My surgery took place on November of 2008. The first year went very well. I lost over a hundred pounds and felt very confident I would reach my goal weight in the next year. Unfortunately, 11 months after my surgery I lost my job, which meant I also lost my health insurance. Without being monitored by a doctor, I struggled to afford the vitamins I needed, as well as maintain the proper diet. I managed as best as I could, but gradually, the weight began to creep back on as I had to live on a tiny budget. I moved from Idaho to Michigan in 2010. Teaching jobs were scarce so I worked as a substitute and began a career in freelance writing. I established a small but dedicated group of clients that managed to supplement my small income. My mother had a house for me to live in, so there was a roof over my head. Once the unemployment ran out I qualified for food stamps, but no health insurance was available for a single female with no minor children. I began to develop some serious health conditions, most notably lymphedema, and the weight gain continued. There were stretches of time I couldn't afford the vitamins we're required to take for life, but when I could buy them I did. Things began to improve for me in 2015. I was hired to teach adult ed at a private prison re-opening in northern Michigan where I live now. I worked there for five months until I found a job teaching at an alternative education program for at-risk youth. I've been happily working there ever since. Full time employment meant I also had health insurance again. When Michigan approved the medicaid expansion of the ACA I had health care through them for a brief time, but the doctor was either unable to address my needs as a post-op weight loss surgery patient or medicaid didn't cover the care I needed. He gave me antibiotic creams for the lymphedema, which did nothing. My new insurance allowed me to choose a doctor who has helped me with managing my bariatric surgery. My labs after all of this time were surprisingly good. The only deficiencies were iron (I've been anemic my entire life) and vitamin D. So that is the good news. On to the bad news. At my lowest weight post-op I was 240 pounds. I currently weigh 314 pounds and finding it very difficult to lose the weight. Does my pouch still work? It certainly does! I am a grazer though, I have always had the terrible habit to eat whenever, and that habit has come back. Sugar and carbs also worked their way back into my diet and I'm struggling now to kick that habit. Along with the lymphedema, I have gall stones. I also have a hernia in my upper abdomen that I need surgery to fix. After my bariatric surgery, my surgeon put me on a wound vac to close up my incision. The skin grew back, but that is all that holds my intestines inside my body. I have talked to a surgeon, and he insists I must lose 30 to 40 pounds before he can safely perform the surgery. This is my story nearly 9 years post-op. When I returned to my old forum, Renewed Reflections, it looks to be abandoned. No one has posted there in a month. I recognize that with a new doctor I will also need a support group. I can also likely offer advice on all the mistakes I have made along the way so people just starting their journey will know what to expect.