Gastric Bypass & Me – 6 Years On

This is a more personal health post and has some medical/Not Safe For Work medical photos. This is also a extremely personal experience so please be kind.

Now after my obligatory warning: Funny how things come up on facebook memories and they are still super relevant. My old post from my old makeup blog came up from 3 years ago, following 2-3 years of leading up to getting my gastric bypass surgery. I have had several friends at the same time as this was reminded to me, asking me about having a gastric bypass so it’s helpful to answer questions. Which is why I am bringing it to you my follower of Sweet Cherry.

 

Going from 340lbs – 210lbs – 140lbs

I want to state that I never thought I was ugly, or too fat or anything that was not beautiful about myself when I was plus size. Everyone has ugly days where they don’t feel good but overall I was fine with how I looked and who I was/am.  The problem with being 340lbs is that my back was hurt badly when I was 250lbs and 4 years of gaining weight on top of that made it so much worse that I couldn’t work anymore. My herniated disc in my back with the spinal stenosis made it so painful that I couldn’t walk some days, stand up straight, sit up properly or even get much sleep. I was on heavy pain killers which was a struggle for me when I am a former addict. I felt horrible that I needed more and asking for me made me feel like I was giving up, like a junkie, and that I was just a weak human being.
this was just after high school, when I 1st asked for a gastric bypass about 250lbs here
I tried going to the gym but it got too expensive, tried going for walks but I was in so much pain I couldn’t get very far, tried going on different diets but either I would be too broke to afford fresh meat and veggies for weekly groceries or I just couldn’t keep up.
So I finally asked for a gastric bypass(for the second time in my life).
I had tried to get one before when I was 19 but at that time they weren’t doing them in Canada, and the closest doctor in the states wouldn’t take me because I was too young. After accepting me then booking my first appointment and didn’t realize my age until they confirmed my appointment… way to get my hopes up then let me crash them back down.
I had gained 75lbs for every 6 months once I started on depo prevera shot(I was told due to my extremely painful menses that this would help). I lost some of the weight during the time I was in college(about 60lbs) but then gained it back after I hurt my back.
Me right when I first seriously started looking into my gastric bypass, at 340lbs here
I was still fine with my body, I liked to model and dress up.  photo by Shannon Lepere
So in 2012 I applied again while I was on disability for a chance at a gastric bypass. I had changed doctors to a female doctor. My old GP had been my doctor since I was born, and he just kinda treated bigger people like they were just lazy and gave no credibility to any other under laying issues.(he treated my mum that way and a few other good friends who are plus sized) Once I was accepted into the program I was gun-ho about proving to them I was the perfect candidate.
  • I stopped drinking pop (which I am still super addicted to and struggle with)
  • I started a food journal.
  • I started going to the gym again(this time I got a personal trainer who understood chronic pain and the gym had a pool, a steam room, a hot tub and a sauna).
On my own I did loose about 10 lbs. But then in the winter I slipped and fell on some ice and fell under my car. This really messed up my back and hip and couldn’t walk or drive for a few weeks which set me back. This caused me to have a giant fight with one of my trainers at the gym which ended me in walking out on my contact with them. I had gained 15lbs back over xmas and hurting my back, she said that “she didn’t want to see me in the obituaries”. I do not respond well to b.s like that.
In May 2012, right before my surgery I had a seizure. I was told I have some rare form of seizure(which has now been diagnosed. they are pseudo seizures caused by dis-associative complex PTSD), but was cleared of epilepsy for the time being so I could still have the surgery.
On June 1st 2012 I had my gastric bypass. This is the surgery where the operate on you, they cut your stomach into a tiny pouch that you can fit the tip of your pinky finger into and leave the rest to add bile into your colon later on.  I was in the hospital for a week.  This was when my wonderful now-husband kept me company over the internet and awesome phone calls. He even put up with my stupid morphine induced jibberish rants.
2 weeks pior the doctors put you on a liver shrinking diet, just on that I lost 30lbs. The shakes took a bit to get used to but they are some of the best protein shakes I’ve had. I want to drink them again to loose a bit of weight I put back on, but they are a doctor-monitored diet at this point.
4 days after surgery, happy I didn’t have 2 iv’s in my hand anymore. I don’t know what it is but IV in my hand is really scary to me. I will restrain myself from moving even a inch in that hand. I am scare that the artery is too small and a tendon moving will push it out and I’ll bleed alot or something.
Right after surgery I could drink 1 small watercooler cup of water a day. I was on a strictly liquid diet. Each week or 2 I could add a few more things. Most stuff was gross, I never liked oatmeal and that was a big one that I had to eat. Also ensure’s are gross.
I did however start to actually like yogurt and cottage cheese. Before I thought that it was gross. My favorite thing was making a scrambled egg and mixing it with 1/3 cup of pasta sauce.  It took about 6 months to be able to eat meat and bread for the first time.
I also had to start a list of pills to take every day for the rest of my life:
  • pre natal multivitamins because they have more of everything
  • pantaloc to prevent uclers forming
  • vitamin D and E to help my scars and skin tighten up faster
  • calcium because after this surgery the potential for osteoporosis is very high
  • for the first month I had to also take a shot of vitamin K directly into my stomach daily
  • birth control
  • 2 different pain killers
a month after surgery, lost about 50lbs at this point. Wearing what was once a waist chincer as a top but it was safety pinned together because it was too big.
this is about 220lbs-200lbs this is winter 2012-13
After loosing the first  aprox 100lbs which took about 7 months: my chronic pain was under control. I could go for 2 1 hour long walks each day. I could go dancing, and I was at the point of the surgery where I was at my “diet for life”.
But at this time I was still not handling bread or meat very well. Same with sugar. Some days I NEEDED sugar, to the point where the nurse thought I was hypoglyemic. I would shake, have blackouts, faint, not be able to see very well.. other days I was almost diabetic. I would go into shock if I had a bit of sugar, throw up, have hot and cold flashes and be in bed for hours with a migraine. These symptoms lasted about 2-3 years.
Throwing up with this new kind of stomach isn’t fun either. I don’t have a gag reflex from all the tubes they put down your throat for scans, scopes, airways and other surgery stuff. I also have no bile so everything comes up not fast but slow, it crawls up my throat and is just the mush of whatever I chewed(or what sometimes is the cause is not chewing it enough) with whatever I drank and spit. It takes a long time to throw up and my new nick name for this post-op phase is called “forced bulimia” because almost everything made me throw up.
 The only medical downside to this was my seizures started getting worse and the fact that I was lighter meant I spasm-ed harder and flung around more. I wasn’t heavy anymore to keep myself on the ground, so now I was getting hurt while having my seizures.
 At this time I also started my full time job as a college esthetics teacher. Over the year that I worked there I lost another 60lbs. The weight started to drop off more slowly as I was building up new muscle, playing with Kyle’s kids and working all the time.
you can see my face getting Skinner from when I 1st started vs near the spring/summer
about 160lbs here 2015

My husband was there for me from the day I had my 1st seizure till now, through all the traveling, blood, pus, bandages, crying, pain, exercise and throwing up. I still don’t know how he has that much faith in me.

In the spring , my mum died and I had to clean out and renovate her house(she was a really bad hoarder), also clean out my 3 generation home I had been living in for the past 7 years and sell it. So all that work and gained alot of muscle that I didn’t have before. Some of my skin started to tighten up a little bit.
Past this point  are some more graphic photos(nudity and post-surgery) if you want to read on, please do if not feel free to ask questions if you still want to know, or if you have any negative comments keep them to yourself.
In September of 2013 I started my next step which was a breast augmentation and getting my arm skin removed.
As you can see above my skin was so hanging that you could fit another arm in there. I started getting rashes in my armpits and my breasts were all skin and no fat. No mammary fat either. That was the most depressing thing during this time(about my body: obviously my mum dying was #1 on that list as a whole). I loved having big breasts, I was proud of my 46EEE cups. It was definitely apart of who I was. They were how(I thought at least) I got lovers near me to look past the belly, arms, back and legs to get near me enough to talk to me until my personality took over. I know a lot of it sounds foolish but they were an asset to me. The skin wouldn’t fit into my bras anymore, it would fall out of the bottom or spill out of the top.
the day of my surgery
Past this I was feeling good. I was floating inbetween 170-160lbs
presurgery and my engagement photo by Shannon Lepere
In November of 2013 I went to Toronto and had my surgery. I ended up getting a breast lift, skin removal, gel implants and the arm lift.  My arms lost 2lbs each and my breasts stayed about even due to the implants though they were now 38 DD’s. I thought they were very small and for a time was unhappy with them. But without the implants they would of gone down to a 38 B.
a week after surgery
I had to keep the bandages on for about a month, I went back in December to get another check up. When they do a lift, they don’t detach your nipples fully, just around them. You can see from the marker marks pre-op how high they were going to make them. They ended up actually being a bit too high so now they pop out of the front of my bra’s alot. also my nipple rings were straight horizontal before hand and now they are kinda slanted  in a V shape.
I was also super excited that I had a nice form for my underarm and that I could pull off some good side boob. Yes I am dressed as a elf for xmas.
This was my reward for losing all the weight: Docle & Gabanna dress size 8 😀 I never had such a nice dress before even remotely come near my body. I cried in the change room at this experience. I didn’t think I was such a girly girl but I guess I am. Because now I’m more than ever obsessed with fashion
It took all of 2014 to try to loose this last 10 lbs. I just wanted to hit 150lbs. And I finally did by getting to 145!
My husband and I started going to the gym, riding our bikes, walking, swimming more. Its hard to get the last 20-10 lbs because of all the extra skin.  It fills up with fat so quickly but it’s not hardened yet so it can be lost just as quickly.
my niece asked me the other day why my stomach is so wrinkley
This was all the excess skin that I had, sagging, loose, and wrinkly. I felt like the hypnotizing jiggling of Homer.
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The skin I can physically grab away from my leg, my “ponch” or whatever you want to call it is also all skin. It gets irritated, suffocated which results in lots of UTI’s and rashes. Due to the skin being so saggy no underwear fits properly, not even granny panties. I have only been wearing various forms of yoga pants just because they hold everything in and go up high enough to give me a flat looking tummy.
I had an appointment in 2015 with the new plastic surgeon in Thunder Bay but he told me I needed a body lift and not just the covered tummy tuck, he had convinced me that just the tummytuck alone wouldn’t look good. According to my BMI (god damn I hate the unrealistic BMI system) I couldn’t have the surgery after 170lbs. 2 years later I have gained 40lbs and am sitting at 180 lbs. After a lot looking and talking to other weight loss women my age, with before and after photos, I have concluded that the tummy tuck would work out fine. But now I need to loose 20lbs which should be easy but in reality isn’t because of the normal excuses (too tired, work too much). My diet isn’t the greatest, there was a year of pretty bad depression where I did gain 20-30lbs. I’m stuck at loosing and gaining the same 5-10 lbs every week or 2.
 I promised myself and my doctors that I wouldn’t go for the final tummy tuck and leg lift until I had my baby that I was planning to have with Kyle. I see no point in getting a tummy tuck then putting more stretch marks in and sagging it out again. But because of all my medical issues we decided though weight wise I am healthy enough to get pregnant, we aren’t going to try. I ended up getting a tubal ligation in 2017.
IMG_0569
still modeling at 180lbs 2017
 In September 2016, I woke up with a really bad pain in my side, I went to the hospital and spent an entire day there and they found nothing on any ultrasound, ct scan or xray. Just said I was probably really constipated or was having bad cramps. I went home laid in bed propped up and could barely manage to eat plain popcorn. and tried to go to work the next morning. I ended back in the emerge the next day when I was keeled over and the pain was way worse. When I got them and they gave me morphine for the pain which barely touched it, they called the bariatric surgeon. I had to have immediate class B surgery(the one classified as you have 10 hours to live, dying but not like dying this second). I had a double herniated bowel. 2 parts of my intestines slipped out of a pocket and twisted inside. The pocket sometimes comes up after having a gastric bypass rue en y surgery.  They said its kinda common within 5 years after the surgery. I have not been in that much pain ever in my life. I was stubborn and went to work that morning, driving myself to the hospital and could of died if I hadn’t gone back.
But so far I’ve lost 200+lbs and am happily married and healthier to play with my kids and my family.  I’ve worked really hard and sorted out a ton of my medical issues and now just down to taking vitamin E for my skin and I have medicinal marijuana for tourette’s, ptsd and pain.
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This Summer 2017 with my fam-jam ❤
Thanks for reading, if you have questions feel free to post a comment or message me on my facebook page.
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