In 2008, after a life time of attempts to lose and KEEP OFF the pounds, I opted for a bariatric surgery. Unlike the current most popular bariatric option, the Lap Band, I chose the Roux En Y. This surgery changed my life completely, and in ways that the average person would never expect.
There were many positives, of course. I was a new me, a more beautiful me. I wasn’t satisfied with being “just” a middle manager. I wanted more out of my career, more out of a LIFE that I felt I had largely missed, due to my previous weight. I did some modeling. I tried my hand at stand up comedy, I rose in the ranks of my career.
But there is a whole other side to my story. The Terrible Side. The weeks in the hospital for various life threatening complications. The IV nutrition, and hydration, which is pretty much required about every other week or so. This surgery is one of the riskiest, yet touted as one of the safest. 3 years post op, I spent the last 8 days hospitalized. It almost seems as though the complications never end! And the sad truth is, they actually won’t.
Before I opted for this drastic surgery, it seemed that there was little negative written on it. Most of the negative articles were sort of… well, they were swept under the rug, so to speak. Whether this was my subconscious effort to ignore the risks, or a coordinated effort on the part of the bariatric community is anyone’s guess. But based on the massive profits gained from this surgery by those who perform it, I tend to lean towards the coordinated attempt theory.
The negatives aren’t just hair loss and dental work. They range from destroyed marriages, alcoholism, drug abuse, chronic pain, to the tragic loss of life in the numerous physical complications that come hand in hand with this drastic decision. Your native stomach may “spring a leak”, and you could die in less than two hours. You may have a telescoped intestine, which can happen years post op, due to the extra abdominal space left over from so much weight loss. Recently I struggled with a massive kidney infection, complicated by two gall stones in the Bile Duct, and during my past pregnancy, actually suffered from Septicemia from the Pic line that I needed to get the essential nutrition my body needed to support that pregnancy. I am happy to say that my son is now a healthy 1 year old!
All in all, I feel strongly that the pro’s and the cons need to be more widely known. People ask me almost every day it seems, “was it worth it?” or, “would you do it again?”
I ask myself each and every time I walk past a plate glass window and hardly recognize my own reflection. When I look into the eyes of the man I love and know that perhaps he would have never given me a second glance, had I not lost all that weight. I revel in my current beauty. I am vain. So it is a huge question that I am not sure could ever be realistically answered.
One thing I am certain of: I am VERY happy with who I am today, and the tough, life challenging journey that brought me here, is one from which I have learned volumes. And for the depth of learning what I did, for the richness of the friendships I’ve developed in my life, for the leaps and bounds I’ve made in my career- I can say, I am happy that I lost so much weight. My life is not a heaven on earth by any means. But I am very happy in most, if not all, aspects of it.
Would I recommend this surgery for anyone else? Perhaps, and perhaps not. But what I would recommend- is that ALL of the information on the struggles, both physical and emotional, and ALL of the information on the successes, be widely available to anyone who even contemplates this amazing step in their life journey.
And that is MY story.