Gastric Bypass (RNY) vs. Gastric Sleeve (VSG)

Gastric Bypass (RNY) vs. Gastric Sleeve (VSG) – Which one is right for me?

“What made you choose Gastric Bypass instead of the Sleeve? Do you have any regrets?”

 

This is probably the most often asked question I see being asked around the WLS community. Usually it’s a question asked by those still going through the pre-op journey, sometimes asked by those who are choosing to have revision surgery, usually years after their first attempt.

 

I will offer my testimonial for everyone, because I think it’s important for all to be informed first-hand about what the surgery requires. However, I do want all of you to make sure that you’re secure and comfortable with your choice.

You need to make the right choice for you, regardless of what anyone else says – surgeons, doctors, friends, family or otherwise.

 

 

With that out of the way, I must jump right to the point – I was never a candidate for VSG (Gastric Sleeve) surgery. The reason why is the acid reflux I’ve had since I was a child. However, even without that, I can honestly say that I still would have chosen RNY (Gastric Bypass). When I began this journey, I had a proverbial mountain in front of me, and I knew it. I had a lot of weight to drop, and it wasn’t going to come off any easier than it went on – this was a lifetime commitment. My BMI was 67.5 and I’d yo-yo’ed my way through my 20’s, always seeming to gain back even more than I ever lost, at one point tipping 500 pounds.

 

The most difficult part of losing weight had always been sticking to the diets in the long-term. I would have a bad day, and the only way I really knew how to cope was to eat until I couldn’t feel it anymore. And then once I started to cheat on my diet, the willpower to keep trying would dwindle down to nothing and I’d give up. Again. I knew that the only way I was going to get anywhere with my weight was if I did something to take away the opportunity to cheat. I needed a step up to help me stay focused even when I felt weak.

 

The more I read, and researched, and considered, the more certain I became that Gastric Bypass was exactly what I needed to help me finally kick my unhealthy habits. It’s not an easy way out, it’s not fool-proof and it’s not right for everyone. But I can honestly say that if I hadn’t had this surgery, my life wouldn’t have lasted more than another 25 years, and I would have absolutely no quality of life. This surgery saved my life, and has made so many things seem possible for me – finishing college, finding love, hiking up a mountain, going skydiving, traveling to Rome and exploring every inch of the city.

 

So, when it comes down to regrets, I can honestly say there are none. It’s not been all sunshine and rainbows, of course. I’ve vomited more times in the last 6 months than I have over the rest of my 31 years combined, some days I feel like there is more hair in my brush than on my head and it’s no picnic confronting emotions that I’ve spent a lifetime avoiding behind a wall of food. But for every time I’ve gotten sick, I’ve learned what my pouch can and cannot handle, and I now feel much more in control than I did at first. For every hair that comes out of my head, there’s another dream that goes in. And those emotions are rough, but once you learn to conquer them, you’re unstoppable.

 

I still have my bad days when it comes to food. There are times when I can’t resist, when I just eat mindlessly and try desperately to shut it all off. It doesn’t work, and that’s the beauty of it. It forces me to limit myself with what I put into my body, but it also forces me to stay accountable of my own emotions. When I stray from my recommended diet, I pay for it with stomach cramps, sweats and a complete inability to do anything but lay down until it passes. And I learn. I continue on my journey. I’ll be weak again, I’m sure there won’t ever be a time when I won’t want some of my favorite junk foods. But each time I remember how it ended for me the last time, and

 

I don’t feel that I would have had the same success with VSG. I definitely know I would have lost weight, and it would have been worlds better than what I was dealing with before surgery. I even know that it’s possible to lose the amount of weight that I needed to with the sleeve. But, I felt very strongly that I wanted this for life. I didn’t want the possibility to be there (as easily, of course, this is where that “not the easy way out” part comes in!) to relapse back into my old eating habits. I wanted faster results, because I felt impatient in my own skin. I still do. I want so badly to be at goal weight, to be able to run around and enjoy my life, and I felt like I’d wasted enough of my life as it was. To be frank, I just wanted the weight off of me, as quickly as possible.

 

I feel that RNY was perfect for me. My surgeon agreed, from the moment he walked into the exam room and I told him I wanted a Gastric Bypass. There was never a single doubt in my mind that this would be what finally worked for me, and that I would be successful in achieving the kind of health I’d always wished for. And even still, I feel that it exceeds my expectations. Something finally works! My tool has helped me conquer something that I could never seem to get ahead of, and something I’d been dealing with all my life. It hasn’t just given me back my life – it’s given me a brand new life in general.

 

 

Regardless of which surgery is best for you, that is the feeling I want for all of you. Like you just can’t wait to get started. Listen, life hasn’t always been kind to us “fat” folks. We deal with a lot more than people realize, and even if we did put ourselves here, it doesn’t mean that it’s easy feeling so lousy all the time. Aching back, knees, muscle cramps, respiratory problems – none of those things are fun for anyone, and it doesn’t matter how you got there. It still hurts just as bad, feels just as embarrassing and makes us feel just as alone, regardless of the road we took to get there.

 

You aren’t alone, though. Every single one of us have been there at some point in our lives, and although we’re all different human beings with different intentions and motivations, we all did this for one reason: Health. We wanted to be healthy. And I know it’s probably what you want, too. So, if you’re on the fence, here’s my little encouraging nudge in the right direction. Don’t take my word for it, though – do your research! Read other testimonials, blogs, examine the different types of surgery and understand what each one requires. Pinterest was where I found most of my resources, I suggest that as a place to start, if you need one.

 

If you’re here as a post-op WLS patient, or even as a random bystander who happened to stumble across this blog, talk to me about your experiences! Have you or someone you know had WLS? Which one? Any regrets? Complications? Good stories? Leave me a comment and let me know!!

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SKINNY Bucket List (Part 1)!

SKINNY Bucket List

Things I can’t wait to do as the weight comes off!

As the weight really begins to come off, the small changes I see in my body are producing big moments in my journey, and it’s making me more and more excited for life post-op! My best friend noticed that as I get smaller, my corner on the couch seems further and further away from her spot. It’s not anything big, but it’s more than I’ve had in years. Hope. A light at the end of this tunnel. And I’m not out of it yet, but it’s there! It’s about the time that I’ve noticed many others really beginning to notice and embrace all the changes (3 months), and I seem to be right on schedule. I am finally really beginning to see significant changes in my body, things are getting smaller and my clothes are noticeably bigger. 

It’s about the time that I’ve noticed many others really beginning to notice and embrace all the changes (3 months), and I seem to be right on schedule. I am finally really beginning to see significant changes in my body, things are getting smaller and my clothes are noticeably bigger. I’m already dreaming of new summer clothes!

It’s in these little victories that our ultimate success really lies, so focusing on these little things, all the ways that living will be easier, and more satisfying, and less stressful – it matters. It’s so important to not get caught up in being impatient and frustrated and discouraged at all of the natural valleys and plateaus our weight forms as it goes down – because nothing worth having comes easy. And now I can look at this list (I plan to post more parts!) and remember all the amazing things I’ve already accomplished.

  • Crossing my legs.

crossed, legs, crossing, weight loss, wls

  • Hiking.

hiking, hike, active, fitness, wls, gastric bypass, weight loss

  • Taking a flight anywhere without worrying about my weight/size even once.
  • My rings getting too big. Hey, I’m not married – it just means I get new rings! 😂

rings, fingers, weight loss, wls, gastric bypass, rny

  • Wearing dresses again. Comfortably. And looking good in them? (Gulp!)
  • No more excess chins! I mean, as great as holding your phone way up over your head for selfies might be…
  • More energy!!!!!!! In my case, I have spent a very large portion of my life asleep. This is a culmination of a bunch of different factors, but the fact is that when I’m sticking to my ordered diet and exercise plan, the rest of the factors are usually pretty easy to overcome. Naps are still one of my favorite things, but I don’t need them every day like I used to.
  • One day: wear a wedding dress, and look pretty in it. This is a long ways away, but I’m like many other girls and have dreamt of my wedding day since I was old enough to know what weddings were. Provided that I get married one day, this is one I can’t wait to cross off.

wedding, married, weight loss, rny, gastric bypass

  • One day: successfully sustain a pregnancy and have a healthy baby without worrying about my weight and what effect it will have. I’ve wanted to be a mom most of my life. I remember wanting to start to have babies by the time I was 20, and I definitely wanted at least 6 of them. Things have certainly changed since then (thankfully!), but I still want to be a mom one day, and I want that relationship to start with me being healthy and able to create a nurturing environment without the added worry of being obese.

pregnant, gastric bypass, weight loss, baby rny, wls, someday

  • Traveling to Rome and actually being able to walk around the city and sightsee the way a normal person would. There are a ton of other places I’d love to go, too, but Rome has been my ideal travel location for nearly two decades.

rome, italy, tourism, travel, gastric bypass, weight loss, wls, rny

  • Wear boyfriend’s t-shirts – and have them be big on me. There has always been something so cute to me about the idea of wearing a boy’s shirt, and swimming in it. The comfy, big t-shirt that hangs nearly down to the knees, that smells like him – can’t wait for that one.

boyfriend shirt, bf's shirt, weight loss, gastric bypass, rny

  • Not being so humiliated by the thought of swimming in a public pool. I don’t need to be the hottest girl there, but it would be nice to be able to go for a swim without feeling like you’re the receiving end of a joke that lasts from the moment your swimsuit is on until the moment you’re back in your own clothes.

swimming, pool, weight loss, gastric bypass, wls, rny, swimsuit

  • Needing to ask for a smaller size instead of a bigger one when I’m trying on something and it doesn’t fit. Personally, I don’t remember the last time this happened. Trying on clothes as the weight comes off is going to be a brand new experience! I’m used to loathing the dressing room. Maybe we can kiss and make up one day.
  • Not needing to worry about how small the stalls in public restrooms are. Uncomfortable, awkward, embarrassing, frustrating – you girls feel me? I can’t wait to just be average.
  • Being able to go to Disneyland and walk around all day without terrible pain. I’ve never been to a Disney park and this has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I’ve avoided going thus far as an adult because I know I’ll have a lot more fun if I’m not in pain, and I continued with the “I’ll start tomorrow” mindset with a diet for years. I’m gonna make it there now, I’m determined! I’ll see you soon, Mouse!

disneyland, gastric bypass, wls, weight loss, rny

  • Boots! They’re uncomfortable and unflattering on me now, but I have a feeling I’m going to have an obsession with them. Here we go…

boots, weight loss, wls, gastric bypass, shoes

  • Sitting comfortably in chairs with arms! I can’t remember the last time that happened. That awkward position can get uncomfortable real quick! I’ve already noticed a difference in my general width when it comes to chairs, so I’m excited to see it continue!
  • Getting to a place where exercise feels good, and it’s something I enjoy doing. It’s been a long time since exercise has been fun to me, and that’s always been because of my weight. I don’t remember what exercise feels like without all of the negative parts that come with being overweight – but I am excited to find out!
  • More band shirts! I don’t even know how many times I’ve been to a concert and wanted a cute band t-shirt or hoodie or tank, only to find that, as per usual, there were no sizes above XL. At some point you just kind of stop trying, because they never carry bigger sizes. But now I can actually showcase the things I’m a fan of, especially bands. There will certainly be no shortage of fandoms in my closet!
  • No more sitting at the handicapped accessible desks at school! When I was in college (4 years, no degree yet, Psychology major), notes were impossible to take in lecture halls unless I was able to sit at a desk. These were usually at the front of the classroom, meant for those in wheelchairs, but it’s where the fat people sat. Fear of this situation contributed to why I didn’t finish – I was too afraid of switching to a State University from my little Community College to finish out my required courses. I didn’t want to deal with the anxiety and humiliation of it all, especially on top of being in a new place with large crowds of people in the age group that typically weren’t always kind to me. It’s going to feel so good to be able to walk onto campus and worry solely about my studies – not about how my weight is going to influence my day.

desk, school, college, university, weight loss, wls, rny, gastric bypass

  • Reaching my goal weight and knowing that no one else did this – that it was all me. I made better choices, I made the changes, I used the tool I’d been given and I invested in myself for the first time in my life. That I am worth something, because I made myself worth something.
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The Weight-Loss Story So Far – My Gastric Bypass Story From the Beginning to Now

The Weight-Loss Story So Far

My Gastric Bypass Story From the Beginning to Now

Letting Go of the Old and Embracing the New Me

 

Making the decision and actually having Gastric Bypass surgery to lose weight has been a lifechanging experience for me. So far, this weight-loss journey has been difficult, rewarding, challenging and the best choice I’ve ever made. This is my story, from the beginning of my weight problem to now.

 

I’ve been overweight for as long as I can remember. I don’t really know what it feels like to not be. Like everyone who has found themselves in this position, I’ll readily admit that I had an addiction to food. I was raised on fast or restaurant food nearly every single day and very few healthy choices available at home. I don’t blame anyone else for my weight. But, I also understand how fundamental healthy eating habits are from day one. Having a healthier foundation of food may not have saved me from obesity, I don’t know. But I do know it didn’t do me any favors.

 

burger, fries, fast food, junk food, burger king, unhealthy, obese

 

When I was about 10, my mom (250 pounds) started to lose weight. She had been overweight most of her life, as well, and wanted the weight off. She read a book about weight loss and all its seductive freedom, and was motivated enough to keep it off. I remember being jealous of what she was accomplishing, wondering why I couldn’t do it myself. Tips my mom gave me were readily accessible. “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips!” or “Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels!” were common. We still went out every night, she would just choose lower calorie items that kept her within her daily allowance.

 

Especially as a teenager, I hated myself. I was bullied, which led to self-deprecation that I didn’t have the capacity to handle. My weight, the food, my general coping mechanisms were all so contorted, and definitely anything but healthy. Although this point in my life was one of the darkest, it also tightened a resolve within me. Even if it didn’t do it today, or tomorrow, or even in a year – someday, I was going to lose this weight. I didn’t know how, or when it would happen, but I never lost hope that I could be healthy, and I have always referred to it as a certainty. “When I lose weight,” or “When I’m smaller.”

 

weight loss, pounds, obesity

 

I was in such a deep denial about how big of a problem (literally!) I’d gotten myself into that I allowed all of those “when”’s to be pushed back, time and time again. I’d be so afraid of failing, that I would sabotage myself. Or I would get so upset about something and begin to justify eating those feelings as though it was an emergency situation that no one could blame me for. Food helped me keep that switch turned to OFF, and helped keep those feelings at bay. Of course, when I was empty again, I felt even worse, as well as stabbing pangs of guilt for using food to mask my feelings. And then I’d have to make those feelings stop, too, so I’d eat. And then I’d give up, convinced I could never do this.

 

Through every hard time in my life, food was always there, and always made me feel better. It’s not something I’m proud of, but that doesn’t change the fact that food comforted me. The weight had to come from somewhere, and given what my triggers for eating are and always have been, it’s become pretty clear that emotional eating is my biggest hang-up that’s always hindered my progress in the past. It’s where I always seemed to get tripped up and, as a result, give up.

 

depression, help, give up, hopeless

 

I knew, in a general sense, what Gastric Bypass surgery was, and I had remained adamant for my entire adult life that I could lose the weight on my own if I tried, and I didn’t need to have my stomach stapled to see results. I just needed to have the willpower to resist the temptation to eat that came along whenever I was feeling particularly stressed. My weight had yo-yo’ed somewhat through my life, and while I’d always remained obese, I’d lost up to 100 pounds at one time. Granted, not in a healthy way, but this became my bargaining chip with myself. Putting it off because I could just do it later became my way of justifying trying to fill up that emotional space.

 

There was never any one event that pushed me over the edge, so to speak. It was a gradual build up of things, but most of all just being sick of my life. Living life at almost 450 pounds certainly wasn’t what I’d imagined my life to be. I never would have guessed when I was 20, that I’d still have all the weight I’d resolved to lose and then some by the time I turned 30. I just felt trapped by where I was, not sure where to summon the strength to try again when I knew that I was always my own worst enemy, always making the wrong choices.

 

Initially, the reason that I decided to look up more about Weight Loss Surgery was sheer curiosity. I had no idea how the different procedures worked and what kind of lifestyle was expected afterwards. I did an online seminar before I even called, soaking it all in and allowing my own mind to settle on this surgery as a possible solution for me. Would I benefit from it? Would I succeed? Would there be complications? Would I be able to give up everything required of me?

 

From the first day I walked into my surgeon’s office, I felt an assurance that this was the right path for me. I wanted to do this, I wanted to give myself this chance, because I have wasted enough of my life being tangled in something that’s done nothing but hold me back. There was a light at the end of the tunnel when I considered what my life would be like with Gastric Bypass. Even though I knew it wouldn’t be easy, and I wouldn’t be perfect, I also knew that this could be the missing piece. This tool could be exactly what I need to push me through into real success. I remember my surgeon looking shocked that I seemed so knowledgeable and sure about everything from the moment I walked into his office. I was ready for the change, because my solution hadn’t been working.

 

hope, faith, light at the end of the tunnel, breathe

 

As difficult as it was (and believe me, it was – I gave up everything that was high in carbs, sugar, soda and cigarettes), I did it. I surprised even myself with how dedicated I was. My 6 month waiting period was full of self-reflection and learning. I started to listen to my body, and what it was telling me – if I needed to add more water, or eat some protein, or stop eating the carbs. Once I understood how my body worked and what it was trying to tell me, it was easy to hear it. I noticed things about my body that I never had before. That carbs tricked my body into making it think it was hungry when it wasn’t, for example. Or how much more awake and focused I was able to be when I had stayed away from the carbs.

 

From the first appointment with my surgeon until the morning of my surgery, I don’t think I lost more than 20 pounds in total. But I gained so much knowledge. Every time I cheated, and regretted it, I gained one more lesson about why I’m only hurting myself by cheating. I also learned very quickly that mentally beating myself up every time I screw up doesn’t do any good either. It’s all about picking yourself up and trying again, not losing the resolve for success. When I ate according to my surgeon’s plan and stuck to my diet, I learned quickly how much healthier I felt and how the scale reacted to it. I learned how important celebrating the small victories is. From the moment I was wheeled into surgery, I felt ready and prepared for this change. I knew what was required of me, and I had faith in myself that I could accomplish my goals – for the first time, I truly believed it. I’d already accomplished more than I thought I could.

 

surgery, gastric bypass, weight loss surgery, rny, wls, bariatric

 

It’s now been nearly 2 months, and in that time, I’ve lost more than 40 pounds. I’m not eating that much now even though I’ve been cleared to eat most foods. All of the nutrition I need, I get from my protein shakes and my daily vitamins. Anything I eat past that is just extra protein, calories, etc. I still eat sometimes, things like eggs, yogurt or cheese, tuna or vegetables, but I don’t eat even a small percentage of what I used to eat, and some days I don’t even eat. Part of the surgery involves decreasing the hormone in the stomach that makes you feel hungry, and I definitely have noticed that, but it feels good. I feel like I have more room to find myself and figure out who I am under all the weight. And that’s so exciting for me.

 

My only regret with this surgery, as cliche as it may sound, is that I didn’t have it done earlier. I look back at all of the life that I missed out on, both as a teenager and then the entirety of my 20’s, and I definitely feel that sting. I missed out. It’s time that I’ll never get back. And even though I’ve made my peace with that, and decided to look towards the awesome future I’ll have instead, I really wish I would have stood up and taken my own life back sooner. Maybe there is a reason I was supposed to wait. But even as long as the road ahead may be, it feels so incredible to know that I’m finally traveling it. I’m here, and I’ve made it this far.

 

It’s hard not to be impatient when it comes to getting all the weight off – I struggle most with feeling frustrated that it’s not all just vanishing! – but it’s helping me to learn the extent of damage that I caused my body by being so big, and giving me lots of time to dream about what my future will be like. Healthy and happy, and I won’t settle for anything less!

 

salad, healthy, new me, weight loss, good choices

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