It’s been a while since I’ve commented on where things are today — I think since before February (when I passed two years since the surgery).  Not a lot has changed.  My weight (before morning shower) still hovers within about five pounds of 155 (after a high of 300 and about 265 the day of the surgery).  That’s where it’s been for about a year and a half.  I’m starting to believe this is stable (I’ve been waiting for the other shoe to drop).  My stomach still feels like a separate entity.  Before the surgery, I could pretty much eat and drink as much of anything as I wanted and nothing upset my stomach.  Now, I never know how much I can eat.  Many foods work better some days than others (I am eating some eggs again — chicken remains iffy).  Some days I can drink a particular wine, and some days I cannot.  I miss beer (carbonated beverages in general).  I still know people who’ve had ongoing problems after their surgery (health in general or maintaining weight).  But everyone I know personally seems to be better off than they would have been without the surgery.  And some people seem to be doing really well.  I’m no longer taking (three) medications for diabetes, medication for chronic gout, medication for high blood pressure, daily asthma medication or using a c-pap to sleep.  Getting off diabetes medications was my reason for actually pulling the trigger and doing the surgery.  The results, all around, have been better than I could have hoped for (in spite of some initial, relatively minor, complications).

The biggest change I didn’t expect was that the morning after the surgery I woke up cold.  Before the surgery, I was probably the one person in any room who would be sweating and wishing we could turn the air down.  Since the surgery, I’ve been one of the coldest people in any given room.  The first summer I slept under a heavy down comforter with an electric blanket turned up.  Before the surgery, a single sheet was often too hot for me to sleep at all.  Last summer I was under a heavy down comforter.  So things had started to change — at least a bit.  As I move into this summer, I’m using a light down comforter (and sometimes sweating and too hot to sleep).  Until this month, I always wore at least a light sweater over any shirt I was wearing (even when the temperature was in the nineties).  Now, I’m not actually shivering sometimes when I skip the sweater.  It’s been almost two and a half years.  But things are moving back towards where they were before the surgery — which has both pros and cons!

This spring, the tests showed that the one place my vitamins were out of balance was the D vitamins.  I’ve had to add a D3 pill daily (to the multivitamin and mineral plus iron and calcium and sublingual B-12 I’ve been taking all along).  Not a bad result.  I can get all of this from Trader Joe’s (in sublingual and chewable form for a reasonable price) — though the one calcium I actually like is from Celebrate.

Anyway, this procedure is not for everyone (and there are alternatives out there that may serve some people better).  But it’s made enough difference in my life, in a good way, that I feel like I should share my experience so that others considering doing something like this have some sense of what could be involved.  Really, it’s different for everyone.  There are a variety of reasons to consider doing this.  There are things that might need to be done on the front end that make success more likely.  There are so many possible complications that I don’t think there’s really any way to prepare for all of them.  But a large majority of people doing gastric bypass surgery seem to lose and keep off 60 to 80 percent of their excess wait for at least 5 years after surgery.  Some people do better (as I have).  Some people die (though the added risks of really life threatening conditions, which might well kill you pretty quickly anyway seem to be at work in most of these).  As far as I know, the gastric bypass is the only proceedure that is likely to get you off diabetes medication (even insulin) regardless of weight loss (for reasons they don’t seem to understand).

But I’d talk to people who’ve had the surgery, and attend support groups for folks who’ve had the surgery, and get a lot of medical advice before going ahead with this.

The results can be amazing and life changing, but not always.  This is not a free pass to automatic weight control (or even loss) and there are significant consequences (which should be understood before doing this).  And most people, while much healthier, do not lose all the weight they would have liked to have lost.

The more you work it, before and after, the better your results are likely to be.

But we’re talking likelihood.

And we’re talking life changes that will continue for the rest of your life.