Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Celebrating my Surgiversary.

Six years ago today, I had gastric bypass surgery. 6 feet of intestine were removed and my stomach was reduced to the size of an egg. I threw up every single day for more than 6 months after surgery.

Why would a person put themselves through weight loss surgery(WLS)? Because I was dying due to morbid obesity. My addiction to food, public perceptions of fat culture and fat acceptance are topics for another blog post. Today is about celebrating getting my life back.

Top 10 Surprises since having Gastric Bypass Surgery

10. I didn't realize just how much throwing up I would do.
  • I threw up nearly every day for the first 6 months after surgery, and still throw up if I eat too fast.
9. I'm surprised that I struggle with anemia and low calcium levels.
  • This is why I can't donate blood.
8. I didn't realize how hard it would be to take compliments graciously.
  • I get embarrassed when I'm complimented. I've learned to just smile and say "Thank you"
7. You really can lose weight so quickly that your underwear becomes too big, and it almost falls down around your ankles during class.
  • Yes, this really almost happened. I went to the Walmart and bought underwear that fit when I was done with work for the day!
6. It takes a really, really, really long time to stop looking in the mirror and seeing your "old" self.
  • Sometimes I don't recognize my reflection when I'm passing a store window. It's surprising when I realize the reflection is me.
5. I get drunk really fast on 1/2 glass of wine.
  • This is because I have a pod-stomach, so alcohol quickly drains into the intestine, which has more surface area to absorb alcohol. Don't you feel educated now?
4. I'm still just as socially awkward as I was before surgery.
  • Meeting new people or being in crowds of people just freaks me out. Guess that will never change, even with more self-confidence.
3. Wearing high heels makes me feel powerful and sexy.
  • Fun fact - I went down 2 shoe sizes and 3 ring sizes as I lost weight. Weird, right?
2. The cost of vitamins just blows me away.
  • I take a double dose of a multi-vitamin, 5000mcg of B12 and Calcium citrate supplements. I spend about $30 a month just on vitamins.
1. I knew I would have sagging skin issues, but jeesh, I didn't know just how awkward and painful the sagging skin would be!
  • I have the biggest issues with my arms and belly. If my insurance covered it, these are the two areas I would get plastic surgery on.

My Top 10 Best Moments since having
Gastric Bypass Surgery

10. Being able to fasten my seat belt
  • I was too big to do this before surgery
9. Fitting in a seat on an airplane
  • And not having to use a seat belt extender!
8. Being able to mow my lawn
  • To be clear, I hate mowing the lawn, but I can do it!
7. Completing a 5K
  • I came in last, but I finished!
6. Being able to walk long distances without having to rest
  • Before surgery, I had difficulty walking from the parking lot to my office.
5. Being able to fit into a booth at McDonald's
  • Yes, I see the irony with this one.
4. Being able to stand and teach for an entire class
  • And I can even do it in high heels!
3. My cholesterol going from over 300 to 190
  • Though the downside is that I'm chronically anemic.
2. Being able to buy clothes at The Walmart
  • I know it's not classy, but dang, if I need a t-shirt it's nice to not have to special order it from a catalog.
1. Finishing a triathlon
  • I was chubby. I was slow. I came in 2nd to last, but I finished.

Six years out from surgery and I still marvel at this gift I was given. I'm considered a "success" because I've kept off 50% of the excess weight I initially lost. And that, in itself, isn't easy. In my first year and a half after surgery, I lost a total of 194 pounds. In the years between then and now, I gained some of that back, then started following Weight Watchers and started losing weight again. 

My goal has never been to be "skinny" - it's just not in my DNA. My goal has always been, and continues to be, to maintain a weight that allows me to do all the things I want to do. WLS gave me my life back. Today, I'm celebrating with a fresh made salad. It tastes like success. 


  1. Congradulations Kelly Jo, you do look amazing. You are a tesament that you can change your life if you really want to.
    I also want to thank you for starting this blog. It has been 7 years since I have been in a relationship and 9 years since I had a first date. That is going to change tomorrow and talk about excitement and nerves all at once. Even though the first date is tomorrow, we have been texting and talking on the phone for about a week and a half. I get that "fuzzy drink" every time we have a conversion (yes even men get them(at least this one does)). Following your blog has given me the confidence to put myself
    out there again and I want to thank you for that.
    Keep on trying, "Mr. Wright" is out there waiting for you.
    Joe Heinrich

  2. SO EXCITED for you!! I'll cross my fingers and toes you have a good time! ~KJ

  3. Thanks Kelly Jo for the support. It really means a lot. Again thanks for the blog and good luck to you too.