I did a video the other day to celebrate my first big goal: under 200#! Squee! It’s a long video at 26 minutes, but I cover everything up to now. I thought I’d also write a blog post to back up the video and give all the facts succinctly.**
Weight at beginning: 250 40 BMI, which is the minimum to get VSG.
Weight at surgery: 238
Weight at last weigh in: 196 (which was skewed) Actual weight: right at/below 200. BMI 34.4.
Waist at start: 51″
Waist now: 44″
Jeans at beginning: 18/20
Jeans now: 14 fat, but these are loose. I think I’m in a straight 14 now.
I had surgery May 17, 2016; exactly 5 months ago today! Happy surgical anniversary to me! The surgery was very easy for me. I had no gas, no pain, no issues. I think it was because I was at the minimum BMI and very healthy to begin with. The biggest thing to happen right after surgery was that all inflammation in my body ceased immediately. It was stunning. I am convinced that inflammation MUST be somehow linked to the stomach and gut. It’s the only explanation I have for the sudden and complete cessation of the inflammation pain I had.
I had one incision dehisce – which means pop open. It was a big deal because no one knew what to do about it. The Drs in Mexico blew up my phone checking on me (which was AMAZING!), but neither they, nor my dermatologist had any idea what to do. Luckily for me, I’ve got Amy as a friend and she is also a nurse. She recommended wet to dry dressing, which worked perfectly. I went for my gyno exam and my gyno knew exactly what to do and she said, “Of course you use wet to dry! Doesn’t everyone know that? We see this often with C Section incisions.” I love my gyno! That healed up fine once I started the correct dressing. No big.
You’ll be on an antibiotic and a double dose of omeprazole (Prilosec) for a month. They have omeprazole in capsules in Mexico, so you open these and the antibiotics and take them that way (tastes like FEET). Typically you are not cleared for pills until the 2 month point. I’ve listed the bariatric vitamins I used here.
I made my own diet for the recovery. The crappy yogurt, canned meat and refried beans diet given to me by the idiot Mexican “nutritionist” was tossed immediately. Not only did it have no actual nutrition, it had stupid amounts, like a cup of each item. Um, apparently no one told this person that post op patients can NOT eat a cup of anything. More like 1/3 to 1/2 cup. I made gobs of chicken stock, lots of pureed veg for soups and had the ubiquitous whey protein for shakes. I drank gallons of Vitamin water because it has vitamins and calories, which I needed because I could not eat. I was on solid foods (as in: not pureed, but still soft) at week FIVE. I ate lots of canned tuna and chicken and other canned veg because it’s soft. Also, eggs are your friend. Eggs are the perfect protein and they are easy to digest. I also ate a lot of cottage cheese.
I hit the weight loss stall early: at about one month. This stall depressed me and made me regret the surgery. This happens to everyone who gets VSG. Your body freaks out and tries to hold onto its weight because it thinks it is starving, so a stall WILL happen, it’s just a matter of when. But it also stops after 2-4 weeks and then your loss starts.
I did NOT lose a bunch of hair. I was bracing myself for this because everyone was screaming about it on the boards. Didn’t happen to me. You lose 150 hairs a day, people, so I think the hair loss is probably not as bad as everyone thinks. Also: you can lose hair after ANY surgery, not just bariatric.
Once I was cleared for pills and capsules, I began to bring back in the supplements I’d taken before surgery. Here is my current regimen. You MUST take supplements after VSG. You need Vit B12 in copious quantities, calcium/magnesium to offset the Prilosec and Vit D3 and K2 to help absorb the calcium. I took a vegan iron supplement (the vegan one does not make me sick like regular ones do) a few times, but it tasted nasty, so I stopped. When I get my blood tests in a few weeks, I’ll find out if I’m anemic. I’ve NEVER been anemic, so I doubt I will be, but if you tend towards that, you should take an iron supplement.
Reflux and/or GERD will be a part of your life after VSG. Just accept it. They don’t say much about it when you are given info, but it will be there. They expect you to take Prilosec for the rest of your life and it looks like that is accurate for me. I tried getting off it and that was a miserable failure. I take 20mg omeprazole in the morning and 20mg famotidine (Pepcid) at night. These drugs are NOT good for you. Prilosec (omeprazole or any -zole drug) blocks calcium absorption and is just not recommended for long term use. Too bad we have to take it forever. :( I just supplement the calcium/magnesium and hope for the best. I can’t stop taking it, the reflux is too severe. I am convinced it is the shape of the VSG tube/pouch that forces the acid up to the esophagus. I think they’ll eventually change the shape of the VSG to alleviate this.
You’ll also have to radically change your eating habits – which is the point, really. They want you to eat anywhere from 50-80 grams of protein a day. I counted protein like crazy for the first 3-4 months to make sure I got enough, but honestly? I stopped that shit. It’s too much like dieting, which I REFUSE to do ever again. You’ll need to stock up on Premier Protein shakes (30 grams protein, no carbs) and drink those every day for the first few months. I switched to the Premier Protein bars (30 grams protein, 29 grams carbs) about a month ago because I was sick of those shakes. I have to admit, tho, that I don’t eat a bar or shake every day. My average protein intake w/out a supplement is probably around 30 grams. I don’t have any idea of my caloric intake, nor do I care. I don’t drink a gallon of water every day, either, but I didn’t do this before surgery, so I drink what is normal for me. I drink no calorie flavoured fizzy water, 2-3 cans a day (La Croix!). YES you can drink fizzy water and beer – well, I can. No issues. Use your pee as a guide: if it is dark, you need more water.
The hardest thing to learn is when you are full. The pouch feels very different than your stomach did, so this definitely has a learning curve. I just recently got the hang of eating until I am full but not TOO full. As you’ll find out, overeating is an odd and unpleasant sensation. I drink while I eat, too. NOT MUCH, mind you, but a little. You’ll find your own balance. I eat anything I want, just not much of it. :)
Overall, this was the best decision I’ve ever made. The way I’m losing weight is different than any other time I’ve lost. I’m becoming overall slimmer, my legs are looking different than they ever have. I tell you what: if my calves get small enough to wear boots – I’m getting some expensive ass cowboy boots. Assuming I can find a pair that I can get my high instep into! Sadly the instep will never go away!
And finally, you must start to exercise. You lose fat and muscle when you do this (which is why protein is so very important), so exercise will build your muscles back and keep the fat burning. I can tell I’ve lost muscle – I am very weak now. I’ve started back walking and doing light weights.
Oh, and one last thing: get a blood test, full panels, done at six months. This is the best way to see where you are with iron and mineral levels and all the rest. It’s just a good thing to do. If you watch cholesterol or any of that, I’m sure you’ll see a massive improvement.
As in my video, I’d like to give a BIG shout out to Nick! He has lost FORTY POUNDS since my surgery!! He has been working his ass off every morning and he has joined me in the Eat-Like-A-Child club. Good job, baby!! XOXO
That’s it. I’m at five months, I feel great and I am very happy with the way I look. I highly recommend VSG – despite the reflux issues. It is totally worth it. :)
**My usual disclaimer: all these things worked wonderfully for me. Your mileage may vary. Listen to your body.