Need support for gastric bypass

I’m looking for some encoueagement here.

2 years ago, I was on the verge of getting a gastric bypass. I have a history of trying to lose weight but to no results. I did it all: shakes, weight watchers, fitness, dieting, working out in the hospital and then start to run. I always got stuck after the initial 5 kgs. I havent gotten the treatment since I moved to another country and I haven’t found the time since then for psychological reasons.

A niece of mine has gotten a bypass now and I could finally ask someone I could relate to for her unsalted opinions about it. Pro’s, cons… one thing that scares me is that I wouldn’t be able to drink as much then since I’ve gotten quite the habit to drink a lot of water at once.

My boyfriend was there and saw her little changes in life as big cons, instead of healthy pros. He was also very worried about the excessive skin that you will get and how it’s not worth it. Also saying it’s like a cop-out and stuff… I felt very bad because I want him to support me in this decision and I was hoping that he would react differently.

I am pretty upset because he came to me woth sentences like “just exercise more and eat less” and then going to reddit to see what other people did. I’ve done these things for 10 years of my life already. I am at the end of my hope to ever get a chance to get healthy.

I’d like to hear from more people in this community that had a gastric bypass, what they think.


Hello. I just got a word for you: FAST.
Do some research about it, enough so you feel interested in trying.
I’d suggest trying the 16-8 first and then progress as you get used to it (you’ll know what I am talking about when you investigate a bit).
I have lost 5kg and a lot off extra fat in only two months.
For me the most powerful outcome has been that I am more conscious about what I give to my body, how much energy I need, how I am using it and developing some serious self control.

Hey @Astroly I’m sorry your bf said that to you. It’s not that easy; you can’t just exercise more and eat less and magically lose weight if your body naturally wants to hold on to the extra weight. Some people can’t lose weight without medical intervention, although exercising is important to stay healthy, even if you are someone who needs medical help. I’ve actually had a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG or “the sleeve” which is a less severe form of weight loss surgery than the GB, I’ve not had Gastric Bypass) and I can tell you some of my experience with it, and the things I know. I’m in the US so if you’re in a different country, some of the things may not apply, but some of it will.

First off, do it to become a healthier you, not just to lose weight and look “hot.” I know you said that it’s for health reasons, but I want to make sure that there isn’t a chance you’re doing it for your looks. Be prepared to look at your body and see the differences, but feel like you’re the same person, with the same weight issues and the same uncertainty in your head. Those things are unlikely to change with weight loss if you have a lot to lose. Once you lose a lot, you have the extra skin and it’s very easy to look at that roll of extra skin and believe that you’re still fat. Not everyone is like this, but there is a good chance it will happen to you if you have any type of body image issues. If you have them, make sure you see a counselor who can help you with those issues before going on this journey again.

Be prepared to make a HUGE lifestyle change. Be prepared to eat a lot of high protein foods and drink high protein shakes. If you go to a good surgeon, they will have you work with a nutritionist, among other doctors, to find out what to eat and help you know what you should eat for the rest of your life and what you shouldn’t eat. A gastric bypass is a very intrusive surgery. They are rerouting your intestines, and so you lose weight because of a calorie deficiency. The “pocket” that’s your new stomach is about the size of a walnut, so generally you can’t eat more than a half of a cup of food at a time.

Because it’s rerouting your intestine, you’re not taking in as much food, and it’s not taking in anywhere near enough of the necessary vitamins and minerals. A good doctor will tell you which supplements you need to take, and you will have to take them for the rest of your life. I’ve heard some people only need a couple, and I’ve heard of some people that need to take like 15 supplements every day. They have trouble eating enough because there’s so many supplements they have to take it fills their stomach. You have to decide if that’s something you’re willing to do, if it comes to that.

The good thing about gastric bypass is that you keep your actual stomach, so if it doesn’t work, you can have it reversed or you can have the duodenal switch done instead. The VSG is irreversible because they cut out all but a small portion of the stomach and the part of your stomach they cut out gets thrown away. There is no getting it back. You also can’t have a gastric bypass turned into a VSG. I forget exactly why, but when I had it done, I was told it’s not doable. Maybe things have changed since then.

If you’re insurance covers the bypass and you need to change it, they usually won’t pay for a second surgery. That will have to come out of pocket, and it’s not cheap. The surgery for the VSG was considered outpatient, and when I got the estimate from the insurance afterwards, the total before insurance coverage was over $50,000. That was only a one night stay. The bypass is an inpatient surgery because it’s a three night stay, I believe, and so it will cost A LOT more than the 50k. It’s why a lot of people go to Mexico to get it done, but the dangers of that is whole other conversation by itself.

Be prepared to have to take a lot of things out of your diet, including items that the nutritionist says you can eat. Since they are messing with your intestines, it can mess with your digestion of certain foods, and you can either get really sick if you eat the wrong thing, or you get something called the “foamies.” It happens if you eat or drink too fast, too much or the food isn’t chewed well enough, or if you eat something that your body doesn’t like anymore. It’s only happened to me once, thank god, and it’s not pleasant. You’re right to be concerned about how you drink water. You’ll have to learn to take sips, and you’re not supposed to use a straw (although a lot of people still do, it’s not recommended.) A lot of people get GERD after they lose weight. The insurance is unlikely to cover getting the extra skin taken off, so that’s another out of pocket expense. Even if you get terrible rashes and infections under the panel that are bloody, the insurance still considers it cosmetic. Let me assure you that they hurt. They hurt like hell. Sometimes insurance does pay, it just depends on the policy and the doctors notes and how much you complain and whatnot, but most people are denied and have to pay out of pocket.

Be prepared for it to not work, or to have something happen in your life to make it seem as if you never did any of the work. Some people it doesn’t work at all, although most it does. Some people lose the weight only to regain it. I lost over 100 lbs with the VSG and gained it all back in less than six months after a traumatic event three years after the surgery. I didn’t change my diet in those six months, so I know it had nothing to do with my intake. My doctor said that he believes the reason it worked so well is because he thinks all the trauma I went through as a kid changed my metabolism, and that the VSG reversed it back to normal, but after the last traumatic event, it reversed it back again. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but it is something to consider. There are other reasons that people can regain the weight.

Any type of weight loss surgery takes a lot of work, education and dedication, and it’s a lifetime commitment.

I know you wanted pro’s, but I can’t think of any right now except that I lost a lot of weight and was a normal size for the first time in my life. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t do it again if I had the chance. In the first couple of years I would have said yes, but now… It just wasn’t worth it for me. Maybe try to find a support group in your area that you can talk to people who have had it and can tell you their experience. (it’s also a good way to feel out how good the doctors are.) I believe hospitals that do this type of surgery have the support groups. You can also find out what other options there are at that specific hospital. I’m not sure how many weight loss surgeries are available atm, but it used to be seven and not all places do all of the surgeries.

Sorry I couldn’t reply specifically for gastric bypass, but I hope something I said helps in some way.

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Thank you for your reply. It’s been really helpful. I want to reply and give you a little more of my situation.
I am almost 25 years old, normal height and a BMI of 42. I should lose about 45 kgs to be a normal weight. Of course I don’t expect a bypass to give me that, but i do see it as a way to get healthier. All I want is to be healthy. I feel like I have a bottomless pitin my stomach at the moment and if my plate isn’t empty I can’t really stop eating. I wish i could just eat a slice of pizza and feel stuffed. Or eat a normal size and feel satisfied after that.

I also wish I could do more sport, but at the moment, even stairs are almost too much to ask. And I feel like losing a lot of weight through something like that, might be the first step to feel energised again to start sporting. I know in the first months you feel out of energy, but I’m hopeful that after those months, that I could pick up sports again like I used to.

I live in Germany, so I don’t have the issues of health insurance like you do. I am in the definite category that I can get an operation like that paid back. Apparently after 2 years they pay your skin removal operation of the stomach as well but other places are not covered since they are seen as more cosmetic.

I do appreciate that you tell me about your weight gain after that trauma. That really hurts to hear and I hope you are doing fine. It is good to consider that something like that might happen. I do wonder if only for that reason, you don’t recommend it, or if it’s for more.

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@Astroly Part of the reason why I don’t recommend it is because of my trauma and knowing that it doesn’t take much to reverse the work that was put in, but it’s not just that. The thing is that you can find just as many horror stories about people who’ve had a weight loss surgery as you can find success stories. I joined a lot of online support groups for people who have had WLS or weight issues after I had my surgery (I don’t remember what they were {except one which was obesityhelp and I don’t even know if it’s still around}, I deleted them all a long time ago) and you can find all kinds of posts in those forums of problems people have had after they had WLS. People who can’t even drink coffee with like a spoonful of sugar, or some type of sweetener, if that’s preferred for them. People who can’t eat anything except something random, like cottage cheese, because they get sick eating anything else. I’ve heard stories of people who have passed out while driving because of eating the wrong thing or drinking something they didn’t know their stomach couldn’t handle anymore. The food goes directly into the intestine when you have a gastric bypass, so it’s not being processed the way it should be before it makes it there. It’s hard on your body to deal with because it doesn’t handle it this way in it’s natural form. It’s a big reason why good doctors repeatedly say small portions, small bites, chew well, etc and so forth. The stomach is a stretchy material, which is why people tend to be able to eat more than they should. If any of the elasticity is left on the stomach, you can re-stretch your stomach out to what it was before the surgery. It takes time, but it doesn’t take a lot of the material to do it.

Now, on the other hand, I used to work with someone who had a gastric bypass, and it was like she never even had it. She had no side effects at all. She lost weight, but eventually she starting eating a lot, and she knew how to pack it in. She eventually had to start watching how much she ate and what she was eating because she gained a lot of it back. She did re-lose by watching what she ate, it was just more difficult because she stretched out her pouch. She went to the same facility as me to get her surgery, although neither of us knew that until like two years after I had mine.

The thing is that how it turns out and what the side effects are really depends on how good your surgeon is, how your body takes it, and how well you actually do the diet, assuming the doctor gives you one. Some people don’t get that much support from their doctors office. If you do go through with it, just make sure they are making you see, at minimum, a nutritionist or dietitian, a cardiologist, a psychiatrist, and the surgeon or the surgeon’s assistant before you even have the surgery, to make sure you’re well enough to do it.

If I had to choose one to do again (which is unlikely to ever happen and I only want to say this to try to help you see how I think), I would do the VSG again. It’s not one that my doctor was supposed to recommend because of my history, she was supposed to only recommend the bypass. It was ultimately my decision on which of the four that were offered that I was allowed to get. The four I could choose from were the Lap-Band, the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, the Gastric Bypass and the Duodenal Switch.

The lap band is never worth getting. It’s more of a headache then a help, and it’s really only for people who have a few pounds to lose. (that second part is a personal opinion, but my surgeon also said the band is a terrible way for anyone to go.) You have to go back to the doctor every six months to get the band refilled with some type of liquid that keeps it tight, and then scar tissue forms over it, so if you decide to have it removed for any reason, you always have that spot where it’s restricted because of the scar tissue.

The Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy is as I described before. They cut out most of the stomach, which restricts how much can be taken in. There’s actually videos and pictures on the net. If you google it, you can see how much of the stomach they remove. It can still have negative side effects like the bypass has, however they tend to be fewer and farther between because it’s much less invasive.

The Gastric Bypass is the same as I described before, except it’s a little more than that. They reroute the intestines. They cut the stomach to get the stomach pouch where the food goes, then they cut I believe at the bottom of the first intestine. The majority of the stomach is still attach to the first intestine (so it’s completely separated from the body at this point) and they attach the first intestine somewhere farther down, a bit below where the pouch is attached. They attach the stomach pouch at the top of where they cut off the first intestine. So you keep your stomach so you get the stomach juices that help digestion, but it’s being bypassed and the juices don’t have as much time to help with the digestion as they need.

The duodenal switch is complicated and I don’t remember all that they do for that surgery. It’s really only for people who are really, really overweight. I know you said you’re bmi is 42 (mine is too, btw) but this wouldn’t be an option that you would want to choose if it was an option your doctor gave you. It’s for people who have a BMI that’s way more than that.

The facility you go to might have different options than these, so you’d have to find out exactly what they are (because making an informed decision is always best), but if I had to pick one of them or if I had to recommend one of these surgeries, I would recommend the VSG. It’s the least invasive. You have less of a chance of having complications. You’re body stays as natural as it can be while still restricting your intake. No, it’s not reversible like the bypass, but it’s not as drastic as the bypass is, either. Not in my opinion, anyway.

Also remember, the surgery is literally just a tool, like if you were having anxiety attacks and went to a counselor to get exercises to help with them. It’s a big, helpful tool for some people, but it’s still just a tool.

If you decide to get the bypass and then change your mind, you can say no. You can say no up until the moment you fall asleep in the operating room. Or you can do it, and see how your life changes. It’s scary to be in that operating room, I can tell you that. I think you should keep asking for other people’s opinions, and I think you should research it a little more on your own. I also think you’ll know what the right decision is for you when you have enough information to decide for sure.

I’m sorry if I told you anything you already know. I like to try to explain like the other person needs to know all the info (and I do a terrible job of it too) so if you know all of the stuff about the surgeries, I’m sorry I explained it again. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask and I will answer if I can.


thank you so much!
I’ve got a clearer view now and I will definitely do more research

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