They had a bunch of dress shirts on clearance that rang up at $2. The XL (down from 3XL) fit easily. At that price, who cares if they fall apart in a few washes.
A whole new world: Being able to shop clothing sales and clearance. That hasn't been part of my life in many many decades.