5+ Years Post-Op Gastric Sleeve - This Is My Story!
Hi Everyone! My name is Kimberly and I am 5.5 years post-op gastric sleeve surgery. I have experienced a lot over the last few years and I am excited to share my thoughts with you in hopes that it will help you prepare for your surgery. I figured the best place to start would be to tell you more about me and my weight loss surgery journey.
I decided to have weight loss surgery when I was 24. I had been overweight my entire life and it finally got to a point where I couldn’t handle it anymore. At my highest, I weighed 360 pounds. I had been diagnosed with Pseudotumor Cerebri which meant that I was producing too much cerebral spinal fluid and it was pushing against my optic nerves. I had terrible headaches and often times had to stay in bed because of the pain. I almost had to have a shunt put in and the disease would have eventually caused me to go blind if it wasn’t taken care of. My doctor explained that this disease was weight related and would more than likely go into remission if I lost weight. I had never been diagnosed with any weight related diseases. This was my wakeup call. I had my whole life ahead of me and knew that I had to make some changes.
My pre-op journey went pretty well. I went to all of the necessary doctors and stayed on top of everything so I could have the surgery as soon as possible. I started documenting my journey because I wanted to be able to look back on it years later. It was an exciting time and I was so ready for my new life. The surgery day came and I can still remember how nervous I was. This was the first surgery that I considered “elective” so I was very anxious going into it. Looking back now, I don’t consider it elective anymore. I was going to die if I did not lose the weight.
I was very successful the first year after surgery. I was dropping weight fast and felt on top of the world. It took a while to get into a new routine, but I finally felt like I was on the right path. At 1 year post op, I found out I was pregnant. This was very exciting news because I never thought I would be able to have a baby since my weight was always holding me back. A lot of people wondered if that set me back, but surprisingly I was at my lowest weight when I was pregnant. I had gotten down to 199. The beautiful onederland as we like to call it. I had a healthy baby boy and continued on my weight loss journey after I had him. I lost a total of 160 pounds!
For a couple years post-op, I stayed on top of working out and eating healthy. However, there came a time when I started letting things back into my diet that I shouldn’t have. I was really sick during my pregnancy so I drank ginger ale. Putting soda back into my diet was the first mistake of many. As the years went on, I slowly started gaining weight back. I started eating unhealthy foods again and told myself it was okay since I was just having “a little bit” That was always my excuse. I told myself that I could have anything I wanted because I would only be eating a small amount of it. Well, that didn’t work. The farther out I got, the easier it was for me to eat larger portions. I ended up gaining 60 pounds back. I was devastated and felt like the surgery was a waste.
At this time, I had been documenting my life on YouTube for a few years. I received so much support from the community and I knew I could lose the weight I regained. Unfortunately, regain is something many people deal with after surgery. I am now on the path of losing the weight I regained. I’ve already lost almost 20 pounds of that. I will continue to fight this fight to get where I want to be. This surgery is not a fix all. It is a tool that you need to use appropriately. If you take it for granted, you will lose control and start regaining. So much of this journey is the mental side of it all. I don’t think I prepared myself enough for how difficult this would be emotionally. I craved food, even though I wasn’t hungry. My food addiction definitely came out through this process.
Even though I have made mistakes, I have come really far. I have learned a lot from this journey and I find comfort knowing we have such an amazing support group through the bariatric community. I am excited to bring you all along with me to share both the exciting and the difficult times that we experience as bariatric patients. Together, we can achieve our goals. We got this!
- Kimberly H.