22 Yr Old Gets Laparoscopic Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG, Gastric Sleeve, Etc.) - El Paso, TX

After realizing the Lap Band was just not for me...

After realizing the Lap Band was just not for me ("Fills" for the rest of my life and I'm only losing up to 50% of my weight loss goal? Oh heck nah. lol) I knew I needed another weight loss surgery option. Gastric Bypass? No Thanks. I'd like to keep my intestines where they are right now.

Well I didn't give up, I searched and searched, raping that Google button all night long until I stumbled upon another option, called Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. (VSG, Gastric Sleeve, etc.) I had never heard of this and to my surprise.. neither had my doctor. She researched it and came back to me sure she would deter me by telling me I was strong and beautiful and could do it on my own. Ahem.. Let's just say.. I had no filer on that particular day, okay? She got an earful. I was by no means rude, but I let her know my situation. The WHOLE situation.

Synopsis: I've been obese since birth. Over 10 lbs at my first ever weigh in. I had to get my school uniform specially tailored because they didn't offer my size in the children's catalog. I went to a dark place in year 7. Cutting myself and taking depression pills before crying myself to sleep. I missed so much of my childhood due to my weight. I pretended that hearing "you're pretty for a big girl." for the thousandth time didn't hurt my feelings, I pretended going to the mall and having to stop at the plus size stores while my friends shopped at Guess, BeBe and even the Wallmart Juniors section, didn't kill me inside.. *SIGH* Needless to say, I was never able to have a normal childhood and I would NOT be robbed of my twenties.

After her earful, my doctor shook her head and told me she was sorry while walking out the door. Had she even listened? Is she serious? I went bizerk. I had a crying fit and wanted to give up right there. She listened like she cared but denied my plea for help. I went home and slunk into the couch with a cookie, ready to give up on it all. Enter mama bear. My mom made her famous speech.. She knows God will provide. He will hear our prayers. Just.. Let go and let God so to speak. I didn't want to hear it at that low point, but I knew she was right. But when? I've needed help for so long. When is it my turn? I'm a good person, I thought. I deserve this.

Wait.. Ya, that's right. I deserve this. I AM a good person. God wants me to be happy, but I need to first believe for miracles to happen, right? (All my mothers wise words came flooding back to me then. Thanks Mom. haha)

So I got on my knees, (newly confident) and prayed. Thanking God for the opportunity to even be there at that point, and asked for true guidance. I needed to be be guided in the right direction.... And boy was I! :)

The next week I got a text telling me to put on "The Doctors", because the show that day was about some miraculous surgery that helped this woman and her daughter, that was around my age. Woah... It was the surgery I had researched and asked the doctor about! VSG.

The show talked about how there was no re-routing of your intestines, making for NO dumping syndrome and even showed studies where there was 30% more weight loss than most other surgical options. I was sold before, but now I was determined. I knew this was the direction I needed to go in.

I made another appointment with my doctor and let her know I had settled with this as my weight loss option, and if she didn't feel comfortable with helping me through this journey then I'd have to find another physician. She talked it over with me and asked my mother be present as well. She spoke, we listened. She hugged me, admitted she asked around and found a few of her doctor pals have patients who had this surgery. Apparently their results were staggering. She had changed her mind! She would write to my insurance on my behalf and request that I be granted this surgery..

The next month, my insurance accepted our request and I proudly sat in the very front row of this big room filled with others like me. I was at a VSG seminar. One step closer to achieving my goal. I watched the surgeon's slide show. I looked at before and after photos that made me want to cry. People bigger than me, turning into these *Normal* looking members of society. People who were wheel chair bound.

I felt big walking into that seminar. I walked out feeling overwhelmed... In a good way =) About a week later, I got some blood tests and an EKG to make sure I was healthy enough for the upcoming surgery. I obviously was, and I was on my way to the Pre-Op visit.

I sat in another room and was told what I should eat before and after surgery. How this is a life style change.. Blah Blah Blah. Cut my tummy already lol I got weighed, and was sent home to wait for my surgery date.

About a month later I was in a hotel, NOT eating before my surgery. haha No, it wasn't that bad. I did eat as many Pedialite popsicles beforehand because I heard you need to keep extremely hydrated for the surgery. I believe it, because my nurse mentioned how I was one of the only people on that floor who wasn't complaining about pain. I attribute it to hydration.

Hmm.. What else.. Oh, so I had to take a Barium test before I was cleared to go back home, and it is NOT as bad as people say. They need to stop being sissies. Ya it tastes chalky, but you're not going to die. I heard so many horror stories about it, IT'S RIDICULOUS. lol sheesh.

Anyways. I was good to go, and I did just that. I had my surgery on the 15th and got back home on the 17th. When I did get home, though. I had a belly that looked like I was pregnant. Filled with air, and swollen from the surgery. It took maybe a week or two to go back down.

As far as eating and drinking.. The first month was a bit challenging. I was pretty thirsty all month due to not being able to drink as much as my body was used to. I used to drink water like a fish. But I kept trying, like they tell you at Pre-Op.. Sip, Sip, Sip. All day long. It gets so much easier.

I measured how much I could eat at a time. The first month I ate broth, yogurt, pureed baby food and applesauce. All at 1 oz. Increments. | The second month I could eat 2 - 2 1/2 oz. of food at a time, and I ate soft food like eggs and spam. | The third month I ate around 4 oz of food and ate real foods but treaded carefully. Meat, I made sure to chew thoroughly and I tried rice.. Both sat very heavy, but I was able to eat a bit if I liked. | By the fourth month I feel like I've eaten like this my whole life. I can eat up to 6 oz of food, but I really don't on the norm. I don't feel the need to, and I'm confident that I'm getting my nutrients in (I take vitamins and choose healthy or at least healthyish foods lol) so I don't worry if I eat less than this.

I have tried all the normal foods, pasta, rice, meat, veggies.. Whatever I eat, I just eat a small amount. I like to say that now I eat like a girl. My family makes fun and says I just smell my food. lol But I do eat, and I'm never denying myself foods I love. I just know that I will have great portion control, so there's no need to worry about "pigging out".

I DO NOT CHECK MY WEIGHT. I flat out refuse at this point.. I'm 5'0", and before the surgery I was a size 28. Ya, take that in. I currently lose around a size (15ish lbs) a month.. I have not really exercised yet due to a torn knee ligament, but I do plan on it. Also, I do not know the price of this surgery due to it being paid in full by my insurance. I will try to look into that though.

Basically, I would highly recommend this surgery to anyone, and have! I'll keep updating every month and try to track my progress through pictures. Thanks for reading! =)

Updated pics and an old journal entry.

"I am bound and gagged by my birthright. Hot tears sting my face as my gasps for air grow more desperate.. My calls for help fall upon deaf ears. I'm drowning in the icy waters of my sorrows. My eyes are growing heavy with exhaustion... Anybody.. Please?"

*sigh* That was a long time ago, and I read that with a smile, these-days.

The surgery is taking care of my outside, it's up to me to take care of the inside. I've decided to do so through acceptance. This is my journey, and I'm SO glad to be here.

My self loathing has become a thing of the past. I struggle with keeping it there, in the past, but I'm a work in progress and I'm okay with that right now. =)

Christmas Time has come (& Gone..) again.

So I've officially made it through my first holiday since my surgery!!
Christmas was very nicely done. I had many fears about seeing all of my family.. The whole flight there I was going over my list of fears for this holiday.

Pictures. Oh no. The food. Will they be insulted if I can't eat it? hmph. I can't wait till I hear what snide remarks they'll make this time.. lol But it was all for nothing! As you can see, I expected to at least be mildly upset but I actually had a wonderful time.

Only a few times was I prodded to "leave the diet for after the holidays." and "LIVE A LITTLE! Have some more girl!" lol They meant well, I mean I guess my eating can be misconstrued as a diet. Especially on holiday, and at this size. Let's face it, most big people eat.. Well they eat like I used to. Always filling the large plate at least once, if not twice.

Isn't that amazing? I'm not even TRYING to lose weight. I'm not on a diet. I'm just living my life as normal as if I never had the surgery. I get so many questions from people about my experience, and the most common concern seems to be if they'll still want to eat. Will they still have hunger or will they no longer enjoy food. Let me tell you something. I love food just as much as I did before this life change.

I get hungry like before, just not ferociously. Meaning, I don't feel starved 5 hours between a meal. If I went 6 hours without eating, I'd get irritated and end up eating junk, just to feel something went in basically haha

Now it is differnt, as I no longer need the junk. I can wait until the food is ready. I can also be satisfied with a fraction of the plate I used to eat. Just for fun I'll take a picture of a plate I used to eat and one I eat now for reference. (Hopefully I can remember to do that lol I've been absent minded lately. hehe I blame the holidays.)

Anyways, thank you all so much for the encouragement and well wishes! If anyone is looking into this surgery and doubting.. Please don't. Remember that you're worth it. You're more than your addiction to food, the reflection in the mirror, the health issues. You can do this. It's not as hard as you think. If you need moral support, hey.. I'll be there for you =) I've had such a hard time getting to this point, and now that I'm here.. I couldn't be happier.

My life is finally becoming mine to live. I have always felt trapped in this body. I've felt like I wasn't the reflection I saw in the mirror. I now know that I'm not. I'm so much more. x

I've been gone for longer than I thought! lol

I'm so sorry, I promised I'd write a bit and share pics every month but I've had some personal drama. ANY WHO.....

I've got some news! >:)

- For one: I've lost an extreme amount of weight already. When asked how much I've lost so far I couldn't say for the longest. Until I got on a doctor's scale at a friends appointment. ...

My gasp and shocked look must have looked like so many others that go into that office. Like I've over done the doughnuts again and the pounds creeped up on me.

It's my pleasure to say I hadn't gained an ounce, for once in my life. I had lost 100lbs in 6 months!

January 2015 was the best month of my life so far. I cannot believe it. Honestly, I don't see 100 lbs shed just yet. But as I inch closer to my "goal" weight I am moving so much more comfortably, crossing my legs like a champ again and wearing clothes because I enjoy them. NOT because it's the only pair of pants left in my size, or because this shirt is the only option that will cover my gooey arms. lol

Although, let me explain.. I still have a big body. I have lots to go before I'm anywhere near the skinny jeans kind of body. Newsflash. I may never wear booty shorts, but I'm starting to see my thighs as more than big turkey legs. I have a chubby body, but I'm getting healthy! Yeah! That feels better than anything to keep it on the real.

I know that I won't pass on excruciatingly poor eating habits to my children. I can teach them what's a portion and be a good example as well. I'm stopping the giant plate mentality so many of us have become accustom to and it's so liberating.

- For a quick update on how I'm getting on with my portions in case you were wondering.. I can eat 3/4c and feel VERY full. Not full as in "Garcon, please wheel me out to my car, for I am unable to walk." kind of full, but FULL. If that makes sense. I've tried eating a cupful of food and it's not smart. lol Don't do that. It feels like you've eaten a brick. That's not what were after here kiddos. I know it's a hard one to get used to. If it wasn't for the surgery in all honesty, I'd continue to eat until I'm full or be left feeling horridly unsatisfied. I now have learned when I'm truly HUNGRY, and not just bored or have room in my belly.

This surgery is SO worth it. I realized I've said it times before, but I've heard so many say their scared because they LOVE food and want to continue their love affair. SO?? You can love food and also love your body, okay? Okay. :) Don't think this is going to make life miserable for you. It's going to make it better in so many ways. You'll still enjoy food but it won't be your master. You'll live life like you should, satisfied and happy. You're worth it!

Hope you're all doing well. Have a great weekend.

- OnTheReal
El Paso Bariatric Surgeon

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