Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy is a surgery and a tool to help with weight loss. In no way necessary is this route a “quick fix”. I lost a lot of so-called friends, I had my supervisor educate me on a friend of hers that died from the surgery, I had co-workers wish me well in my face and talk crap about me behind my back. No one knew my story except my husband. The hundreds of dollars I spent on weight loss items such as workout equipment, Hydroxycut, Weight Watchers and fad diets, as well as countless hours of tears and exercising to only lose a few pounds and gain it right back.
At a tender age of 25 years old, I was deemed morbidly obese. I was obese my whole life and was bullied because of it. Being a mother of three and a wife, it was a struggle to run after my children and spend time outside with them due to feeling like I was going to croak over and die…and I don’t want to get into sexually pleasuring my husband…IT WAS HORRIBLE…not the sex itself, but how I felt during and after. I don’t recall ever feeling sexy. My husband use to ask me what forced me to take this route instead of getting liposuction or a tummy tuck… my reasons being:
- BMI > 40 – I am a 5-foot-9, 25 year old woman who at the time during my initial information session on 1/31/2014 weighed 300 lbs.
- Cost Efficient – At the time I had “welfare” insurance “Keystone First” in Pennsylvania. This insurance covered EVERYTHING! From the pre-testing such as an endoscopy, sleep-apnea screening, psychological testing, hospital stay, anesthesia and weekly post-op appointments; it was a blessing to be poor!
- Unsuccessful attempts of weight loss – Like I previously indicated, I tried other routes to lose weight and documented all of the attempts. I was despite.
While other programs want to supervise you for 6 months prior to approving you for surgery, I was one of the lucky few who received it within a few short months. By 3/18/14, I was in the hospital prepping to get the surgery done. The two week liquid diet prior to surgery was the most stressful for me. I recall one day before surgery, licking a chicken tender and it “accidentally” slipping down my throat and crying because I ate ONE CHICKEN TENDER! I frantically researched if a surgeon denies you for surgery if you “cheat” on your liquid diet, and even calling a place somewhere in California asking this question. Silly me was too scared to actually call my surgeon and plea my case, due to fear of getting denied. Let me just say, while I was prepping for surgery, I blurted out, “I CHEATED!”. My surgeon wasn’t happy at all. I recall getting my last endoscopy and him telling me that he wasn’t going to do the surgery. I recall me crying….and next thing I notice, I was in the recovery room. MORAL OF STORY: DON’T CHEAT!!!
Recovery was hell. My husband said I cursed him out while I was in the recovery room. I’m claiming that as a lie (lol). I was discharged on the first day of Spring because I had a successful bowel movement. I wasn’t like other patients who had a taxi to take them home, or a family member to take them home, I caught SEPTA home! A 30 minute bumpy, stop and go public transportation ride from Center City Philadelphia to Northeast Philadelphia with five open wounds and severe gas pains. I walked five blocks from the bus stop to home, and the five blocks it took seemed like hours to reach my destination. I recall slowly sitting on the couch and catching my breath, all while crying and mentally beating myself up because I got this darn surgery.
Fast forward to one year later and I was happy. Starting at 300 lbs, weigh in on 3/18/14 at 272 lbs and reaching my lowest at 168 lbs six months later, I was ecstatic! I went to the gym regularly, cooked awkward but great meals, and I loved that I couldn’t even finish an item off of the kids menu. I saved a lot of money, looked great, felt great, sex life was rocketing, my kids loved me more that I engaged in physical activities with them…and then came stress and with stress…comes eating and with eating comes binge eating and then eventually weight gain. My weight went from 168 lbs to 195 lbs…then to 215 lbs.
I’m not here to say that VSG is a quick fix, a temp fix, or a scam…it’s a tool! I failed to use my tool effectively and let life get the best of me. I allowed food to become my coping mechanism instead of exercise and cooking healthy meals. VSG is all about behavior modification and I failed to practice what I learned. Now, I’m back to the drawing board. I’m not going to get the surgery over again, because the tool still exists in me…I just have to use it. Let’s just say, it’s a love hate relationship.