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March 2018

Why did I decide on gastric bypass surgery?

Yep, that's a gastric bypass plush toy!

Thought I should elaborate on how I came to the decision to get bariatric surgery, because for years I was dead set against it.

  • I thought it was the "easy way out." 
  • I thought it was for people with no willpower.
  • I thought it was super dangerous.

Nope, nope, nope on all counts.

Bariatric surgery is not a magical fix -- believe me, I've seen people get surgery and either lose very little weight or lose a bunch and gain it right back. There's nothing easy about any of that. It takes planning, determination, planning, exercise (and did I mention planning?). You need to make sure you're getting the right nutrients, water, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Thankfully, I'm already a supplement junkie so that won't be a new experience for me. I also have an entire shelf of my pantry devoted to protein powders, so I'm good there. 

As far as the safety, bariatric surgery has come a LONG way over the years, and according to Bariatric Surgery Source, the surgery has a 99.8 percent survival rate. In addition, the 30-day complication rate is 7 percent -- and that includes all complications, be they extremely minor or not. Conversely, the risk of staying obese carries a lot more risk with a host of diseases that are far more common in the obese population. I will take those odds any day.

I initially had chosen VSG, which is short for vertical gastric sleeve surgery. The surgery reduces the size of your stomach around 80 percent, taking it from a football to a banana. But after my docs got a look at my esophagus, the sleeve was off the table for me because it often makes hiatal hernias and reflux worse, and I wasn't going to play fast and loose with possible esophageal cancer. Nope!

So instead of a banana, my stomach with bypass is now an egg. I would have preferred something less extreme, since my BMI was just over the edge of qualifying, but the fact that I could eventually reverse any esophagus damage was more of a deciding factor than anything else.