Mar 8, 2012

Gastric Bypass Q&A and Utah Valley Mag

I got an email yesterday that my article in the Utah Valley Magazine has come out, and after reading it I was so pleased.  They portrayed the most important part in my life so well....the fact that my husband is everything and more to me.  Thank you Kylee for being so great to work with.  If my readers would like to read the article click here for the link.

Oprah 2005 302lbs
I've been getting a lot of phone calls, people just stopping me while I'm grocery shopping, and random emails on FB from people who are genuinely interested in why I had gastric bypass, about if they should get it done, and what my experience was.  I wanted to write a blog post and answer some of my "Most asked Gastric Bypass questions" so I can maybe help some of the public who are asking themselves some of the hard ones.  

First off I want everyone to know because it's the #1 question that I get, that I would absolutely 110% do gastric bypass again even if I knew all that was going to happen.  I know a lot of people get mad when I give them that answer.  They may think I'm vain, arrogant, stupid, or they could agree.  Everyone is entitled to there own opinion, and that is my opinion on that question.  The reason I would have it done again is because it gave me the life that I have, and that I am so grateful for.  It gave me the confidence that I needed to put myself out there and meet new people, try new things, and have an amazing life.  Most importantly it lead me to my amazing husband.  I know for a fact that I would never have met Dave if I wouldn't have had the surgery.  So would I have it again?  I would do it tomorrow if I needed to.
Oprah 2006 150lbs

The next question I get is how much weight did I lose.  Originally I lost 150lbs.  I went from 302lbs to 150lbs.  Then I got sick where I could no longer eat and I went down to 123lbs.  I'm now back up to 137lbs. and have maintained that for over 2 years.  It has been 7 years since my surgery and since the first year was done I have never gone above 150lbs.  I went from a women's size 28 to a women's size 4.  I'm extremely happy with my results, and although I know my results aren't typical I'm glad that I have been able to keep the weight off.

The next one is by losing all that weight do I have saggy skin.  The answer is yes and no.  I was very lucky with this surgery.  Since I had the surgery at such a young age my skin was able to tighten back up by itself.  I have never had to have any skin tightening or skin removal surgeries.  I still do have the saggy arms that I can't get rid of, and I have stretch marks that will be there forever, but overall my skin has remained tight.  Exercise really does help keep my stomach tight, and even though I despise exercise it really does work.

Oprah 2011 136lbs
Who was my surgeon?  My original surgeon was a man named Dr. Hanafy.  He is no longer practicing in Utah and I hope he's not practicing at all.  Because of the screw ups that he made initially, those were the issues that caused my intestines to decay and twist up on me.  The surgeon who I owe my life to, who stuck with me through 13 surgeries and still helps me to this day is Dr. Roderick McKinlay from St. Marks Hospital in Salt Lake City.  His team of 3 doctor's are rated 1 of the top 10 gastric bypass surgeons in the nation.  He is amazing, and I truly owe my life to him.  He had never performed the surgery that he had to do on me to save my life, and he said he had never heard of any doctor doing this surgery.  He and his team of doctors were able to go in, take out 3 feet of my small intestine, detach my intestines from my liver which they had wrapped around, and basically rebuilt my digestive system from the inside out.  He is amazing, and I would send any family member who wanted gastric bypass to him.  I know he does a great job, and his patients have never had issues that I have had.  I was his first, and I feel very blessed to have had him on call the night my bowel perforated and I had to go in for emergency surgery at 3am.
Me today 136lb
4th how much does it cost?  Gastric Bypass is not a cheap surgery.  It ranges between $20-30,000 dollars.  You have to decide for yourself if it is worth it for you.  I have had to pay that price twice now, and it was worth it for me.  With the love and help from my parents, neighbors, and loved ones, I was able to get a new stomach which kept me alive.  Everyone has to go through there own soul searching process.  The reason I did it was because I knew for a fact that I would never lose the weight on my own.  I had been every diet there is since I was 5 years old.  I exercised my guts out, but wouldn't stop eating so I wouldn't lose weight.  I knew this was my only option.  I want to tell you though that the hour before I went into surgery I really didn't want it.  It hit me that I wasn't going to be able to eat and I had severe withdrawals.  I'm just glad I can say now that it was the best decision I have ever made for myself.

And the final question I'll answer are what are the risks?  I think I am the poster child of what can go wrong when you have gastric bypass.  I also want you to know that what happened to me happens to less than .25 percent of patients who have gastric bypass.  Most them will have the surgery and their life turns out great as long as they always, always, always follow the rules.  It is imperative that you follow the directions your doctors give you.  If you don't, your life will be miserable and unfortunately you will gain the weight back.  I gave up sugar, caffeine, carbonation, IB profen, really starchy foods, and my personal favorite, carbonation of any kind.  If you start drinking carbonation I will promise you without a doubt that you will gain the weight back.  A soda pop, can of beer, glass of champagne, is not worth your health.  I can promise you that.

Overall I want you all to know that I love my life.  Do I still struggle?  Of course I do, and I always will.  I have bad days.  Read my post below and you'll see that I cry.  Everything in your life is not going to be suddenly perfect because you're thin.  Your health will be better, but your overall health (mental, emotional, spiritual) has to be worked on continuously.  After I had my surgery I went to therapy for over 5 years.  It was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.  Gastric Bypass is not a cure it's a step in the right direction to get you healthy, but it's the hardest thing I have ever done, and it's the hardest thing that I still do to this day.  Gastric Bypass is extremely difficult, just as anything that is rewarding is.  You have to decide if it's right for you, and then you have to stick with your plan and make it work.  Gastric Bypass won't make you happy.  You make you happy.  Always remember that your attitude comes from you and not how you look on the outside.  No matter what you decide it's what's on the inside that counts.  Make sure you work on yourself mentally and emotionally before you decide to fix yourself physically.

Thanks to all of you who nominated me for the magazine.  I'm flattered and touched that you like my blog.  It is such a help to me, so I'm glad it can make someone else happy as well.