My Bariatric Life: Desperate to Lose Weight, I Explore Gastric Bypass Revision Surgery Options
Finally, it had all come together. It was like Christmas morning or having tickets on the fifty-yard line. It was like holding the winning lottery ticket. It was my like my birthday or my first kiss. It was the first day of Summer. Finally, I had lost ninety pounds. I had become my own best friend. When I was alone, the company was good. I liked the person in the morning mirror; more so, I enjoyed her. She was pretty, and she was fun. She had energy, and she was alive. She was confident, and she was ambitious.
The weight had come off surprisingly fast from my gastric bypass surgery, almost melting away (or so it seemed). As memory allows, my weight loss all happened between six and nine months.
And so it stayed. Ninety pounds. I was satisfied, but believed I could accomplish more. My bariatric diet was good, healthy and as prescribed. I also was taking my vitamins as recommended for gastric bypass patients. I knew that the desire for additional weight-loss from my surgery was not vanity or some other questionable motivator. It was simply a need to discover the best in me. So, I began a program of daily exercise, and in a few months shed the additional pounds. One hundred pounds altogether. I felt good about myself, and my new bariatric life, but remained grounded. I thought the redesigned me was something of a gift and was determined to not abuse or exploit what I had received. Simply put, I was happy.
And then something changed. The one hundred pounds that had been lost became ninety-nine, then ninety-eight, ninety-four, ninety. I was gaining weight. Eighty-eight, eighty-six, eighty-two. Eighty...I had regained twenty pounds of the weight that I had lost after my weight-loss surgery.
I did not fully understand what had happened to promote this reversal of fortune, but I understood the effects completely. I began to feel depressed and scared. Memories of an overweight (obese) youngster resurfaced. Although I took the weight off as a teenager through rigorous diet and exercise, I regained it after marriage. Now I wondered if this was in fact an ugly cycle of weight loss and gain, happiness and despair.
My current twenty pound weight gain had happened in fast forward. It was quick, an ambush of inches and pounds. Although I was hardly my former obese self, I was terrified she was lurking nearby and prepared to take control. I began looking at old photographs of myself prior to my gastric bypass. I knew that I could not go there again, to be morbidly obese. It would be physically and emotionally unbearable. It would be poor health and tattered self-esteem. It would be miserable.
I went to the website of the bariatric surgeon who had performed my gastric bypass procedure a few years earlier, to see if anything could be done to stop this tide. It was there that I learned about gastric bypass revision surgery.
There are currently five options for gastric bypass revision surgery:
Shrink the stoma by injecting a sclerosant (sodium morrhuate) into the stoma, which is the opening between the stomach and small intestine. The procedure, called sclerotherapy, involves injecting the sclerosant over the course of two or three procedures to create scarring that reduces the stoma's size.
The pouch is made smaller by passing a device through the mouth and into the pouch. StomaphyX and ROSE procedures both retighten the stomach by inserting tubes down the esophagus and into the stomach pouch. Permanent folds are then made around the stoma and within the pouch.
An adjustable gastric band, commonly known as LAP-BAND or Realize Band, can be inserted around the top part of the stomach and sewn into place over the pouch that was created during the original gastric bypass surgery.
Convert to a distal Roux-en-Y gastric bypass from a proximal Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. The difference in the surgeries is the amount of intestine bypassed. Proximal Roux-en Y gastric bypass surgery is where ten to twenty percent or 18-40 inches of the intestine is bypassed; while distal Roux-en-Y gastric bypass surgery is a bypass of greater than fifty percent or more than 120 inches of intestine.
Covert to a duodenal switch, a type of bariatric revision surgery that restores some of the stomach pouch and then divides the stomach vertically, similar to a gastric sleeve, while removing more than eighty-five percent of the stomach. Since a large part of the stomach is removed, this part of the procedure is irreversible. Additionally, a large part of the intestines are rerouted and bypassed so that calories are only absorbed through 75-100 cm of intestine. Duodenal Switch is also referred to as vertical gastrectomy with duodenal switch, biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, gastric reduction duodenal switch, DS, BPD-DS, or GR-DS.
My doctor and I decided that the StomaphyX procedure would be the best bariatric revision option for me. The operation was successfully performed, and the twenty pounds I had regained was lost plus ten more. My personal satisfaction is mixed.
Initially, I felt great, the best since I was a teenager. Then, about nine months after the procedure I began to feel exhausted. My program of exercise suffered, and I gained back the ten additional pounds that had been lost. Overall, I remain in the break even position of twenty pounds lost.
It has been almost four years since the StomaphyX revision surgery and, at this point, I am more pleased than not. I remind myself that all that statistics show that gastric bypass patients regain an average of twenty to twenty-five percent of the weight they lose within ten years of the gastric bypass surgery. The lesson of this is that the program of maintenance, which is developed after the bariatric surgery (this is true no matter which weight loss surgery you have), should be adhered to at all times. A program of diet and exercise is only as effective as the effort.
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You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.