Our Weight is Over

A couple's journey through weight-loss surgery and beyond


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Our First Appointments

On April 26, Greg met with the surgeon that will (potentially) be doing our surgeries, Dr. Neil Ghushe. He went over Greg’s vital statistics, discussed which surgery he wanted to do, and addressed his concerns. Greg confessed that he wasn’t certain he wanted to do it, which Dr. Ghushe understood. It’s a huge, life-changing decision. He did what he could to allay Greg’s fears and arm him with the information he needed to make his decision.

Today, I had my own appointment with Dr. Ghushe. I’m feeling a little more gung-ho about this, even though I was once vehemently opposed to WLS. We talked about my stats as well, and confirmed that I’m a good candidate for surgery. Dr. Ghushe recommends the vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) for both of us. The other option, gastric bypass, is more necessary for people with bad acid reflux, and carries a slightly higher risk of complications. I agreed that was what I wanted to do, as I have two good friends who had been successful with it.

A comparison:

Sleeve

  • around 75% of the stomach is removed, leaving a banana-sized “sleeve” stomach
  • lose between 60% to 70% of excess body weight within 12 to 18 months, on average
  • the 30-day mortality rate is 0.08%
  • is not reversible

Bypass

  • a small pouch is stapled off in the stomach and part of the small intestine is re-routed to this pouch
  • lose between 50% to 80% of excess body weight within 12 to 18 months, on average
  • the 30-day mortality rate is 0.14%
  • is possibly reversible if medically necessary

There are many other pros and cons to consider, so if you’re thinking of having weight-loss surgery, please do extensive research. There are other options as well, but over time they’ve proven more problematic than helpful. The lap band was once very popular, due to it being relatively non-invasive and easily reversed, but constant revisions were often required as the band slipped, or complications occurred if it broke. There is also a balloon method being developed, but it’s many years away from being approved.

 

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EKG for Greg

My husband Greg has a history of high blood pressure and is on four different medications for it. It’s one of his main reasons for wanting weight-loss surgery. As a result, he needs to have his heart checked before he can have the surgery to make sure he’s healthy enough to get through it.

His blood pressure is still a bit high even with all his medications. It runs in his family, and he’ll likely still have high blood pressure after weight loss, though not as badly. His doctor was concerned that having such high blood pressure for so long may have thickened his heart walls.

Thankfully, his results showed he was clear of heart problems and he is still a good candidate for weight-loss surgery!

 

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The Big Decision

Welcome! This blog is a place for my husband and I to anonymously share our weight-loss journey, photos, struggles, and tips.

My husband Greg’s doctor first recommended WLS (weight-loss surgery) to him sometime last year. At first I was horrified: all I could think of were the risks of death and long-term medical issues. We dismissed it out of hand and went on with trying to diet.

Then I heard from a good friend that she was getting WLS. I was worried for her as well and tried to avoid her discussions of it. Eventually I realized how well she was doing and that she was healthy and happy. A woman in my choir had WLS as well, and was very open about it. My perspective was slowly changing.

I started doing some real research and joined some Facebook groups. I talked to people who had gone through it. No one regretted it. I talked to Greg and explained my new view. He was tentatively on board, but of course wanted to learn more.

We attended a WLS info session at Brigham & Women’s. I left more sure than ever; Greg left nervous and unsure. We talked more. We discussed the risks and benefits. He agreed to continue with the process with the caveat that he still might change his mind. My mind was made up, whether he did it or not.

Three months later, we’re now almost done with our pre-op appointments. Our insurance covers WLS and doesn’t require six months of nutrition classes like some do. Due to family vacation plans, the earliest we’ll do surgery is August. Greg will likely go first, and I’ll follow in 6-8 weeks. We have a three-year-old daughter after all, that needs lifting and diaper-changing and playing with.

This is just an overview of what’s happened so far. In future posts, I’ll get more into our reasons for surgery instead of “just dieting and exercising,” what the pre-op appointments have been like, and how we’re feeling about the journey. Thank you for joining us!