Hopefully Getting Sleeved in the UAE. Saudi Arabia, SA

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I have been a fan of real self for a year and it...

I have been a fan of real self for a year and it has really helped me to go ahead with my decision to get a gastric sleeve. I initially was reluctant to write a review-however I haven't seen very many reviews done in the UAE and I thought I might help someone on a similar path to my own. First a little about me :D I'm 35 years old, Canadian, 5"9 and the mother of one adorable baby boy. I've been happily married for two years and I'm a teacher. I currently weigh 119.1kg (262.6lbs) ugh! I was always a stocky kid-tall 5"9 since I was 13 years old and strong. When I was young I was involved in ballet (until I was told I was too tall), martial arts, swimming, gymnastics, biking, hiking etc. when I hit puberty I started gaining weight, but I didn't really think about it. I already towered over most of the kids in my grade so getting a bit wider wasn't all that noticeable. By my twenties I had gone from about 175lbs to 208lbs and I started to freak out. I was barely eating anything! This was in the heyday of the Jarrod subway diet-I was eating one six inch veggie sub with no sauces and going to the gym 5 days a week-but my weight was still crawling up. Finally I went to a doctor who diagnosed a thyroid disfunction. At this point I was put on medication and my weight dropped by ten pounds. A visit to the dr Bernstein clinic helped me lose 60 more pounds over the next few months. Fast forward a few years and with the death of my father, coupled with my divorce, the weight started creeping up again. I fell into a very deep depression where I really didn't care about my future. I took comfort in food-sometimes not leaving the house for a week at a time-ordering pizza 5 days a week. I quit my job, stopped seeing friends or family and just kinda gave up. When I finally got treated for the depression my weight was up to 235 pounds. At the suggestion of my therapist, I decided to go traveling with a friend who is now my husband and my best friend. Unfortunately being happily married, living a comfortable life in Dubai didn't make the weight fall off-it only made me more happily fat! (This is the land of the all you can eat/drink all day all night buffets) And when I found out I was pregnant it was the first time that I had actually started to worry that my weight might affect my health or my baby's health. I stuck to a strict diet-not eating anything that might make me gain weight. I didn't gain any weight for the first two trimesters and was only 22 pounds heavier at nine months. I gave birth to a perfectly healthy boy and was at my pre-pregnancy weight (actually was about 8 pounds below) two weeks after getting home from the hospital. Then I stopped breastfeeding :( Creep creep creep my weight is higher now than it was at my nine months pregnant weight arrgh. This is why I decided it was time. I can't play with my son because I get tired, my back hurts, my hips hurt, I can't carry him for very long, I can't play on the floor with him or my knees hurt. I want to be healthy for him! I don't want him to be the kid with the fat mom, or be embarrassed by me (more than the times I purposefully embarrass him when he's teenager ;D). I met with my surgeon today to discuss the timeline, procedure, diet restrictions etc. he seemed like a very experienced doctor who was familiar with my feelings of guilt, shame and fear. He was reassuring and showed me the before and after pictures of some of his other patients. I left feeling a little nervous but excited to begin this journey. He compared this procedure to driving in a car. Without driving we can't get to the places we need to go-yet we also know that sometimes people die from car accidents. We recognize there is a small risk in driving but know that it is necessary. So too is my surgery-there are risks but it is necessary for me to get to where I'm going in my future. My next appointment is on the weekend-we will set a surgery date then assuming all tests come back normal. Finger's crossed!

Coping skills

I'm writing this post because today I had bad news about a close family friend. Since deciding on weight loss surgery I've been more aware of the triggers that make me want to eat needlessly. I never considered myself an emotional eater but I found out today that one of my closest friends has HIV and will be deported from the country.

This person is close to both my husband and myself-as well as my son. He's "uncle". I was so devastated not just to hear his diagnosis but to hear he would be ripped from the life he had created in Dubai for almost 5 years. I pass no judgement on how this came to be, however I do worry so much about his future, his career, his quality of life and how he will overcome this prognosis.

My first instinct was to eat eat eat.

Then I stopped and realized-was this how I have been dealing with setbacks both personal to me and for those I care for? Why did I think food would comfort me? Why would overeating solve my sadness.

It's not as though this realization helps more than to let me recognize a major trigger for the future. My husband has suggested that if I still feel sad I make an appointment with my therapist to help me understand my feelings better. I will! I need to know why I lack simple coping skills and how to better deal with them.

Still waiting on confirmation of my next (physical) exam. I assume it will be next week though many doctors travel during Ramadan.

Stay strong sleeves!


Approved and set a date

I met with my surgeon yesterday to walk me through the procedure and what I can expect. He was pleased that I had spent so much time researching and that I was already familiar with what to expect. My husband came with me and was very supportive. He does most of the cooking so it was go for him to hear what the doctor had to say. I left feeling very excited-a bit nervous and the smallest bit worried that I won't succeed. I just keep picturing myself only losing 20 pounds (my usual max weight loss) then stalling and gaining again. I actually can't imagine being under 200 pounds since it has been so many years since I looked I the mirror at that weight. Currently I walk past a reflective surface and think there is no way I'm that big!

So while I'm excited and hopeful, I still have my own lingering doubts. The surgery is scheduled for August 1st. It will be a difficult wait, but we have a trip planned to visit with family for July. Last time I'll have family photos where I'm trying to hide my body behind everyone.

I will keep you updated :)

Got my surgery date!

So I spent a day at the hospital today getting my blood work, x-rays, anesthesiologist consultation and endoscopy. I had been quite worried about the endoscopy because I had no idea what to expect. It was a pleasant and relaxing experience, I was brought into a dim lit room, I barely felt the sedation needle, the staff were funny and friendly and I felt safe. Eventually they said it was time to sleep and next thing I know I was back the recovery room. No sore throat, no stomach pains etc... Sedation ftw!

After finding out I have a mild ulcer from acid reflux :( I was cleared for surgery. The date is set for July 24th at noon. The countdown begins.

For the third time one of the staff at the hospital made a comment about not thinking I need the surgery-this time it was the anesthesiologist who said I must carry my weight better because I'm tall.... Pfffft. My BMI is 40-good god I can't wait to carry around 100 less pounds.

I've decided to indulge in one last Dubai brunch, and one last dinner out with my hubby before the big day. I don't need to do a liquid diet pre-surgery so I guess after that I will try to cut out caffeine and carbs (and cheeky wine!).

I've kept up my exercise now that I'm on summer vacation. The early surgery date means I will have 4 weeks before I go back to work and 5 until I'm back in the classroom. Hopefully by then I will be in a normal work out and diet routine.

I still have so many doubts about this working. I can't envision myself not being a "big girl". I can't wait until these feelings pass and I start feeling good about working on me.

Wish me luck!


Tomorrow is the day... Yikes!

The time has flown by between setting the final surgery date and today. I've been on a liquid diet the past three days (self imposed), just because I'm worried. And luckily all my worrying seems to be working as 99% of the things I worry about never happen (jk jk). I kept thinking that they would take me in for surgery and I would wake up to hear they hadn't been able to do the surgery because my liver was too big. So despite asking the doctor twice if I needed too, and him assuring me it wasn't necessary-I've worried myself into thinking it's necessary-maybe as a kind of punishment to myself. Like I shouldn't have it easier than other people going through this journey since I'm as much to blame? I don't know, some underlying shame and doubt there for sure.

The liquid diet has been endurable only because I know it will be over soon. Absolute props to all you sleevers who suffered from what I affectionately call "appetiteis" (being insatiably hungry allllll the time)... And then endured two weeks of the most unsatisfying concoction of liquids. Three days was bad enough!

I'm keeping myself busy today with getting things arranged for the hospital, taking my before photos-I'm going to post them today before I chicken out... Yes all this half naked on the Internet... What am I thinking!

Anyway, I'm a mix of excitement and nerves today. I still have my doubts that I will be one of the failures and I'm stuck like this-doomed to be a fat lady forever ????.

Wish me luck!

Before pictures

Here are my before pictures... I'm just going to own them-stretch marks and all.

I'm sleeved!

I know, I know not the most original title but staring at the title line for several minutes I decided it was the best one to use. The first 24 hours was not pleasant-I wasn't allowed to drink anything and so I kept getting these be hunger pangs that made me really nauseous. After they got my pain under control and I started on water the nausea went. I did have a tiny mini puke-which was the equivalent of dry heaving a couple times and then spitting up. Not too bad-felt a bit tender but nothing serious.

The nurses here have been so helpful-very attentive, positive and caring. I'm once again please with the attention at Saudi German Hospital. Im told I will be discharged tomorrow so I'm excited to get home to my baby. He came for a short visit today which was so nice-he just cuddled against me in the bed and played with my hair.

I'm excited-I've been spending my time thinking about the new life I'm giving myself. Water parks, skiing, running, rock wall climbing, days at the beach, trekking around on city breaks... All things that I used to enjoy but have felt too heavy and sore (and self conscious) to do anymore.

I'll keep you updated with weight stats etc as I get into my new routine.

10 day post op-check up

Got back from the doctor today here are the official stats:

HW: 121.1kg 267 pounds
SW: 118.3 kg 260.8 pounds
CW: 114.7 kg 252.9 pounds
GW: 80kg 175 pounds

My doctor said I was doing "okay" with my weight loss and then reiterated I'm not to eat sweets. This made me feel defeated because I haven't eaten any sugar especially not sweets-I don't even drink fruit juice. He is keeping me on my liquid diet for one more week. I'm disappointed by this as I'm sick or broth and isopure. I had expected to go in today and have a great check up, because I'm happy with my weight loss.

I have some really bad bruising around my lowest incision and there is still swelling there, so I look like a bit of an eggplant. The doctor seemed surprised and then said it was because I have sensitive skin (I really don't). The other incisions look fine, no bruising no bleeding. The top one is nearly invisible already.

I could use some encouragement today-I feel frustrated that I left feeling second guessed. I'm also frustrated when I see other people at day 10 allowed to eat soft good or at least creamy soups.

Feeling sucky!

Pictures on Sunday when more swelling and bruising has gone down.

2 weeks and new photos

Well I hit the two week mark. Yesterday was my birthday and although I was a bit sad that my husband (a wonderful cook) wasn't able to cook me our traditional 5 course meal, I was also happy that I spent the day outside being active with my family. I realize I will now have the chance to have all new traditions and hopefully set a better example for my son.

I've been exercising aiming for between 300-400 calories. I started walking twice a day with the baby and now I'm up to three times-once by myself where I can jog a little. I've even convinced my hubby to come with me and he's changed his eating habits to be more supportive.

I'm getting used to my new stomach. I don't have hunger or cravings so I'm sticking to my three meals a day. I've lost 23 pounds as of today and I'm really surprised and a bit in disbelief. I keep thinking today I won't have lost anything-today will be the day it stops. But it keeps coming off. I'm on mushy foods now which excites me. I found a website with mushy food for tooth surgery and there are some great ideas there.

Check out the new pictures there is some change especially in my shoulders.

Have a good one real selfers!

3 week progress report

Arrgh the three week stall is real! I was dumping weight off of me and then one morning nothing, then more nothing, and more nothing. This morning the scale crept half a pound so I'm hoping that it's starting up again after a week of disappointment.

CW: 243
GW: 165

I've been struggling with fluids living in the desert and trying to get out to exercise, I want to come in after a jog and drink a liter of water-but I can only sip sip. Once I forgot I'd had surgery and drank too much-a mistake I'll only make once ????. Also heartburn when I eat! Only then and when I sleep then it goes away-what is that about?

I don't know if I see much change this week-my bruise is slowly fading. Let me know if you see any differences.


It's been a while sleevers and I'm sorry. I had promised myself I'd be true to this blogging to help other sleevers in doubt, but like many of us we get used to our new bodies and new situations and we quit blogging here.

I've lost 51.1 pounds so far. I feel beautiful and curvy again. I'm on a bit of a stall but job changes and insecurities add up to that imho. I won't allow myself to be taken advantage of anymore and most importantly I walk with confidence.

I still weigh 222 pounds but I feel like a teenager. I'm at a lower weight than my husband has ever seen me at and I'm just getting used to seeing this body wear new clothes, walk up the stairs to our mirror, be happy I'm not snoring or secret eating. I'm happy.

Have a friend in town, he thinks I look the same so I want to show the before and after photos so I'll post them for all of you also.

Thank you for all your comments <3


4 month update!

I just realized my last update didn't load-I was in a rush and didn't check so my apologies for the delay. Well I'm four months post op. Down 54.6 pounds from my starting weight of 270ish. My doctor's weight loss total goal is 75 lbs and my personal goal is 100lbs. I had set a goal that I would lose 50lbs by Christmas and exceeded that so now I want to have lost 60lbs by Christmas. Only 6 pounds to go!

I had a looooong 5 week stall that killed me. I was so scared I wasn't going to lose again, and I started obsessively weighing myself and really getting upset with myself. What I learned from that was that I was being ridiculous-and instead of enjoying a drop of two sizes in clothes-I was focusing on the number on the scale. I read on someone else's post that a good way to deal with a stall is to not weight yourself for two weeks, and just focus on getting familiar with your new body and appreciate the things you can do now.

For example :) I'm grateful I can bend over to look for shoes at the bottom back of my closet without worrying I won't be able to stand up. I can run up the stairs carrying my baby. I can fit in the swings at the playground... etc

Eventually the weight stopped fluctuating between the same 3 pounds and I'm back to losing again.

My hair loss has started :( I've read up on it a lot so Im not stressing too much about it. I just hope it won't become too noticeable or else I'll have to chop my long locks.

Lots going on in my personal life-started a new job, then left (not a positive work environment). Now I've had so much more time being a mom and having fun with my son. My husband got promoted to a great new job, finally got to do some traveling with my son to meet his family abroad and many other things.

I tried on my pre surgery clothes thinking they would be comfy and loose-but they're really baggy and frumpy-so I've decided to donate them (empty drawers now xp).

Anyway-I'm loving the way I look and still looking forward to the second half of my weight loss. I already think about my weight much less often and I'm eating whatever I want-just a much smaller amount. I've even had wine here and there.

I wish all my fellow sleevers the very best luck-this was the best decision I ever made.

Check out my update photos :)
Dr. Issam Hreirati

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