By Whitney B.
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 lbs and at college graduation I was up to close to 300 lbs. In 2002 I had RNY Gastric Bypass surgery. I was 39 and weighted 280 pounds. I was told it was the Gold Standard. The Band was still considered experimental and the DS was never mentioned as an option. In fact I did not even know it existed.
I lost 110 lbs and was considered a WLS 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 little under 5 years I gained 70 lbs. I developed Dumping Syndrome and my Stoma was stretched out. I joined Weight Watchers and lost 5 lbs in a year. Nothing worked. I developed ulcers, osteoarthritis, plantar fasciitis, and could barely walk a couple of blocks without pain. I was miserable. I felt like a failure.
In 2012 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 and was strongly discouraged, but I wasn’t going to settle because that was what he was capable of doing.
I wanted the best. I wanted long-term success. So I travelled from Northern CA to Southern CA for a consult with Dr. Keshishian. The only choice for me was to revise to DS. December 12, 2012 I had revision surgery. One week after surgery, still in the hospital, I went in for a second surgery. Dr. K found a small leak. I spent an additional two weeks in the hospital. My experience was not the norm and a leak can happen in any surgery involving the stomach.
Recovery was slow but steady. The first two weeks 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. I could have gone back sooner.
Over the past year I have lost 115 lbs. 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.
My advice for anyone contemplating Weight Loss Surgery is to research all of the options available. Do not settle for a substandard surgery. Get a second or even 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, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and visit dssurgery.com.