A couple months ago I shared how I lost 120lbs with the help of Gastric Sleeve Surgery. Yall had lots of questions which I totally get. . .I did too when I started this journey. I answered many of them HERE, but there were too many to fit in 1 post so today I am answering some more. I will also be going into much greater detail soon!
GASTRIC SLEEVE SURGERY: FAQ PART 2
DISCLAIMER: ALL OF MY ANSWERS ARE FROM MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE. EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT AND HAS A DIFFERENT JOURNEY. IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING THIS PROCEDURE DO LOTS OF RESEARCH. I WANTED TO BE PREPARED FOR EVERYTHING, BUT LUCKILY I HAVE HAD A PRETTY SMOOTH ROAD SINCE SURGERY.
***I WILL BE ANSWERING THESE QUESTIONS IN A LOT MORE DETAIL IN LATER POSTS. I HAVE SO MANY PLANNED THAT GO INTO SPECIFICS ON EVERYTHING.
WLS=Weight Lost Surgery
- DO YOU HAVE SCARS?:
- I have 5 tiny scars that are so minimal. You can hardly see them. They are on my stomach, which nobody sees anyway. 1 is in my belly button so you cannot see that at all and then there are 4 other ones, the largest about an inch long. These are from the laparoscopic procedure used during the surgery.
- DID I HAVE A RESTRICTIVE REGIMEN BEFORE SURGERY?:
- I did not. I was a cash patient so I didn’t have to go through the pre-approval process than many patients do if they are getting their surgery covered by insurance. In fact, after I decided to have the surgery I went on what I describe as a “food funeral”. I am not saying I recommend this, but I ate anything and everything in sight. I wasn’t sure what life was going to be like after surgery so I made sure to indulge as much as possible. The week before the surgery is one of the hardest parts in my opinion because you have to go on a liquid diet to shrink your liver so it is not in the way during surgery. This is hard friends! I was an over eater who never got full and had to go to full liquid cold turkey! Longest week ever! I went to bed super early and tried to take naps to help pass the time. Also, stayed very busy during the day to take my mind off of it.
- DO YOU HAVE LOOSE SKIN?:
- Yes. I think anytime you loose the amount of weight I did there will be loose skin. I lost 120 pounds plus I have had 2 pregnancy’s so my stomach definitely has loose skin. While I don’t love it, the surgery was still a no brainer. I hear so many people worried about the loose skin and I get it, but before when my skin was tight I was super overweight. If looks are your concern, neither look great. At least with loose skin you can hide it under your clothes. Also, I didn’t have this surgery for looks. I did it for health. Although my body will never be my dream body I am in awe on how far it has come. It has been able to carry 2 babies, carry way to much weight on it for years and then lose all the weight. Stretch marks and saggy skin are just signs of how far I have come. Having said all of that, being 5’9″ I think I faired pretty well for losing 120 lbs. My stomach, boobs and thighs are my biggest issue. It is strange seeing everything “deflated”. The other thing with loose skin is there are plastic surgery options. I will be having plastic surgery next year and will be sharing that journey with yall. I will be having a breast augmentation, tummy tuck and fat transfer. Stay tuned. . .
- LIFE LONG COMMITMENTS?:
- You have to take vitamins every day. This is honestly not a big deal, because I did this before. You also have to get in your protein amount. Because you eat so much less, it is very important to make sure the calories count and you are getting the nutrients you need. I start every morning out with a protein drink so out of the gate I have almost half my required amount checked off my list. After that it is just maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Again, I did this to be healthy and it has given me the tool to do so. If you go back to eating terrible you will put the weight back on. I try to eat low carb and follow the 80/20 rule. I definitely indulge and enjoy myself, but for the most part I try to eat healthy. Different doctors will tell you different things. Some say no soda every again. You don’t want carbonation. I think it is a good rule to follow, but full transparency, I don’t follow it. I cannot (and don’t want to) drink the same amount I did before, but I do allow myself some soda. I didn’t drink it for the first 4 months after surgery.
- AGE LIMIT?:
- There is no age limit that I am aware of. My biggest regret is I didn’t do this sooner. I wish I would have known more about it.
- EXERCISE PLAN AND HOW LONG DID YOU WAIT?:
- You have to start walking immediately after surgery. This helps get your blood flowing and reduces the risk of blood clots. I started really exercising about 8 weeks after my surgery. Probably could have started earlier, but I didn’t. Honestly, I am not great about exercising. I get in spurts where I am really good and then really bad. It is so much easier to exercise now because I am not carrying around the extra weight and you get to see the benefits of your effort. I can actually see the muscle I am building now when I work out so that makes it more fun.
- CAN YOU DRINK SODA?
- I addressed this above, but there are different schools of thought on this. Many people/doctors will tell you know. They say it stretches out your sleeve. Personally, I don’t follow this rule. I do drink diet soda. I have a very small amount, but I just love it. It is not a “gateway drug” for me. Certain people with food problems have to avoid “trigger foods” that make them start down a bad path of eating poorly. That was not my main issue. A little soda here and there is what I do. I am now almost a year and a half out and I have not noticed any bad side effects from soda. I will say I cannot drink very much now. The carbonation really fills me up.
- HOW PAINFUL IS THE SURGERY?
- This is hard to answer because I had my gallbladder taken out at the same time so I am not able to separate the 2 surgeries. I mean overall, it was not horrible, however I would say I was down and out about a week. My friend had this procedure and was driving around the next day in the car. . .that was NOT me! She ended up having her gallbladder out later and said that kept her down way longer. That made me feel a little better like I wasn’t a total wimp from my surgery. My doctor does this procedure as an outpatient surgery, however I was so sleepy getting off anesthesia and mine was later in the day that I ended up staying the night. I was in bed for a few days, shuffling around every hour or so to get the blood flowing. I was not in any pain when I was in bed, just when I had to use my stomach muscles. There was one spot in particular referred to as the “gunshot wound” that hurt the most. That is where my stomach and gallbladder were removed so it was the largest incision (still relatively small). If you have had any other surgery I would think it is about the same. Definitely worth it and I would do it again in a second. Lots of people complain about gas pain after the surgery, but I honestly didn’t struggle with that. You don’t eat any food for a while so nothing was painful internally when I drank or anything.
- WHAT FACEBOOK GROUPS WERE YOU A PART OF?
- When I was considering the surgery I couldn’t get enough info. I am a huge researcher and want all the details. I want the honest, non filtered look at everything so I am prepared. I joined 2 facebook groups and read lots of the stuff in there. Now, you do have to take some of it with a grain of salt. Some of the people who come on there come to rant so you have to weed through, get lots of info and make your own decisions. If someone is in a low spot and they come on to vent, you have to consider that. Overall, though I found these very helpful. The 2 I used the most were Gastric Sleeve Support Group (VSG) and Gastric Sleeve The New Me. This is also a great place to post questions, search for things, etc. People are really supportive on there and you can meet people having surgery the same time as you. I made a friend on there who lives in another state and we had surgery the same day. We were similar ages, stats, etc and so we were able to message each other during the process with questions and for support! It is nice to talk to another person who knows what you are going through.
- DID I CONSIDER LAP BAND OR OTHER WEIGHT LOSS PROCEDURES?
- I had heard about them, but honestly never thought I was the right fit for any of them. Lap band has some serious negative reviews and I didn’t think it would help my problem. Sure, I’d lose weight on it, but as soon as it was removed, I would be back to my same problem. Bypass wasn’t something I would have considered. For me personally, I didn’t like the idea of re-routing my anatomy. That surgery literally bypasses your stomach and there are lots of side effects to it. Gastric sleeve was the perfect solution to what I was looking for. It was permanent, would reduce the size of my stomach so I wouldn’t be hungry all of the time, but it didn’t change my anatomy other than the size. All food still processed the exact same way as before. This is by far the #1 procedure if you research weight loss surgery. Some people go with bypass because they have other issue and their doctor recommended it, but Sleeve is the #1 weight loss procedure. Find a good doctor and listen to their recommendations for your particular situation. Before I had the surgery I had tried Phentermine, which is a pill to help you lose weight. This did work. It basically made me feel full all the time. . . it was awesome, but not permanent. You cannot be on it very long and once off it, I went right back to the way I felt before. It did teach me though that something between my stomach and brain doesn’t communicate properly without medicine and once fixed I should be fine. Gastric sleeve fixed that for me.
- HOW DO I FEEL IN MY NEW BODY?
- I feel great. One of the number one questions I get asked is “do I feel so much better?”. Honestly, I didn’t feel bad before. I was very lucky. I was very overweight, but I didn’t hurt, have to be on medicines, etc. Having said that I wasn’t getting any younger and knew this problem would only be getting worse so I was very motivated to find a solution. Many people this completely changes how they feel. They get off all their medicine, etc. For me, I didn’t have that. I feel much better in the sense that I now have control. I like being in control and this was an area I couldn’t do it on my own. It gives me peace of mind and makes me feel so much better about my future health. Definitely things are easier like working out, running around after my kids, etc, but I always kept super busy and on the go. Now, I am also always sleepy but I think that has to do with #momlife. . .not my weight. Like, I have mentioned before my weight never defined me, but it is much more fun going shopping now. I find myself getting more excited about finding outfits for a party, trip, etc. Figuring out my new style, what fits best, etc is really fun. The last time I weighed what I do now I was in high school so my style has definitely changed. I went through my “skinny box” of clothes (you know that box you save hoping you will get to wear them again one day) and it was hilarious! There is no way I would wear most of those things today. I tried them on for memory sake, but I am way too old to be wearing those!
- FAVORITE THING TO EAT?
- Hmm, this is hard. I will be sharing lots of things I eat in a later post, but I would say cheese boards are my favorite. I will chop up a hard boiled egg, thinly slice some apples and strawberries, add a few piles of different cheese (Dill Havarti and Goat Gouda are my favorites), maybe some peanut butter/celery and eat on those. Gets me lots of protein and just so yummy and easy. I also love chicken with different cream sauces over cauliflower rice. Again, I don’t really worry about fat, just low carb and high protein so meat and cream sauce is a fav!
Hope you found these Gastric Sleeve surgery questions helpful. If you have more just leave them in the comments below. More detailed posts on my surgery and weight loss journey will be coming soon