Doreen V - gastric bypass with banded gastroplasty

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My name is Doreen. In July, 2002 i had a Roux-n-Y with Vertical Banded Gastroplasty (2 WLS procedures in one) and had such severe health complications that i had to be reversed in Sept, 2004. I have not only gained my life back, but i am so happy and blessed to be alive. I am only 27 yrs. old and i made an attempt to take my own life because of the hell i was going through. I vomited nearly 10 times a day for over 2 yrs. and the list of complications and deficiencies i experienced is endless. I was told that i would be placed on a feeding tube for the rest of my life. I was only 27 and living like i was a 95 yr. old woman. I know that my suffering was not in vain. It produced a fighting spirit and growth of character in me for which i do not regret. The only thing i truly regret is the boards and surgeons who mislead people into having WLS by not being upfront about the negative side to it and the vast array of complications which can and do occur on a daily basis. I only heard positive things prior to surgery and i researched it for two long years. You never know what category you'll fall into so my motto is: Caveat Emptor, in other words, Buyer Beware. God bless all who are suffering.

Doreen's profile from OH (they have taken it down off the main site)

Personal Comments

I had the gastric bypass surgery on July 15, 2002 and my health has deteriorated to such a point that it is medically necessary for a reversal. Since there are only a handful, literally, of surgeons in the U.S. who do a reversal, I found an angel of a surgeon to do mine. He is willing to take on anyone who is desperate and in need of help due to the health complications of gastric bypass surgery and told me to personally send them his way as there is such a miniscule number of surgeons who do the takedown. I am appalled at the lies surgeons tell that they will reverse you if health complications arise, but the moment they do, they bum rush you out of their office and throw you off as a headcase. People need to know that this surgery has a downside and it's bigger than you think and are aware of since there are so many "cheerleaders" advocating surgery, most of which, ironically, are only a few months out themselves or even pre-ops who haven't even had surgery yet.

I am only 26 years old and it was suggested that I go on a feeding tube for the rest of my life. A feeding tube at 26? Are they kidding.

I would trade obesity in a heartbeat than have gone through the last 26 months of suffering and pain that I have endured at the sake of being accepted by a society which has a cruel and corrupt vision of what beauty entails. I will never again fall prey to the media hype and people's warped view of what beauty is because if my suffering has taught me anything, it's taught me that the body is just a shell containing the heart which is inside. That is the true self, not the outward appearance. It is not worth it to be skinny, if you die in the process of getting there.

Here is just a "BRIEF" summary of my health complications which has made the hospital my second home: tingling and numbness in fingertips and feet, burning sensations running from my shoulders to my fingertips, freezing toes and fingertips and entire body to the point where I've worn gloves to bed, pain in hands and arms no matter what position I put them in, Aspirated pneumonia (vomit entered my lungs and I stopped breathing and was taken by ambulance to the hospital), vomiting for the last 26 months sometimes up to 10 times a day (including liquids), Dehydration three times, Low Potassium two times, stricture and total of 4 endoscopies, lightheadedness, dizziness, blacking out and having to hold onto walls to regain vision, blurred vision and poor eyesight, heart palpitations, blood in vomit, headaches, hot and cold flashes, cold sweats, extreme depression to the point where I wanted to take my life, easily bruised and inability for bruises and cuts to heal, fatigue, acne, constant irritability, extreme mood swings, protein malnourishment, unexplained pains and spasms in body, sensitivity to light, paleness, irregular menstrual cycle, swollen lymph glands, lung pain, constant sore throat due to constant vomiting, heaviness and pressure in head and over eyes, pressure and itching in ears, weakness and zoning out.

After finding an angel who helped me find out that I am not alone in this ever increasing sect of patients experiencing gastric bypass problems, I was fortunate to have found a surgeon in my area who took me on as my own disgraceful surgeon threw me out as a head case. I have never, and I repeat never, been as sick when I was obese, as I am now as a thin person after gastric bypass. I am so pale, people say I look 120 pounds.

My collar bones stick out so much that I look anorexic. If this is what society deems as beautiful, society can have it and all the cheerleaders of this surgery, including the celebrities exalting it as the cure-all for fat, need to face reality that there is a downside to this surgery, it can be for some very dangerous, and you don't know whether or not you will fall into that category until you have it done, and then it's too late when your own surgeon throws you out of his office and refuses to fix what he's done to you.

I am so disgusted with the media advertisements, celebrity exaltations, and people so brainwashed by the media and Hollywood fads about this surgery because in all reality, this surgery does not always have a happy ending. The statistics on the long term outcomes are being hidden, and there are tons even thousands of people desperate for reversals due to complications.

I am in contact with someone who is helping scores of people find doctors to reverse them, the only problem is that there are only about 4 or 5 in the U.S.A. who do them, and if anyone, and I mean anyone needs help I will personally help them as I have a doctor who works in the NY/NJ region who told me to send anyone desperate for a reversal as he takes on any case other surgeons have thrown away. He is appalled how surgeons tell their patients they'll reverse them should problems arise, then they throw them out when problems do arise and refuse to reverse them. Beware, all newbies to gastric bypass surgery.

This is a very invasive procedure and the risks are greater to have it reversed than the initial procedure. You are taking a big chance with your life by consenting to this surgery and you have no idea if you'll fall into the category of those who get severely sick and are literally dying from it.

Malnourishment not only affects you physically but emotionally as well, to such an extent that some, admittedly myself, have been so depressed due to the alteration in brain chemicals, that we've considered or attempted to take our own lives.

I never had so many health problems before surgery as I do now, and don't all surgeons give the usual speech that your health and quality of life will greatly improve after surgery???

Picture this before you decide if WLS is for you : Going into the bathroom nearly 10 times a day, kneeling on the floor, vomiting what feels like your organs up, even liquids, having the water splash up and strike you in the face, having vomit come out of your nose, and then to put a cherry on top of this wonderful sundae, having the mucus from your stomach be so thick that it hangs from your mouth and you have to pull it out at the end of your vomiting session because it is too thick to just fall out into the bowl.

This is no joke and no pun intended. This is humiliating, degrading, and reality and sometimes too hard for the cheerleaders of this surgery to hear or even consider. But this is mine and thousands of others daily reality.

I am only 26 years old. I live like I am 90. I have been hospitalized and been stuck with I.V.'s so much it makes me sick. Thank God for my family and friends and loved ones who are supporting me through this difficult time. My reversal is scheduled for October 21st, 2004. I will finally be at peace and able to start living again, because I can say in all seriousness, I've been dead the last 2 years of my young life. So much time wasted, so much financial ruin, but most importantly, I will never have the health and normal anatomy I once had. God has been merciful to me to put the people in my life that I was destined to cross paths with to find the help I needed.

I thank all who have helped me and I will personally go out of my way to help all those in search of the help they so desperately need.

I believe that suffering produces character and growth of spirit and if anything has been gained, it is the realization that my worth is not defined by the numbers on the scale. That my heart is the real me, not the body which is the veil over it. If someone doesn't like me, then they can keep walking. I am me. I am a good person. And I am a better person for letting people know the cons of the surgery.

Lots of people will fool you into thinking all is rosy and dandy and fine, but some of these people are the people who fail to say how many times their vomiting a day because they simply override it because they feel their good looking thin appearance outweighs the cons. But is not our health and vitality the most important thing? When the health goes down, the spirit sinks and we need an unconquerable spirit to carry on in our troubled world. Without that, we don't have a fighting chance. God bless all who read this. I wish you all the best. My advice is to never push this surgery on anyone, it is a personal decision and if I could say anything more, it is to seriously weight the pros and the cons and then make your decision. Talk to people who have had a good experience and talk to those who have had a negative experience, get both sides of the story because you cannot predict what category you'll fall into and you might be up for the fight of your life. Sincerely, Doreen V,  of NJ

10/24/04 UPDATE

I was fortunate enough to have my gastric bypass reversal nearly three and a half weeks ago. It was scheduled for Oct. 21st but I had to have it earlier on an emergency basis. The night before surgery, my blood pressure dropped to 72 over 47 and I passed out and awoke with I.V. wires all around me in a dark room because it was the middle of the night at the hospital. I am happy and most grateful to say that I have never felt better in my life. I am able to eat without vomiting, I am able to drink with my meals, and I finally have color back in my face and normal blood pressure. I am so grateful to my surgeon for taking me on as a desperate case when my own original surgeon refused to help me. I am healthier now than I have ever been and I don't regret the reversal for one minute. It saved my life. I no longer support gastric bypass surgery. It may have helped me to lose over 165 lbs. but at what cost? I could have died had it not been for my reversal. If I could turn back time, I wish I would have tried harder to lose weight on my own and not have taken such a drastic measure and followed all the hype of celebrities exalting their before and after transformations which undoubtedly, was brought upon by personal trainers, chefs, plastic surgery, in addition to gastric bypass...most things no average commoner can afford. I do not believe I will gain the weight back, not because I don't have it in me to do it, but because I choose not making healthier choices with my meals and by choosing alternative activities to engage in so that I do not sit idly in the house with my mind preoccupied on food. I, in fact, have lost some weight since having the reversal so if your doctor tells you you'll gain all the weight back and triple that, don't believe it. I'm not saying it can't happen, but it is purely your choice. After all the suffering I've endured on account of getting my insides ripped apart twice, i'd rather maintain my weight loss than have gone through it all in vain. God bless all who read this and all who are suffering. There is hope and my advice to any of you is to really think hard before signing that consent form. You could be signing your life away.


 Varga before    
Before Surgery  when I was so ill and had malnutrition Now I feel a lot better since my take-down (reversal)