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Pre-Surgery Advice: What do you wish you knew?



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Hi all~

As you can tell I'm super new. I've just started the process for bypass surgery (I picked a spectacular time, huh?). I've been reading this site up and down, but it's a bit difficult sorting through stories and advice from people who have had different surgeries than bypass. What's some things you wish you knew about post surgery and life after? If you didn't have the insurance mandated wait period, how long was it from first appointment to surgery date (if it makes a difference, I'm going through Beth Israel in Boston) And for those who suffered from GERD prior - did the surgery actually help?
I've seen a lot of the things about dumping syndrome and problems with lack of nutrients, but would you do it again if you could? One of my biggest concerns is loose skin due to rapid weight loss - has that been a big issue for anyone here? Thank you all!

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You're going to have loose skin issues, no way around it if you're planning on loosing the amount of weight you want. I've already lost over a hundred pounds and have another 88 to go reach my goal and can only imagine the sheer amount of loose skin I will have. But, it's still worth it! My insurance covers skin removal after a year of maintenance so I'm not stressing about it. It's annoying, yeah, but trust me you'll be so much healthier after loosing the weight! The two areas that bug me most are my upper arms, and the loose skin on my chest area a bit under my armpits (where your bra rests). I had a co-worker of mine suggest shapers as she had gastric bypass and she said it helps a bit with the loose skin issue and said it even reduced hers over time. She said the body suits with hooks in the front are best as they fit tighter and that's what you need. I figure I'll look into that eventually, but I've yet to do so...

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Posted (edited)

I had GERD prior to surgery, which is why I went with bypass. It completely went away for 2-3 years. It did eventually start up again, but it's a much milder case than it was pre-surgery. Basically, bypass often (but not always) greatly improves if not outright cures GERD. Note the word "often". It doesn't always, but usually, yes, it does (and I do know many people for whom it went away permanently).

not all RNY'ers dump. The statistic that seems to be thrown around a lot is that 30% of us do, but I have no idea if there's any hardcore medical research behind that number. But just based on what I've picked up just hanging around bariatric forums for the last six years, that sounds about right. I've never dumped and I know a lot of other RNY'ers who don't. If you're one of the ones who do, you can control that through diet by limiting or avoiding sugar and fatty things (which we all should be doing ANYWAY).

re: loose skin. I have worked with pre-op groups in my bariatric clinic for the last three years. Loose skin (and hair loss) has got to be the number 1 worry of most of them. I, too, worried about those things incessantly when I was a pre-op and early post-op. I would be willing to bet the farm that the vast majority of us who are out a ways wonder why we wasted even one brain cell worrying about this. I would take loose skin any day over weighing almost 400 lbs again. ANY DAY!

I have since had mine removed because I got tired of looking at it, and I got tired of hearing it slap up against my body when I exercised, but it was very easy to hide in clothes and I'm pretty sure no one knew it was there besides my husband. Here is a picture of me before I had skin surgery. Notice the loose skin? And I had a lot of it since I lost over 200 lbs.

prepscrop.thumb.JPG.bc1d7314bb39dbc90dff23a20925bec2.JPG

Edited by catwoman7

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I'm still pretty new to this (4 months post OP), but this has definitely been the best decision I've ever made with regard to weightloss.

I had GERD prior to surgery (which is why I chose RNY vs Sleeve), and it's completely gone! I haven't even needed a TUMS since having the surgery! I haven't had dumping, but I also don't crave sweets anymore which seem to cause people to dump. I have had "the slimes" which is when I eat just one bite too many, and I end up hypersalivating, and sometimes throwing up. That hasn't happened in over a month though, probably b/c I'm better at listening to my body.

As for loose skin, I'm sure I will have it, and I look forward to getting a tummy tuck/boob job someday!!

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13 hours ago, catwoman7 said:

I had GERD prior to surgery, which is why I went with bypass. It completely went away for 2-3 years. It did eventually start up again, but it's a much milder case than it was pre-surgery. Basically, bypass often (but not always) greatly improves if not outright cures GERD. Note the word "often". It doesn't always, but usually, yes, it does (and I do know many people for whom it went away permanently).

not all RNY'ers dump. The statistic that seems to be thrown around a lot is that 30% of us do, but I have no idea if there's any hardcore medical research behind that number. But just based on what I've picked up just hanging around bariatric forums for the last six years, that sounds about right. I've never dumped and I know a lot of other RNY'ers who don't. If you're one of the ones who do, you can control that through diet by limiting or avoiding sugar and fatty things (which we all should be doing ANYWAY).

re: loose skin. I have worked with pre-op groups in my bariatric clinic for the last three years. Loose skin (and hair loss) has got to be the number 1 worry of most of them. I, too, worried about those things incessantly when I was a pre-op and early post-op. I would be willing to bet the farm that the vast majority of us who are out a ways wonder why we wasted even one brain cell worrying about this. I would take loose skin any day over weighing almost 400 lbs again. ANY DAY!

I have since had mine removed because I got tired of looking at it, and I got tired of hearing it slap up against my body when I exercised, but it was very easy to hide in clothes and I'm pretty sure no one knew it was there besides my husband. Here is a picture of me before I had skin surgery. Notice the loose skin? And I had a lot of it since I lost over 200 lbs.

prepscrop.thumb.JPG.bc1d7314bb39dbc90dff23a20925bec2.JPG

Wow! Thank you so much for all the points! Hair loss was definitely something I thought about too, but I take Biotin Vitamins anyways so I figured I would just keep on those. You mentioned you don't deal with dumping and I am curious - are there foods you personally can't eat any longer? Not even just for that but in general. I've seen a variety of foods tossed around that people couldn't eat after - Pasta being a big one. I'm italian and I think that may be impossible 🤣 I figure it depends on a person to person basis though. I figure loose skin I would likely get taken care of regardless because I wouldn't like looking at it, but I know I'd rather look at loose skin than the fat I have now!

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3 minutes ago, ChubRub said:

I'm still pretty new to this (4 months post OP), but this has definitely been the best decision I've ever made with regard to weightloss.

I had GERD prior to surgery (which is why I chose RNY vs Sleeve), and it's completely gone! I haven't even needed a TUMS since having the surgery! I haven't had dumping, but I also don't crave sweets anymore which seem to cause people to dump. I have had "the slimes" which is when I eat just one bite too many, and I end up hypersalivating, and sometimes throwing up. That hasn't happened in over a month though, probably b/c I'm better at listening to my body.

As for loose skin, I'm sure I will have it, and I look forward to getting a tummy tuck/boob job someday!!

Yeah, as soon as I saw that RNY can help cure GERD in most patients (while sleeve can make it worse) I knew that this was exactly the solution to literally 90% of my problems in life. I hadn't actually read about "the slimes" that's definitely interesting to know. For me, my GERD is so severe that sometimes food does that to me anyways, so I'm thinking it won't be wildly groundbreaking and like you said it will just be a matter of learning my body post surgery.

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2 hours ago, Rachel98 said:

I've seen a variety of foods tossed around that people couldn't eat after - Pasta being a big one. I'm italian and I think that may be impossible 🤣 I figure it depends on a person to person basis though. I figure loose skin I would likely get taken care of regardless because I wouldn't like looking at it, but I know I'd rather look at loose skin than the fat I have now!

I had issues with certain foods the first few months after surgery, but now I can eat pretty much anything except really fatty meals. I'm from Wisconsin - the land of Friday night fish fries - and my husband and I used to love going out for them - fried fish, tartar sauce, French fries. There's no way I could eat that now - I'd be the bathroom half the night (vomiting - not diarrhea). I could eat maybe half a piece of fried fish or maybe a few fries - but not more than that and certainly not both. Other than that, I can't really think of anything I can't eat at this point....although the first few weeks and months post-surgery there will probably be a lot of things you'll have a hard time with. Just give it time..

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Be patient and don't freak out when you hit plateaus. They're going to happen no matter what you do. The post-op diet may be boring for a while but you'll get used to it.

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Wish i would have know hoiw much healthier and happier I would be after surgery! I should have done this years ago! My only advice is this is a journey, just like a trip plan for a journey. It is only a tool that enables you to get heathy. The rest is up to you in how you control the head games, Your addiction to food, You current way of life.

Seems weird but you get used to no eating anymore and focus on more important things in life

Aj

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Hi Rachel98,

im just a newbie two months out. I’m one of the people that currently regret it. I’m not sure if I’ll feel the same in another 3/6/12 months!
They don’t tell you about the food aversions, the weakness, the lack of energy, how even fluids fill you up so you can’t fit anything else in for the rest of the day, the taste changes or the constant nausea. Dehydration is something easily fallen into. I understand I may be one of the very few, but I dump after nearly everything, sometimes new things, sometimes food I’ve had before......it may be a piece of roast pumpkin or a couple of grapes, a piece of cheese or a waterthin cracker. It starts after about 20 minutes......sweating, heart pounding, cramps and then severe diarrhoea. This in turn brings about other medical issues.

I know if I read this before hand from a true and trusted friend, I still would have gone through with the surgery as I never would think it would happen to me, I was healthy, just really fat! I had been researching the surgery for years and thought I knew everything there was to know, but you don’t know how your body will react. For me it was the first surgery EVER! Please be aware that the first few months for some are an absolute nightmare (I am hoping that it’s not forever anyways!).

L x

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I wish I knew..... the outcome! I literally am SO happy with my surgery and reasults. I was insanely depressed from being obese all my life. Prior to surgery my anxiety was sky high! What wud I feel like? What wud ppl say? How wud my friends react? How wud I react? And most of all, will I be happy? I had watched so many vid about Bariatric horror stories, or even those ppl being like ‘losing weight wont help you not be depressed it’s all in your head’. Well true, losing weight itself won’t make me happy. But the satisfaction of hard work does. The feeling that you are doing something right in your life for a change does. I’m not gonna lie, I have a ton of loose skin, with 30lbs to go to my goal weight. About 100 down. But it’s not so bad. And I will DEFINITELY be getting plastics done. I consider it part of my journey. Bariatric surgery starting it and PS ending it. (Then I plan to start a new journey.... hopefully consider getting married and stuff) so ya loose skin is bothersome but it’s not a ‘big issue’ and it’s not like overnight you wake up and your body is hanging all over. It happens gradually and suddenly you realize it’s been there without you seeing it...
Good luck!

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I knew a lot going in, but even what I didn’t know I wouldn’t change my decision to have surgery because when I was finally approved it was all or nothing. I was ready to give up. it is tough dealing with excess loose skin and that will take surgery. But I’m working on it. It feels like part of the journey. I only wish my insurance paid. I lost around 105lbs now.

It might have helped to know information about medication and nsaids being banned for life. And that we cannot take timed release medication but also how our body metabolizes them is altered.

I think I wish I’d known about BariatricPal fruit flavor Protein shots before I had surgery, for the initial post op days especially but also to get in extra protein when nausea strikes and the idea of a Protein Shake isn’t tolerable. And I couldn’t tolerate Isopure even diluted although each person is different of course. Also their protein Soups are very helpful and hot Protein Drinks.

for me I eventually realized that taking a daily log of my weight, protein and calories and meal planning worked best for me so I stuck within a calorie and protein range that worked for me and increased or decrease calories as needed. I base my protein On the ratio of 0.36 grams of protein per 1 lb of body weight. And though I don’t count carbs I stuck to strict low carb, and no more than 4-5 grams of sugar and avoid added sugar as much as possible. I just find ways to get healthier versions of what I like.

my path was a hard one, because of lifelong chronic illness and disability. Going up against metabolic disorders and inability to exercise due to post exertional malaise which is a lame way of saying due to my medical condition, exertion causes systemwide damage. Many people have it easy, some have challenges along the way. I had my gallbladder removed during my surgery.

I guess a few small tips for post op, BariatricPal protein shots, kettle & Fire Bone Broth for sipping (also good for pre op clear) speaking of pre op, do make sure you prep as if for a colonoscopy. This helps with post op constipation. Also. Let go of worry. Let things happen as they happen one moment at a time and you will be fine :)

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I am 5mths out and wish I had known about the constant diarrhea, I have lost all desire for sweets and also I was lactose intolerant prior but even more so now! I wait 30 min to drink after meals and sometimes longer but everything goes right through me! I am 10 pounds shy my goal weight and love the new me but also feel I am constantly showering and more cautious of hygiene! As they say,"Never trust a poot!"

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Hello!

I'm new here, but not new to gastric bypass. I had roux-en-y surgery in 2003.

Prior to surgery, I needed insurance approval (mine was 100% covered by my insurance), to attend classes organized by the doctor's office, get bloodwork and other tests and have multiple doctors appointments. I was approved for surgery in February and had surgery on April 16, 2003 so I had a relatively short wait.

I would absolutely do it all again. The surgery was done laparoscopically, and with no complications. I had a horrible reaction to the antibiotic given to me, so that would be my first suggestion to you - look into what antibiotics you'll be given. They knew I was allergic to penicillin, but the surgery taught me I'm allergic to anything in the penicillin family.

I had a terrific support group before and after surgery. It was really the first time I had any friends. So, my second suggestion is to find in person support as well as online support. Knowing people who went through or were going through the same things I was was helpful and comforting.

Dumping and throwing up still happens all these years later. Not as intense as it was in the beginning though. So, my third suggestion is to strategically place plastic bags around your house, car, purse, ect because sometimes you'll end up throwing up quick and won't be able to make it to the bathroom. By the way, throwing up after gastric bypass isn't as horrible as prior to surgery, but it might feel weird at first. I was so afraid the first time I threw up after surgery. I thought I had damaged my insides. Now, as far as the other end - when you start eating solid foods again your body may not like it and you'll just need to run to the bathroom fast. Seriously fast. I would suggest going very slowly when introducing foods back and make sure a bathroom is nearby.

Prior to having surgery I tried out a bunch of different Protein Shakes so by the time supplementing my diet with Protein shakes became a requirement I had favorites already lined up.

I take Vitamins supplements every day and have since my surgery. Also, I go bloodwork every six months just to make sure my body is getting what it needs. I have issues with Iron, however, this was true before I had surgery.

Good luck!

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Almost 1 year out and 130 lbs down...

Not to scare anyone, but I wish I knew how INCREDIBLY painful the gas pains were (even though they are totally benign). They hurt like a MF! I missunderstood and thought that it was more like stomach gas and was not prepared for the damn nerve pain in my shoulder. So the post surgery recovery was HORRID...like it is for everyone. Mine lasted about 10 days.

BUT in all that was the ONLY thing that I had problems with. Everything else has been like I thought it was going to be with only a very few teeny minor issues that I dont care about anyhow. Ive had dumping and poo problems, but I would take those any day of the week for how I feel in my "new" body. My dogs love me more than ever now that we can do longer and longer walks.

No regrets!

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