I want to offer a special thanks to Debbie. Here is her story:
My name is Debbie, from Syracuse, New
York. I had Bilio-Pancreatic Diversion with Duodenal Switch (BPD/DS)
surgery on December 10, 2004 at the age of 51. At the time of my
surgery I weighed 353 pounds, at 5'7".
I've always been heavy. At the age of 8, I was
considered to be obese. I remember going to the "diet doctor" at
that age and being given diet pills, probably amphetamines back
then! My mother and sister took them as well. We were all
overweight, my father too, and we were always dieting.
I was my Dad's little tomboy, and always ate
plate for plate whatever he did! By the 7th grade, I had reached my
full height and weighed 173 pounds, and by the age of 18 when I went
to Weight Watchers for the first time, I was over 200 pounds.
I continued to try every diet there was. I
would lose weight, gain it all back and gain even more. This
continued for the rest of my adult life. The most I ever lost was 75
pounds by being on a very stringent diet and exercising; only to
gain it back and more after my father died.
My father had developed diabetes and had 3
heart attacks, so naturally when I became diabetic in my 40's, it
was not a big surprise. But now all the dieting didn't work, and
when I entered an early perimenopause, it was just impossible to
lose any weight. I was put on insulin, and later learned that taking
insulin itself will make you gain weight!
At one point, I gained 70 pounds in 3 months,
just from an increase in my insulin dosage. I ultimately was taking
over 300 units a day, an incredible amount, and my sugar wasn't even
well controlled. I also had high blood pressure, osteoarthritis in
my knees, high cholesterol and triglycerides, chronic sinusitis,
headaches, and acid reflux. I could barely walk and owned a mobility
scooter, and always used one whenever I could in stores and malls. I
had no life to speak of, just going to work and coming home, and
pretty much just wishing to die. I was constantly in pain, depressed
and felt I was beyond hope.
I had heard about gastric bypass surgery but
had thought the adjustable lap band might work better for me. Thanks
to a doctor who turned me down for that because of my high BMI, I
did more research and found that the BPD/DS is highly favored for
diabetics and people with high BMI's. My BMI was 55. Furthermore,
this surgery allows you to keep your own stomach and use the stomach
acids for normal digestion, as well as keeping the pyloric valve, so
the "dumping" syndrome is not a problem, and a greater variety of
food can be eaten after surgery, including meat, sweets, etc.
Knowing my general lack of self-discipline, I thought this might be
a better choice for me than the RNY.
I ended up traveling to New York City, to Dr
Alfons Pomp, for the surgery, as it wasn't performed by anyone in
Syracuse. The surgery went off without a hitch, and Dr Pomp and his
partner, Dr Michel Gagner, also videotaped my surgery as a teaching
tool for other doctors, apparently because I presented so many
That was over a year and a half ago. I now
weigh 190 pounds and all my co-morbidities are gone! I'm no longer
diabetic and the only medicine I take is for the acid reflux, which
did not go away. My knees are fine and I walk everywhere, ride a
bike, even a motor scooter! I took my first cruise in December and
swam with the dolphins, wearing a wetsuit - something that would
never have happened before the surgery!
I have had certain complications, including
chronic diarrhea, and find that adjusting my diet is the only way to
treat it. I cannot eat red meat or poultry, for example, or wheat
products. I also lost almost all my hair, but it has grown back! I
continue to lose weight, although slowly and yet I'm perfectly happy
at this weight. I am disturbed by the extra skin, but hope to have
plastic surgery some day down the road.
I feel I was given a new beginning, and enjoy
life so much now that I just regret not having the surgery sooner.
I'd recommend it to anyone who is at the end of their rope, as I
was, and encourage everyone to do their research, as there are many
surgeries and doctors to do them.
Syracuse, New York
You achieved your
goal. Share your story.
you have a story to share, are at least 1 year post-op and
have before and after pictures, please send them to me at
Barbara@wlscenter.com so that I can include
them in a future