Gastric Bypass Surgery: Debb's Journey

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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

Congratulations on taking steps to improve your quality of life. I am a 50 year old female who has had a GB. I had my surgery in November 2005. To date I have lost just over 100 pounds and would like to lose another 25 pounds. I agree with you that the hardest part of a GB are the emotions you go through within a week or so after the surgery. I took only oral meds for my diabetes prior to my surgery. I also understand the “yo-yo effect” as I have experienced that as well. I would lose 50 pounds then gain back the 50 pounds plus 10 more…over and over again. I have connected with several people over the years who have had the surgery- some with great success, others that have been slowly been regaining weight. A GB is a great start for a better life but it is a lifelong process that requires constant awarness and lifestyle changes. You should feel proud of yourself and keep that goal of running and playing with your grandchild foremost in your thoughts. I have had no complications and feel great since my surgery but unfortunately my diabetes continues to progress and I now take insulin as well as oral meds. Keep a positive outlook and think of your goals when you are feeling bad- life only gets better. Best wishes to your new life. Karen

Debb! I have been wondering about you. I am so happy for you. You do not mention discomfort and I am sure you are having some. I hope it is not too bad.
Your grandchildren are so lucky to have you in their lives and one day will surely appreciate what you have done to remain there.
Wishing you a fast recovery and luck in adapting to your new life. Thanks for sharing your story.

Congratulations Debb. You should be proud of yourself for taking the steps to a healthier you.
I have been thinking about the lap band for myself. I’m 5’1" and weigh 215. I’m tired of
being over weight and want to do something about it. I have tried many things. My Dr
put me on a pill to help me loose weight but it started messing up my heart.
Didn’t like that. My blood sugar is creeping up and I want to take care of that before it gets out
of control. My back hurts if I walk for to long a time and both knees are starting to bother
me. I’m ready to loose this weight and I need help in doing it.

Interesting journey Debb. Thanks for being so candid about gastric bypass and providing the link so we can continue to follow your journey. Congratulations on your success striving to be healthy to date.

Hey Debb: :o)

I Really enjoyed reading your interview. You did a Wonderful job on answering the questions honestly, to help others understand your journey. You know that I’m Very Proud of you. Great photo of you. You’'re looking towards a bright future. Hey, you’re a Good Looking Lady. :wink:


Glad that you came through the surgery so well. I wanted to have it myself. Went through the orientation but bombed out at the DR visit. Seems he told me that I had to lose 40 pounds first and then I had to become more mobile. The part of getting rid of my scooter just knocked me out! And on top of it all … they really don’t like the risk of my past history of DVTs and PEs. So in other words, they weren’t going to operate on me … no matter what. I was crushed that they wouldn’t give me the chance. Soooooo, you better take good advantage of your situation and make it count. Since some people do put weight back on, I am counting on you to go for broke and get as thin as you can. Then, who knows, you may be able to afford/go through plastic surgery. With God behind you and around you, nothing is impossible.

Lois La Rose

good work dear Debb , wishing you all the best with your health …you have gone through a lot and please keep sharing your self …

Prayers and best wishes for you, Debb. Thank you for sharing a part of you. We have truly learned so much.

Hi Debb,

You’re a brave & awesome lady. We’re all so proud of you!

One of the members in EsTuDiabetes has helped us with the translation of this great interview. It is now available in Spanish.

Read Cirugia Bariatria (Bypass Gastrico): la historia de Debb.

In case you missed it, you can read here the complete newsletter published last month, where Debb’s story was highlighted.
7397-GastricBypassPatientAssistanceResourcesSingingAboutDiabetes.pdf (239 KB)