By Cheryl H
I don’t think anyone goes into bariatric surgery thinking they will have to do it twice. But that’s where I found myself, years after my gastric bypass, weight ballooning back up to 240 lbs with 300 lbs in sight once again.
I began to realize, after a year of bootcamp and low fat-low calorie dieting that I had been back on the same yo-yo weight loss rollercoaster for five years, battling to stay under 200 lbs.
I had been fully compliant post-op, dedicated to making lifestyle changes that included exercise, therapy and group support. I saw 180’s (pounds) for a nano-second after my RNY. I didn’t think 160’s was unrealistic for my age and build, as I never wanted to be “skinny.” I was living like I never had surgery and I was devastated. Obese since I was 17, now I was 50 and watching more of my life disappear.
I was overwhelmed with failure and humiliation.
I remembered reading about people having consults to fix problems, so out of curiosity I Googled RNY revision. Up came the Duodenal Switch (DS) and website resources like DSFacts.com. I realized what I thought was far-fetched had become a reality for others like me. I found a group of long-time DS patients and others who had revised from the RNY, Lap Band, or converted from the sleeve.
I also learned that the RNY to DS revision is a complex surgery and should only be performed by experienced surgeons in this procedure. I checked my insurance for GI surgeons in my network and set up three DS consultations. One wanted to do a band over bypass, another suggested a distal RNY; it was the third consult where I learned about the DS efficiency with metabolic issues, and finally, that I was not a failure, the surgery procedure I had failed me.
I’m almost 53 now and there is nothing easy about this. You have to be prepared, open to change, willing to do the work. The DS revision gives me the tool that finally makes sense of the work I put into it – eating protein/fats/modest carbs, water, 100 percent compliant with vitamin supplementation, regular labs and exercise.
It took me 18 months to reach my target range of 155-160, and I maintain it. I am healthy, comfortable in my skin, had no idea this was possible. For people to tell me they see the peace and calm in me is one of my greatest achievements. That and my red skinny jeans.
Having been told that it was all my fault and then realize that it was the procedures that failed, has set me free.
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, or visit dssurgery.com.