Is gastric bypass surgery really worth the risk?

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Answered by: Donna, An Expert in the Surgery for Weight Loss Category
I have had many people ask me if gastric bypass surgery was really worth the risk. I know that for myself, there was no other option. I had always been overweight as a child and after having children of my own, it only got worse. When I turned 42, everything hit me like a brick wall. I was determined a diabetic and was required to begin medications.

Along with diabetes, I also suffered from asthma, joint pain, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and much more. My father had his first heart attack at the young age of 42 and so my birthday triggered an urgency to get the weight off. In November of 2006, I experienced my first surgery, the gastric bypass. There are many risks associated with this surgery, including death. I did my research and prepared myself mentally, however I did not expect how difficult it would be to adjust to all the physical changes; eating habits, rapid weight loss, socialization and so much more. It was all very new to me.

It was very odd to wake up and know that things inside of your body were not the same. I now had 2 stomachs; one I would use and one I would not. My new "pouch" as they call it, was about the size of a thumb. I had also elected to have the Silastic Ring (similar to a belt) placed around my pouch for extra support in the long-lasting benefits of the surgery. It was difficult even taking in water as you have a "full" feeling all the time.

Over the next weeks, the diet would change to include pureed and soft foods slowly graduating to solid foods once again. As my diet changed, so did my physical appearance. It was very encouraging to wake up, step on the scales and see another 5 pounds gone since yesterday. Within 6 months, I had dropped an amazing 100 pounds. I felt energetic and renewed. It was also a good feeling (for a change) to go visit my doctor and see the lab results returned with lowering of numbers.

Within the first year, my diabetes was gone. My blood pressure was back to a normal range and my cholesterol numbers were exactly where they should be. I threw away the asthma inhalers and creams for joint pains. I often hear people refer to "diet and exercise" to be the healthy way to lose weight and/or the hard way to lose weight. While I agree it is healthy and hard, I also know that it does not work for everyone. Being morbidly obese makes it extremely difficult to exercise.

So when I am asked if the gastric bypass surgery is worth the risk, I have to answer indeed for me it was. I am not only healthy and happy, but I am pain free and alive for many more years than I would have had if I had not had the surgery. I can only share my experience with others as this has to be a decision one makes for themselves and their own future.

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