Friday, January 30, 2009

Q & A

This picture has nothing to do with anything. I just liked it.

I've had lots and lots of e-mail questions about my surgery, so I thought rather than sending all those individual e-mails, I would answer them here. Yes, I'm that lazy.

Q. What exactly does the surgery do?

A. I had Roux en Y gastric bypass. They stapled off a small pouch of my stomach, which only allows a few ounces of food (in my case, about 5 ounces) to be eaten at a time. Then, they reattached the stoma (where the food empties out of the stomach into the intestines) lower on the small intestines. This creates malabsorption, meaning I don't absorb all the calories (or nutrients) that I eat. The stoma is also made a bit smaller, causing the stomach to empty more slowly, causing me to feel full longer.

Q. What do you eat in a typical day?

A. This will change as the weeks progress. One's diet progresses from clear liquids, to all liquids, to mush/puree/very soft food to regular food. I'm in the mush/puree/soft food stage right now.

This is what I ate yesterday:
Breakfast: 1 hard boiled egg, mashed with 1/2 tsp of Miracle Whip Light.
Snack: 4 oz. Dannon Light & Fit Carb Control strawberry yogurt
Lunch: 2 oz. Star Kist Sweet and Spicy Tuna
Snack: 2 Kraft 2% milk cheddar cheese cubes (about 1 oz of cheese total)
Dinner: 1/4 of a Lean Cuisine Salmon with Basil dinner. I'm STILL full from it 17 hours later. Seriously.

I also drank about 30 oz of water, which I need to double.

Q. What have been the biggest changes so far?

A. Well, I've gone from 800 units of insulin a day (that's not a typo--it was really 800) to 70 units a day. For an average diabetic, 70 units is still a tremendous amount to take, but for me it's a huge improvement.

I'm never ever hungry. Sometimes my stomach will be growling, but I still don't have the sensation of hunger.

I'm now cold all the time. I used to always be super hot.

Q. How much weight do you want to lose?

A. I need to lose 99 more pounds to reach my goal. I needed to lose a total of 155 pounds, but I lost 30 pre-surgery and have lost 26 since the surgery.

Q. Aren't you starving yourself?

A. Essentially, yes. I have to take a lot of supplements, and even that isn't enough. I'm burning muscle instead of fat. My hair will start to fall out soon. It's part of the deal. In a few months I should be able to intake enough calories to stop the starvation mode.

Q. Do you have to take a lot of vitamins?

A. Oh yes. I take 2 chewable Centrum Silver multivitamins, one B complex pill, one Biotin pill, sub-lingual B complex drops, 4 chewable calcium citrate wafers and an iron tablet a day. Plus, I have to add nasty protein powder to everything I possibly can.

Please note that that many vitamins (Especially the iron) would be toxic to a normal person--it's only because of the malabsorption that I need to take so many. These are taken under the guidance of my surgeon.

Q. Will you have a lot of extra skin after you lose the weight?

A. Yes, which is why the military will pay for a tummy tuck once I am down to a BMI of 25 or less. I will also have saggy arms and thighs and back, but I can live with that. Muscle toning will help. Also, boobs become super flat. I'm only a B cup to start with, so I'll just have flaps of skin in a year. I will probably pay out of pocket for a lift. And maybe a C cup.

Q. Is the weight loss permanent?

A. Only if I choose for it to be. You can over eat and stretch your stomach back to what it was and gain everything back. Exercise and watching what I eat will be a lifetime thing.

Q. I heard the divorce rate is really high for people who have the surgery. Are you worried?

A. No. But it is a valid concern. The usual scenario is that the woman "settled" in the first place because she felt no one else would want her because she's fat. Once she's skinny, she decides she can do better. I would have married Will even if I'd been thin, so I'm not overly worried. But it's something to always be aware of.

Got any more questions? Ask away! Not just about the surgery--ask me anything. I might just answer.


  1. Q. Don't lots of patients become addicted to something other than food? If so, what would be your addiction? (yeh, I know...think really hard about something you could be addicted to...LOL)

  2. Good question.

    Yes, transfer addiction is very common.

    I would say that I'm addicted to exercise (honestly). I'm already panicking because I can't go on Sunday. I also think I'll need to be very careful with shopping. I'm already a borderline shop-a-holic.


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