My Journey

by Bonnie

Written 12/27/07. Surgery 7/29/03.

I had always been chunky since I was little. I was even given a case of Metracal as a 14 yr old one X-mas. Talk about humiliation.

Did manage to get to a size 14 in my senior year of high school and found my true love the year later. Got married and had my first child. Then 2 yrs later #2,3 yrs later #3,4yrs after #4,and finally #5 came 4 yrs. after that. Meanwhile I gained 20 lbs BETWEEN each pregnancy!

So where I was 140 at #1, needless to say I was over 200 for #5. Oh, of course I lost and gained like a yo-yo all through the years, but nothing ever stayed off. I accounted it to testing the baby's food while feeding, and of course taste testing while cooking all them Italian foods for family.

I did have a friend who had GBS (gastric bypass surgery) in 1990 and said most definitely, I would never do that! I wasn't heavy enough to begin with and I surely would never let myself hit 200 lb! Well I did, and continued to try to take it off. Then in Oct of 2002, I went for a general physical, and to find out why my legs kept going out from under me.

I had great pain and could not walk for anything. He said take some weight off; they are having trouble holding you up. Okay. But 3 weeks later my legs went out while walking up stairs and I fell down them, broke my arm.

Now I have never broke anything, had surgery or even spent time in hospital other than giving birth. At the hospital, I told my story several times,had multiple tests and all concluded: "Take some weight off." Okay.

Our WLS (weight loss surgery) clinic was holding seminars and I went the first part of January. Started the process, did all I was suppose to and even got bumped up for surgery from Oct to July 29th 2003. Surgery went well, recovery went well, but my legs were not any better. I mentioned it to my surgeon at my 3 month check up and he referred me to a neuro.

Almost immediately I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis, an autoimmune disease (not caused by WLS) and was put on lifetime meds. I lost 87 lbs in 14 months. I was what is called a slow loser. Slowed more and then lost some more. Total is 110 lbs and I have maintained at 166-168 for the last 2 1/2 yrs. I have yet to get to my goal of 140 lbs but with the surgery I did lose 100% of my excess weight.

I am now 57 years old, size med or a 14 depending on maker, have 3 new grandchildren this last year and one coming in March, to make a total of 16 and 6 great grandkids.

I feel good, have had no problems and am looking into plastic surgery now. Insurance won't pay for breasts, although its sagging is caused by my surgery for a "disease of obesity," and I do have enough of a "panni" (loose skin resulting from extreme weight loss, addressed with a "tummy tuck") to get lower skin taken off. Though at my age I would really like the tummy muscles tightened but they won't pay.

Yes, I do recommend it to anyone that is inquisitive to ask how I did it. My only concern is I have had to educate my family doc on a lot of it, and it is hard to get them to pay for labs as often as we should have them.

I also have had to bring a chart with me to show labs and how they go up and down. I decide my own amounts on supplements for this reason.

Comments for My Journey

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Such great detail!
by: Suzette Kroll Barancik, RD

Bonnie, what a lot of great information!

Your autoimmune diagnosis is a great reminder that not everything is related to weight. I read a lot of accounts in these pages that doctors tend to attribute nearly everything to weight when a patient is obese. Which can lead a patient to think weight loss surgery will cure everything, which of course it doesn't.

Another great reminder is that you end up being the expert on WLS in your life, both with your family and doctors other than your surgeons. The moral of that story is to do your research. Before anyone goes ahead with surgery, they should learn the risks, as well as learning - and accepting - the lifestyle changes that have to follow surgery in order to have your outcome be successful.

Thanks so much for sharing!

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