A Rocky Road - Denver, CO

My parents both died in my early thirties, a year...

My parents both died in my early thirties, a year apart. My daughter was an infant, my hubby was in the Air Force and was deployed a lot, and I became very depressed and was put on antidepressants. I gained a ton of weight. I tried to lose weight, and I fought for "fat acceptance" in my head and in society until I was 45 and I had had 3 failed shoulder surgeries. My orthopedic surgeon refused to do the shoulder replacement I needed until I lost at least 100 pounds, and he recommended gastric bypass, since I had tried pretty much every other way to lose weight. I felt like I was selling out my feminist beliefs and my "fat acceptance" beliefs, but I couldn't live with the pain any more, and the bariatric doc painted a very rosy picture of what life would be like after surgery--no more fatigue, depression, knee pain, sleep apnea, you name it, it would be fixed. I reluctantly scheduled the surgery.

During the surgery I had uncontrollable bleeding and required two units of blood transfused, and then my potassium levels dropped dangerously low and I had to stay in the hospital for two weeks. I was so sick and weak. Eventually I got to go home, and I stuck religiously to the diet plan, scared to death I would end up back in the hospital.

Over the course of a year and a half, I lost 160 pounds. People were much nicer to me in public. People who casually knew me worried that I was sick because I didn't "come out" about the surgery to many people. Mostly, though, I got rave reviews. I lost my bustline, which was hard to take. At the two year point, when I could drink carbonated beverages again, even though I only drank diet drinks, I gained back 20 pounds. Luckily it was mostly boobs, which made my hubby and me both happy!

AT about 18 months, I developed terrible abdominal pains that traveled to my back and shoulders. I thought I was having a heart attack and actually had to call an ambulance. At first the doctors thought it was a heart attack, too, but it turned out that a stitch attaching my small intestines to my stomach had become perforated and I had become septic. The other docs wanted to operate, but my bariatric surgeon said it wouldn't help because all the tissue was soft and spongy and would tear through, like butter. The solution was total rest--nothing by mouth for a month--IV nutrition and IV antibiotics. That seemed like forever! Thank heaven, it healed up and I've been okay since the IV antibiotics and a long course of oral antibiotics ended.

All in all, for me the cons outweighed the pros, but it is fun to wear a size 10, and I have a much easier time buying clothes. I have a lot of loose, flabby skin on my belly, which doesn't show in my clothes, and it's much easier living in this fat-phobic society. I haven't flown yet with this new body, but I imagine that will be much easier too, now that I won't encroach on anybody's space. And I did get most of my boobs back. I'm still tired a lot, depressed, and really slow moving, which is a disappointment.

Dr. Frank Chae

He was very efficient about getting the surgery done, but very quick to pass me off after that. Now I go for "follow ups" but almost every question is passed off to my primary doctor. Kind of a waste of time.

2 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
1 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
1 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
1 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
1 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
2 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
4 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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