There are not a lot of us veterans of the sleeve gastrectomy—as far as I can tell, it started being performed on a small number of patients as a solution to weight loss on its own (instead of a first step to the gastric bypass) in 2005. The success rate was relatively high for these patients so this option became a better solution for patients with a BMI of 40 or less, with the gastric bypass reserved for those who had a BMI of over 40.
YEAR ONE: I am now 3 years and 4 months out from my sleeve and I can tell you, Year One is truly the honeymoon period for weight loss. Of course you don’t enjoy food very much, you are healing from a major surgery, and your new tummy is pretty damn picky about what you put into it. You’re tired in the beginning and you throw up a bit, but you’re not hungry (if you are, it’s most likely head hunger) and you are living in a new world of how you look at food. But the trade-off is that for the first time in your (most likely many) weight loss attempts, this one is working! The pounds start melting off, a lot at first and then it goes into a slow but steady path, then you might hit a stall for a bit, but by that time you’re like “Woohoo!!! Look at me!!!” You’re wearing skinny jeans and going to the gym, and shopping for new clothes and getting complimented all the time. Looking back on that first year it was such a weird but fantastic time! And for me, at least, I never felt like it was a diet. I never felt deprived. I felt joy.
I was looking back at my first-year blog and at one point I wrote the top ten things that I did not like about the sleeve. Here they are with an update next to each one:
- I miss pasta, garlic bread, and wine. I can eat all of these now; I choose not to eat much pasta anymore, but I could if I wanted. I just don’t. Nice.
- Cooking isn’t as satisfying as it used to be and I throw more food away, which I feel bad about. My only problem with cooking now (which I enjoy) is that I sometimes nibble while I’m cooking. Must stop that. And I don’t throw much away at all anymore. So this one is also not a problem at Year 3.
- Feeling sick or even throwing up if I have OBTM (one bite too many) or if I eat something my stomach doesn’t like, as in one teeny grain of rice! I now know what I can tolerate and what I cannot. But there is very little I can’t and if I do feel a little sick, it’s my own damn fault for eating too much or too fast!
- My boobs are pitiful. Not any more!!! I have nicer breasts now than I did when I was 22! (My breast reduction in Year 2 was great!)
- My scars are still there so no bikinis for me! No more scars! Gone!
- My knees and hip still hurt (not as much, but the pain is not gone). No more knee pain, but I have arthritis in my hip so nothing I can do about that one.
- I don’t like it when people ask me how much weight I’ve lost. No one asks any more. First, I live in another country, but seriously, at three years out, it’s old news.
- I feel a little funny when I tell people how I lost the weight. Never comes up anymore.
- Taking my vitamins every day is tricky. Easy now.
- Going out to eat and seeing so much good food on other people’s plates, knowing I will eat just a few bites of something much less exciting and I won’t enjoy my meal as much as others do. A complete non-issue at this point. We enjoy going out to a nice meal, we often share or sometimes we just have appetizers. It truly is not about the food any more, but the enjoyment of going out.