Before My Gastric Bypass Revision, There was a Successful Gastric Bypass Surgery
Before my gastric bypass revision, there was a successful gastric bypass surgery…
Finally, my long weight loss journey had come together. The weight loss after my gastric bypass surgery was like Christmas morning, or having tickets on the New York Giants fifty-yard line. It was like holding the winning lottery ticket. The feeling of exhilaration was my like my birthday or my first kiss. It was the first day of Summer.
I had lost ninety pounds. I had become my own best friend. When I was alone, the company was good. I liked the person in the morning mirror; more so, I enjoyed her. She was pretty and she was fun. She had energy and she was alive. She was confident and she was ambitious.
The weight had come off surprisingly fast from my gastric bypass surgery. It almost melted away, or so it seemed. If memory serves me correctly, my weight loss all happened between six and nine months after my gastric bypass surgery in 2003.
Pushing Harder to Achieve 100 Pounds Lost after Gastric Bypass
And so it stayed: Ninety pounds was lost. I was satisfied, but believed I could accomplish more. I was still overweight. I desired to be in the Century Club of patients who’d achieved 100 pounds weight lost. My bariatric diet was good, healthy and as prescribed. I also was taking the vitamins recommended by my bariatric surgeon for gastric bypass patients. I knew that the desire for additional weight-loss from my surgery was not vanity or some other questionable motivator. It was simply a need to discover the best in me.
So, I began a program of daily exercise, and in a few months I’d shed those additional 10 pounds. I made it into the Century Club; I’d lost one hundred pounds in total. I felt good about myself and my new bariatric life, and I remained grounded. I thought the redesigned new me was something of a gift and I was determined to not abuse or exploit what I had received. Simply put, I was happy.
Weight Regain after Gastric Bypass
And then something changed. The one hundred pounds that had been lost became ninety-nine, then ninety-eight, ninety-four, ninety. I was gaining weight. Eighty-eight, eighty-six, eighty-two. Eighty… I had regained twenty pounds of the weight I’d lost after my gastric bypass surgery.
I did not fully understand what had happened to promote this reversal of fortune, but I understood the effects completely. I began to feel depressed and scared. Memories of me as an overweight (obese) child resurfaced. Although I took the weight off as a teenager through rigorous diet and exercise, and diet pills, I had regained it after the convergence of two life events: I’d had a serious car accident and had gotten married within the span of a couple of months. Now, seeing the numbers on the scale climb, I wondered if this was in fact an ugly cycle of weight loss and regain, happiness and despair.
My twenty pound weight gain took place about 5-years after my gastric bypass, but it seemed to happened in fast forward. It was quick, seemingly in the blink of an eye I was ambushed by increased inches and pounds. Although I was hardly my former obese self, I was terrified that she was lurking nearby and prepared to take control. I began looking at old photographs of myself prior to my gastric bypass. I knew that I could not go there again, I could not become morbidly obese. It would be physically and emotionally unbearable. It would be poor health and tattered self-esteem. It would be miserable.
I went to Dr. Vishal Mehta’s website, the bariatric surgeon who had performed my gastric bypass procedure, to see if anything could be done to stop this cycle. It was there that I learned about gastric bypass revision options and a new procedure called StomaphyX.
Options for Gastric Bypass Revision
At the time, there were five options for gastric bypass revision, and the choice was predicated by how much weight had been regained, medical history, reasons for weight regain, and things like that.
One option was to shrink the stoma by injecting a sclerosant (sodium morrhuate) into the stoma, which is the opening between the stomach and small intestine. The procedure, called sclerotherapy, involves injecting the sclerosant over the course of two or three procedures to create scarring that reduces the stoma’s size.
Another surgery option was to make the gastric bypass pouch “smaller.” By passing a device through the mouth and into the pouch, with the StomaphyX and ROSE procedures the bariatric surgeon retightens the stomach by inserting tubes down the esophagus and into the stomach pouch made during the gastric bypass. Permanent folds are then made around the stoma and within the pouch.
An adjustable gastric band, commonly known as LAP-BAND or Realize Band, can be inserted around the top part of the stomach and sewn into place over the pouch that was created during the original gastric bypass surgery. This is commonly called “band over bypass” and it was the gastric bypass revision that Carnie Wilson opted to undergo.
Gastric bypass conversion is another revision surgery option wherein a distal Roux-en-Y is converted to a proximal Roux-en-Y (RNY) gastric bypass. The difference in the distal proximal gastric bypass surgeries is the amount of intestine bypassed. In the proximal RNY gastric bypass surgery, between ten to twenty percent or 18-40 inches of the intestine is bypassed. In the distal RNY gastric bypass surgery greater than fifty percent or more than 120 inches of intestine is bypassed. Obviously this is a much more invasive revision and likely would result in greater weight loss.
Converting the gastric bypass to a duodenal switch, is the most invasive revision and there are only a few bariatric surgeons who perform this procedure. This type of gastric bypass revision surgery restores some of the stomach pouch and then divides the stomach vertically, similar to a gastric sleeve, while removing more than eighty-five percent of the stomach. Since a large part of the stomach is removed, this part of the procedure is irreversible. Additionally, a large part of the intestines are rerouted and bypassed so that calories are only absorbed through 75-100 cm of intestine.
Results from My Gastric Bypass Revision
My bariatric surgeon, Dr. Mehta, said that the StomaphyX procedure would be the best gastric bypass revision option for me. Not long afterwards the procedure was approved by my insurance and successfully performed by Dr. Mehta in the hospital OR. And the twenty pounds that I had regained was lost, plus ten pounds more for a total weight loss of 110 pounds from my original starting point of 285 pounds.
But my personal satisfaction with the StomaphyX gastric bypass revision was mixed. Initially, I felt great, the best since I was a teenager. Then, about nine months after the procedure I began to feel exhausted. My program of exercise suffered, and I gained back the ten additional pounds that had been lost. Overall, I remained in the break-even position of twenty pounds lost.
There are few published studies to prove the long-term results of the StomaphyX. One bariatric surgeon recently told me that it is not effective. Bariatric Surgery Source recommends avoiding the StomaphyX procedure until additional research is published that confirms its effectiveness and safety.
Long Term Weight-Loss of Gastric Bypass Patients
Four years after the StomaphyX gastric bypass revision, and 9-years after my gastric bypass, I remained more pleased than not with my weight loss. I cannot establish definitively what long-term effect the StomaphyX gastric bypass revision had on my weight. But I believe that it stopped my weight from continuing to spiral upward.
Although I never got thin like all the “after” photos bariatric surgeons showed me before I had my original gastric bypass, I had kept off the 90 pounds I’d lost from the surgery. Surely I had my health and a happy life, and that was much to be grateful for, and which I would not have achieved without the gastric bypass. Indeed, I’d been obese with diabetes and hypertension, a processed food junkie and cough potato. Surely the gastric bypass surgery saved my life.
I also reminded myself of the cold hard facts. All of the statistics in the research that I had read showed that gastric bypass patients regain an average of twenty to twenty-five percent of the weight they lose within ten years of the gastric bypass surgery. This did not happen to me. I was relatively weight stable.
The Lesson Learned
The lesson learned through my experience, and which I’d like to share with you, is this: The program of aftercare and maintenance that is developed after the gastric bypass surgery should be adhered to at all times. And this is true no matter which bariatric surgery you choose. These lifestyle changes that you make, which include a complete reversal of what you’ve always done when it comes to how and what you eat, and how and what you do with your time, are vital.
For me, I took baby steps and went from a couch potato to someone who is physically active, from a processed food junkie to a Paleo Pescatarian (someone who eats fish as the only animal source of protein), someone who is spiritual and gives to her family and her community rather than serves only her own needs alone. A gastric bypass is only as effective as the effort we ourselves put forth.
A Twist of Fate
My weight loss story would be incomplete if I did not share the following. Unexpectedly, I had plastic surgery 10-years after my gastric bypass surgery. And that changed everything — too much to discuss here in any real way! But for the purposes of this article about weight loss after gastric bypass, I am convinced that the tightening of my abdominal muscles during my tummy tuck resulted in weight loss. While plastic surgery is not a weight loss surgery, the increased tension of these plicated muscles on my stomach pouch that was created during the original gastric bypass was pivotal. It was this tension on my stomach pouch that led to decreased capacity for food and significant weight loss 10-years after gastric bypass. Add to that, all my excess skin was removed, 11-13 pounds in all, during the plastic surgeries I underwent.
As of this writing, I am more than two-years out from my plastic surgery and 12-years from gastric bypass. I wear size 2 jeans down from the size 14s I’d worn after gastric bypass surgery. And that’s down from the size 24W I’d worn before my gastric bypass surgery. The plastic surgery results were a gift from G-d just as the bariatric surgery had been.
I invite you to read about my complete weight loss journey in these articles:
My Gastric Bypass Story
Getting Out of My Chubby Kid Clothes
Life Well-Lived After Weight Loss Surgery
Weight Loss Hero Behind My Bariatric Life
Plastic Surgery with Dr. Joseph F. Capella
Amazing Facelift with Dr. Catherine Winslow
May G-d also bless you with the gift of health and wholeness.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life