I just had my MGB surgery on May 19th (about 2 weeks ago). I have been overweight for nearly 10 years, and though I have had some successes with diets along the way, all those ultimately failed and I regained everything back and a little more. I am a short guy so just looking purely at the weight, it may not look like I was that bad, but I surely felt really bad. At my highest I weighed 196 lbs (day of the surgery) with a 35 BMI and 38% body fat. The doctors stated I was morbidly obese, though they admitted I was not as large as their typical patients.
I did my surgery at NCKU Hospital here in Taiwan (a national university hospital), which is also supposedly one of the top in the country. The great thing about Taiwan is that their National Health Insurance covers even temporary foreign workers, irrespective of the work they do. That was very helpful as the NHI covered majority of my cost. Weight loss surgery here is only covered by National Insurance if the doctor deems it necessary for you, which is if you have BMI of over 40, or 35 with co-morbidities, which in my case was Diabetes, so I qualified for it.
Most of the information I researched prior to the surgery came from English forums , so I had a good idea of how everything was supposed to be if I were to do it in US, but had little information of how it would be done in Taiwan, since I didn't have any reference. I was surprised to find that some things were very different than I thought.
I found that the time from the first visit to the date of the surgery was much longer compared to many of the cases I read online. Although I wanted to get the surgery as early as possible, they insisted I had to follow their pre-surgical procedures. I spent nearly 7 months doing a wide variety of tests. At one point I was going to the hospital once every week just to do a different type of test. (Tests are also covered by Insurance so it wasn't a money-making scheme or anything). I can't remember what all those tests were but I guess they tested nearly everything prior to the surgery. When I asked surgeon about these tests, he basically said, "We want to know what's causing your obesity and what your obesity has caused so far. " I was sold!
I would strongly recommend that everyone follow what their own doctors/surgeons tell them. Every forum I read mentioned about the pre-op diet so I was surprised to hear that there was no pre-op diet here. They doctor said that there was nothing I needed to do before the surgery, and just live a normal life. I had my last cheese Burger at 10:00 pm, the night before the surgery. After 12:00 am that night I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything. I had my surgery next morning at 7:00 am and it lasted for 3 to 4 hours.
For the whole 7 months prior to the surgery I had always wanted to get the Gastric sleeve surgery, because the thought of my intestines being rewired scared me. It wasn't a week before the surgery that I decided to change to Gastric Bypass, only to find there was no Gastric Bypass offered there. It turned out majority of the national hospitals only offered Mini-Gastric Bypass instead, so I had to go with that, despite having little information on it. The surgeon told me that Mini-Gastric Bypass was easier, had a short surgery time, quicker recovery and higher weight loss in the first 12 months compared to Gastric Bypass. He also said that there was a 60 to 90% chance that my Diabetes would go in total remission with MGB compared to less than 40% chance with a sleeve. He referred me to some many local researches that were performed by the university. In my personal research I also found Taiwan was one of the best in Asia when it comes to Bariatric surgeries, so I trusted my doctor and everything he said.
I stayed 5 days in the hospital. The first couple of days were really rough but everything started to get better quickly after day 3. Walking helped a lot. I left on day 5, and was back to full-time work on Day 7 already (though I don't recommend it).
As far as Diet is concerned, the nutritionist and doctor told me I could eat normal food but with certain restrictions. This is unlike what I read about many other people having to go through the soft food stage for a few weeks to a month. I was told the following :
1. I could eat pork, chicken, beef, as long as it was lean cut, and cooked to be soft. I was told to avoid any fried or deep fried meat, but I could grill it, steam it, or cook it in very light oil. I was recommended to eat more fish than other types of meat. I was told about the types of fish/sea food that I could eat and ones I couldn't. Shrimp was recommended as well.
2. I was told I could eat Yogurt (low-fat and sugar-free recommended) eggs (boiled or scrambled), potatoes or sweet potatoes (bakes, mashed/boiled or cooked in very little oil).
3. I was told I could eat more or less any kind of fruit I wanted, but to avoid fruits with very high-Fiber during the first few weeks (e.g. Pineapple). Now two weeks later, I can eat most fruits already.
4. I was told no to eat any kind of sweets, or artificial/processed food.
As long as the food was natural I could eat whatever I want but I had to chew everything 20 times and eat very slowly, and small portions.
The only food I was told not to eat (ever or at least 1 year) was Rice, Noodles, Spaghetti, and Bread. So basically no starchy food. Instead they recommended that I eat any kind of vegetables (boiled or cooked). Though they said RAW vegetables could be a little difficult during the first couple of weeks.
To keep hydrated I was recommended to drink lots of water and low-fat milk. I think the requirement was something like 1500 ml of liquids per day at least.
To avoid muscle wasting I was recommended to get at least 6 servings of Protein each day with at least 60% of them coming from natural food instead of supplements. The nutritionist said that I could eat 6 boiled eggs a day, I wouldn’t need to eat protein. I was also told to take daily Multi-Vitamins and Calcium Citrate.
So far, since the surgery I have been eating normally more or less, except that I am eating much healthier foods than I used to. Even without the pre-op diet, I lost 7 kilos within 6 days from the date of the surgery. Since then I have only lost an additional 1 kilo in second week post surgery.
I couldn’t find any local forums or groups to share about my surgery so I am doing it here. I hope this info is helpful. If you have any questions about my surgery I would be happy to answer.
Last but not least, I am very happy with my decision, and I think it’s a brave choice, given all the risks involved. I read an interesting saying in one bariatric articles about people who do these surgeries, which said, “I will live forever, or die trying!”. This is indeed the case for me at least; in order to live a longer and better life, I took this extreme measure.
*** This above review was actually written two weeks after my surgery, but I forgot to post it. Obviously some things have changed (now that I am 10 weeks post-op. I will write the latest update in my next post.***