If you would like to suggest a member for next month’s spotlight, contact us.Debb has been a member of TuDiabetes since 2008. She recently underwent gastric bypass surgery and she shares her story with us in this interview.
1) Can you tell us a bit more about you?
I am 52, a mother of two (Steph and Steve) and a grandmother of Steph’s three children (Ryan-8, Zack-6 and Samantha-21 months). I’ve been separated for three years.
I have fought my weight since high school. I have type 2 diabetes and was dx’d in 2004. For years before that i was hyperglycemic and never knew what that meant. My doctor never explained any more than to tell me to lose weight.
My Dad’s brothers and one sister all have or had type 2 diabetes and, from what I have heard, some of my cousins also have type 2. My mother’s mother had type 2 as well. The first time I ever heard any of this was after my dx in 2004. I have spent years losing and gaining weight and just getting heavier and heavier. It’s called the yo-yo effect and can be disastrous.
2) How did you decide to pursue the gastric bypass?
I had finally had had enough with trying to lose [weight] and not getting anywhere, so when I went in for my appointment with my g.p. I was ready to start asking questions. He came in and we both at the same time said: “What about gastric bypass?” This was in March of 2008.
I talked it over with my children and they agreed that this was something that I needed to do. My doctor gave me the address and phone number of Dr. Posner and I called to get things started. They sent me a packet of papers to fill out and they would call me if I was an acceptable candidate for the surgery. In May of 08, I sent them and they lost them. It took until October and my calling them to find them.
3) How was your diabetes management prior to the procedure?
I was basically on my own for two years trying to figure out what to do to get things right and failing completely. I was then sent the TuDiabetes site and things started to change from then on. My numbers were still high. Most of the time around 178, but going over 200 on occasion. When I finally decided to start counting carbs and doing what I was being taught by everyone on TuD then my numbers started coming down. I hate to admit that I was hoping it wouldn’t work but facts are facts and the numbers don’t lie. With all of this it still wasn’t affecting my weight loss because I was still eating way too much, just better food.
4) What things have changed for you since the procedure?
It’s only been a week since my procedure but the doctor took me off of my diabetic meds (metformin and junuvia) and my blood sugars are still a little high (between 129 and 164) but Dr. Posner is confident that as my weight comes down so will my bs. Having a smaller pouch (stomach) will mean feeling full a lot faster and so I will be eating less. My job is to make sure that the foods I do eat are the good foods and to stay away from the bad.
5) What would you recommend to others exploring gastric bypass?
First, gastric bypass is not a quick fix. It can take up to a year to go through everything that the doctors want you to do. Think long and hard and then think long and hard again. The surgery is dangerous and life changing. Everything that you do up to and including the surgery is easy. What comes next will be the hardest thing you have ever done.
6) Anything else you would like to share?
I chose this path because I am only 52 years old and I want to live to see my grandchildren graduate college and go on to lead full lives. I want to be an example for them to be proud of. The possibility of having my diabetes in remission (yes, I say remission because we all know that even gastric bypass is not a cure, just another kind of aid in controlling my diabetes).
The possibility of ditching that blasted CPAP machine (for sleep apnea) was really secondary in the reasons for getting the gastric bypass. My weight was affecting my heart, my hips, my knees and my feet. Not to mention how I felt about myself. If i still have to take meds for my diabetes that’s OK. I just want to feel alive again and run and play with my grandkids. As far as that blasted CPAP machine? As soon as the doctor gives me the word it’s going back. The % for sleep apnea receding after gastric bypass and the weight loss is 99.9%. Now that’s not bad.
I want to stress that gastric or even lap-band surgery is not for everyone and should be considered as a last option. I started a group called Gastric Bypass: The Last Resort, and have been keeping a record of everything I have gone through and will continue to add to as I continue to go through this process. It’s not over by any means: I’m never going to be a Charlie’s Angel and I don’t know if I will ever be able to afford to have the extra skin taken off, but my health will be much improved and so will my mobility. If anyone thinks that after you have the surgery and lose the weight you can go back to the same way of life that you did before it simply isn’t true.
My questions to myself were:
- How badly do I want this?
- How hard will I work at it?
- Is it worth the effort I put into it?
- What are my expectations from this?
I realized the other day that if Dr. Posner was willing to take his valuable time and help me change my life then I can do no more then give everything I’ve got to show him my appreciation for all that he has done. Not just for him but for myself as well, because I am worth every bit of the time and effort going into this from my doctor, from my family and from me.
Previous Member Spotlights
- Kitty's insulin-free life after 40 years of diabetes (March 2009)
- Doug Klein: 50 Years With Diabetes (January 2009)
- Sandy dreams of a kidney transplant... and having a baby (December 2008)
- A conversation with Captain Glucose and Meter Boy (September 2008)
- Meet Chuck: a fun guy that makes you reflect (August 2008)
- Meet Mr. Peachy: a person with type 2 diabetes who loves to answer people's questions (July 2008)
- Olaf R. Saugen: Memories of a Great Life With Diabetes (June 2008)
- Charlie Cherry: Inspiring People With Diabetes Through His Podcast (Nov. 2007)