34 Y.o. with Lifetime Weight Battle Decides to Get Gastric Sleeve - India

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Hi All, Here's a little about me: I'm 34 years...

Hi All,
Here's a little about me: I'm 34 years old, 5'4, ~260 lbs,with no kids and am currently living abroad. (I mention this because it makes my situation a bit more complicated.) I have struggled with my weight pretty much all my life. I guess I was normal-sized until I was around 7 or so, and then I started to blossom...aka get chubby. My weight has yo-yoed quite a bit with me being able to take off between 45-65 lbs a couple of times in the last 15 years, however, I of course, can't seem to manage to keep it off. I would definitely say I have had an eating disorder (I was anorexic for a period during my teenage years, but would mainly identify as a compulsive over eater) and I can admit that this must be some kind of addiction (I mean, if I could stop on my own, I would have by now...I certainly know what to do!). I come from a family of alcoholics, where either you are one, are married to one, or have an eating disorder. I've done a ton of research both on eating disorders and nutrition; at this point, I think I know everything there is about nutrition and the workings of the mind...and yet according to the charts I'm morbidly obese. I even tried OA for a few years, managed to lose 65 lbs in about 6 months and then eventually lost my "abstinence".

So I have been living abroad since February. First I was in Abu Dhabi and now that it's summer, I'm traveling in Thailand. I'm a pretty impulsive person, so 2 months ago this wasn't even a thought in my mind. But I've just gotten to the point where I'm fed up with this problem. My weight is too big a part of my story and I've definitely let it hold me back in many areas of life. I want to live as full a life as possible, and at this point...I can't even hike up those beautiful mountains I see every morning. I'm also beginning to worry about my health as I do want to have children one day and am aware that being this heavy could cause many complications.

So...I have scheduled an appointment for the gastric sleeve procedure in Mumbai, India with Dr. Ramen Goel. My surgery date is a week and a half away! (ahhh, the nervousness begins!) I do not have insurance and will be paying for this partly with cash and the other part credit. I was given a pre-op diet which is essentially low carb with one or 2 protein shakes as meal replacements a day. I have to admit, I haven't been an angel on this diet as I'm in Thailand and can't read Thai. Also I live with a host mom and am fed at work by our cook, so I don't have as much control as I'd like. There's definitely been some sugar here and there and a bit of rice too. I hope this isn't detrimental and will try my best to tighten up in the week ahead.

I'll try my best to keep everyone posted on my progress, and please, if you've ever heard of or know anything about my doctor, please fill me in. I couldn't find many reviews on him other than his site, though he seems pretty legit.

chubby pics

Ahhhh! Less than one week away!

Ok guys, I'm starting to freak out. My surgery is scheduled for July 7th...so 6 days away! I've got so much on my mind right now and so much stress. Yesterday I applied for a medical visa to India and apparently, I'm really cutting it close because I fly out on the 6th. Fingers crossed that everything goes well and I'll get it Friday evening.

As for my diet....ehhh. I've been in contact with my Dr. and his staff via email and phone only. They sent me a one pager that I should be drinking protein shakes 1-2 times a day and essentially a low carb diet otherwise. Well, ummm, I'm in Thailand and all the labels are in Thai. In addition, since I'm living with a host mom and eat at work whatever the cook makes, I can't say I've been totally low carb. I see that most people on here lose a rack of weight with their pre-surgery diet. I don't think I'll be able to say the same. The selection of sugar free and protein supplements is seriously lacking and I think there might be some sugar in my powder...making it relatively yummy :) The nurse sent me an email the other day and actually said I could have a light breakfast and lunch the day before surgery and then only fluids afterwards. Did anyone else get this recommendation? I'm hoping to be down a few pounds on the day of surgery, but it probably won't be anything miraculous.

As for afterwards, I'll be staying in a hotel in india, solo :( after surgery for about 5 days so i can check back in with the doc before I leave. Then I'll head back to Thailand and let my host mom take care of me for another week. At the beginning of the 3rd week out, I'm planning to continue my travels on down to the south of Thailand. I haven't planned much yet, because I really have no idea what kind of shape I'll be in. I'd love to explore, do some hiking and swimming, but I know that I may just be laying low and doing some walking on the beach.

Please send some love and messages my way as I'm pretty anxious at this point and don't really have a strong support system over here. I'd like to know what you think of my pre-op diet and whether I need to really tighten up. I'd also like to know whether those who have had the surgery done think I'll be fine to do some traveling starting at 3 weeks post op.

Mumbai, here I come!

After a crazy, hectic connection where I had to switch airports, which are an hour apart in Bangkok, I am finally ready to board my flight to Mumbai. I'm allowed to have a light lunch and then will be fasting the rest of the time until tomorrow morning. Not exactly sure when I need to stop drinking water though; I'll have to check on that. Tomorrow, I'm sure, will be chaotic as I will be getting ALL my testing done prior to surgery. It seems that everybody on this site is in the U.S. And their insurance co required them to do it all over a period of 6 mo or so...so I'm definitely anxious that I'm doing everything in one day. But on a positive note, I'll have the rest of the summer to recover as I don't have to go back to school till mid-August and will just be teaching online classes till then. Will try to post tomorrow. Please keep me in your prayers!

4 days post op and feeling good! :)

Hi All,

So it happened. I was sleeved in Mumbai, India by the amazing Dr. Ramen Goel (highly recommend him!) on Tuesday, July 7th. The day of surgery I had all my pre-op tests done and weighed in at 117 kgs/258 lbs (yikes!). Everyone was friendly and very welcoming and accommodating...but honestly, I was scared out of my mind! Reading through all the paperwork I had to sign didn't make it any easier, nor did the fact that I was completely alone. But the nurses were sweet and reassuring. While the state of the operating room was new and up to western standards, my room and bathroom was not, so this also added to my nervousness. (They also didn't have wifi, so I couldn't get in contact with family and friends until late the next night.) But once I was wheeled in, it was all over and I was waking up...with tubes being pulled from my mouth and excruciating pain in my back and tummy. They had me hooked up to IVs and gave me plenty of fluids and drugs, but I don't think they were as strong as the ones I hear people getting in the states. The first night was rough. I was out of surgery by 3 pm and they had me walking by 7pm. I got incredibly nauseous in the hallway and started dry heaving, so that was enough of that. The next morning I was surprised at how much better I felt, and honestly, each day I wake up feeling better and better! I haven't been on the scale yet, but I'm pretty sure I've lost a good 5 lbs since surgery! The doctor says he believes I'll lose about 12kgs/26 lbs in the first month! Whooo hoo! I'm down!

I stayed in the hospital for a total of 3 nights (my choice... since it was included in the fee, figured I'd take advantage of the place to stay and friendly nurses). The only stuff they gave me the day after surgery was water and coconut water. The next day they added tea and broth soup, and eventually I got a pureed vegetable soup. It was really surprising how half a cup of soup could fill me up so much. And the feeling of being full is far different now: it's higher, in my chest, and uncomfortable!

Yesterday before I left the hospital, I met with the Dr, who gave me some advice and checked out my tummy, their psychologist, who also had this done and looks great, a dietician, and his wife who explained the meds and vitamins and put me in their online support groups. Honestly, they were great. There were many patents waiting to speak with the Dr who had either recently had the procedure done or were considering it, and a few wanted to speak with me about my experience. That was pretty cool. I really think I had an awesome Dr; he used really small instruments to do my surgery and my incision sites are tiny! I have 4 on my tummy and one in my belly button and they just kinda look like someone jabbed me with a pencil. I told the Dr. I had a raw, pulling sensation that was painful when I walk and move and he informed me that it was where he stitched up my muscles to prevent a hernia. Oh, they even videotaped my surgery and gave it to me on a DVD. Not sure if I have the guts (lol) to watch it though!

Fast forward to today, its Saturday and the 4th day after my surgery. I still have the pulling sensation, but its not so bad. Just hurts when I stand up after sitting for awhile. I was feeling good so I went to the gym to use the treadmill in the gym in my hotel. I ended up doing 30 min and kept increasing the speed a little at a time. It felt great and I wanted to do more, but decided against it. Then I sat in the sauna for awhile (Dr. said this is ok as long as I'm hydrated). However, I had a little problem when I got back to my room....

I was hungry and decided to order a soup off the menu that was made with a chicken broth base. Well, dammit, it was freaking delicious and came with a basket of freshly baked rolls :( So, being the compulsive overeater that I am, I dunked a piece of bread in the soup and ate it. It went down ok when it was soaked, so I ended up finishing both the soup and the roll. And then...I felt terrible for the next 30-45 minutes. I finally had a bit of diarrhea (sorry!) and my stomach settled. So...maybe I need to stick to not so yummy food until my tummy heals, cuz it's hard not to overdo it. Glad I didn't throw up though! Just going to stick to water and tea for the rest of the evening.

That's all for now. Thanks so much for all the encouragement and well wishes! I will update again soon.

Wooo Hoooo! Weight loss Post op 5 days

Hey All!

Wanted to give you a quick update. I found a scale in the gym today and stepped on it wearing my sneakers and AFTER consuming a bottle of water, cup of tea and protein shake....drum roll... I'm down 9 lbs (4kg) from my surgery weight! Whooo hoo! That's only 5 days! I assume quite a bit is simply water weight, but I'll take it!

Morning of surgery I weighed in at 117 Kg/258 lbs and today I was 113 kg/249 lbs. Honestly, I think my weight the last month or so was a bit inflated as I was very swollen. I went to the hospital after being in Thailand for a week with calves and legs so swollen I looked like I had elephantiasis! (Thais love their fish sauce, which is their form of salt, and is very high in sodium. So I believe this was the culprit as after many tests, they found nothing wrong with me.) On top of that, I was no angel the day before surgery. My Dr. allowed a "light lunch and breakfast" and well, I ended up having a value meal at McDonalds for breakfast and eating the entire meal on the airplane for lunch. Far from light! (Definitely some pre surgery emotional eating!)

Both today and yesterday I walked on the treadmill for 30 mins (which felt great!) and then sat in the sauna for about 10 min. But regardless of wether this is water weight or not, my body is happy to be carrying 9 lbs less! For the last couple years I've yo-yoed between 220 and 250, so my body feels a little back to normal regarding my size; the last few months I've been pretty uncomfortable in my skin.

I'm still taking the antacids and baby antibiotics as prescribed by my Dr. Today I had soup again, but learned from yesterday's mishap and divided it into 2 meals as opposed to one. Felt much better for it!

Ok, that's all for now realselfers. I'm headed back to Thailand early in the morning and will update when I can. Much love to you all!

2 Weeks Post-Op: Not happy :(

Hi Realselfers,

Today marks my 2 week post op surgervirsary...and I am not happy. I have been having 1 to 2 protein shakes a day and eating a little bit of soup, purred veg, and/or lentils in between. I've even been walking daily and doing a light exercise video and yet....I haven't lost an ounce :( In fact, the other day I was back up to 115 Kg! I read that your body can go into starvation mode and not want to drop any weight, so the next 2 days I tried to eat more...yesterday I ate the most, having 1 protein shake and 3 small meals, and this morning it did go back down to 113 kg. But ugh! Doc said I should lose 10% of my body weight in the first month (26lbs) with 5% the first week (13 lbs) and the other 5 over the next 3 weeks. I've only lost 9 lbs total and that was in the first 5 days...then nothing after.

On another note...I think I dumped the other day. I was watching a video by a US doctor who was talking about the food stages and he said adding fruit to a protein shake was ok. So...I added a small banana (you know the little ones?) to my shake in the morning. Well, I felt sick for the next few hours, frequently running to the bathroom and just feeling bad all together. That day I only had 2 protein shakes total. So I'm guessing that the banana had too much sugar and my body can't handle that right now.

Today I moved on to poached eggs and yesterday I had a soup with soft veggies and tofu that I didn't puree...so food-wise, I think I'm moving forward. It's crazy how little I can get down, and honestly, I think I push it at every meal cuz I'm always a bit uncomfortable after eating. As for water...I'm struggling. Its very difficult for me to get it all in, especially since we're not supposed to drink anything for 30 min before or after eating. Back home I loved water with lemon, but here they don't have lemons (crazy, right?) just limes, so I'm making do. I really wish I could find something like crystal light over here, but so far the only diet beverages I found are sodas. I typically don't drink that stuff cuz its full of chemicals, but at this point, I don't care. I just want something refreshing!

So my plan this week is to continue walking, try to eat a bit more or get at least 2 shakes in, and get more water. Hopefully, next week I'll have some better numbers to report.

17 days post op...Woosh!

Hey All,

So after my last post where I was frustrated with my stall so early out, I did some research. There's something called a "woosh effect" (this is a scientific term). They did studies on men who were on a low calorie/starvation diet and noticed they started dropping weight slower and slower. Then when they reached a goal they celebrated with a high calorie meal. The next day the men all lost a considerable amount of weight. (The fat was like..."Whoosh, I'm outta here!") So after checking in with some people here, talking with my Dr. and doing some research, I realized that I was not getting nearly enough protein or calories. The next day I switched to having 2 protein shakes as opposed to 1 and added a poached egg. And WOOSH! After 3 days I'm down to 110kg/242! So that's a loss of 3 kg or 6.6 lbs in 3 days. Crazy!

As for exercise, I'm still walking 25-40 min day. I had added some low impact aerobic and toning videos, but then after one I noticed my stomach was really sore where the doctor sewed my muscle...it almost felt like I tore it a bit. So now, I'm taking it easy as I don't want to mess anything up! I'm getting a bit restless and bored though because I really want to be out and about hiking and kayaking etc, and instead I'm just kinda lying around. Hoping my tummy soreness will be gone next week and I can start doing a bit more.

Hope all my fellow sleeves are doing well. Will post again at 3 weeks out. Much love!

10.5 months post and 73 lbs down!

Hi Everyone,

For those I was talking with and who were following me at the beginning of my journey, I'm so sorry for the lack of updates. In short, I'm doing well. I didn't have any complications with the surgery, and once I got back into my routine, the weight really started falling off. At first, I was able to maintain an excercise routine, but as I've been busy with work and hunting for a new job, it's kinda fell by the wayside. As for my weight, it has slowed down to a snail crawl since January, so once I was about 7 months out. I think I've only lost 10 lbs since January. My doctor says I should've lost more by now, and I agree. Its definitely my fault as I have not been able to kick the sugar habit or maintain a strict enough diet and excercise plan. I do notice that when I up my protein, I tend to lose more that week. I'm now trying to get back on track with my food and working out, so figured updating here would be a good start.

Overall, I'm really happy with where I am. On the day of surgery, I weighed in at a miserable 258 lbs! Now I'm down to 185 lbs :). I feel good and healthy and it's amazing to go shopping and not worry about clothes fitting...cuz now, they always do! What's even crazier is that in H&M I've had to buy a size medium in tops!!!! (What?!)

As for my diet, I try to eat healthy and usually have a smoothie or an egg for breakfast. I always pack my lunch and usually make my dinner too, which is some meat and veggies, or a sandwich or yogurt. The reason I haven't lost as much as I should is the sugar I still put in my coffee, and the too frequent chocolate treats. :(

As for my body, I actually think I looked better a few years back at a slightly higher weight. That coulda been because I was younger, or because I had lost the weight through rigorous exercise and diet, so my body was more toned. For sure, my big booty has gotten a bit small, so I know I need to hit the gym and tone it up!!!

As for my skin, my doctor was absolutely amazing and you can't even see my scars on my stomach...actually, I've started rocking high wasted jeans with midriffs with relative confidence :) My skin definitely isn't as firm though. I would like to lose another 20 lbs, getting me down to 165 (93 lbs lower than surgery) and I'm a bit scared of what my skin will look like. I know I will need some reconstructive surgery after I get to goal. Namely for my breasts, arms, thighs and possibly my tummy depending on how it looks. I know it's not something I should focus on now as I still have a ways to go...but it does worry me a bit.

Overall, this has definitely been one of the best decisions I've ever made, and although I'm far from perfect or over my "food issues", life is a hellava lot better post sleeve!
Dr. Ramen Goel

Absolutely loved my Dr. He has a lot of experience in bariatric surgery and people travel from all over the world to have him work on them. He was kind and professional, spent as much time talking with me as he could, and has a great staff to support you both before and after the procedure. I'm also really impressed with how little my incisions are as I thought they would be larger. I definitely recommend him for VSG if you're willing to travel to India!

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
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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