Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Christmas, New Year, Block Break, It's AWESOME!

Oh you guys, this is the longest break I have had since medical school started, and let me tell you, I am LOVING IT! Also, I miss my homies. I guess this is what it will be like when we all go out for rotations and we won't be together every single day. I'm not going to think about that right now... I'll think about it tomorrow.

So I wanted to take this post and talk about something kinda close to home. Today is the six-month anniversary of the day I had vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG) AND a cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal). VSG is a weight loss surgery where the doctor removes a portion of the stomach so that you cannot hold as much food when you eat. It leaves a banana-shaped area of stomach that is less than half of the original size. The idea is that if you can't eat as much, you'll lose weight. The difference between a VSG and gastric bypass is that with the VSG, they don't re-route your intestines. The gastric bypass takes the intestines and bypasses the main portion that does most of the absorption. Gastric bypass also bypasses the pyloric sphincter, which controls the amount of food that passes from the stomach into the intestines. People who have bypass surgery have a small pouch of stomach that limits the amount you can eat, but also have decreased absorption of what they do consume. They often experience a phenomenon called dumping syndrome after consuming simple carbs or sugars that is very unpleasant.

Knowing this, I chose the sleeve because I felt that I would eventually want to have some rice or a cookie sometime in the future and I wouldn't want to feel like I was dying if I chose to do that. Also with the bypass, the portion of stomach that is closed off from the pouch is left in place, but if something went wrong with that part of the stomach, there is no way to introduce a scope to see what's going on. I felt that even though the sleeve is a newer procedure, I could be more comfortable with the long term effects going forward.

So why am I sharing this? Well, as a medical student, you hear about a lot of medical conditions. The thing about that is you hear in just about every single one that the effects are exacerbated by obesity. And I was obese. Like seriously obese. In fact, I am still actually obese. I have lost 69 pounds, and I am a little over halfway to my goal. I was a BIG GIRL. I also have a family history of conditions that are inevitable in obese individuals. I didn't have any of those yet, but I was well on my way.

A lot of people feel like weight loss surgery is the easy way out. It might be. But if your house is on fire, are you going to try to find the most complicated escape route possible? No, you are going to find the easiest way out with the least amount of damage to your person. I have joined every weight loss bandwagon that exists. I have had some success with dieting and exercise. But every time I gained it right back. I have no promises that the same thing won't happen again. I hope that this time is different, and I am successful. What I know right now is all of my health indicators are within normal ranges. My blood pressure is good, my blood sugar is good, and my cholesterol is good. And honestly, this hasn't been easy. But it has been worth it. I feel so much better, and I have so much more energy than I ever had before. I am exercising every day, and I just feel better. I can't believe it has only been six months, and I look so forward to the next six months to see where I go from here. If anyone has any questions about the procedure, or my journey, feel free to comment or send me an email at Happy New Year, guys!

Oh and here's a before and after:

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