Your Thoughts Please

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I really would like to know your thoughts on Weight Loss Surgery?

I really may be opening myself up here to some very discouraging comments, but I am sure there are a lot of you out there who have thought about it or who have had it done.

People assume weight loss surgery is an easy way out. It is a huge personal decision that should not be taken lightly. Weight loss surgery is for people who are morbidly obese. I hate to admit it but, I am morbidly obese. My BMI is 49. I weigh over 300lbs. It is a serious surgery, where you forever change the anatomy of your body. You will NEVER be able to eat the same again. No more fatty foods or you will dump, no more sugar or you will dump. There are huge risks with have a major surgery. For most, including me, the risk is greater to not doing anything at all. My health is my primary concern at this point. I am not getting any younger and my health seems to getting worse.

I have struggled with my weight since I was 12 years old. I have not weighed under 200 lbs since I was 16 and I starved myself and took dangerous diet pills to get to 190. I have tried over 25 different diet attempts. Weight Watchers 3 times, Jenny Craig, phen-phen, topamax, hours at the gym, running, walking, swimming, weights, starvation, lindora, metabolife, hydroxycut, anti-depressants, anti-convulsants, no carbs diets, no fat diets, lifestyle changes, sugar busters, the list goes on and on. I really gave it my all, every time. I would lose 20-30 lbs and then regain it. I even lost 80 lbs 2 separate times. But I was taking a pill that made me so stupid and caused all kinds of side effects. Within days of quitting the pills-I started to gain. Lose 10, gain 20 theory. I, by no means, am looking for any easy way out here. I do eat healthy 6 out 7 days a week. One of my biggest problems is I eat large amounts of food. My appetite has always been my down fall.

I haven't been on spark too much lately. Part of me did not know how to tell you all I was seriously considering this surgery. This is something I never told anyone except my mother....I have been thinking about this for 3 years now. People who struggle with their weight usually struggle forever. This is a constant battle and you can't let your guard down at all. I am ready to add a tool to my life that will help me win this battle.

P.S. I have been researching this for the past 8 months. I feel the best patient is a well educated patient. I have met with three specialists, my primary doctor several times to address my obesity related conditions and discuss being a candidate for the surgery, I've read books on weight loss surgery written by both doctors and patients, joined a couple different websites that offer support and info on surgery. I do research almost everyday on the internet to educate myself further. I have made up my mind. But I am looking for input from you, my sparkfriends.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Ok - so I wrote a really long response to your blog yesterday - but I found myself thinking about it as I fell asleep last night. Have you ever been tested for sleep apnea? I was. I stopped breathing more than 80 times an hour during my sleep. If you do have apnea it will stop your metabolism totally. My doctors told me I could live on a diet of celery sticks with the sleep apnea and still would not lose weight. If your family tells you you snore or if you find yourself still tired in the morning or through out the day - you could have it.

    It's just a thought I wanted to share. I do hope you the best on your journey.
    4040 days ago

    First off I really like your profile picture - very cool!!

    Optional surgery of any kind is never an easy decision. And first and foremost - this is a decision that is as personal as it gets. That being said ...

    I looked over your food tracker and I see that you really haven't been tracking consistently on Sparkpeople since July. So maybe you are using another program or maybe you stopped tracking - but what I did notice was some of your food choices include a lot of processed foods & a lot of those foods are higher in sodium and that will put a freeze on weight loss.

    Plus I noticed that some of your calorie consumption numbers are really low - now maybe you didn't record everything you ate - but one thing I've learned on this journey is that you have to a)consistently record everything you eat b) eat every 3 hours and c) make sure you eat enough calories d) drink a ton of water and finally - once every week to 10 days blow the calories out to 2000+ calories in one day.

    Now in all fairness I stopped tracking my calories on Sparkpeople because I found an app on my iTouch that I find easier to use (because it's always with me.) So maybe you've done something similar. But I might suggest a visit with a nutritionist. Because like a couple other folks here have said -It would suck to go through the time, money & physical hardship of surgery only to end up back where you are now because of poor food choices or psychological ones. We all have issues sister otherwise none of us would have found this website in the first place. You are not alone.

    I started out with a BMI of 41.2. As of this weekend I'm down 87 pounds. My BMI is now 28.8. The scale had froze from Aug 31 until last week. I came down with Bells Palsy. And I blame that for the scale not moving. However - I kept on, keeping on - and finally the scale has started to move again. I only share this info because there is hope. We didn't gain weight over night, it isn't going to come off over night either. Surgery or not.

    There's a ton of good advice that has been given to you from this blog and as you've stated it's not an easy decision. I wish you the best of luck with what ever you choose. You are worth it. Never ever ever give up your fight for a healthy new you -- you deserve it!
    4040 days ago
    I came to wish you a happy birthday, loved your page (so colourful!) so decided to read your blogs and get to know you.
    I have a friend who is going for weight loss surgery. She is about 400 lbs, has PCOS and other weight related medical issues. My friend is an emotional eater and has admitted it to me on several occasions. I hesitate to discuss things with her because her related medical issues have put a cap on her lifespan and that HAS to be scary. Her doctor told her if she kept going as she is now, she has about 10 years to live and she is in her late 30's.
    The problem I have with the surgery is that IF you are an emotional eater then you MUST deal with the the issues of WHY first or, as Allie1986 says, you CAN gain back the weight you have lost.
    So in your long list of what you HAVE tried, the one thing I didn't see was "therapy" or "counselling" or "psychiatry." If it were me I would do that first before changing my physiology for good, forever, with a CHANCE that it too didn't work in the end.
    Good Luck and many hugs.
    4041 days ago
    not saying anything either way. this is your choice and you need to do what is best for you.
    4041 days ago
  • ALLIE1986
    check out massage goddesses spark page. she has a link there for youtube and it is her journey through the gastric bypass surgery. take ur time and watch them. they are very informative. i think ultimatley the only thing that matters is what makes u happy. but just remeber just because u lose the weight with the surgery, it doesnt mean u cant gain it ack especially if u dont deal with the reasons u eat now! good luck sweety let me know how u make out!!!!
    4044 days ago
  • KAREN_01
    Do what is best for you. In the end it is you who have to live with the consequences of your decision. You know there are numerous people here on spark that have done it. You know it is a complete lifestyle change - like all of us has to make, with or without surgery. You know about the successes and failures of people that have done it.
    I think it is a very personal decision, and all you really need to know is that you have a community behind you that will support you in your journey no matter what route you take. It is difficult either way and you will still need the support. So, don't stay away from spark, it is part of your safetynet.

    Ps,I've not done surgery. I've decided against it two years ago. I told my husband that I just cannot see myself never being able to eat strawberries again. And that was that. :)
    I then weighed 384 pounds. Now I am 266, it is hard but I am still struggling with it everyday.
    4047 days ago
    Well, I certainly understand why this is something you'd be considering because I've been there myself. Our stories are similar. I wasnt under 200 lbs from the age of 14 and I tried I cant even begin to count how many diets/programs. It just felt like nothing I did would work. And what was worse was it felt like any time I had a tiny bit of success, I would eventually end up gaining it all back in less than half the time it took to lose it, and then I'd gain more on top of it. It felt like a battle I was NEVER going to win. I thought weight loss surgery was going to be my only way out. I have a large appetite as well and even after reaching my goal, I still struggle with portion control and I always will. I'll never be "cured" but I've learned to better manage my issues with food, and I still believe you can too.

    Just out of curiosity, have you ever had your thyroid tested or been checked out for PCOS or any other types of hormone imbalances? There very well may be some underlying medical issues that make losing weight and keeping it off very difficult. If you get to the root of that there are medications that can help you out (I'm sure you've already thought of this and/or have had it checked out but I thought I'd mention it anyway)

    I don't necessarily feel that weight loss surgery is taking the easy way out, but whether or not it is, that's besides the point. WLS isnt the safest or even the healthiest approach to losing weight. It's a very serious life altering surgery with many possible risks and potential long term irreversible damage.I'm sure you're fully aware of all of the risks and possible complications that go along with this type of surgery since you've been doing extensive research, which is very important. I've read so many horror stories about these surgeries, as well as many uplifting success stories. How the surgery is going to effect your health and your life is something you'll never know unless you have it done yourself but in my personal opinion, it just isnt worth the risk. (then again I hope to have excess skin surgeries done one day and many will argue that since it's purely cosmetic I'll be taking an unneccessary risk so whether or not something is worth the risk is all relative I suppose)

    I know there have been some great success stories with weight loss surgery, but since I havent had experience with it, I just can't speak positively about it. Although it's not something I could ever encourage, I will still support your choice whatever it may be. At the end of the day, it comes down to listening to your own inner voice and doing what you feel is best for you. I still believe 100% that you can lose this weight on your own without any type of drastic medical intervention. One other thing I just want to point out (although again, I'm sure it's something you're already aware of) is when it comes to weight loss, there is no magic bullet. There are a lot of cases where even after people have WLS, they still manage to gain all their weight back. Your stomach can continue to grow and expand if it's overfilled, even if it's been stapled down to 1/3 or a 1/4 it's original size. If the types of foods you eat arent your biggest issue but the quantity is, thats something to just keep in mind. Just please continue doing your research, talk to others who have had WLS and listen objectively to both the positive and the negative sides of it, talk to doctors etc etc. You'll know what the right decision is when the time is right.

    I hope you don't see my comment as a discouraging one. I'm just offering my honest opinion on the matter, and my opinion may not be what's best for you in the end. This is your life and your journey, and if you truly end up feeling like this surgery is what's going to help you get to be that happy healthy person you strive to be, then I support that decision. As always, I wish the best for you!! Please don't be a stranger on Spark! No matter what you're going through, we're all here for you!

    4047 days ago
    I think you need to know what has caused your current outcome, and if it is something medical if they do take it all away, if it won't return. Even if you have learned here on spark people good eating and exercise are a key, if something medically is wrong with you making you gain all this weight, ie thyroid...or similar can this treat it? I mean I am even thinking about laser body sculpting much further down the road to get my body where I want it, but for my case ME got ME here, I don't have a medical condition that made me gain THIS weight just really poor decisions, and at lest to this point I believe I have learned how I could have avoided this...if I could go back I would, maybe this surgery would be like my going back....but it will only be a REAL solution if you know why and how you got to this point and have corrected it. Of course if it is a medical condition more might need to be done. emoticon
    4050 days ago
    ok so i don't have any advice but that you can do this with out any body cutting or what ever on you i have ! it is hard YOU BET YOUR BUM!! but would i want it any other way NO WAY!!
    i have to admit i am one that says it is the easy way out :( sorry girl don't take this wrong:)
    4051 days ago
    I think that you have tried to lose weight every possible way and I think at some point you have to take your other health into consideration the extra weight is hard on all organs. I think that you would be right to do it. It is your future and if people in your life don't respect you for doing something for your health then to HELL with them. Its not that you just want to fit into a size 0 jean, you are doing it to live a healthier life. I vote you do it, make sure that you do the counseling sessions so you don't trade one vice for another but I think taking charge of your health when you have tried everything else is the right thing to do.
    Kara emoticon
    4051 days ago
    Joni- I respect your comment and totally understand where you are coming from too. I was afraid to tell my significant other for fear of what he may think. He is supportive. He said it is my decision to make. I still haven't told anyone because I don't want to be judged I guess. I guess I don't get why people would lose all respect for someone for having weight loss surgery. Maybe I even was under the misconception this was the easy way out when I first thought about this years ago. It takes a lot of courage and self evaluation to even make the decision. The amount of work it takes after surgery is tremendous-I see lots of blood, sweat and tears now and in my future. I still have to log all my food, watch my calories, protein, fats, sugar, water intake, and vitamin intake. Sometimes when I think about it, I think it is harder then just diet & exercise alone. You still have to watch what you eat, workout and lift weights in order to be successful. If you don't take care of yourself after the surgery, you can become very ill, you can even gain the weight back. This, in a way, forces you to be compliant for life. I still love you and still will be here on spark. Thank you for your input

    4051 days ago
  • JBMT08
    It looks like you have seriously done your research. kudos to you! I dont support it. I have thought about it a few times. My mother has talked with me about it. I spoke to my husband about it. I have heard good and bad stories from those who have gone through it. The ONE THING that sticks in my mind is what my husband said to me. He said that he would lose ALL RESPECT for me if I decided to do that. Dont get me wrong, we are both large people, but that comment drove me in the OTHER direction. I have been struggling, and I have been plateauing for almost 3 months. But, I have been assessing what I need to do. You are right. This is a total change. You have to re-learn portion size. You have to re-learn the food groups. You have to re-learn when you are full. These are the same things you have to re-learn whether you get surgery, or you do it yourself through blood sweat and tears. I will support your decision with a heavy heart if you decide to do this. But I will RESPECT YOUR DECISION.

    Hope this wasnt too mean. You asked for opinions....I hope you have success whichever route you take!

    4051 days ago
    This is such an enormous decision and one you have so obviously worked through with all the appropriate people.

    You've probably had all the advice you need, and I suspect what you truly need now is support and friendship......

    If/when you decide to go ahead with this, I wish you all the best with a quick recovery and a wonderful future doing all those things you've ever wanted to do x

    Is this where the catepillar evolves into the butterfly emoticon

    Whatever you do, don't be a stranger on sp, we would all love to follow your progress and you will still need all the info sp gives you!

    M x emoticon
    4051 days ago
  • ALLNTIME2009
    I truly understand where you are coming from. I was once in the 3's. But I hadn't tried everything. So, me going to the gym and changing my eating habits have helped me in losing the weight. I have considered gastric, but I only decided against it because I had not given myself a chance to lose the weight myself. But your situation is different. YOu said that you have tried everything. If you are using the gastric as a tool and not a solution, I say go for it. Make sure that it is not just for a quick fix, but the incentive you need to work out and eat smaller healthier portions. I would pray about it, and ask God to guide you in the right direction. Because no matter what anybody has to say, no one knows your situation better than you. And who are we to judge the decision that you make. I support you in whatever choice you make, and feel free to contact me if you need prayer, motivation, or just a listening ear.

    Be Blessed,

    Reagan emoticon emoticon
    4051 days ago
    I don't have any advice, but I just wanted to let you know I understand how you feel and where you are coming from. emoticon
    4051 days ago
  • LUCKY-13
    Have you spoken to a specialist yet? Or any of the members of the teams who have had lapband, etc. surgery done? I would even Google it to get more information so you can learn as much about it as you can. Only you can make such a personal decision, and I think learning as much as you can from reputable websites, doctors, and even people who have been through are the best ideas I could offer - especially since that is what I would do if I was considering it.

    Either way, whether you have the surgery done or not, I wish you luck and hope you'll find happiness and good health. Let me know if I can help in any way.

    > emoticon
    4051 days ago
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