Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Doesn't mean she's not a complete coward and liar....but still....

Wow. WOW. W - O - W !!
Star comes clean!
Star Jones: I had gastric-bypass surgery

NEW YORK - Star Jones Reynolds says in a new interview that her dramatic weight-loss was due to gastric-bypass surgery, and that she dodged questions about it for years because she was "scared of what people might think of me."

Reynolds, 45, says she was "intentionally evasive" when people asked how she'd dropped 160 pounds in three years. The former "View" co-host opens up about her weight loss and self-esteem issues in a story featured in the September issue of Glamour magazine, on newsstands Aug. 7.

"Everything about me was already so public (mostly my own doing — talk about dumb!), so of course everyone wanted to know what I had done," she writes. "I was also terrified someone would have a tragic result after emulating me without making an informed decision with her doctor."

"But the complete truth is, I was scared of what people might think of me," she continues. "I was afraid to be vulnerable, and ashamed at not being able to get myself under control without this procedure."

Keeping her decision private made her a hypocrite, she says, because she had been so outspoken about her firing from ABC's "The View" last year.
Reynolds, who weighed 307 pounds at her heaviest, says her "out-of-control behavior" began around her 40th birthday in 2002. Feeling lonely, she turned to food for comfort and gained 75 pounds over the course of 17 months. She had the procedure in August 2003.

"I used to look in the mirror and take pride in my figure, but that was when I was legitimately a full-figured woman," she says. "I'd gradually gone from full-figured to morbidly obese."
Reynolds opted for surgery after a friend expressed concern about her weight. It was a success, she says, though she found she was "still consumed with the same anger, shame and insecurity as before."

Her husband, banker Al Reynolds, encouraged her to begin psychological therapy in the summer of 2005. She learned, among other things, that she "couldn't control what others thought," she says. She began to heal by talking openly about her weight loss to strangers.

Monday, August 14, 2006

I'm Ba-a-a-a-ck

Was out of town for a few days, on a speaking tour! I went to speak in three cities at gatherings for morbidly obese folks who are considering the GB. This was my first “official” time as a public speaker and I was very nervous.

I didn’t speak at medical facilities or surgeon’s offices. I don’t regularly align myself with doctors because I’d be speaking to the converted. My peeps are the “should I’s” of the world – not those who are already scheduling their surgery date.

Well, I do not think I could have been made to feel more welcome by any crowd, anywhere. And I loved the questions! I’ll tell you something – people are so intelligent and do NOT sit still for letting doctors just fill their heads with propaganda. They want to know everything and they want details. And you know how I feel about THAT.

So I hit ‘em with details. Every ugly detail there is.

I thought it might be helpful if I used a few of the questions they asked me right here, for my readers who might have been wondering the same thing, so here goes:

Did you have to spend any money at all? Was there anything out of pocket?

I paid for the one psychologist visit that I was made to go through so the insurance company could have professional analysis of my intentions and understanding of the procedure.

Aside from this, nothing. Not a dime. My health insurance paid for every single thing. Three pre-surgical visits to the surgeon’s office, the procedure itself and hospital stay, and five follow-up visits to the surgeon’s office, wherein I did things like: sit with his nutritionist (Bad. I learned from this to not expect the surgeon to have the finest nutritionist on his payroll and to seek outside nutritionist information and advice.), get my stitches removed (owtch!), get weighed in and have the surgeon check out how I was feeling/doing. All of this was covered by health insurance.

How much pain do you go through during recovery? And then at home?

The pain is so minimal in the hospital after the surgery. I mean, they’re giving you pain killers often and you’re hooked up to an IV drip that they regularly refresh with pain killers in it. Also, if you are feeling achy at all, you ring the nurse, she gives you a little shot and you feel ALL better immediately. That was my experience, anyway. The one thing you may experience in the hospital – if you are anything like me – is utter boredom. So bring a lot of books, crossword puzzles, and a Gameboy. They suggest that you walk as much as possible through the hallways of the place and I did that non-stop which my doctor suggested is the reason I was let out of there in 3 days. The walking thing is key because A)you need to work the anesthetics out of your body and walking helps this along, B)walking helps eliminate the risk of blood clots gathering in your legs during recovery.

At home I was equally pain-free. While this is a huge surgery, obviously, it doesn’t have the painful recovery of many other surgeries. The tiny spot where your lower intestine and your stomach meet has just been attached and so it's swollen and needs to heal very well but that does not cause you pain. Unless, of course, you try to stuff yourself with food instead of liquids in your first few weeks at home, which some try to do. I met a man, just a few days ago, who tried to eat STEAK in his second week at home. Can you imagine what he must have felt? He told me he’d wished he was dead during that episode. All the chewing in the world (“chewing” is about to become the most important function in your world, btw) cannot make a healing stomach capable of taking down a steak.

The hospital did send me home with a handful of Percocet but I never took one.

The biggest difficulty I had was sleeping on my back for MONTHS. Well, maybe it wasn’t months. Just felt like it. It was probably 7 weeks. And you won’t be in agony if you try to sleep on your belly in the beginning days at home – you will just be uncomfortable.

I heard you have a large breathing tube and you might still have it in you when you wake up! Will I be awake when they remove the breathing tube?

Ohmigod the breathing tube. I was so panicked about this issue while I was researching! I was frantically asking around about this for months beforehand. I learned that there was a very tiny percentage of people who had the tube removed while they were awake. I also learned it has become even more rare now. I was unable to find one person who had it removed while they were awake. My breathing tube was removed while I was still asleep and of course I don’t have any memory of it.

I will continue to add more Q&As from my speaking engagements as we go...

The GB Girl

Monday, August 07, 2006

I am considering surgery and I actually do think my surgeon’s office is being pretty straight up with me about after effects and complications. Just one thing, though. I heard from a co-worker who had it that your energy levels are kind of non-existent and I do very strenuous work so this would be a problem. The doctor said that my co-worker probably just didn’t take all the vitamins needed and that’s the problem and that I will have nothing to worry about in that department. True?

Kilgore, TX

Hey there, Eugene. A man! I love seeing a man letter. Actually, wait, that’s not fair. I DO get a lot of mail from men but am frightfully underutilizing my male audience. And I am not entirely sure why. Could be that many of the letters ask me things about the size difference in my breasts before and after my surgery and that’s just suspect, no?

Now, Eugene, regarding your completely appropriate and very important letter:

It took me a long time to have the energy I’d had before the surgery. It takes most people about 6 months before they actually feel like they’re “back.” (This is obviously a nightmare for the mothers out there who have young children because they just can’t be out of the game for a minute).

Here’s the thing, Eugene, you’re not dropping off to sleep or anything like that. You can work and function as normal. You just always have the blahs in a big way. A little lethargic, maybe a little sad, though I can’t swear that had anything to do with the surgery.

Then, after 6 months you start to climb out of it and your energy levels rise. This is because your body is back in business – your endorphins are pumping again, metabolically your levels are unified again.

There are exceptions to this, as there are with anything. There are people who are working out, running marathons, jumping outta planes, within 8 weeks. I am just not one of those people. I don’t know how strenuous your work is or how much time you are being permitted to take off after the surgery, but do plan on a drop off in your energy levels for at least 4 months while you are considering whether or not to do this. Good luck, Eugene!!!

GB Girl

And hey, anyone out there reading this…if you have something you want to say to Eugene about this,
send your comments in and I will post them!

Friday, August 04, 2006

I’m a new reader of your blog and I must tell you I really appreciate the honesty you bring. I am 23 years old, 5’1’’ and 225 lbs. I was diagnosed with Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome about 3 years ago and have gained and retained a total of 85lbs since late 2003. I feel like I’m living inside someone else’s body and I can’t get out. I have tried everything I can think of – I work out every day, I’m eating no more than 1000 calories a day (of barely any carbs or sugars of any kind) and nothing is working. I even tried going to a hypnotherapist for weight loss. I think about gastric bypass every day – especially when I look in the mirror. Then I second-guess it and think about how young I am and how there must be something else. How did you make your decision? What would be your advice to me? Thanks for writing me, and thanks for what you’re doing…
Alison N.
Long Island

Hi Alison! Another LI Girl! How I love LI Girls! I love being one, too.

I actually have a good friend who has (er, HAD) Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. She had GB at the advice of her physician. She weighed about 230 at the time of her surgery 5 years ago. As expected, she lost a ton of weight. She’s about 112 pounds now but best of all…the Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is gone gone GONE. And with it, all the dreadful side effects of which you are obviously intimately familiar.

I do not know, and nor does she, that anyone can say that will happen for every person who has GB and also has POS, but it did happen here. One of the best reasons to get GB, of course, is to permanently clear up conditions associated with obesity.

And I, too, tried so many different things to lose weight, Alison. My mother had my glands checked thoroughly 7 times when I was a kid. Doctors put me on Synthroid when I was just 12. My mother started me on diets from A to Z. As an adult, I did every liquid diet invented, and they did work. And of course, I lost 80 pounds, enjoyed it for a bit and quickly ballooned back up (and then some). I did the whole Ephedrine/workout regime thing, sometimes with a trainer, sometimes not. That worked. I lost the same 80 pounds…sometimes more. Enjoyed that a bit and quickly ballooned back up (and then some). I also ate no more than 1000 calories a day and counted every single one. Kept lists, read self-help books, kept a food diary, attended self-awareness classes, joined and immediately quit OA (ugh!) and Weight Watchers (oh puhleeez…with the bumper sticker speak…spare me), ate Shaklee crap (only because my mother was bigtime into it), lived on boiled chicken and broccoli every single day for 14 months, started smoking for 12 years to stave off hunger of any kind (smart!) and stopped just short of committing suicide. And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.

I had one thing to help me with the decision to have the procedure that you may not have the benefit of– I had family members who‘d already had it. I suppose it’s easier to decide when you can see the effect GBS has on people in your gene pool.

My mother and younger sister had already had the surgery and I monitored them very closely for 4 years afterwards. I did see the difficulties they had with loose skin and elimination issues and nutritional maintenance, and that did frighten me. A LOT. But then, I also saw other things...

I saw how chipper they sounded when they’d both been morose for years and years before.

I saw how happy they were for each new day.
I saw them shrink into skinny minis and wear short skirts.
I saw my mother start to use her dreaded exercise machines and enjoy them.
I saw her take pleasure out of little things like ordering a new pair of pants off QVC.
I saw my sister look at herself in mirrors and windows as we walked around a mall.
I saw my mother throw away her Synthroid medication.
I saw my sister cancel her chiropractor appointments forever.
I saw her fall in love and get married.
I saw her run up 3 flights of stairs and continue getting her degree after dropping it for years.

I saw hope, Alison, where I’d never seen it before. And good health. And ENERGY. And I wanted me some a that. And I think you do, too. And I think you deserve it.

And I know what you mean about thinking there must be another way, and you’re right. There are many wonderful and effective ways to lose weight. But for some, losing it and keeping it off are wholly different, regardless of how diligent they are afterwards. You and I can both attest to that. I needed to do it with lasting finality. So I wouldn’t keep aggravating my heart, which had already seen me through ups and downs that could kill a horse. I was able to lose weight on my own but not able to keep it off me, and it was obvious to all the doctors I'd seen over the years that I wouldn't ever be able to keep it off me. So I had GBS.

This is just my story. You have your own. If mine sounds all too familiar maybe you should consider the procedure more seriously. And please please please promise to let me know how you are doing, Alison. I would love to help you make this decision and can offer you fresh perspective when you feel you've run out. And whatever you decide, we’re all rooting for you!

GB Girl

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What is DUMPING, exactly???
Sara T.

Sara, the one thing Dumping is not, is pretty.

And while it is horribly named, and the name is not precisely in line with the nature of the thing itself, it does fit. I mean, in the most juvenile sense, it is you taking a dump. But look on the bright side – it’s also a fanTASTIC automatic safety precaution to stop you from total overindulgence. I say “fantastic” because it is spot-on reliable, baby.

Dumping is a side effect of the surgery that occurs when you take in refined sugar. Oddly, for some, it can also happen when you take in anything that truly disrupts your intestines (and this is different for everyone. Oh, hello there, Salad. I see you lurking over there. You will not win.) The word “Dumping,” by the way, means, “sugar being dumped out of your intestine.” They did not mean it in the Archie Bunker-esque sense when they named this side effect, but still, again…it fits.

Here’s a little textbook copy on Dumping:

“Dumping occurs when the patient eats refined sugar following gastric bypass. This causes symptoms of rapid heart beat, nausea, tremor and faint feeling, usually followed by diarrhea.“

Now, here’s how it really goes for most people (me included):

Eat sugar. A decent amount of it.
Wait ten minutes until you feel a strong rumbling in your stomach.
Run to the bathroom like your life depends on it.
Dump. A lot.

I personally have not experienced Dumping in the afore-mentioned textbook sense, by which I mean that I have never had the rapid sweating, passing out on the floor, writhing, moaning, fainting thing. But it’s not to say I haven’t heard of that happening. For me, it’s just that I have avoided large amounts of sugar since day one out of fear of Dumping. Fear works for me. Every time.

But let’s talk about my friend Beth. In her second week out of the hospital, Beth decided that she’d “been good” and wanted to “spoil herself” and boy, did she. Beth had to have a Dove Bar and she felt she’d earned it. So she did. And from her husband’s retelling of events, it seems that Beth passed out cold on the kitchen floor after yelling, crying and gripping her stomach inconsolably for ten minutes. She also eliminated all over herself. Her husband rushed her to the hospital but she was perfectly restored to normal before he even got her in the Emergency Room doors.

Now that is Dumping for the newbie who is willing to risk it all for a Dove Bar. It’s a cautionary tale, Sara. And, really, is a Dove Bar ever really worth it, in the end? I’ve actually never had one of those, and I suppose it’s a personal choice people have to make for themself, eh?

GB Girl

Monday, July 31, 2006

Heartwarming Letter-O-The-Day

Dear GB Girl, sometimes I think that for a lot of people the decision to get the procedure is a little too easy, like I want to lose that much, that fast, and there’s no other way I would ever be able to do it and they just plunge in. I’m just not one of those people who can decide so easily. I am 48 years old and a mother of two. I am 5'7" and I weigh 348 lbs. I want to be thin and be healthy more than you could ever know but I weigh the pros and cons of this so much it’s starting to make me crazy. But now I have your site and it's so helpful and I have to praise you for putting all this information out there. I honestly think that for a morbidly obese person, the decision to have gastric bypass surgery should be one of the most difficult ones they’d ever make and you are helping me figure out what to do every single day. Thank you so much.
Linda G.

Garden City, NY

Linda, I hardly know what to say except this: Regardless of anything you may hear while you are researching this, know that You Are A Brave and Smart Person. You are the one who is deciding whether or not to change your entire life in order to save it. And in order to enrich it. And you are taking the decision seriously and NOT plunging in. And I should be applauding you for your courage. I wish you the very best in your decision-making progress and in your future. And I hope you will continue to write to me throughout, no matter which way you decide to go. I do know that even having doctors involved, family involved, community involved, it is still you and you alone who have to firmly commit to this. And I know how hard that is. Good luck, Linda!
GB Girl

Friday, July 28, 2006

GB Girl, I’m so scared to do this. I have read stuff from 3 Dr’s offices so I know what it is they do to you but I just don’t know if this is for me. I am 39 and I weigh 300 pounds. I have lost the same 25 pounds 50 times in my life already. Can you tell us what your reservations were about doing it, if you had any?

Camille S.

Camille, I had about ten distinct reservations about doing it that ran through my head constantly. In no particular order:











And don’t think, Camille, that I didn’t have people run very similar, albeit more subtly put, variations on those same points by me every single day while I performed my two-year research study.

You know who didn’t do that to me, though? The psychiatrist I was forced to sit with in order to have a professional let the insurance company know whether or not they should approve me for the procedure. She didn’t do that to me. In fact, she just went over every one of those concerns with me and she and I determined that I was not likely to change my mind afterwards. Though, how she really knew that is beyond me.

Oh by the way…the reason the insurance companies will (and should, I guess) make you get the all-clear from a shrink is so they can know that you are not likely to “change your mind” after the fact, which would mean the surgeon would have to go back in and put everything back the way it was, which costs the insurance companies more moolah. Did you know about this? The shrink explained it to me. Some people do this. They go though ALLLLLL this and then decide it is too difficult for them to maintain the lifestyle changes and they get it switched back.

I can’t fault them. I would NEVER fault them. They are, I am guessing, among the many who were not told everything up front. Who did not have the future complications spelled out for them ahead of time. So they didn’t know. And once they got there, they didn’t like the changes they had to make to every single moment of their day.

And that is what it’s like, Camille. For the first 2-3 years you are someone for whom themes like “nearby bathroom” and “longer sleeves” and "carefully maintain protein and iron levels” have become a daily...nay...hourly refrain. Are you up for that?

Are you up for the not knowing what the long-term future will hold?

If you are, and you are already reading all the stuff on this site, I have to assume you are also checking out every other resource possible in order to make an informed decision. And I applaud you, Camille. And whether you do it or not, know that you have sisters and brothers out there who know what you are going through and are rooting for you! Please really know that. And send me your address, Camille. When I write my book I want to send you one.

GB Girl

Thursday, July 27, 2006

What are the first couple of days like at home after the surgery?
Michele J.
Westwood, CA

To try to really answer that in a detailed way, it would take a book. But let me try to summarize:


1. I was so weirded out by my new wiring because I was afraid I’d bust it, rip it open, stuff like that. At the same time I was trying VERY hard to eat all the protein shakes (one shake took over 2 hours to get down for the first 3 weeks) I was assigned and slowly attempting to add food items off the approved list – things like egg salad and tuna salad are commonly approved after the first week, but I was too afraid that eggs would gross me out and cause me to vomit which you are ALWAYS afraid will happen.

It’s funny…after the myriad vomit warnings, I did not throw up ONCE. Not once.

2. I was warned that I would be really constipated from the hospital medications so I actually had to have someone insert anal suppositories for me because the doctors are eager for you to keep eliminating. They need you regular Wheee!

3. Between those blasted, chalky shakes and my new intestinal avenues, my breath would have KILLED someone who came within ten feet of me. I am serious about this. And no one in the doctor’s office had EVER mentioned this to me (surprise surprise). It actually had me so freaked out that I reported it to my surgeon’s office but they just shrugged (another surprise). So I started doing Internet research. I learned the why, I just didn’t learn the how long. Thankfully, that went away after about a month so if you are in that time frame, Do Not Worry. The frighteningly evil breath will go away. I promise.

That’s a very, VERY basic summary of the first few days at home, Michele. Not terribly illuminating, to be sure, but it's my job to give you the lowdown truth, so there ya have it!

GB Girl
I had my surgery 4 months ago. I was told to wait until 3 months out to start drinking soda again because the stomach has to heal first, which I did. But now that I am drinking it again I get pain sometimes in the side of my stomach. Is this normal? Did that ever happen to you? Regina from Flushing

Regina, listen, when one finds that doing something is causing them pain the first thing they need to do is STOP DOING THAT THING. Like a kid who puts their hand near fire for the first time – they’re not going to do it again. So please, Regina, put down the Mountain Dew and walk away. Right now.

I would love to know who told you that THREE months was long enough to wait until drinking soda again. That is insane and stupid. Soda is so bad for you, Regina. Because you have had a new stomach created for you, you do need to treat it extra gently for a very long time until it’s up and running. And by that I mean wait at least a year before drinking soda, if you ever do. Soda, with its highly concentrated sodium levels and wicked carbonation is going to do nothing but rip through the walls of your brand new stomach lining. You know, that stomach you paid more than the price of a Balenciaga purse for.

I do know from the temptation of the Coke One. I am intimately familiar with the siren’s call of the Diet Pepsi Lime. And Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper? He and I go way back, and it didn’t end pretty.

I started drinking soda again 8 months post-op and did things like diluting it in water, using a full glass of ice and letting the soda soak in that a while to temper it, and leaving cans open for a full day before drinking it, all in an effort to make soda edible for me, but it didn’t work. Drinking soda as a post-operative GBer will make you sick every time. For me, it created diarrhea scenarios that I was forcing myself to live with, gave me aches and pains on the right side and left side, gave me cramps, headaches, and terrible, painful gas. All The Time. Every Time. And being such a slave to soda made it very difficult to give it up, but give it up I did. And only in the last few months, too. But all I did was trade up. Now I’m a slave to my one and only true love - Crystal Light Lemonade.

You might not wanna get me started on that one.

GB Girl

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Our Hero

I would like to dedicate this site today, as I do every day, to Star Jones – International Spokesperson for Gastric Bypass Surgery.

For being proud and fearless and showing others that they can be, too.

For standing tall and acknowledging that needing a potentially life-saving weight-loss procedure
and then getting it is nothing to be ashamed of.

And for using her platform on National television (ooops…scratch that, huh?) to educate

people about the ifs whys and hows of this surgery.

For being a real stand-up, gal…and being as brutally honest as you constantly claim to be,

we salute you, Star Jones.

"On Thursday’s “Larry King Live, Reynolds said she did, in fact, have "medical intervention" for her weight and that Rosie O'Donnell had “just misinterpreted” how she had lost the weight."

M i s i n t e r p r e t e d when you straight out kept denying it?
You sure that’s the word you wanna use, Star?
To my readers: The following letter is representative of roughly 30% of the mail I get. This ONE topic! And you can see why…this is something that has the ability to transcend all categories of age, sex, economy…this sucks for EVERYone who gets the surgery! Read on…

Why is it that when I look at before and after pictures on all the web sites almost every woman has short hair in the after pictures? Do you lose your hair from this? I called a doctor's office and asked and they said occasionally people do lose some hair but not to worry about it. Is this true?
Kelly Pugh
Hackensack, NJ

Kelly, it would be really easy to act blasé and tell you that having this new and gorgeous body just makes a woman want a fresh start and a new look so she goes and gets her hair cut and styled in a trendy way and now she’s ready to take on the world! And that is what the doctor’s office will likely tell you and the support group leaders, too.

Here’s the thing: That’s not the answer.

The truth of the matter is that you will start losing your hair after the surgery. Each and every person who has the surgery. And that is the truth. About 3 months into your recovery and for at least 8 months you will find that your hair is thinning out and making a huge mess of your tub. It’s normal. You have just done something so traumatic to your body and one of the ways the body deals with trauma is by shedding - your hair falling out.

Also, as you know, even with taking in as many calories and nutrients as you can fit afterwards, your body is definitely in shock and starving for the fats, oils and SUGAH it was used to, so the hair is falling out for that reason, as well.

The technical name for it is "Telogen Effluvium". The best thing about it is this: It's temporary. Read some more info about this:

Telogen effluvium is when a stress (such as dieting/weight change) causes noticeable loss of hair after a stressful event. The event can be a physical stress such as an illness (especially with a fever), sudden weight changes (the most common), or a major surgical procedure {{BINGO!}}. Usually, the person losing hair has recovered from the event (or stabilized from the weight change or dietary change), and then they start shedding their hair in clumps. The condition is almost always temporary, and new hairs soon grow back in. Within a few more months the normal random cycle of hair follicle growth and rest resumes. Treatment for telogen effluvium includes waiting for the new hairs to grow in, and trimming and styling the hair to give a fuller look in the meantime.”

One of the best things you can do about this – and this sounds unusual, I know – is to make sure your diet is TRULY and TOTALLY Sugar Free. Sugar really exacerbates the condition. And in my upcoming “Why Sugar Is The Nectar of Satan” column, you can read more about it. As some of you know, I miss sugar SO much and I am SO bitter about having had to give it up, no pun intended. It’s not a laughing matter!!! But that’s a story for another day…back to the telogen effluvium…

It also helps if you do the following:

Up your protein by 15% each day over whatever levels you've been eating.

Drink LOTS of water. 64 ounces is a minimum per day. Not easy with your tiny new tummy but somehow you have to make it work. And the people I know who did that – really forced themselves to drink that water, even when they felt ready to burst, are so happy they did it. Not only did it help them with their hair loss, it also helped their skin and helped in every other way that water helps the bod.

Take your supplements! At a minimum, you should be taking:
-A good multivitamin
-CoEnzyme Q10 - 75-150 mg per day
-Acetyl L-Carnitine - 1000 mg per day
-A good Essential Fatty Acids supplement if you don't eat some form of salmon, tuna, or olive oil every day.

Super long answer, Kelly. And I know from your other emails that you are still in the surgery research stage. I really, truly hope that what you just learned hasn’t turned you off to getting the GB. The hair grows back and in the meanwhile you’re dropping pants sizes left and right and feeling SO much more flexible and healthy. Send me pics. Go Kelly!
GB Girl
I get really funny emails from readers. I love them. One of the main themes, though, is something I don’t find that funny and I want to address it today: The "If You Hate This Surgery So Much Why Did You Do It?" thing.

So here goes.

I DON'T hate this surgery. I was and still am thrilled that science perfected something so utterly life-saving and miraculous as a way to drop tons of weight while getting healthy and agile and everything else...for people for whom the average "weight loss/diet plan/exercise program" is not even an option. My jaw is still on the floor from this. And, on a more personal level, this thing has completely changed the course of my life - all in positive ways!

So of course I don't HATE this surgery. I just grow tired of people not being given all the details about what they will go through, from A to Z. I do feel that the medical establishment is both crudely jaded and, frankly, bored by the most basic of questions to even bother addressing them. And what the hell is up with that?!

If a person is going to go all Frankenstein on themselves and REWIRE their body, I think the very least the establishment (which is getting ever richer by the day because of it) can do is address questions and worries and even present every single potential issue or worry a person may eventually have, even if they happen to just a fraction of people in the post-surgical world. Is that too much, folks? Am I asking too much??!

OK...enough venom. Let's get to today's letter:

Why am I working out every day and still dealing with very bad hanging skin? Does this go away? Are there any tricks to it? I lost 106 lbs so far and my thighs and my butt are really sagging even though I run on the treadmill 2 miles a day.
Tiffany W.
Phoenix, AZ

Tiffany my girl, WELCOME TO MY WORLD! As we all know by now, I have lost a lot of weight and I am in my mid-30’s. For this reason, I was told by my surgeon that it was "likely" that my skin would bounce back like a rubber band. HA HA HA. It isn’t.

Every inch of me…and I do mean every inch…is sagging like a hound dog’s jowls. Interestingly, my mother, who had this surgery 4 years ago, when she was 63, DID have her skin bounce back. That should not be and no chart would say it was even possible. Oil of Olay be damned.

This is what I mean when I say it is different for everyone. The elasticity of your skin depends on a lot of factors and I do hate to tell you this but there are parts of your body that will never respond to exercise if the elasticity in that area is shot. I wouldn’t waste your money on schmancy supplements that claim to renew elasticity, either. They are not going to work. Stick with herbal help: Vitamin C has a great reputation for strengthening elasticity in the skin, as do all strong antioxidants, and you should start taking some of that right now. I am taking them but wish I had been doing so for ages before I even had the surgery.

Obviously plastic surgery is an option but that is incredibly costly. I, myself, am saving pennies for brachioplasty – an upper arm lift. I spend hours here: http://www.locateadoc.com/gallery.cfm/Action/List/ProcedureID/95

I'm thinking about that new one that tucks the extra skin into the armpit. New. Revolutionary. Terrifying. We’ll see. I mean, I have to do something. I can fly, at this point.

Serum 10 is amazing for this, with all its L-ascorbic acid and tons of Vitamin C. Check it out:

And have you considered yoga and pilates, Tiffany? Stre-e-e-e-tching out your muscles in this way will work as stretching works on ballerinas - it will lengthen and strengthen your muscles in a very beautiful way. And with that and some Vitamin C every day, you could be helping your skin along a lot! Good luck!

GB Girl
When you're sliding into first
And your pants begin to burst
diarrhea, diarrhea
When you're sliding into two
And your pants are filled with goo
diarrhea, diarrhea
When you're sliding into third
And you feel a greasy turd
diarrhea, diarrhea

Yeah. OK, so I am like that 7th grade kid back in Woodland Jr. High (Long Island, NY, folks...which should explain a lot) who banged smaller guy's heads into lockers and screeched the lyrics to The Diarrhea Song to any girl who passed him on the lunch line...what can I say? The scars of childhood.

Let's get to today's letter:

Dear Gb Girl: I am almost 9 months out of surgery. Roux-en-Y. I am having diarrhea every single day at this point. My surgeon’s office said there’s nothing they can do and nothing to be done even if they wanted to. They said it’s normal. Is that true? I didn’t read that anywhere and they never told me this might happen.
Casi B.
Detroit, MI

First off, don’t you hate the name of that procedure? RUIN Y ?! Y RUIN !!? As in WHY RUIN MY STOMACH ??!! But I digress…OK, I love your letter so much, Casi, because this is one of those unfathomably IGNORED issues that is very MUCH an issue. You WILL have diarrhea. Lots and lots and lots of it. It can start almost a year out of surgery or any time after that. I, myself, am still in the honeymoon/diarrhea phase of my post-surgical life and so I want to introduce you to my very good new friend: Casi…meet Imodium D. Your stomach and, moreso, your intestines, are still trying to adjust to their new surroundings. They’re in the nesting phase. Getting used to the curtains…the view…Any little thing can rupture this peaceful situation and will do so, any chance it gets. Once you are closer to 2 – 2 1/2 years out of surgery, the diarrhea will stop…or lessen to a very great degree.

Sooooo many of the letters I get tell me this all the time, so that’s how I know it is true…not because a nurse in a doctor’s office told me so. Unless, of course, she’s a nurse who HAD this procedure. Just take your Imodium, avoid eating anything that’s making your particular situation even worse (Oh, and look - in walks in my main nemesis: SALAD, anyone??), drink water drink water drink water as much as you can…diarrhea is terribly dehydrating, and keep bananas around the house. They bind you up.

But see, there again, though…that’s up to your new body…I was told that rice binds everyone up, no matter what, so I tried it. I lived inside the toilet bowl for like 3 days after that. Rice does not bind me up. I know you wanted a more pleasant answer but this is all there is, Casi. The truth aint pretty. Oh, and keep a can of Lysol around, k?

GB Girl

The GB Girl Is In

Have you had Gastric Bypass Surgery? Are you thinking of having it? Are you so tired of reading the "advice" given by boring Health sites that do, indeed, present facts of the procedure but not really ANY pertinent information about what your life will be like afterwards???

I was, too. And I am guessing you knew that.

So EMAIL ME! Send me pictures, stories, questions. I will get back to each of you. And I will begin posting my diary from 6 months before I got the surgery til today.
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