Mamacita

Venting, whining....call it what you may! Maybe a good read for newbies:)

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Ok, so I am now four-and-a-half years out from RNY. Overall I would have to say that I've been extremely successful in my weight loss / better health endeavor. I initially began this journey at size 22/24 and at approximately 260lbs. In my early thirties, I was well in the downward spiral of obesity related illnesses and very possibly an early death since my father has diabetes, high blood pressure and a heart condition. His father died at 55 years old of a heart attack and his mother died at 62 of the same fate. I felt old, I looked bloated and I was scared! So....... In Sept of 2010 I took the THE step and had RNY. Everything went amazingly well. The surgery went well, healing went well even with some of the emotional hurdles that comes with changing your entire relationship with food. The big event changer, only three months after surgery, I ended up moving to Central America with my family. This was good and bad at the same time. Good because I was completely removed from 90% of my comfort foods, fast food was available to me but it just wasn't the same as American fast food so I never had the desire to eat it. So by my 10th month post op I had lost 120 lbs and was in a size 6/8. My ultimate lowest weight was 129, but maintained between 130 to 137 for several months. I was ecstatic and for the first time in probably my entire life I felt healthy and beautiful. Now, It was bad because RNY was not a common procedure in that country, so to find a doctor who could tend to my "special" needs was nearly impossible. And personally, I did not trust the doctors there to treat me due to the fact the there was little to no knowledge to the needs of a post RNY person. That, and because of RNY, my husband's Panamanian employer's health insurance refused to cover me because of the RNY ( I had "modified" internal organs). So, for me to pay for any medical attention was difficult. So, for 2 years.....YES 2 YEARS! I went without any regular post op care....blood work, exams....nothing. I think this is where some of the problems I have now stemmed from. So, if youre a newbie reading this....PLEASE don't skip your regular bloodwork and doctor visits. They are important!

So, fast forward two years, I moved back to the United States. At this time, I had two 5K races under my belt (ran in Central America). I immediately applied myself and my daughters for medicaid and food assistance to sustain us until I could get employed. I had found a job and also began training for an employee sponsored marathon/half marathon. I had gotten to the point where I was running 10 mile Sundays and 6 mile weekdays with 2 days off. Apparently, I was training too hard and ended up with a stress fracture of the right tibia and was laid up in a boot for 6 weeks. This took my activity level from a 10 to about a 3. Thankfully because I finally had insurance, about a month after I was out of the boot, I had an emergency laparotomy for strangulated intestine from scar tissue. This was a difficult surgery to heal from since it was an open surgery that left me with a 6 in. scar right smack dab in the middle of my abdomen. During this time, I started to develop severe lower back pain. I tried treating the back pain on my own through stretching and the purchace of a new mattress.....to no avail. I was sent to several different doctors and given a pharmacy of different meds, but nothing helped. Ultimately, I was diagnosed with significant stage 2 spondylolisthesis, degenerative and herniated disk (sp?) and needed a spinal fusion of the L5-S1 vertebrae. BUT, that wasnt it.... during my multitude of appointments for my back, one of my doctors detected that I had thyroid cancer. WHAT?!?! CANCER?!?! So, the back surgery was on hold until the cancer was taken care of. This is where my lack of medical care in Panama caught up with me....It turned out that my potassium levels were VERY low. This was a problem because any good anesthesiologist will not touch you if your potassium levels are too low (any of the electrolytes, for that matter) because of the high risk of cardiac arrest during surgery. So, it took a long time and a lot of meds to get to the point where I could have my thyroidectomy. This too was a double edged sword for me too. I am grateful that the surgery alone removed the cancerous tumor....no chemo, no radiation (woo hoo!). The downside, one of my parathyroid glands was also removed. The remaining three went into shock, so my body was not absorping ANY calcium. This caused hand, face and foot paralysis and had landed me in the hospital for a week while doctors figured out how to get my levels up. Fast forward again 4 months and I was able to get my calcium and potassium levels up to where I could proceed with the spinal fusion. So....it's been determined that my absorption issues are due to the RNY.  And I'm fairly certain that this wouldn't have been so much of an issue if I had my blood levels checked and adjusted while live out of the country. So, for the first time ever I was feeling a bit regretful for ever having RNY. All the absorption issues, hospital stays and doctor visits were really getting me down. Presently, the fusion has been by far the most difficult surgery  to heal from, EVER! And I think after all this I have reached my frustration peak. I have not been able to be active like I wanted to for what seems like FOREVER. Because of the inactivity, and emotional stress and depression I have dealt with over all this time, I have reverted to emotional eating. I have been trying to keep it in check for the most part, but I've been slipping a lot too. After my weight loss, I liked to see pictures of myself. But this weekend, I had a formal "date" with my 16 year old daughter.....make-up, hair, nice dress, the whole nine. I saw a picture of myself and once again was struck with those old feelings of disgust in the way I looked.

Since returning to the States and dealing with all these health issues, I have gained 40 lbs! (waaaah). I have confided in some of my friends about my feelings about the weight gain and...yes....they have a good point in that I have had an injury and survived an emergency abdominal surgery, cancer and a spinal fusion. Things could have been a LOT worse for me. But they don't understand the deep fear of the weight gain never stopping, the hard work it took to lose the 120lbs and seeing those numbers going up on the scale and being an RNY failure.....something I promised myself I'd never be. After wearing a size 6/8 for so long, it's killing me to be having to wear 12/14. Yes, I have tried the 5 day pouch test, I felt hungry all the time. I plan on retrying it when I return to work and am not around my kitchen 24/7. In my defense, since the laparotomy my belly was maybe sewn together weird (?) and I have a strange bulge in my upper abdomen. That, and I'm an apple shape, so I prefer to wear my clothes a bit more on the loose side.

 

Sorry this is so long, but I needed to vent. I also hope that if any newbies read this that they get the message that getting your scheduled post op care is VERY important! Granted, the fracture, cancer and fusion were not RNY related, but the potassium and calcium hell I've gone through, and continue to go through could have been detected earlier and before the emergency laparotomy, I went through a little over a year in excruciating abdominal pain that I was told was just "gas" while in Central America.....where the truth was my intestines were being dangerously strangled and I went far too long in unnecessary pain.

 

Thanks to my TT family for letting vent/educate *muah*

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Oh, my goodness!  What a tremendous amount of trauma you have been through!  I'm so grateful to you for sharing your story- it's a warning to newbies and oldies, alike.  Sending you healing hugs, Carmen.

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Wow!  You have been through a lot.  Here's to hoping that you are on the mend for good now.  And you are right - in a way this all happened due to RNY.

 

I know because I've been through some other health issues that track back to not absorbing the right things, not being able to take certain meds, and not absorbing other meds the right way.  These are things that I really wished had been explained prior to the surgery and why we really have to watch everything afterwards.

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Your ordeal is as painful as mine! Be kind to your body and it will reward you. I'm glad you're healthy.

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Hi, 

You've had a very hard time lately so take it easy on yourself. The weightgain is not good but it's understandable and you can reverse it. 

Do the 5 day pouch test but following the instructions to a T. Even a pinch of sugar/flour during these 5 days can ruin it. After those 5 days your cravings should be considerably reduced or gone all together. Your body starts making ketones and these supress hunger/cravings. Then continue with a very low-carb (only whole wheat carbs) diet and you should be back on track. This is the only thing that has ever worked for me, even before surgery, so I fully recommend it. 

Do as much physical activity as you can and take your vitamins every day. 

The struggle never ends for us, we must be strong and persistent. The best of luck and keep us updated.

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Wow. So sorry you've had to deal with this. Glad you're venting!

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