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Finding Out My Gastric Bypass Operation Has Failed
Today I went to Liverpool Aintree Hospital to visit an Endocrinologist who also reviews Bariatric patients. I’ve finally found a specialist who can help me with all my health problems rather than having to go to lots of different specialists for different things.
I now have a complete picture of my health and feel like I can progress. I have been in Limbo and feeling like a failure since my Gastric bypass operation two years ago at Liverpool Aintree under the Phoenix Weight Loss Team. (Who lost their contract not long after my operation).
In fact I ended up regaining the weight I lost and today I finally have the answers I have been looking for. A few months after my operation Phoneix Health lost their NHS contract and a lot of patients who had just undergone surgery were discharged without support. Some even had to have reversal operations. It’s taken me 18 months to finally get to see a Bariatric Specialist again and find out what went wrong.
Today I discovered that my operation was not done correctly. I’m virtually not a gastric bypass patient as my stomach is not much smaller than it was before my operation. I remember the day of my operation having a bowl of soup and being told I should only be able to have a few spoons full and feeling really bad although that’s all I ate that day. I also recall telling the phoenix dietician that the portion sizes I was being recommended were leaving me feeling starving and I was continually told I must not be following the diet plan correct.
On my last follow up I was told that Phoenix were losing their contract and the dietician really wasn’t interested in helping me anymore. I was left discharged from a service that no longer existed and left wondering what I was doing wrong.
The First 24 weeks after surgery
I did lose some weight originally, especially in the first month after my Gastric bypass. I was in horrific pain, the worst pain I had ever been in (way worse than giving birth) and I was taken back to hospital for ten days. During this time I was nil by mouth for 10 days and lost a significant amount of weight. I then lost a little weight each week while on liquids and soft foods. At around 24 weeks the weight loss slowed down. My tummy had healed and I was able to eat as if I’d never had an operation.
I found myself feeling like a failure, I even wrote a blog post saying I thought my gastric bypass had failed but was told I was being silly and to just wait and see. I continued following a strict diet which was not working for me. I was regaining my weight, no longer had follow up and now two years later even with a lot of effort to eat healthy I am back at my pre surgery weight.
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Where To From Here?
Today I was told I am very lucky that I don’t have major complications like some of the patients who are now being followed up with problems. I do feel lucky in this regard but also disappointed I went through so much and it took so long to figure things out but I am pleased I kind of get a clean slate in a way. I can honestly say that I have eaten relatively healthy for the past three years, however I did join Weight Watchers and start the Flex Plan 8 weeks ago out of desperation and I have lost and gained some weight but am now 5 pounds lighter than I was when I started.
I have been told to keep doing Weight Watchers or eating a low calorie diet but not to expect much in terms of weight loss due to all the medical conditions I have. There is an option to go for a private revision but this is not something I can afford and after all I went through I don’t think I can put my body through it again. It was hard enough the first time around. The other option is to get a gastric band but again I was warned that I have enough health issues it might be better to just accept this is the way things are for me and in a way I think that is the right thing to do.
Managing My Weight From This Point Forward
The main issue now is managing my weight from this point forward despite a failed Gastric bypass. We discussed all my health problems and how they make it hard for me to lose weight and we discussed all the results from my tests, the medications I require and how I will manage my health from here on out. I feel so excited to find a Specialist who looks at the whole picture rather than one condition only.
I have Adrenal Insufficiency and as a result I have to take steroids through my adrenal pump 24 hours a day. I take around 20mg of steroids per day to keep me alive. My Adrenal Insufficiency after years of instability is now well managed thanks to the Adrenal Pump.
Although my AI is managed in terms of no longer going in and out of hospital, I do get unwell regular. I have an ongoing problem with skin infections in certain areas of my body and they tend to come almost every two week. When this happens I have to double my steroids to keep my blood pressure from dropping, manage my symptoms and not head towards Adrenal crisis.
When I get a period I have to triple dose my steroids for my body to cope with the added physical stress. Before my pump I would end up in hospital every time I had a period. I have to take hydrocortisone steroids daily to live however they do have an impact on my weight and I have to make sure I take the medication which effects my weight in a negative way.
Human Growth Hormone Deficiency
Along with Adrenal Insufficiency, I suffer from Human Growth Hormone Deficiency. When your growth Hormone levels are not correct as a child it can affect your growth. However as an adult it affects cell regeneration and growth, can cause weight gain and cause muscular atrophy. It took around 8 years for me to get diagnosed with HGH Deficiency.
Every night I have to inject Human Growth Hormone into my stomach. For years the combination of unstable Adrenal Insufficiency and Human Growth Hormone Deficiency left me bedbound and using a wheelchair. I have slowly been improving over the past 18 months since starting medication and I barely use a wheelchair anymore, however I do still get tired quickly and have severe muscle pain due to weakness in the body.
I get my growth hormone tested every six months and the last two six monthly check ups revealed my medication needed increasing. This means I was not having enough growth hormone and as a result my muscles have remained weak and I have been prone to weight gain and having a slow metabolism.
I’m finally going to be on the correct dose of growth hormone however it takes up to 9 months for the full effects to kick in and I need help to strengthen my weak muscles after around 5 years of weakness. It’s going to be a long road and hard to do as the physio I see is only available once a month and I get exhausted trying to do the exercises I am given. I am considering going private but again it’s a money thing but could really help me in the muscle weakness area, especially to reduce the pain I get on a daily basis.
Vitamin D Deficiency and Hyperparathyroidism
For the past 5 years I have suffered from severe Vitamin D Deficiency and on and off Hyperparthryoidism which is caused by low Vitamin D levels. Some of the main symptoms of these conditions are feelings of sickness, exhaustion and tiredness, muscle weakness, brain fog, forgetfulness and bone pain. I know the bone pain very well, it is awful especially around my eye sockets and shins.
Vitamin D tests usually take around 6 weeks to come back and each time I am tested, I am low and need a loading dose of Vitamin D. It has not always worked and I find the next time I am tested I continue to be low and unwell. I am going to discuss this with my GP and see what he can do to help me try and get the levels right once and for all as it’s not good enough and the symptoms again affect my ability to feel well and exercise.
I’m hoping this condition can get sorted and monitored better.
Low Iron and B12 Injections
I do have low Iron and B12 and have to have iron infusions and B12 Injections. These are under control thank goodness and my levels within range which is great. I just have to keep on top of them. This was caused by my Gastric Bypass.
I have come a long way in the past 5 years but still have a fair way to go. I am working on getting my Adrenal pump funded by the NHS. It is a work in progress.
I have a gastric bypass but my tummy is huge so it does not help me with weight loss. I am to keep doing Weight Watchers for now and do my best to lose weight so when I increase my steroids and regain, I will gain what I have lost rather than keep going up in weight.
I will wait for my Human Growth Hormone to work and do my best to try to strengthen my muscles and weak body. This is not going to be easy but at least I am on the correct dose. It will take about a year.
Last of all I will see my GP about improving my Vitamin D and getting rid of the nauseating parathyroid symptoms I have had for the past 8 months. Surely they can do more to help manage this.
I feel overwhelmed but also have clarity which I am pleased about and will work towards things one step at a time. I can do this and thanks everyone for your support.
The final question is would I ever get a revision or a band to help lose weight. I do not know. It’s not something I can afford at this point in time and I’m not sure I want to go through something like this again. I really do not know.