Category: before and after
Life before surgery seems like a lifetime ago for both my wife and I. Being extremely overweight is not only a burden on your general health but a burden on your lifestyle in general. You have the awful label of being called obese, or morbidly obese. This is such a wonderful word that makes you feel as if you have been judged a misfit in society. We were both overweight all of our lives and had done all of the diets known on the planet throughout the years. Some worked a little some not at all and we always found ourselves back to where we were before and usually larger than that. The main focus though as we were getting older was our health. For Theresa it was very difficult. Along with being over 400 pounds she had a severe case of asthma which caused her episodes where she felt she was going to suffocate. She also had very little muscle mass which made it very difficult to get up and down from seating or lying positions. Theresa had her surgery in February of 2014 and not a moment too soon. If she had done nothing it is a good chance that she was facing a horribly short future. She also has a slight heart murmur which did not bode well for a person with her weight. She did not have diabetes thank goodness but her A1C was on the rise as was her BP. She did have sleep apnea as well and had to have a CPAP machine.
I was also severely overweight, my highest weight was nearly 400 pounds and on surgery day I was 355 pounds. I was also under the illusion that I had more control over my weight and that once Theresa had her surgery I would just be able to diet and exercise my way to a healthy weight. I was able to do this in my younger years to a certain extent and I was naive enough to think I could continue to do so. How wrong I was. I had found that no matter how much diet and exercise I did my weight would drop a bit at first but then stall and I would have to essentially starve to lose any more and of course that just makes for a bad outcome. My A1C shot up to 7.6 and this was with 1000mg of metformin a day! My BP was very high with both numbers over 100, well over. This is with a high dose of BP meds. I had a severe case of sleep apnea and could not even consider sleeping without a CPAP machine with a high pressure. I have an artificial hip that was being burdened by my 350 pound plus frame and would probably need to be replaced sooner rather than later. My future was not looking good. Dying before I was 60 seemed like a reality for me and that is not the future I was hoping for. The decision to have weight loss surgery for the both of us was tough. You of course hear the nay sayers spout what a cop out it is and it’s the easy way out! You are just weak and just simply need to not eat hamburgers, French fries and donuts. Just stick with non-fat and low calories and you will reach the promised land. What a load of BS.
Once you wrap your head around the fact that your body is wired in such a way that it will always seek a higher weight every time you lose weight, it’s time to consider the type of surgery. Everyone has heard of the Gastric bypass and that seemed to be the path at the time of Theresa’s surgery. The thing about Theresa and what I admire very much is her persistence and her ability to research to the point where a decision is spot on. She looked at all of the four possible surgeries and quickly realized that the Duodenal Switch was a no brainer. It had the greatest measure of success in the long term as well as short term. Reading about the process and talking to others who have had the surgery it became clear that it was the right choice. Finding out where to go and have the surgery was a real challenge. We were lucky to find Dr. Ara Keshishian and have the ability to travel to his location to have the surgery.
Theresa’s Stats Rodney’s Stats
Surgery Weight: 410 Surgery Weight: 355 Pounds
Total Weight Loss: 215 pounds Total Weight Loss: 170 Pounds
Surgery Type: Duodenal Switch Surgery Type: Duodenal Switch
Surgery Date: February 2014 Surgery Data: May 2016
Surgeon: Dr. Ara Keshishian Surgeon: Dr. Ara Keshishian
Life after surgery is an amazing series of challenges, changes, and a journey that transforms your life in a huge way. For Theresa, it was freedom. Freedom from the overbearing weight she was carrying that kept her from essentially moving or doing anything but staying at home. We did very little outside of the house before surgery. Only the necessities of shopping and keeping up the house on the inside and out. Even that was difficult and went by the wayside all too often. Of course eating out was easier than going to the grocery store and that made the scale just go higher. After surgery, Theresa began to lose weight and you could see day by day the changes. After the first month, you could see a dramatic change not only in her look but the fact that she was moving again! She had dropped 35 pounds in that first month and it made a huge difference. As the weight kept coming off over the next few months we began doing things we have not done before. We started to do a lot of walking and a lot more things around the house that needed to be done. Shopping became a breeze and we ate out a lot less. The dramatic change was in her health. A number of changes for the better were happening on that front. The main one and a huge relief was the asthma. It simply was no longer there. She was no longer short on breath and was simply out moving me! I could barely keep up with her. She also had a bad case of psoriasis which before surgery she could do nothing about. Since the surgery it has disappeared. It might be due to the increased in vitamins, particularly the D vitamin. Her sleep apnea went away and now she is healthy and happy. It is almost difficult to describe the changes until you see them for yourself. For Theresa it has been a life changing experience that has transformed the both of us in ways we never imagined. Theresa eats a normal diet and after 3 ½ years post op she fluctuates about 5 pounds either way. It is amazing.
For me it was not what I expected. What I mean by that is, learning to eat is a challenge. With the Duodenal Switch you are not only eating less, but what you eat is tremendously important to the success of the transformation. With the other surgeries, Lap Band, Bypass and Sleeve you do not have the degree of malabsorption. You simply eat less and you lose weight, but you are still essentially “on a diet”. With the Duodenal Switch you have to consider the malabsorption and think protein first and for most. Once you get past the first month of eating small amounts and what you can while your innards heal you need to learn what to eat and is it enough protein. You may also have to contending with the fact that you have an aversion to foods you ate before. I, for one, could not even eat cheese, and chicken. I pretty much lived on scallops, crab, shrimp and protein drinks for the first three months. Nuts were also a good source of the protein when you get to that stage. This does change and things do go back to normal as far as the taste changes, but it takes a few months. The weight in that first month pretty much peeled off. I was dropping like a pound a day. It was incredible. You think that this is going to be a breeze and you will drop it all in no time! Then that 4 week somewhat of a stall occurs. From what I can tell, everyone experiences it in one form or another. It freaks you out because you start to think about the past where you would work your butt off and either gain or drop and ounce or two. But I was lucky, my wife had gone though it two years before me so she was there to explain that it was normal. The whole “this is a journey thing”, and she was right! At the time though I was listening to the negative voice in my head from the past. That is where the support from the many groups come in. You see that pretty much everyone has the same ups and downs and then your body gives up the farm and you drop a bunch of weight in a weeks’ time. There is really a lot of science behind it. Researching and reading about this particular surgery and how it works will benefit you while you go through the process. Another important thing we face with this surgery is the necessity of Vitamins. Thank goodness for my wife and the DS groups and of course my surgeon. You will not be without knowledge if you actively join the different groups and do your research on the vitamins. I am still learning about what my body needs and am looking forward to my labs in the next month to see where I may be deficient. I have also come to realize the importance of drinking water and avoiding dehydration. I never used to drink it much before the Duodenal Switch, but since the surgery I find it aids heavily in the success if you drink it and drink a lot of it.
To conclude this has been a journey and one I wish I could have done a lot sooner in life, but it is never too late. Today Theresa and I are at weights that we are happy with and our bodies are happy with. We are more active then we have ever been before together. No more days idle in front of the television with large amounts of fast food and drinks. That is what we used to look forward too. Now we cannot wait until we go out and do something. We are not running marathons or anything but we are active and enjoy being so. We no longer have the ailments we had before surgery. Theresa’s asthma is practically nonexistent, living in the northwest with fires in the summer she may have a bout or two. Nothing even close to what she has before and a simple inhale and its gone. Both of us no longer need a CPAP! The freedom to simply lay your head on the pillow and sleep is amazing and wonderful. All of the medication we had prescribed for us are gone as well. My A1C was 5 on my last set of labs and 5.3 on the one before that. Theresa’s is the same and has been for three years. BP is normal and my hip is holding steady. Oh, and another cool thing about it is you can actually shop for clothes anywhere! Your sizes will shrink but we have found we have become quite the clothes horses since losing all this weight. It makes it fun to be able to fit into a size you haven’t seen since who knows when.
Life is always a challenge for many reasons but to remove the burden of the weight simplifies things just a bit. It is a decision we will never regret and wished we had made a long time ago. We both owe our lives firstly, to having Duodenal Switch surgery. Secondly, and most important – was in seeking out the best surgeon we could find, and that was without a doubt, Dr. Ara Keshishian. As a surgeon he is thorough, meticulous, constantly learning and keeping up on the latest research;as a person he is easy to talk to, very approachable, and genuinely cares about his patients before, during and after the surgery process. We could not imagine choosing anyone else.
Let’s get back on track 2017 after the holiday season! The holidays were wonderful but if you find yourself with a few extra souvenirs don’t feel alone. The average American gains between 1-8 pounds during the holiday season and I am no exception. Let’s get back on track 2017 together.
Time to clear out the kitchen! Disposing of temptations and high trigger foods is the first step to getting back on track. If the food isn’t easily acquired then it is less likely to be consumed.
Stock up on high protein and whole, unprocessed foods that are low carbohydrate and nutrient dense. When quality foods are easily available we are more likely to stay on track with the types of foods we should be eating. Simple sugars/carbohydrates are the biggest culprit of holiday weight gain. We need to go back to the basics of hydration, high protein, low carbohydrate/sugar, vitamin/mineral supplements and exercise. Simple sugars and carbohydrates are easy for our bodies to use and absorb and cutting them back can jump start your weight loss. Each individual needs to identify the daily carbohydrate intake that works for them. Some people stay under 50 grams of carbohydrates daily. You may also need to look at your protein and fat intake. All excess nutrients absorbed have the potential to turn into fat mass and inhibit weight loss. Metabolism video.
Hydration is an important ways to start getting back on track. Water is essential to life functions. The brain is 85% water, blood is 80% and muscle is about 70% water. Hydration aids in digestion, eliminating waste, byproducts and toxins. It also can decrease the feeling of hunger. Lack of hydration can increase fatigue which can lead to craving high carbohydrate foods to increase energy.
Protein’s importance in almost every bodily function and muscle mass can not be ignored. High quality complete Protein sustains muscle mass during weight loss, aids immunity, antioxidant function, and enhances leptin and insulin function. Filling up on protein first will help with carbohydrate carvings and give a sustained satisfied feeling. A prior blog post gives additional information on the importance of protein and the effects of protein malnutrition. WLS makes daily protein intake important but especially after Duodenal Switch, protein is a necessity of daily life.
Vitamins, minerals and supplements will ensure the body has the nutrients it needs to function adequately and can keep cravings at bay. Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can cause cravings for foods. Vitamin and minerals are essential to muscle function, red blood cell production, bone health, and numerous other physiologic functions. We may all slack off on our supplements occasionally but now is the time to get back into the habit of daily vitamins and mineral supplements. A daily vitamin, mineral, and supplement routine is a lifetime commitment after Duodenal Switch or any WLS. Here is a list of commonly used supplements.
Exercise can increase weight loss, overall well being, mental well being, mood, alertness, improve digestion, improve sleep, and increases energy levels. Exercise does not have to be a daunting task. Simply adding 15-30 minutes of activity can give added benefits. Yoga, walking, dancing, lifting weights, hiking, and sports activities can be included or added to more traditional forms of exercise. There are many free online videos for all types of exercise available.
Finding a new hobby can keep both your hands and mind busy, curbing the unconscious eating of foods that are high in sugar and carbohydrates. Adult coloring books, drawing, painting, knitting, crocheting, sewing, dance lessons, gardening, learning to play an instrument and many others are great ways to use your time and expand your quality of life and brain function. New hobbies can also help establish new coping skills. Our previous post on Coping Skills After Bariatric Surgery can be found here. There are a whole host of online videos for “how to” on new hobbies.
Teaming up with others can also help increase weight loss and compliance. Support from friends, family and other groups will assist you. There is a whole gamut of support group online and in person. If you have fallen out of the habit of attending our support group or webinars get back to them. You can find our schedule and announcements regarding webinars here. Our Central Valley Bariatric Facebook page also gives daily inspirational messages, protein recipes and articles and any new information or research available. There is also our Duodenal Switch Facebook Group. Anything that increases accountability is a benefit and motivates us to stay on track.
Experiment with new recipes and flavors that are bariatric friendly and within your dietary needs. There are so many options for quick and easy meals. We have several recipes on our page for all stages following weight loss surgery and Duodenal Switch. However, there are endless option on the internet in Paleo, low carb, and high protein type recipes.
In the spirit of new starts and getting back on track 2017, we are having a giveaway with the basics to get back into the swing of things. This year we are looking for before and after weight loss surgical journeys. Share your weight loss journey! Don’t be shy, your journey can inspire others and/or motivate yourself. To enter the Back on Track 2017 Giveaway, please submit your weight loss surgical journey with before and after pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can also post your before and after pictures on our Facebook page. You will also need to sign a release for the use of your story on our website. We will draw 2 names from those that enter by announcing it on our FaceBook page or by e-mail on January 31, 2017. You must submit your mailing information to email@example.com in order to claim the prize.
My name is Heidi and this is my weight loss journey. I had been struggling with my weight for years and was actively researching different surgical procedures available. I was also trying everything to lose the weight on my own. My wake up call to take action was one night when my husband said, “I’m worried about you and want you around for a long time.” I knew I had to do something. If someone loved me that much I needed to love myself enough to change.
So the very next day I made an appointment with my Primary Care Physician who recommended Dr. Ara Keshishian. That afternoon I called Dr. Keshishian’ office, scheduled a consultation and began what was about to be one of the greatest journeys of my life. I was approved within a month and ready to go.
In 2012, I had my Duodenal Switch with the great Dr. Keshishian. I was hopeful post op and determined to succeed. I knew with my husband’s and family’s love and support I could do it. I wanted to lose the weight for me, my husband and our future children so they had the healthy, happy mom they deserved. My Surgery weight was 220 ( Started at 230) I reached my goal at 10 months post op at 125lbs. Since having my DS I have had 1 (almost 2) amazing son’s. Duodenal Switch made this possible. I have my older son and I am currently 8 months pregnant with my 2nd son. Duodenal Switch did not just allow me to lose the weight that kept me from living life but it allowed me to get healthy and live life to the fullest. I am grateful everyday for my DS, my amazing husband, my boys, and Dr. Keshishian.
I am simply blessed. Would I do it again? In a heart beat.
Starting weight- 230
Surgery weight- 220
Goal Weight- 125