Gastric Bypass Surgery: Review, Before and Afters! Down 80 lbs!
My name is Amada Anderson. I am 36 years old and I live in Glendale, New York. I recently had gastric bypass surgery done by Dr. Saunders at Bellevue Hospital on April 11, 2017. Here is a bit of my journey:
It was covered by my insurance Metroplus.
I have dealt with obesity all my life. When I was 11, I was a size 11. When I was 22, I was a size 22. My highest weight was at the end of 2013 when I hit 430 pounds. The following year I lost 100 pounds in 8 months doing a program called the Dukan Diet and I could keep most of it off, but then life happened. I got engaged, and the following year I got married. A few months after that, my husband lost his brother and then quit his job, which added to our financial struggle.
I was working a lot as a New York City tour guide, and while on my way to give a tour in the East Village, my right knee gave out from under me going up the subway steps. I heard a loud pop and I couldn’t put any more weight on my knee. I ended up in an ambulance for the first time and then made appointments to see an orthopedic surgeon and my primary care doctor.
The doctors explained that I had a slight tear in my kneecap, and the only way I could relieve the pressure was to lose more weight. They gave me a cortisone shot for the pain and I was back to work in a week. Two weeks later, while trying to keep pressure off my right leg, my left knee went out and I had to go get a shot in that knee. I decided that I needed some help trying to lose this excess weight and started to consider bariatric weight loss surgery.
Since this was not considered cosmetic surgery, my primary care doctor told me that my Metroplus insurance would cover the procedure. He gave me a recommendation and I had to show up for an orientation at the hospital (held monthly) filled with potential bariatric surgery patients. I was quite nervous to attend the meeting, but with the support of my husband we attended the meeting. It was filled with a lot of individuals like me struggling with health problems and not know where to turn.
The orientation consisted of a presentation covering the differences of each surgery and the outcomes from previous surgery patients, the insurance that they took, and how long it could take to get approved. They covered the realistic expectations so that the next steps would just be to schedule surgery with the doctor.
Once I registered and said I was interested, they ran my insurance and scheduled several appointments for me, which include: nutrition, psychological counseling, esophageal screening, family planning, nurse/wound teaching, support groups etc. They make you keep every single appointment as check-offs for submitting to the insurance companies. Once you are scheduled, they also will set you up with a pre-op diet where you are introduced to a lifestyle change of eating 1200-1500 calories a day.
The three types of surgery that Bellevue offers are: the lap band, sleeve gastrectomy, or gastric bypass. Lap band surgery, or gastric banding, is a device that is inserted and can be removed after weight loss has been achieved. Gastric Sleeve surgery, or a gastric sleeve, is when they do microscopic surgery and cut half of your stomach away so that it basically is the size of a banana. They say that it has a 60% overall weight loss success.
And the final option, and the one I wanted to have, is called the Gastric Bypass. Gastric Bypass surgery is when they make your stomach into the size of an egg and they reroute your intestines so that food will be digested faster. The bypass has a success rate of 70%.
When I met with the surgeon he was very friendly, observant, and understanding. He told me that if I wanted to have the surgery I would need to lower my body mass index by losing 20 pounds. Since I had lost a couple hundred pounds in the past, this did not seem like an extremely large feat and I was certainly up to the challenge.
However, it seemed the universe had other plans for me. The next month I had to go out of town for a convention, and then the following month I went home to be with my father who was scheduled for lung cancer removal. While traveling, It was difficult for me to stick to a strict diet. Although I new I was "cheating", I felt the need to handle my other life obstacles before worrying about what I was eating.
My surgery was delayed which gave me a few more weeks to try and lose the extra weight. When I started the pre-op liquid diet, it was March 2, 2017 and I weighed 375 pounds. By the date of my surgery which was April 11, I had lost 31 pounds. So, I hit my goal and was approved for surgery. The night prior to the surgery I made sure to follow all of the doctor's guidelines, including not drinking anything after midnight.
The day of the surgery we arrived early. They weighed me and got me prepped. And next thing I knew I was being wheeled away into the surgery room. I woke up very groggy but the staff worked around the clock to make sure that I was comfortable.
Because of my insurance, I was in a room with three other people where we shared one bathroom. It was very overwhelming, but I was only there for a few days. They weaned me off the morphine and got me up and walking around. They provided me with instructions and a detailed diet plan to follow.
For the first two weeks, my food intake was non-existent as I was instructed to only consume liquids. I was really bloated and could only sleep on my back for the first month. I suffered from nausea,diarrhea, and acid reflux but I was pretty certain that was attributed to my very sparse diet.
Eventually I moved to a high protein diet consisting of mostly mushy foods that I could keep down without vomiting. Then I moved into more solid foods, and by the end of three months, I was able to eat all foods. Of course I was strict in my choices as I was ready to lead my new life by making sure to only make healthy food choices.
Dr. Saunders reminded me that this was my year, and I needed to keep clear of stressful situations and triggers that might make me slip up on my diet. The whole staff has been very supportive. They have a Facebook fan page where you can read other people’s success stories and find out about upcoming weight-loss support meetings.
So far, it’s been three months and I have lost an overall amount of 82 pounds: 31 with pre-op and 51 post-op. My BMI has reduced significantly, and I have seriously reduced my risk of diabetes. Everyone loses weight differently. I am under 300 now and I feel good. My knees don’t hurt anymore and I am out and about walking around, giving tours and working doing what I love.
If you are considering surgery for weight loss, I highly recommend Bellevue Hospital.
You can follow my Gastric Bypass Journey on YouTube!