My Gastric Bypass Story

Before Gastric Bypass SurgeryI’ve been overweight my entire life.

Diets? I’ve tried them all: South Beach, low calorie, low fat, low carb, Atkins, the Zone, Ornish, Susan Powter – if it promised weight loss, I’ve probably tried it.

In about 2003 I went on a diet of my own, loosely based on South Beach. I lost 60 pounds in a year and felt great. Then, in mid-2004, my husband left to work in Kuwait as a contractor for a year. Being a single parent of 2 boys made life just too hectic to cook all the time, and we wound up relying on fast food.

I gained all the weight back – and then some – with lightning speed.

Making The Decision To Have Weight Loss Surgery 

At my church, several women had already had gastric bypass surgery. They all seemed to be doing great – and they certainly looked great. I started seriously thinking about having it, too.

But one thing I wanted was information on exactly what I was getting into. Would I regret the decision? How would having a gastric bypass change my life?

I’ve always been intensely self-conscious about my weight, so it wasn’t really an option to talk to the other women I knew who’d had weight loss surgery. But when I turned to the internet, it was very hard to find honest, objective information on what life was like after a gastric bypass.

Everyone was either sunshine-and-roses, or incredibly disparaging about the surgery. There just wasn’t a clear picture that I felt could help prepare me for what to expect.

But with the information I could gather, I made the decision that a gastric bypass surgery was right for me. I based this on:

  • I desperately wanted to lose weight, and after regaining the 60 pounds I had lost nothing seemed to be working
  • Regaining the weight after working so hard to lose it was just horrible. I wanted an option that would be permanent – this is why I chose gastric bypass over the lap band procedure, which has to be adjusted and can be removed
  • I believed the myth that weight loss would be easy after surgery and that it would never be regained
  • The women I knew who had had the surgery all were doing well and looked great
  • Most of all, I wanted to be thin. I wanted to be beautiful. I was tired of feeling like less of a person because I couldn’t control my weight. I saw my fat as a character flaw. And if I’m being totally honest, it was this overwhelming desire to look like a normal person that really made the decision for me

There is a person I’ve always wanted to be. I’m not talking about idolizing someone else – this person is what I imagine the perfect version of me to be. She’s exuberant, full of joy and energy, can make you laugh, and just makes you feel good by being around her. She’s also hot – and let’s be honest, all women want to be beautiful. I’m not going to apologize for that.

But the bottom line is that my decision was not based on a desire for better health. It was a highly emotional, self-esteem issue for me.

My Expectations Meet Gastric Bypass Reality

Me At Christmas - 5 Months After Gastric BypassSo I went into surgery with some unrealistic expectations – and got quite a few surprises in the days and months following. Sure, I’d been to the pre-op class to hear about the possible complications. I took the nutrition class to learn how I was supposed to eat afterward.

But nobody really explained (though to be fair they did try) how much this surgery would mess with my mind. They didn’t tell me that instead of no longer thinking about food, I’d spend my entire day counting fluid ounces and protein grams and keeping track of which vitamins I’d taken.

Instead of denying myself, I would feel like I was constantly shoving something in my mouth. And don’t let that excite you – I’m not talking about shoving in good things, but water and more water, and chewable supplements that don’t always taste good, and protein powders and shakes.

What’s more, the weight did not just magically melt away with no effort. That is perhaps the single biggest myth out there – that having a gastric bypass is the easy way out. It’s the exact opposite. You still have to exercise, you still have to be very careful about what you eat.

The biggest difference for me is that after having a gastric bypass, the exercise and the being careful actually get results, whereas before I could diet like crazy and be lucky to lose 10 pounds.

Gastric Bypass Changed More Than Just My Body

But relationships change. The biggest one being my relationship with myself and my own body. Who is this person that’s emerging from behind the layers of fat? In some ways I feel like I’ve found myself - I’m much more comfortable interacting with others, especially people I don’t know well. I can meet a stranger without giving a thought to how I look.

11 Months After SurgeryI’m a lot more confident, and in many ways I’m happier. At least with my clothes on. Because underneath, the weight loss has taken a toll on my skin. That makes me very self conscious, and is not an ego boost come bath time every night. And my poor husband has paid a price there.

People do treat me differently. Mostly this has been good. But you know all those problems you have that you think will go away when the fat is all gone? They don’t go away.

If you have a problem communicating with your spouse – guess what? You still will when the weight is gone. If you’re unhappy with who you are when you wear a size 24, you’re still gonna be unhappy in a size 12.

And you’ll be surprised how many issues you have that you really think are because of being overweight, but actually stem from something else. I discovered I’m not any better at accepting praise or complements now that I’m thinner. I didn’t feel undeserving just because I was fat – there’s actually something deeper there.

The bottom line with gastric bypass surgery is that the weight does come off. But then there are a whole host of ramifications to that weight loss. Physical, psychological, and relational. I’ve seen stories of people who felt like gastric bypass saved their lives, and others who feel that it ruined their health.

My gastric bypass story is still being written. As I write this, I’m only 11 months out from surgery. I’ve not yet met my goal. But I feel like I’m far enough out to start looking at the decision objectively. There are positives and negatives. Hopefully, by sharing them with you it will help your journey, whether you’ve already had surgery or are still trying to make the decision.

I promise brutal honesty and absolutely never to sugarcoat anything. I hope it helps you.

By Lisa
June 20, 2008

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43 Responses to My Gastric Bypass Story

  1. getting ready to have the surgery the end of Mach
    need some input I will be moving 1 of May to another country will I be fit enough to help in the move

  2. I had my surgery in June 2010. I started out at 415 lbs and today weighed in at 287 lbs. I still have a long way to go, but don’t regret having the surgery at all, and no it’s not been a walk in the park. I am one one the lucky ones who have a constant battle with nausea but it seems to be less severe and not last as long as it once did.

    I have problems sleeping at night. My leg pain seems to wake me up after 3-4 hours and I’ll be up an hour or more each night. I am in the pool 3-4 times a week for some exercise and that is making my strength increase. I still have problems being on my legs for any lenghth of time but have hopes that will get better with time.

    Yes, my hair is getting thinner, my daughter is a cosmotologist and she does see new growth but is seems to be coming out faster than coming in.

    A lot of people talk of diarrea but with me it’s a constant battle with constipation.

    Even with the pain and discomfort, I see myself getting in better health. I have dropped all my blood pressure meds and cut back on everything else and hope to continue on that path. Would you like to know what concerns me now??


    I know that in the future, I’ll need to do something about the skin, but isn’t that a great problem to have?? See I have no regrets, just thankful for the chance to get my life back

  3. Like so many others I appreciate this website soo much. I am 27 years old, I weigh about 360 and I have decided to have gastric bypass. I go for all the pre-op testing on Monday. I have almost no family support, most of my family just say the same thing, “Just excersise!!!” It frustrates me becuase they act as if all I’ve been doing is sitting on the couch eating my life away!! I dance, I swim, I am a teacher so I sm always walking around, I stay active but the weight goes no where!!! I am concerned with the extra skin after the weight loss, what do you all have to say about that.

  4. Thank you so much everyone for your emotional and physical support.I had my Bariatric surgery 1 week ago.Today I get to start to eat my food.
    I’m really nervous but excited too.Although I lost 17 lbs after surgery yesterday I looked at myself in the mirror and it was a thought from my fat days I felt fat and it did depress me where to the point I felt discouraged.Is this normal ?

  5. I appreciate this blog so much. I went to the seminar for this surgery tonight and it looked so promising. You see, I have diabetes and have it bad. I am 54 years old and my dad died at 52. All his family died young too and my mom is constantly giving me lectures about me dying young. I’m really scared about not living out my life long enough. So I am concidering this surgery. I have learned alot from reading all the posts so far. I am not sure I am going to qualify, but I am going to start the process. I know what the qualifications are and I just might be able to squeeze in. I’ll keep reading. Thanks Much!!

  6. hiya all , all your comments have helped me ! im nearly 26 and ive decised to have the op , tryed every thing to loss weight i this is my result ! this is 6 months down the line and got a first meeting tomoro , well mixed emotions , all my family are surrporting me which i find is helping to start with ! and my partner . im diabetic , high blood pressure , snoring problems since being over weight ! all i seem to do is put weight on and doesnt help being insulin dependent ! im now 21 stone but struggled all my life with being over weight ! im glade i found this site i feel i can talk openly to you guys as i cant really talk to any someone who dont know what im going through ! keep up dated ! lisa you need to come back on here to us all to see how your doing !
    take care all thankyou fern .

  7. Lisa, What was that complication you had way back in the beginning of your blog? You said it happens to 3-5% of all post op pt. Hope you recovered well..but I’m curious, because you said it was a real doozy. Andrea

  8. Any questions feel free to email me at I’m in Florida

  9. I’m going on my third year since having surgery. Had I known the limitations and problems it causes I NEVER would have had the surgery. I started out at 270 lbs went down to 177 and now I’m at 190. Its a constant struggle to not eat. I can easily down a subway 12″ sandwich and then eat dessert. My surgeon says its immpossible to stretch my pouch. What I am stretching is my Esophagus, he says they are as big as footballs sometimes. That creeped me out. I can never have Aspirin or Ibuprofen, which i lived on for chronic pain. I have a constant bladder/kidney infection because GBPsurgery makes you very prone to these. Alcohol affects you totally different,you get drunk instantly but it lasts only a little time. I only tried drinking because I’m in so much pain. I am constantly trying not to eat, but I am gaining my weight back even though I go weeks eating only soup so I only consume a few hundred calories. The worse thing is not being able to drink tea of any kind.It causes Bladder infections. so what do you drink? My life is so limited and for such little results. oh well, food for thought. Andrea

  10. Thanks–for a great opportunity for people to share and support one another. I had Roux -en-Y in August 2007 and lost 170 lbs very quickly and was overjoyed! I had been overweight my whole life and knew no other way of existing. It changed my life and although I would make the same decision again…it has not come without consequences. For a year, things were fine, except I never had any energy or strength despite a healthy diet, exercise, and taking all of the vitamins we are supposed to take. Then I just started to fall apart. Physicians discovered I was unable to absorb any of the vitamins I was taking orally and I developed multiple deficiencies requiring transfusions of blood and iron to combat anemia and weekly injections of B12 and Vit D and more. Also there began GI ulcers, kidney stones, arthritis, immune problems, visions issues (from the lack of Vitamin A), Hypoglycemia, bone breakage, parathyroid dysfunction, cardiac issues, IBS, nerve damage, hair loss that is continuous, constant pain and much more. It is a constant struggle and the frustration is great. Many days I ask “What did I do to myself?” but I did not take the decision lightly, spent a year researching the topic and made the decision on my own and stand by it. I appreciate your forum in allowing others to have an honest approach to the subject –especially for those considering the decision or –like me for those searching for fellow sufferers. For anyone interested in sharing a similiar experience on your road to finding answers…you can email me at

  11. Hi Lisa,

    Just wanted to say that I am just shy of 1 year out, I have lost 130 lbs. of 150 I wish to lose. Sometimes weight loss stalls, but I am still losing and haven’t gained any back. I have no complications that I know of except that I am tired most of the time, I do still go to the gym but it seems to get harder and harder and I have been using a trainer for 10 months but can no longer afford it and am very scared I won’t go without that appt. I read your story and it was like reading my own, I feel exactly the way you do, have lost alot of hair at around 9 months but its seems to be coming back, my blood test are good, actually my doctor told me to cut back on my vitamins. I had a lot of health problems, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and was on a lot of meds prior to surgery but only take lose does for hypertension and still take an acid blocker. I don’t regret having the surgery, I love the way I look and am much comfortable around people now, although I find I still think of myself as a big person in many ways, I do have to be careful about what I eat, but so far I am handling it. You mentioned in one post you had a major complication, has that been resolved.

  12. I am having my surgrey next wednesday. I am scared to death of it now! I have acid problems, and my stomach is having a problem emptying i throw up constantly and if im not throwing up im very nauseas. My doctor thought this would be the best thing for me. is there anything i should know before hand?

  13. I had my surgery (Roux-en-Y) on May 5, 2010. So far I’ve loss 86 lbs and my goal is 100. I’ve done really – really well. My family physician said I could be the poster-child for this surgery and she is very proud of me.
    However, I’m experiencing the same type of symptoms that I see being mentioned by some – sagging skin and hair loss.
    So I was glad to see the info on the vitamins and using Nioxin. I immediately ordered the vitamins and am going to do an online search for how to get the Nioxin products.
    I’m very grateful for this website and it is VERY helpful.
    You can email me at –

  14. This website has been very informative for me. I took will be having surgery on Feb. 16, 2011. I have poor circulation in my legs that the doctors hopefully say will be resolved when I get the weight off. I really need support with others who have gone through this or are about to go through this. Please email me at

  15. Hey all, I have found your stories to be helpful, as I to am thinking of having Gastric bypass, but i am wondering how Lisa is doing in her journal, I do not see a post from her in a VERY long time, Lisa if your out there could you give us a update on yourself…

  16. I found this website as a source of support that I am so desperately needing. I am having surgery on Feb. 18. It’s been a long process. I didn’t know for sure if I wanted to do it but I am at the point now that my health is rapidly going downhill. I’m so tired of being in pain and spending all my free time going to doctor appointments. I’m young but have an old person’s body. I am divorced, a single mother and very alone. I have no friends and no support of my family. I am ashamed that my life has come to this. I am hoping to find support here as I go through my journey.

  17. Lisa,
    I have no support from my husband or my mother, (the 2 I need the most support from) and I was wondering how much weight did you lose in the first 6 months after your surgery? I am trying to make the right decision, I’ve prayed for an answer and am trying to take a slow, informed path to the right decision. I’ve agreed to take 2 months and put my determination to use by following a “diet” and exercise routine that I would have to follow with the surgery per my mother’s wishes. She is totally against this and agreed to follow this path to prove to her that I can’t do it on my own and need a more permanent solution to my obesity. I’ve made promises to my son and only have 6 months after the surgery to follow thru with it, that’s why I wondered how much weight you lost in the first 6 months after surgery so I can have some kind of an idea where to begin. Thank you for your story it has helped me think about this important decision in greater detail.

  18. Hi Lisa, just wondering if you were Pentecostal/apostolic?

  19. FTA KIM(UK)

    Would love to chat more

  20. tammy, i had my surgery on th 6th and have had the same thing. i beleive it to be heartburn/gerd/acid reflux. they should have you on meds for that as they do really help. mine was painfull and scary.

  21. I had surgery on the 8th & I am having trouble feelin like something is stuck in my throat. It is hard to get in the fluids but I am trying. Can someone give me advice & tell me if they have experienced the same.

  22. This is a great site. I’m about a 6 weeks til surgery and am excited and nervous. I’m not young, I’m 64, only fat about 10 years. Life is tough as a fat person, both physically and socially. I’m hoping this all goes well.

  23. Lisa
    Thank you for writing this with all honesty!
    I am strongly considering the surgery, trying to think of alll pros and cons.
    thanks again

  24. Thank you for your wonderful blog! My sister is having surgery in December and I am sooo nervous for her and all the changes that will come. Your blog is a wonderful, HONEST, insight!!

  25. I had never heard about hair loss being an issue with the surgery before today, and now I am worried! I saw my doctor yesterday about the surgery. I have PCOS and have very fine and thinned out hair already, heavens knows what I would be left with! If I started taking the Silica and vitamins etc straight away, does anyone know if it would stop it from happening??

  26. I think you thought the gastric bypass would make all your problems go away . Thats not wha its about .Its about getting healthy all those other things you talk about sound like some personal problems you have deep with in .

  27. hi all i am 3 weeks after my op now and i feel , greta , i have to remember to eat!!! but as long as i take my vitimins im fine, im a little tired at times, but doing ok, i have followed my diet plan to the letter and looking forward to swimming after my 6 wk check up , i feel this operatio gives you your health back , you do have to work with the bypass, as sometimes things just wont go down, but its all trial and error, so just go with it, if anyone wants to know about the op etc and afterwards, please e mail me and ill be happy to help anyone, this really is such a fab life changing thing……………and im so happy ive had it done, im 44 now, and feel that life is complete now ive had the surgery , and im gonna work to get fit again, not just with food, exercise as well, and to stay healthy , and i hope to live a long and happy weight free life, good luck to you all , kim xx

  28. Hello,
    Great site! I had GBS in 2002 with many major complications. I am much better now but with the improved compications has come weight gain. I have gained about 60 pounds of the 150 that I lost. I am working on it. I am very lethargic and have little energy despite the fact that my iron levels are within normal limits. My labs overall look good, but I have much joint pain and fatigue. Does anyone have any suggestions. Overall, I do not have any other major health issues such as diabetes, hypertension etc. I did have my gallbladder removed about 6months post op from my GBS. My liver profile is still abnormal though. My physician is not very aggressive, I believe because I am only 36 he thinks little of my symptoms. Any ideas? Thanks for a great blog, I have experienced so much of what you have posted.

  29. Hi, I’m Andrea, I had a GBP in Dec. of 2008. I’ve gone from 275 to 160, it hasn’t been as easy as I thought and I wish I would have known about more of the restrictions. Like did you know that you are very prone to kidney stones an the way to that is from tea?. I love my tea..but unless I’m willing to live with these incredible bladder infections..I had one for 4 months..ouch..and also the fact that I can never take an Ibuprofen again. I’ve been a CCRN for 30 years and my body doesnt work without my 800mg. of I can’t take an aspirin either..just tylenol, which does nothing. But what really got me was my hair loss, thank God I had a mane of hair because half of it is gone. Did antbody else experience this? Finally, I found some Hair,. . Skin, Nail Vitamins. They really work. Anyway, I must admit I love the new me. I’ve been married for 17 years to a much younger guy and this 105 lb. shed has made me feel like a “girl” instead of a dowdy housewife. My huband and I fell in love again. Can’t ask for much more than that….so anyway now I’m at that 2 year mark and I can definitely see how people can gain back some’s a constant struggle. But a worthwhile one, I hated myself when I was fat, not to mention the 4 knee surgeries…so here’s wishing you all great luck. If you have any questions not only have I had the surgery, but as an RN, I’ve recovered many,many patients. Andrea

  30. Thank you so much for all the information. Yes, I have been to all the classes and support meetings, but this feels like one on one. My surgery is scheduled for Oct 27th. I have a multitude of emotions going on. Excited, worried, and scared just scratch the surface. I know it won’t be easy and I have never kidded myself to think that this is anything more than a tool to reach the goal I have never been able to achieve on my own. I know 3 people who have had it done, 2 gained quite a bit of their weight back and the third is doing wonderful. So, I know the outcome is up to me. Thanks again for your words of experience. They truly help.

  31. Hi Lisa

    Thank you so much for your comments on this site. I have been going through the year long process prior to surgery and hopefully this will end soon and surgery take place. I feel that I am mentally prepared but will look forward to sharing my experiences with you all from the UK.
    I will keep in touch.

  32. Thank you Lisa for a very informative site. You have provided in invaluable service to woman. Your point of view and opinions are very helpful. I am very close to presenting my papers to insurance company and waiting on a surgery date. A lot of the info you provided was very helpful to me and I want to thank you for your. There are very few sites on the net that provide realistic before and after info. Thanks again. I hope you are well and happy. God Bless you always. Ava

  33. i had my surgery a week ago and i’m having trouble getting all that protein in and fluids. I feel full all the time and i’m suppose to be starting phase 2 but i’m not sure how, i ate cream of wheat this morning and i felt missable, i’m not sure if i made it liquidly enough and i haven’t felt hungry since, even tho i’m suppose to eat 2 more “meals” and get in 60 grams of protein, i feel missable. Any advice, i sure could use it, i feel lost.

  34. never_fit_so_i_bought_earrings

    HI LISA… (You R Amazing)
    HELLO ALL :)

    I just wanted to thank you for being so honest. I have 34 Days left till I go under the knife.

    I have chosen not to tell anyone for the exception of my Hubby and Sister so finding this site brings me so much peace.

    Reading all this information makes me more aware of how serious this surgery is. The problem is that I’m finding it hard to know if my hubby really understands! This may throw our relationship into freefall because i know that we are the couple that eats together, goes to the movies and eat some more, go anywhere and eat even more. We have not been able to have children, I have type 2 Diabetes & POC at the extreme end.

    I am a emotional person so I just know I might b a emotional desaster

    I really goig to all ur prayes.


  35. Thanks for sharing your experience with everyone. I’m 6 days post-op and a little miserable. It gets better every day. But I do worry about my gal bladder/ hernias/ stones/ losing my hair. I hope I didn’t trade being fat for a host of other health issuues that might come.
    Good luck to you and everyone else.

  36. Lisa- I had surgery a few months after you. It’s like we’re twins. I have hit my complication phase of life after WLS too. Just had my gallbladder out. Had emergent hernia repair last fall. Now, 3 weeks after my gb came out I may have another hernia. CT this morning, in pain as I speak. I knew I was trading one set of health problems for another, and I am not complaining b/c the surgery was the best thing I ever did for myself. But the road is hard. We all are having our own personal journey. Thanks for sharing.It’s nice to know I’m not the only one in the same boat. You have a new fan.

  37. Thanks for your very candid account of your experiences, I can’t tell you how refreshing to read something real so that I can make my decisions on what procedure I want to pursue. I finally have an insurance company that didn’t say flat out NO, I do have a year of hoops to jump through, but as you say it is a commitment no matter what I choose, so I guess this is time I need to prepare myself mentally for the challenges ahead. Thanks so much.


  38. Lisa,
    Thank you so much for you thoughts and prayers, it really means a lot.

    It has been 2 months since my surgery and while it has not been easy I have been very lucky not to have had any complications thus far. I am a little dissappointed at the rate of my weight loss. I expected to lose more faster. I know have come a long way and I am always reminding myself of just how far in such a short amount time. I tell myself every day that I did not gain this weight overnight and I am not going to loose it overnight and that I am loosing it faster than I have ever lost before. Most of all I know that this time it is gone forever.

    That being said, having surgery was the best decision I have ever made. My relationship with food has changed so drastically and in ways I never expected. I just don’t view it with the same urgency I did before. I have to tell myself to eat. To remind myself the I need to consume at least 500 calories a day to continue to loose. (This is my biggest problem.) Did I just say that? I struggle with how much and what to eat now. I don’t crave anything and I just don’t feel hungery most of the time. Again did I just say that??

    Anyway thank you so much for this site. You have given me a place to go when I need to feel “normal” and most of all when I wonder what “normal” is. I know that putting this togeth takes a lot of hard work and I thank you for it. I look forward to reading about your continued journey.

    Good luck to you and I will be praying for you as well!


  39. Hi Louise,

    Thank you for that comment – building this website has been incredibly time consuming, but you show that it’s most certainly worth it. Because your response is exactly my goal. I don’t want to talk anyone into or out of surgery, but if I can help even a few people not be blindsided by reality after it’s too late to change their minds, then I feel like I’ve surved a real purpose.

    Hair will grow back. And as long as you know to, you can stay on top of your supplements and hopefully never experience vitamin deficiencies.

    The doctors tell us these things, but they come out in medical-ese, and in such a volume of information someone told me once it’s like trying to get a drink of water from a fire hose. I think hearing personal stories makes it more real and easier to process.

    Keep in touch about your progress – I’d love to hear about your experiences as well!

    And say a prayer for me. I’ve just undergone a major complication – I’m working on a post about it but it’s taking some time. Warning in advance, don’t let it scare you. From what I’ve been able to discover it happens to about 3-5% of GBP patients. Lucky me. But it sure is a doozy, and one I hadn’t really known about or written of on the complications page.

    God Bless, and best of luck with your surgery!

  40. Lisa

    When I found your site, I had already made the decision to have surgery. Over here in the UK there is no health insurance to pay for it and our NHS has no money to fund it. Therefore I’m paying over 10,000 to have this surgery.

    Since reading your website it’s really made me question my decision. Whether this is right for me, if paying all that money to lose some of my hair and fight vitamin deficiency is the answer.

    I’ve decided that it is the way forward and I look forward to reading more about how your proceed and taking on a lot of your advice.

    Thank you Lisa for a very realistic look at bypass surgery.


  41. heather – I’m so glad I could help, that was exactly my goal.

    allie – your surgery should have been this week. How did it go? How are you now?

    I will be praying for you!

  42. I am scheduled to have surgery on September 9, 2008. I have been very nervous about what to expect after. Thank you for sharing your story. I don’t doubt that I have made the right decision and that I am ready for what is to come but I feel better having an idea of what that may be. Thanks again.

  43. I just want to thank you for your honesty . I so want to have gastric bypass and have been researching it and it is hard to find a site that shares the good and the bad .Thanks again Heather

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