By Whitney B.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is an actual testimonial by a patient of Glendale-based Dr. Ara Keshishian, a weight control specialist.
I was always the big girl, pleasingly plump, chubby. I was put on my first diet at age 12. By the time I graduated high school, I had yo-yoed up to 200 pounds. At my college graduation, I was up to close to 300 pounds.
‘Over the past year I have lost 115 pounds. My BMI is 20 and I feel great. I have my life back.’
– Patient Whitney B.
By 2002 I was now 39 years old, weighed 280 pounds, and had RNY Gastric Bypass surgery. I was told it was the Gold Standard. (“The Band” was still considered experimental and the duodenal switch [DS] was never mentioned as an option — in fact, I didn’t know it existed.) I lost 110 pounds and was considered a success. I did not have any food restrictions and I felt great and maintained the loss for five years.
Then I started to slowly gain weight.
In just under five years I gained 70 pounds. I developed Dumping Syndrome and my stoma was stretched out. I joined Weight Watchers but only lost five pounds in a year. Nothing worked. I developed ulcers, osteoarthritis, planter fasciitis and could barely walk a couple of blocks without pain. I was miserable. I felt like a failure.
Two years ago, I started to research surgical options. A local doctor wanted to “revamp” my already tiny stomach, put a band around my stoma, and “clean up my intestines.” I asked about revision to DS (duodenal switch) and was strongly discouraged — but I wasn’t going to settle. I wanted the best. This time, I wanted long term success.
I next traveled from Northern California to Southern California for a consult with Dr. Keshishian. After meeting with him, the only choice for me was to revise to DS.
On December 10th of 2012, I had revision surgery. One week after surgery, and still in the hospital, I went in for a second surgery. Dr. Keshishian found a small leak. I spent an additional two weeks there. My experience was not the norm but a leak can happen in any surgery involving the stomach.
Recovery was slow but steady. Dr. K called me every three days to make sure I was doing OK. (I still have his cell number in my phone.) I was back to work 14 weeks after surgery although I could have gone back sooner.
Over the past year I have lost 115 pounds. My BMI is 20 and I feel great. I have my life back. All pre-op issues have been resolved and I am going to start training for a 5K run!
My advice for anyone contemplating weight loss surgery is to research all of the options available and definitely consider consulting with Dr. Keshishian. Do not settle for a substandard surgery. Get a second or even a third opinion. It’s not a decision to be taken lightly.
It’s your life — fight for it!
The office of Ara Keshishian, MD, FACS, FASMBS, is located at 1808 Verdugo Blvd., #413, in Glendale. For more information, call (800) 816-6647 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit dssurgery.com