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My story - lost 120lbs



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I'm want to share my story so that any of you who are in the fence about this can have a full picture of what can happen both bad and good.
I had gastric bypass dec 2014. My surgery was very very painful. The first two days I vomited a lot of blood and they had trouble getting my pain under control. They gave me a lot of narcotics. My dr, dr Thoman from Santa Barbara, barely checked on me. I was at cottage hospital in SB.
I went home after five days in the hospital. I was going okay but then. The mental challenge of not eating was no joke. It was something I was so used to. They had given me a ton of narcotics and I kinda used those to cope with the emotions of not being able to eat.
About a week later I started to have major pain in my upper stomach. I went back to cottage and they found stones in my gallbladder so out it came. I went home but the pain remained. My doctor was very absent during this time. I told him about the pain and I kept taking more and more narcotics to deal with it. He blamed my pain on the narcotics but I felt trapped in a catch 22. Take them or not take them.. either way.. pain.
Finally after several exploratory surgeries my dr decided to revert my surgery and make it into a gastric sleeve. After that my pain was gone but I was by now hooked on narcotics. I ended up having to go to a detox facility to get off of them. Worst week of my life.
I could barely eat anything during this time and dropped weight rapidly. After I was free of the narcs and started to try and eat. But I could not get anything solid to pass through my stomach. Months went by and finally I said- okay something is wrong. Every time I ate solids I threw up. I elected to go to a new doctor after my bad experience with dr Thoman. I just felt he didn't care and no loner trusted him and his bedside manner was terrible.
I went with dr Swartz in Fresno and he was great. I diagnosed me with a sever structure and did an endoscopy which opened it up. He said I had a ton of scar tissue from dr Thomans style of revision.
After that I gradually began to eat some solids and after many months is continued to approve. Needless to say I lost a huge amount of weight very fast and was loving that. However I had severe malnutrition. My hair fell out in clumps and my legs went numb. I have dumping syndrome and I also still
Sometimes vomit if I don't chew enough of just having a bad day or mix liquids with solids etc.
I feel the American health care system to be very lacking in post operative care. Also they pass out narcotics like they are candy which had a lot to do with my issues.
It's been over 2 years. I went from 240 to 115. I've since gained back to 129 and am holding there. I no longer diet, I just eat to fullness and try not to think about food very much. I run and lift weights daily and that has been the key for me to feel comfortable without having to stay on a diet forever which is impossible to do.
Reaching maintenance was the hardest part of this process and I had very little advice to help me besides to stay on a diet forever. Ones appetite does return and one is able to eat much larger quantities that early on. For instance, now I can eat almost a whole chipotle burrito. I decided dieting wasn't for me and embraced intuitive eating philosophies instead which help me maintain in a place I am happy with.
I still live with this surgery in a daily basis. food gets stuck at least a couple times a week and I have to throw up do to the pain. I can't eat too much or eat with liquids or I will have dumping syndrome. (Yes you can dump with a sleeve). I am happy but good is always an issue. I feel quite sick after I eat sometimes. It's always a struggle for me. I'm not sure if this is due to my complications or just the surgery itself. My best friend had bypass and she says the same thing.
On a positive note I have an amazing body. I really really enjoy my body and my energy and health and I would do it all again even though it was hard. I can run, chase my kids, work my active job, wear any clothes I desire. I feel very attractive.
If you are considering this surgery because you aren't able to live a healthy and energetic life at your current weight, than do it. It won't change how you feel about yourself on the inside and it could end up being replaced by other dependency issues... but at least you will be physically stronger and healthier. I suggest therapy for anyone that is going to do this. Healing comes from within.
Remember you will never again be able to eat to your hearts content. You won't be able to feel like you do now when you eat. This surgery will not help you maintain your weight loss forever and it's vital that you have realistic expectations. Try and make peace with food. Don't see it as an enemy but as a vital component to health.

I dealt with very little loose skin. Mostly on my neck and tummy. I am now having plastic surgery for it in Mexico which I will post about in the plastic surgery section.

On a side note, I you are considering vsg surgery in Mexico, I would highly recommend it. My care here has been extraordinary.


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Thanks for sharing you story. I definitely need to share mines...I also suffered with a severe stricture. I am glad everything is working out for you now, you look Amazing!!

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You look amazing!!! What a hourney you've had, so glad you pulled throufh the rough times [emoji4]



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I just learned that you can revert a Gastric Bypass to a Gastric Sleeve? I wasn't aware you could do that. Are you sure you didn't get the sleeve then move to a Gastric Bypass? I thought that the Bypass removes ALL of your stomach and forms a small pocket and then reroutes your digestive system -- hence the complete evasiveness of the surgery.

Regardless, you look terrific.

When I see these pictures I'm more impressed with the changes around the face. You really have transformed into the person you want to be and are... congratulation.

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I just learned that you can revert a Gastric Bypass to a Gastric Sleeve? I wasn't aware you could do that. Are you sure you didn't get the sleeve then move to a Gastric Bypass? I thought that the Bypass removes ALL of your stomach and forms a small pocket and then reroutes your digestive system -- hence the complete evasiveness of the surgery.

Regardless, you look terrific.

When I see these pictures I'm more impressed with the changes around the face. You really have transformed into the person you want to be and are... congratulation.

What happened to me is very rare. Usually it goes in the opposite direction- sleeve to bypass. In my car my surgeon made my intestine too short and one of them wasn't working so he reversed my bypass and then made it into a sleeve. This is not common. It yes it happened to me. It also left me with a lot of scar tissue because If the way he put my stomach back together.

Bypass surgery is reversible because your old stomach is left inside, it's just sewn off and not utilized. It can therefore be reversed. Sleeve surgery is non reversible. The stomach portion removed is thrown away.

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Amazing! Well, it sounds like you're doing well. Like I said, you look great. And other than the challenges of eating, you probably feel great -- feel healthy. I know that after I lost about 50 lbs. my body started to feel far less "tired" and I started having much more energy and drive to do more... 70 lbs. down and about four months in, I'm really glad I did this.

Cheers to you!

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Yes. In spite of what I went though it has all been worth it. I have a huge amount of energy. I run about 2-3 miles a day and lift weights. I can carry my kids around and barely ever feel tired. I'm in the best shape of my life. As long as I slow down my eating and chew well I can eat quite a lot without issues. I would recommend this surgery to anyone who is uncomfortable in their body, tired and in pain.


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Amazing story and transformation, very inspirational! Thank you for sharing the struggle with the victory.

Can you please elaborate on your "intuitive eating" philosophy?


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Amazing story and transformation, very inspirational! Thank you for sharing the struggle with the victory.

Can you please elaborate on your "intuitive eating" philosophy?





The way I eat now to maintain my weight at a reasonable point is based on principles of intuitive eating. There is a lot of information about it online but the core info is in a book called intuitive eating by Evelyn Trimble. It's on Amazon. It is based around the idea that our bodies have a set point that they are comfortable at and that set point is a healthy weight because our bodies are always striving towards health. When I reached my lowest weight of 115 I started to get very depressed and basically anorexic, terrified of gaining weight back and still living my life on a diet. That can only go on so long and after a while your body will be able to eat more foods and more quantity and even sleeve and bypass patients can find themselves white knuckling it again to avoid gaining weight. This is because dieting, i.e. Nutritional deprecation, doesn't work in the long term. Your body knows your starving and starts to fight back by increasing hunger and holding on to extra calories by slowing your metabolism.

Intuitive eating is the natural way of eating we are all born with before we start dieting and messing with out internal cues. The basic philosophy is simple: eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full, allow all foods and honor your cravings. Eat regularly and respond to hunger.

This process has allowed me to stop dieting and to maintain a healthy weight post bariatric surgery while also being free to eat the foods I enjoy and crave. Maintaining was the worst part of this for me and thank goodness intuitive eating allowed me to find a way to make peace. I had gotten down to 115 at 5'6 and looked quite sick. I didn't know what to do so I just kept losing. When I realized how unhappy I was I decided to make peace and allow my body to settle and a healthy weight no matter what that might be. Intuitive eating helped me gain to about 128 and it's perfect for me. My weight stays very close to that range and I eat whatever I want at the the time. I never binge and I don't think much about food any more to be honest.

There is me at 115 vs 128. I feel much better now and I eat all kinds of yummy foods. I also have the energy now to run and lift weights on a regular basis and it's become a wonderful coping mechanisms for me.

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Thank you for sharing and especially your insight. Yes, I agree 128 looks much healthier. Congrats on your self discovery and development on a healthier you. I really value the realization that there eventually comes a point where weight loss is not the final answer, which is a difficult concept for all of us who have only dealt with the other side of the spectrum.

It is a comfort to know there is a person who has successfully navigated the waters to a healthy balance of life and relationship with food. Congrats and please keep posting!


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Thank you for sharing and especially your insight. Yes, I agree 128 looks much healthier. Congrats on your self discovery and development on a healthier you. I really value the realization that there eventually comes a point where weight loss is not the final answer, which is a difficult concept for all of us who have only dealt with the other side of the spectrum.

It is a comfort to know there is a person who has successfully navigated the waters to a healthy balance of life and relationship with food. Congrats and please keep posting!

One of the most important relevations I had after this surgery is that while weight loss will change your body it won't change how you feel inside. Being on a diet rollercoaster for life is incredibly draining and takes a lot of joy out of like. I decided to love myself unconditionally and get off that crazy ride and I found a way to do it where I could also maintain a healthy weight for my height in order to be active and pain free. It was a long journey. I'm happy to discuss my experiences with anyone who is interested. Bariatric surgery is a great tool but it is not a magic solution and eventually there has to be a more sustainable approach to a healthy physique.

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Boy, I thought I'd never tell another GS person that they "look too skinny", but I'd agree that @ 115 lbs. you're far too skinny and on the right you look much healthier. I also think you could probably not have to worry about another 10 lbs or so, you look pretty tiny (still). But it's where YOU feel comfortable, right? You're an inspiration. Thanks for the post.

You mention intuitive eating?

I think for men eating is a completely different game. I don't know too many men that have eating disorders or obsess about their weight or have body image issues. I've said here before that for me, I've always been "heavy" even though people would comment that my diet and what I ate was not indicating that of someone who's got food on the brain all the time. For me personally, it was always about "feeding the beast", feeling hungry all the time, eating large portions to remain "full". As I got older, it got worse because your metabolism slows down, you get less active. The cycle gets worse. Add in two or three attempts at a diet to lose 30 - 40 pounds, only to gain back the weight plus the "reset" weight of a Yo-Yo, and do that three times in your life, it's easy to see how you can gain 100-125 lbs in 10 years.

This works for me, now I don't really get hungry, I eat smaller portions, I eat what I want and I eat over the course of the day when I want... smaller portions 4 or 5 small meals a day. I don't ever think about food, I'm not obsessed (or never have been) obsessed with the idea of not being able to eat or drink what I want. Quite frankly, the idea of not having to "feed the beast" all the time just to take the hunger away was liberating. Now when I get hungry, I know, "hey, a half sandwich" or "that cup of soup" will do... I'm not eating a huge meal portion and then looking for more an hour later and if I am, I know a small snack like some crackers and cheese will placate me. it's liberating for me mentally and It really has been a life saver.

@BigUtahManI just noticed, you and I are tracking very closely with our timing and our weight. You had your surgery a day before I had mine as well! It would be good to keep in touch, do you want to share emails?

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11 minutes ago, BostonGary said:

Boy, I thought I'd never tell another GS person that they "look too skinny", but I'd agree that @ 115 lbs. you're far too skinny and on the right you look much healthier. I also think you could probably not have to worry about another 10 lbs or so, you look pretty tiny (still). But it's where YOU feel comfortable, right? You're an inspiration. Thanks for the post.

You mention intuitive eating?

I think for men eating is a completely different game. I don't know too many men that have eating disorders or obsess about their weight or have body image issues. I've said here before that for me, I've always been "heavy" even though people would comment that my diet and what I ate was not indicating that of someone who's got food on the brain all the time. For me personally, it was always about "feeding the beast", feeling hungry all the time, eating large portions to remain "full". As I got older, it got worse because your metabolism slows down, you get less active. The cycle gets worse. Add in two or three attempts at a diet to lose 30 - 40 pounds, only to gain back the weight plus the "reset" weight of a Yo-Yo, and do that three times in your life, it's easy to see how you can gain 100-125 lbs in 10 years.

This works for me, now I don't really get hungry, I eat smaller portions, I eat what I want and I eat over the course of the day when I want... smaller portions 4 or 5 small meals a day. I don't ever think about food, I'm not obsessed (or never have been) obsessed with the idea of not being able to eat or drink what I want. Quite frankly, the idea of not having to "feed the beast" all the time just to take the hunger away was liberating. Now when I get hungry, I know, "hey, a half sandwich" or "that cup of soup" will do... I'm not eating a huge meal portion and then looking for more an hour later and if I am, I know a small snack like some crackers and cheese will placate me. it's liberating for me mentally and It really has been a life saver.

@BigUtahManI just noticed, you and I are tracking very closely with our timing and our weight. You had your surgery a day before I had mine as well! It would be good to keep in touch, do you want to share emails?

@bostongary, Would love to track with you and support each other.

However if what you said is actually true, then I think I am a girl. : ) (But I am not that cool or smart.) As I have obsessed about food most of my life. I don't think it is gender based as much as it is individual. I believe everything you said, but I think that is also unique to you.

I believe we all have our "real issues" which most of us are unaware of until the weight starts coming off. We also have our own "perceived issues" which are the issues we own and admit to. Sometimes those are the same, but many times they are different. A real issue maybe the abuse you suffered not related to food directly, but is a major influence on your ability to love yourself, or be in a vulnerable situation. Food relationship becomes the "perceived issue or symptom, your abuse remains the "real issue".

What I like most about @bellabloom is her transformation from perceived issues by losing weight, to her real issues of her relationship with food and herself. With the honest transparency and vulnerability with how she navigated through both of them.

Some back-ground: This is my second procedure, I was banded 12 years ago. (With a lot of success. 375 to 230) But I can tell you, while I was successful losing the weight and keeping most of it off for 7 years, I was unsuccessful at dealing with the "real issues" during that time. As once the band was removed (for medical reasons), all the weight came storming back.

So while I conquered all my perceived issues and felt secure during those 7 years with the results to prove it, in reality, I failed at addressing my "real issues".

That really played head games with me gaining my weight back, as I thought I was over it. But reality doesn't change just because it isn't convenient or uncomfortable. So I had to come to terms that I needed a medical procedure again(!) to physically help me address my "real issues" which are mental/emotional based.

So now I have the blessing to try and learn and conquer my real issues again!

I can tell all of you who are having success losing weight, enjoy it, love it, Celebrate it, but don't let it blind you from other issues still under the surface. If you don't have them, hurray! I do not wish people to have issues they don't, but I was ignorant to mine because of the success of the surgery. It allowed me to ignore my real issues, instead of face them.

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Absolutely well said by both of you gentlemen. In my opinion and this is just based on my own experience and research and extensive therapy on the subject, most if not all obese individuals are suffering from disordered eating. It may not be as extreme as anorexia or bulimia but it is still a form of ednos or binge eating compulsion. People with a balanced and healthy relationship with food simply don't go about stuffing themselves, obsessions about food and chronically dieting only to regain. Normal people eat when they are hungry and pass if they are full, or eat a little for fun but they don't stuff themselves if they aren't really hungry. Obese people are chronic dieters and also binge eaters or they are chronic binge eaters because on some level they are using food as a coping mechanism to deal with whatever is lacking or out of balance in their lives.

My surgery got me to the point of being able to see the weight wasn't really my problem. My problem was with how I equated my value on my looks and what others thought of me. My problem was in relationships and boundaries. My problem was one of self esteem that made me a victim. I focused on my looks as to the solution only to lose weight and realize that still didn't fix my interpersonal issues and in fact those issues were worsened by my constant obsession with food, chronic starvation and concurrent isolating binging episodes.

To say the least is was a wake up call. I now focus on body positivity and acceptance and eating to provide for my bodies needs and not to meet a standard of beauty that has nothing to do with my beauty on the inside. I refuse to spend the rest of my life concerned about my weight and missing out on so many other pleasures.

I do believe in intuitive eating for weight loss and maintaining weight loss and I am prof that it works. But the bottom line is who cares because I have filled my life with so many other important things and it's really no ones business what I eat or how I look. Food has taken a backseat to 1000 different positive things. I have also realized I find overweight people extremely attractive and now that I don't fixate on my weight I can share a body positive mindset with those around me rather than being the fat phobic jerk I used to be.

That's my experience. And I love it.

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I'm want to share my story so that any of you who are in the fence about this can have a full picture of what can happen both bad and good.
I had gastric bypass dec 2014. My surgery was very very painful. The first two days I vomited a lot of blood and they had trouble getting my pain under control. They gave me a lot of narcotics. My dr, dr Thoman from Santa Barbara, barely checked on me. I was at cottage hospital in SB.
I went home after five days in the hospital. I was going okay but then. The mental challenge of not eating was no joke. It was something I was so used to. They had given me a ton of narcotics and I kinda used those to cope with the emotions of not being able to eat.
About a week later I started to have major pain in my upper stomach. I went back to cottage and they found stones in my gallbladder so out it came. I went home but the pain remained. My doctor was very absent during this time. I told him about the pain and I kept taking more and more narcotics to deal with it. He blamed my pain on the narcotics but I felt trapped in a catch 22. Take them or not take them.. either way.. pain.
Finally after several exploratory surgeries my dr decided to revert my surgery and make it into a gastric sleeve. After that my pain was gone but I was by now hooked on narcotics. I ended up having to go to a detox facility to get off of them. Worst week of my life.
I could barely eat anything during this time and dropped weight rapidly. After I was free of the narcs and started to try and eat. But I could not get anything solid to pass through my stomach. Months went by and finally I said- okay something is wrong. Every time I ate solids I threw up. I elected to go to a new doctor after my bad experience with dr Thoman. I just felt he didn't care and no loner trusted him and his bedside manner was terrible.
I went with dr Swartz in Fresno and he was great. I diagnosed me with a sever structure and did an endoscopy which opened it up. He said I had a ton of scar tissue from dr Thomans style of revision.
After that I gradually began to eat some solids and after many months is continued to approve. Needless to say I lost a huge amount of weight very fast and was loving that. However I had severe malnutrition. My hair fell out in clumps and my legs went numb. I have dumping syndrome and I also still
Sometimes vomit if I don't chew enough of just having a bad day or mix liquids with solids etc.
I feel the American health care system to be very lacking in post operative care. Also they pass out narcotics like they are candy which had a lot to do with my issues.
It's been over 2 years. I went from 240 to 115. I've since gained back to 129 and am holding there. I no longer diet, I just eat to fullness and try not to think about food very much. I run and lift weights daily and that has been the key for me to feel comfortable without having to stay on a diet forever which is impossible to do.
Reaching maintenance was the hardest part of this process and I had very little advice to help me besides to stay on a diet forever. Ones appetite does return and one is able to eat much larger quantities that early on. For instance, now I can eat almost a whole chipotle burrito. I decided dieting wasn't for me and embraced intuitive eating philosophies instead which help me maintain in a place I am happy with.
I still live with this surgery in a daily basis. food gets stuck at least a couple times a week and I have to throw up do to the pain. I can't eat too much or eat with liquids or I will have dumping syndrome. (Yes you can dump with a sleeve). I am happy but good is always an issue. I feel quite sick after I eat sometimes. It's always a struggle for me. I'm not sure if this is due to my complications or just the surgery itself. My best friend had bypass and she says the same thing.
On a positive note I have an amazing body. I really really enjoy my body and my energy and health and I would do it all again even though it was hard. I can run, chase my kids, work my active job, wear any clothes I desire. I feel very attractive.
If you are considering this surgery because you aren't able to live a healthy and energetic life at your current weight, than do it. It won't change how you feel about yourself on the inside and it could end up being replaced by other dependency issues... but at least you will be physically stronger and healthier. I suggest therapy for anyone that is going to do this. Healing comes from within.
Remember you will never again be able to eat to your hearts content. You won't be able to feel like you do now when you eat. This surgery will not help you maintain your weight loss forever and it's vital that you have realistic expectations. Try and make peace with food. Don't see it as an enemy but as a vital component to health.

I dealt with very little loose skin. Mostly on my neck and tummy. I am now having plastic surgery for it in Mexico which I will post about in the plastic surgery section.

On a side note, I you are considering vsg surgery in Mexico, I would highly recommend it. My care here has been extraordinary.


IMG_0302.thumb.JPG.f73cd4433442d18d4551f16f9e4d8703.JPG IMG_8037.thumb.JPG.6c180a24a33f9396dad217f9daee4ba2.JPG IMG_2747.thumb.JPG.c4dfffc90b725d804fc45b7b80b60be8.JPG

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Awesome job! I really can't wait, my paperwork needs copies of some tests I had done and off to the insurance company, I'm very excited to get my body back!



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