cvelba

My Gastric Bypass, Emergency Resection and Reversal

28 posts in this topic

I had a laproscopic gastric bypass in 2005. I did my reasearch and was satisfied with everything but one issue that always nagged at me. There were little long term studies of over 7 years post surgery at that time.

The surgery itself was a success....no complications and I went from 230 to about 140lbs. I also developed chronic amenia.

6 years ago I began to get a very strange headache and had so much pressure on my optic nerves that my eye dr sent me to a neurologist. My sight was failing at that point too. A contrasting mri showed there was no tumor on the brain or optic nerves and that it was a "phantom tumor". Cranial hytpertension which is quite rare. The dr performed a spinal tap to relieve the pressure, put me on medication and monitored me for a few years. It went away and I forgot about it for a few years.

On Jan 21, 2015 I had chest/stomach pain that I knew I could no longer self medicate. I was slowly getting sick for months prior to this but made every excuse...perimenopause....being run down...etc.

I was admitted to the ER that night with a strangled colon and sepsis due to intestional twisting. The surgeon opened me....my vitals became too unstable and he decided to resume the surgery in the morning if I lived through the night. He was able to complete the resection the next day. He removed 1/3 of my colon and 72 inches of intestines along with my appendix.

I was in a medically induced coma for nearly a week. Moved to a rehab facility for physical and occupational therapy. I was finally able to go home Feb 25, 2015.

This is when I began to really fail instead of recover. I now had short bowel syndrome. Another extremely rare condition. Nutrients and fats were not absorbing from the foods I ate, my hemoglobin reached a critical level twice (3 and 4.7) requiring approximately 14 bags of blood for transfusion.

I was losing weight rapidly...size 12 at Christmas to a 4 currently. Most of my hair has fallen out and I'm as weak and frail as a colt.

I researched Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) and joined NORD, National Organization of Rare Disorders. I also found a closed SBS group on Facebook that connected me with 2 of the most amazing women I've ever met. Both living 7 years with SBS.

Living with SBS is a living hell. There isn't enough bowel to properly hold food in for absorbtion and I averaged about 26 explosive diarrheas daily. As soon as I took a bite or sip of something the churning would start. It was loud and painful. Imagine the worst gas pain and diarrhea you've ever had and then imagine it 24/7. I only left the house for dr appts. I had no energy and there was always the possibility of a public explosion.

I was slowly dying.....wasting away.

I felt that I didn't have too much time left so I began to research surgeons for a possible gastric bypass reversal. I found one who practices at a hospital that actually has an SBS team and after meeting him and the team decided the next course of action.

I had my gastric bypass reversal on August 7, 2015. I was lucky to have a good amount of viable intestines left that the surgeon used to repair the damaged portion.

I was told that the surgery was a complete success. I no longer feel the weakness of being malnurished, my mind is clear which means the bacterial overgrowth is gone, food is staying in much longer and bowel movements are down to about 4-6 a day.

I go back to the dr. on Wed, Aug 26 to get the staples out and for some labwork. I will make updates if anyone is interested in the recovery.

Three interesting things that I recently learned:

1) The scar tissue from my gastric bypass caused the twisting

2) Cranial Hypertension and Short Bowel Syndrome, both very rare, are getting more notice because most of the patients with recent diagnoses have had a gastric bypass years ago....8-10 years is the average for "us patients".

3) Most people don't survive the kind of trauma that I suffered in January. There aren't many advocates speaking up about these very serious complications resulting from gastric bypass surgery.

Edited by cvelba
50zann, tmcgee, Lindy and 5 others like this

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Thanks so much for sharing your story. Very glad you are now feeling well!

cvelba likes this

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Best wished for a continued recovery.  You have been through enough trauma for a lifetime. 

cvelba likes this

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Thank you tmcgee and PegD. It's the first time I put my experience in words.

tmcgee likes this

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Thank you for sharing. I hope you continue to get better.

cvelba likes this

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Thank you so much for sharing. I hope you finally get to your "healthy place" this time around.

cvelba and BrigidD like this

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Your story is horrific! My prayers are for a full recovery. Bless you and thank you for sharing.

Mikeical ( mike ) and cvelba like this

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Thank you for telling your story and all the best for speedy return to better health. Hopefully some research into the long term effects will inform WLS procedures and knowledge. I know myself how serious a decision this was for me and weighing up the costs and benefits of surgery v's obesity on my heath outcomes. As you say it is part of our nature to ignore subtle symptoms assuming we are run down etc. You've provided an important warning to believe what our body is telling us!

cvelba likes this

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Thank you for sharing your story and by doing so giving others an insight to possible physical ailments they may be going through.  So many aspects associated with your health issues and I might say some I had never heard of and good to know about. I hope that you continue to improve and yes, I would like to hear how you are doing. 

cvelba likes this

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Like the others, I appreciate you sharing your story, and I would like to hear how your recovery goes.

Sounds like your complications are indeed rare, but I can see how they could happen. Adhesions are common, but get one in the wrong place, and watch out. The odds of getting the adhesion in just the right place to do the kind of damage you experienced has got to be a long shot, and unfortunately you drew the short straw.

Correct me if I misinterpreted, but in the end it sounds like you ended up with some GI rerouting, but in a non-standard location, and reversing the bypass bought back some length in your digestive tract that you needed after losing the other part.

It's unfortunate that this happened to you but fortunate that you made it through and can look forward to continuing improvement.

lealphachienne and cvelba like this

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Thank you for all of the positive responses. I tried to tell my story without bashing wls because as Wendy wrote, I drew the short straw.

Wendy, The intestional twisting isn't as rare as you may think. Some of the people I've met who suffer from Short Bowel/Gut Syndrone had gastric bypass surgery years ago. You are correct about the rerouting. I had my gastric bypass reversed August 7. Luckily there was a good amount there and all was viable. My dr was able to connect the remaining intestines to the unused portion and things seem to be working.

My recovery is not that different than a person who has had the gastric bypass. I get so gassy and bloated that I feel like popping and I have occasional reflux.

The challenge is the severe malnutrition from the SBS. This is the reason why there was no choice but to reverse the Gastric Bypass.

My profile picture is from early May....I've lost an additional 25 plus lbs and alot of my hair since then. I'm still weak...both legs gave out the other day while I was going down the stairs. Luckily I just plopped on my butt.

I'm able to tolerate most of the foods I've tried except certain raw veggies which I will try again later in my recovery. I tried a glycerna protein shake but it went right through me. It will take a few months to learn which nutrients and fats are being absorbed. I know that some fats aren't.

A few people I know have asked me if I would recommend any kind of WLS. I remember how personal my choice for having it was to me. Only the closest people in my world knew about it. So the answer is no. I will not voice my opinion but will encourage anyone who is considering it to educate themselves. Look past the nice marketing material and the before/after photos. I wish this site was around for me years ago. Just remember wsl is a tool. Habits must change and underlying issues need to be dealt with.

I go back to Mt. Sinai on Wednesday to get the staples removed and some labwork done. Unless there is a complication the rest of my post op appts will be with the surgeon who performed my resection in NJ.

Something interesting I'd like to share. Since I had the GB reversal I can really taste food again. It's been 10 years of slightly tasting to everything tasting bold now. If only I had an appetite....

My Bariatric Life likes this

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I had a laproscopic gastric bypass in 2005. I did my reasearch and was satisfied with everything but one issue that always nagged at me. There were little long term studies of over 7 years post surgery at that time.

The surgery itself was a success....no complications and I went from 230 to about 140lbs. I also developed chronic amenia.

6 years ago I began to get a very strange headache and had so much pressure on my optic nerves that my eye dr sent me to a neurologist. My sight was failing at that point too. A contrasting mri showed there was no tumor on the brain or optic nerves and that it was a "phantom tumor". Cranial hytpertension which is quite rare. The dr performed a spinal tap to relieve the pressure, put me on medication and monitored me for a few years. It went away and I forgot about it for a few years.

On Jan 21, 2015 I had chest/stomach pain that I knew I could no longer self medicate. I was slowly getting sick for months prior to this but made every excuse...perimenopause....being run down...etc.

 

I was admitted to the ER that night with a strangled colon and sepsis due to intestional twisting. The surgeon opened me....my vitals became too unstable and he decided to resume the surgery in the morning if I lived through the night. He was able to complete the resection the next day. He removed 1/3 of my colon and 72 inches of intestines along with my appendix.

I was in a medically induced coma for nearly a week. Moved to a rehab facility for physical and occupational therapy. I was finally able to go home Feb 25, 2015.

 

This is when I began to really fail instead of recover. I now had short bowel syndrome. Another extremely rare condition. Nutrients and fats were not absorbing from the foods I ate, my hemoglobin reached a critical level twice (3 and 4.7) requiring approximately 14 bags of blood for transfusion.

I was losing weight rapidly...size 12 at Christmas to a 4 currently. Most of my hair has fallen out and I'm as weak and frail as a colt.

I researched Short Bowel Syndrome (SBS) and joined NORD, National Organization of Rare Disorders. I also found a closed SBS group on Facebook that connected me with 2 of the most amazing women I've ever met. Both living 7 years with SBS.

Living with SBS is a living hell. There isn't enough bowel to properly hold food in for absorbtion and I averaged about 26 explosive diarrheas daily. As soon as I took a bite or sip of something the churning would start. It was loud and painful. Imagine the worst gas pain and diarrhea you've ever had and then imagine it 24/7. I only left the house for dr appts. I had no energy and there was always the possibility of a public explosion.

 

I was slowly dying.....wasting away.

 

I felt that I didn't have too much time left so I began to research surgeons for a possible gastric bypass reversal. I found one who practices at a hospital that actually has an SBS team and after meeting him and the team decided the next course of action.

 

I had my gastric bypass reversal on August 7, 2015. I was lucky to have a good amount of viable intestines left that the surgeon used to repair the damaged portion.

 

I was told that the surgery was a complete success. I no longer feel the weakness of being malnurished, my mind is clear which means the bacterial overgrowth is gone, food is staying in much longer and bowel movements are down to about 4-6 a day.

I go back to the dr. on Wed, Aug 26 to get the staples out and for some labwork. I will make updates if anyone is interested in the recovery.

 

Three interesting things that I recently learned:

1) The scar tissue from my gastric bypass caused the twisting

2) Cranial Hypertension and Short Bowel Syndrome, both very rare, are getting more notice because most of the patients with recent diagnoses have had a gastric bypass years ago....8-10 years is the average for "us patients".

3) Most people don't survive the kind of trauma that I suffered in January. There aren't many advocates speaking up about these very serious complications resulting from gastric bypass surgery.

I won't like but thanks for sharing

cvelba likes this

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I'm not gonna lie this is some scary scary stuff. I'm glad your latest procedure was a success and I hope you gain strength rapidly. 

cvelba likes this

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Thank you! I'm doing much better since the reversal.

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How are your labs doing now?  

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Improving. D is still very low but hemoglobin is up to 11.3 as of last month and everything else is in the normal range.

Mizmarycate likes this

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Improving. D is still very low but hemoglobin is up to 11.3 as of last month and everything else is in the normal range.

Yay! Hopefully the hemoglobin will come up soon. Does your doctor have you on a high dose of Vitamin D? That one takes while to come up and sometimes requires a heavy dose to catch up once you get behind.

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I've only met one other person with cranial hypertension...pseudotumor cerebri. My daughter suffers from that and recently had a sleeve to help reduce the pressure on her spine. I'm so glad that you posted this. There was another woman on another board who had this recommended and everyone in that group was not nearly as supportive of her decision. I love the TT forums!

ETA: The pressure on her spine was caused from excessive weight. The sleeve is helping her lose the weight, thereby reducing the pressure on her spinal column. 

Edited by thornbury150
Mizmarycate likes this

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I hope she is doing better! 

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Spinal pressure hasn't been checked, but there have been no migraines since!

cvelba likes this

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whoa. quite a ride you had! very sorry to hear all of this, and happy to hear you're on your way to wellness again.  In the end your health is what matters most! xo

cvelba likes this

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A bit off topic, but cranial hypotension isn't fun either. My husband had a spontaneous CSF leak. That was an awful period in our lives. We had infant twins, and his vertical time was limited to one hour a day or else he would get a headache so bad he couldn't function. He couldn't even sit up. He cried to me and questioned whether life was worth living if he had to live it on his back. I was stretched so thin I had my only ever shingles outbreak.

Spontaneous CSF leak is a tough diagnosis, especially in a man, because as uncommon as it is, it's even less common in men. We lucked out to get a really astute radiologist who pulled in the right neurosurgeon on our first trip to the ER. As we sat in the waiting room that morning, we saw an article in that day's USA Today that said 85% of ER encounters for headache result in a migraine diagnosis, which was disheartening as we sat in the ER waiting room waiting to him to be seen for headaches, because we knew it was more than migraines. I'm so glad they caught it, and after only a few months of suffering.

That was the year we hit our insurance out of pocket max. Twin ceserean delivery, ER trip, imaging, blood patches, trip to Mayo Clinic, trip to Cedars Sinai, more imaging. We were going to Duke next to see a radiologist who was pioneering ways to visualize the leak to allow it to be treated with fibrin glue. That trip never happened, because the fourth autologous blood patch held. That was four years ago, and now it's as if it never happened. 

Thanks for indulging me. The mention of cranial hypertension stirred up some memories.

cvelba likes this

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Wendy, I'm very happy to hear that the nightmare is behind you and your husband. I was diagnosed with a migraine in the ER and even after I looked the Dr in the eye and told her she was incorrect she still diagnosed me with one. I should have mentioned that. It was after the ER visit that I saw my eye doctor and finally the neurologist.

I skirted over the cranial hypotension in my post but shouldn't have. It was debilitating and the lumbar puncture ( a kinder, gentler name for a spinal tap)  was awful. Thankfully it worked for me.

Edited by cvelba

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Wendy,

I'm just seeing your post about Vitamin D. I take 4000 iu daily and am not overly concerned about it being low. I know I just need time. My most recent challange is with my pancreas and fat absorbtion. This was just discovered Monday and I still don't fully understand it. Once I do I'll share. I do know that medication can help. 

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I take 5000 IUs of Vitamin D daily, I cut back from 6000, because the multi and calcium I added made up the difference.

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