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Choices made and the unknown consequences of Gastric Bypass

Updated on June 30, 2011
Flowing on the river of life
Flowing on the river of life

In 1996, I made the life altering decision to undergo gastric bypass surgery. Ballooning to a weight of 239 pounds, I was fully over 100 pounds overweight. As an emotional eater, I felt my life was out of control and dieting was not a viable option anymore.

My mother died in 1988 and within the next 8 years I moved three times and hated living in the state of Texas. The whole mentality of the Texas way of life was abhorrent to me and my children also felt the sting of judgment and pain from the constant barrage of heat, oil field gasses and overly religious sentiment. Turning to food for my solace, it was easy to put the weight on as a cushion for my pain.

During one of my drives to the only place I felt "at home", (a bookstore) I heard an advertisement for a weight loss alternative called "Neweigh" in Houston. I called for the information and made an appointment for an assessment. It was only a matter of weeks that I was in the hospital literally "under the knife". My surgery date was 7-3-1996. This was almost fifteen years ago to the day.

My children had gone to their father for the summer to visit, and my husband was barely present at the hospital to help me along. It was then I realized not only was my support team out of touch, but I was truly on my own. I would show them I would endure. The family was none to happy with me for taking this drastic step in the event that my surgery would have the potential to kill me on the table. Add to that, there was no real information out there as it was a relatively new surgical procedure. I only knew that as a prediabetic I would place myself in a health crisis that had already killed many of my relatives. For me, it was a no brainer.

I have never regretted having gastric bypass, although there are absorption issues still, and I have not lost as much weight as I would like. They told me there was "no turning back" after having it, but I did find that after a period of time, the stomach stretches a bit. I still regurgitate when I eat too much, and am now a full blown diabetic and suffer from other maladies. I am now 55 years old and still need to watch my weight and also need to take all manner of vitamins, whey drinks and other medications. There is no quick and dirty fix to the issue of obesity, and people like me are always at risk for "falling off the wagon".

Since we all have to eat, it is easy to be addicted to food. But it is the choices I make that get me into trouble. I have my days when I am doing well, and I have my days I am an angry diabetic and post operative patient. I do not think I fully have undergone the emotional part of my weight issues, and I do admit that freely. Whenever I feel stressed, sad or upset, I run for carbs. There is no "Carbohydrates anonymous" out there. Sure, there is weight watchers, and many other weight loss support groups, but I am not a fan of "clubs". It is difficult for me to discern my underlying issues as I am not an onlooker or bystander in this game of life. I still do not regret the surgery, but I do regret that I have not had health insurance for years o end that would afford me the opportunity for gastric repair.

I also can tell you very seriously, regular family doctors know nothing about gastric bypass. Your surgeon can assist you, but he/she is not the doctor you go to after the surgery. You need to have some kind of outlet for your angst, your stress and someone to bounce off of when you need to let things go. For me, living in the south appeared to be the catalyst for my demise into the abyss, although after surgery I had a fantastic job at a tax office, a great Masters program to attend and earn a degree at, and a job in higher education that led me onto finding better work in other places.

Not everything is black and white. I know the experience was one that was a path I needed to take at the time, and I look back with appreciation, not regret when I think of my decision. Now I need to get back on the horse again and get well, stay on track and keep my body in balance again. Life is a series of paths and each come to a point of choice. This was a good choice for the time and has led me to learn more about myself and the life I have come to earth to live.

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    • Aley Martin profile imageAUTHOR

      Alice Lee Martin 

      7 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      Amie:

      I sure can feel your pain and am sorry you are feeling out of control. I have not licked my temptation but after having a check up in June and having my blood sugar over 200 (should be 125 or under) I began to eat better and take some energy drinks. There is a support group in my area and a lady that sells to gastric bypass patients called "Vitalady". We need so many vitamins as our absorption is at issue. I got the energy drinks, which she recommends 3X a day and it has filled me up so I am not as hungry and has other residual benefits. The website is http://www.vitalady.com/.

      The other thing you need is some support and understanding as to why you are an emotional eater.For me, as stated it was linked to deaths in my life. I just euthanized my 13 year old sheltie dog on Weds and am working hard to not return to the old patterns. They are hard to break. Did the doctor who did the surgery offer any counseling groups to help you to find out what is "eating you"? The key is to remember to love yourself. We spend so much time loving others, we forget about our needs and our self nurturing.

      I send you lots of hope and trust that this will all work out for you. Do not give up on yourself....you are too important to let yourself be defeated! The bypass was only a tool....you need to let the tool help you gain control.

      God bless you.

    • profile image

      Amie j Bisel 

      7 years ago

      iI had gastrc bypass 2 yrs ago this sept, im so depressed because i didnt lose as much as i wanted.But nothing seems to go the direction I plan.I have gained 34 pds back,I believe some is due not my diet..Just can"t seem to say NO!!And I'm also on meds due to my back,and OF Coarse side effect is gaining weight..I"ts very hard,because i WILL NOT be the weight I was..plz give advice

    • Aley Martin profile imageAUTHOR

      Alice Lee Martin 

      7 years ago from Sumner, Washington,USA

      thanks Barbergirl. Appreciate your kind comments and understanding! :)

    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 

      7 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      There is always a reason for everything. I was particularly drawn to this because my mother in law has been seriously contemplating lap band surgery to lose her excessive weight. While I don't know much about the details - cause I have no want to go under the knife... I did here of another person who had done a similiar surgery that was a contestant on the Biggest Loser. While it may help initially, it is still possible to gain the weight back. When it comes to losing weight, it is all about changing the habits. I am horribly guilty of this. I love food and I have very little will power. If I could, I would eat ice cream 3 times a day.

      I applaud you on the steps you have taken to become healthier. It is a difficult battle, but there are others out there that need to hear about your experience so they can make a good judgement decision on which path they can choose. I wish you the best in your continual journey!

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