Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gastric Bypass Surgery (the things you don't hear)


As I sat in Pod 3, waiting for my 6th round of intravenous iron, a commercial popped up on the television.  It was Carnie Wilson promoting her new Wilson Phillips reality show.  She was talking to one of the Wilson's or Phillip's (I can never remember who is which) about having weight loss surgery for a second time.  The nurse assisting a patient receiving chemotherapy next to me made the comment  "She is getting that surgery again?  Well, it sure doesn't seem like it worked for her the first time."  She continued to talk about it as she walked over to insert my IV, "Do you think it will work out for her this time?"  I reply, "Maybe, pretty brave of her though."  I guess that response was unexpected... she says, "Oh?"  I know, I opened myself up for this but her condescending tone on a subject she seemed to know so little about bothered me.  "Well, if I would have known then, what I know now... I might not have been brave enough to go through weight loss surgery the first time, much less a second time. (a quiet pause)  It is why I am sitting here today, after all."  Ironic.

For those of you who are not familiar with my weight loss journey, you can see some before and after photos and read more about it here.  It's been almost 10 years since I had gastric bypass surgery.  I had a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass.  This entailed the cutting of my stomach to make a smaller stomach pouch about the size of an egg.  The new smaller pouch was then directly attached to the middle part of my intestines, "bypassing" the larger portion of my stomach and upper part of my intestines.  This is done to decrease the amount of food one can take in and also to decrease the amount of sugars and fat that can be absorbed into the body.  I know this seems drastic but this is usually done on severely obese patients that are on the road to an early grave. I believe I was.  I believe it saved my life.  But with any surgery and manipulation of the body comes complications.

The first complication began immediately after the surgery.   For some reason, I was vomiting everything I ingested... even water.  Doctors had never seen such a case.  Of course, I had to be one of those "weird cases."  Story of my life.  After an additional week in the hospital and extensive tests, doctors concluded I had a "swelling in the portion of the stomach that led to the intestines."  This swelling caused a blockage.  The swelling finally subsided and everything was "good"... for awhile.

It wasn't until about 4 or 5 years later when more complications arose. I began having excruciating pain in the upper part of my abdomen.  The pain was debilitating.  I often could not catch my breath and wondered if  "this is it, I'm coming Elizabeth." (Props to whoever got the Sanford and Son reference, I know my hubby did) This led me to a Gastroenterologist.  Turns out, with having a much smaller stomach pouch, one is more at risk to develop stomach ulcers.  I did. Good news is... they can be prevented by taking Nexium, the little purple pill.  Bad news is... I have to take it daily for the rest of my life.  And believe me taking it daily is crucial for warding off the ulcers.  There have been times when I had forgotten to take my pills or ran out without reordering them in sufficient time... I paid the price.  So, if this is what I have to do... so be it.  Things can always be worse.

Things seemed to be stable again... for while.

I look back now and see there were many of signs of anemia.  Fatigue, dizziness, being cold ALL THE TIME, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath... but it wasn't until I started getting illness after illness when my doctor suspected something was off.  After having pink eye and strep throat twice... doctors ran blood test suspecting I had mononucleosis.  Mono test came back negative.  But my blood and iron counts were extremely low.  Apparently, my iron levels were under a 4.  Apparently, individuals with iron levels under a 4 are usually passed out.  Apparently, the multivitamin and iron supplement I take daily was not being absorbed.  I was sent to a Hematologist.

The Hematologist gave me two options, an iron infusion or an iron infusion.  I was given the choice between two forms of iron I would had administered.  The first is called "Infed."  It is administered over a period of 6 hours, this is because a "test dose" is first administered... what are they testing for?  Allergic reactions. The allergic side effects from this form of iron is very common and cases of death have even been reported.  "I will take what is behind curtain number two... Zonk!" (Who guessed Let's Make a Deal?)  The second option was a 2 hour treatment of a form of iron called "Venofer."  These treatments are done three times over a three week period.  The good news is... patients being administered Venofer have a much lower risk of developing an allergic reaction.  The bad news is... I developed an allergic reaction. 

It wasn't until about 4 hours after receiving the Venofer when I started to get a head ache and just feel "blah."  Then... the fever hit and chills.  I was under a heating blanket and shivering.  I started to have pain in the arm I received my infusion and it started to swell.  I first thought this might be normal but after suffering for an hour or so, I did what I usually do when I am feeling bad.  I called my mommy.  She is a nurse so she does have some insight on the situation.  She thought I was having an allergic reaction and gave me prompt orders to take some Benedryl.  I did.  Sure enough... about 30 minutes later, I started to feel better.

I called my Hematologist first thing Monday morning.  I was scheduled for my second round of iron on Friday and I did NOT want to go through that again.  She ordered a steroid to be administered before and after each iron treatment.  This seemed to do the trick.  My next two treatments ran smoothly.  I was feeling much better, I had so much more energy... I was cured!

Not quite.

A month later I had a follow up appointment to check my blood count and iron levels.  It was not up to the level it should have been.  I had to schedule another round of iron infusions.  Another three weeks of infusions.  I was also told that this will now be my "norm."  I am to come in periodically to have my levels checked.  If they are too low, I am to have iron infusions.  My body does not absorb iron like it should due to having gastric bypass surgery.  I guess... I had not thought of it this way before.  I was disheartened.  And on top of that, since I am still menstruating, I have to watch it even more closely due to losing blood/iron every month.  This led to the discussion about having an Endometrial ablation...

An Endometrial ablation is a procedure that destroys the uterine lining.   Basically, a patient is under anesthetic and boiling water is inserted into the uterus to destroy the lining.  The endometrium heals by scarring, which usually reduces or prevents uterine bleeding.  Thus, reducing my loss of blood/iron every month.  I am scheduled for a uterine biopsy on Monday.  Hopefully, I am a good candidate for the procedure.

I also just completed my 2nd round (6th treatment) of receiving Venofer.  All went smoothly once again with the help of the steroid.  I HOPE I do not have to get another round of iron any time soon.  I will just have to wait and see what my counts are in a month or so.

But as I sat there receiving my last treatment.  I glanced around the room called "Pod 3."  Next to me stood the "Carnie Wilson nurse" assisting a patient, another woman (which seemed to be in her early 40's) surrounded by worried family members and a few other patients lying in hospital beds.  All were receiving chemotherapy treatment.  All were fighters.  All were brave.  And the only thing I could think about was... how blessed I am for my health.

76 comments:

  1. Amen to that...I'm glad you are doing well.

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    1. Thanks! Had the biopsy yesterday, it wasn't too bad. The ablation is tentatively scheduled for May 11th. I will be glad when it's over with.

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  2. I'm wondering if I could do it but each time I saw success stories in losing weight I became more determined to do it it's only that I don't know how to start.I have heard something about a formula that will give you a gastric bypass effect but no surgery by Roca Labs, is it true?

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    1. I bought the Rica labs formula. It was horrible. I couldn't drink it nor could I get my $480 back. Good luck.

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  3. Amanda, THANK YOU for sharing your story!! I had gastic bypass in 2003 and EVERYTHING you just described happening has happened to me as well. I've had every procedure you explained above (plus a few others) and still continue with iron infusions, just not as frequent any longer. I'd love to swap and hear more. Tiffany Gray

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    1. Hi Tiffany! I would love to talk to you more about what I have been through and hear your story! Since I have been blogging, I have come across SO many people that share my story. Email me anytime: mandi4u@hotmail.com

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    2. i also have had gastic bypass 9 yrs this week! i have the severe anemia, shortness off breath,have been really sick with 2 pregnancies! tummy tuck cuz of infections on my skin,too much sugar, fried foods, milk? i really still havent pin pointed it! i know many that gained it back in a few yrs! idk how i still get sick almost daily! i dont regret it i just need more resourse on how 2 get healthy!

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  4. Thank god they found out you had ulcers, because they found mine after they ruptured, I almost didn't make it.

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  5. Everyone loves it when people get together and share ideas.
    Great website, keep it up!
    Feel free to visit my webpage : get redirected here

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  6. so are you pleased you had the bypass even after all your complications,i am just waiting for word when to go in for mine

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    1. I will be forever grateful for this procedure. It provided the help that I so desperately needed. I also attend Overeaters Anonymous meetings to provide support, and a continued reminder that I am a food addict, and any continuation of my recovery can only be achieved, ONE DAY AT A TIME. I am 12 years out and have been blessed with a weight loss of over 125 pounds.

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  7. Wow. When it rains it pours.

    I am so sorry to hear about all your struggles. Everyone has them, it's how we view them that makes our life liveable or not. I admire you for counting your blessings.

    Even though I lost my son Alexander, I try to remember that it could be worse. If he can't be with me, he's in the next best place.

    Looking forward to following all of your successes.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo
    Finding Humour in Everyday Life
    journeysofthezoo at hotmail dot com

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  8. I had the same surgery 5yrs ago and although i lost 150lbs it was the worst mistake of my life! I was in the hospital for 2 weeks after surgery because i was so sick, just like you.Since then i have been hospitalized for dehydration, malnutritian, low blood sugar (40), spinal meningitas, MRSA, anemia, and im not sure but it only happened after bypass surgery i have calcifying fibroma in my hand which required 2 surgeries. So as you can see i know exactly how you feel and i try to discourage anybody thinking about having this surgery!! The friend that motivated me to do it died 3yrs after hers, 1 yr after mine. R.I.P. Susie Castrida.....c.garrett

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    1. Sorry about your friend what happened

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  9. I am currently going through the same scenario as you. I had the gastric bypass surgery in Feb 2010. My iron level has been 4 since Jan 2013. i have been exhausted and always cold as well. I tried doing additional iron supplements for a few weeks, but the pills irritated my stomach. So....back to the dr I went to request iron infusions. I just finished my first 'round' last week. Mine was 5 iv infusions over a 2 week period. My question/issue is, I feel the same as before i had them. Actually, now I feel even more drained. How long before I will notice a difference? I go back in 3 wks to have my levels redrawn and to see if they are up high enough, or if I need to go through another series of 5 more infusions.

    I agree, it is discouraging to know that this will now be my 'norm'.......... but in my case - the gastric bypass surgery positives far exceeded this one negative! I lost 1/2 of myself - from 260, now down to 123lbs. My cholosterol levels are awesome, my blood pressure is awesome, no more nexium for reflux, no more bp meds, and I can actually play with my kids without getting winded!

    Thank you for sharing your story, and I hope that my story will help someone else as well !!

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  10. Jocie101- I had gastric bypass surgery in 1979. I also suffered the vomiting afterwards and thought it would never quit. I have been anemic long before the bypass and since have had IV Iron. Now they say I have a mass in my stomach which can't be reached by EGD or Colonoscopy, I feel it is the scar tissue from the bypass but they have set me up for surgery. I really don't want surgery but what are others comments on this and has anyone been in this situation?

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  11. It will be a year in September since my bypass surgery, and I must say....God has been good to me. I have had no problems at all. When I hear about others who have had complications since having the same type surgery, I actually feel guilty, but I know to keep them and you in my prayers. God bless you my friend, and thanks for letting me know that my stomach can stretch back to a larger size. Keep up the good work and remember....I am praying for you! 'Shell

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  12. jenniferbengali@ymail.comJuly 11, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    My sister had gastric bypass surgery 6-7 years ago. She lost the weight but since year 3, she has had nothing but health problems, from recurring bladder infections to low iron, low sodium, to constant nausea, ulcers on her esophogas, and lupus. What I don't understand is, once you have the surgery and develop these complications, why not have the by-pass reversed?

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    1. My sister had a gastric bypass 3 years ago and she has lost 6 stone but she has had so many complications she has had a endoscopy 6 times this last 2 years as she has reacurring ulcers she was back at the hospital last week for another endoscopy and was told by the doctor the ulcers have gone but were they did the bypass this has coroded and to phone her doctor in a weeks time for antibotics. W hy couldnt they give them to her her stomach is that swollen she looks 9 months preganant. She has recently been told she has hypo gycimia and has been told to take sugary tablets of which she has put weight on. I am now in the process of writing a complaint letter to the head of surgery as i think there is a underlying problem some where and even her own doctors arnt doing anything . So wish me luck Her life was suppose to improve for the better having this done it hasnt she is in pain popping tablets every day

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  13. Hi Amanda!!! I am doing on A paper on Gastric bypass vs dieting... i wasn’t to sure which one i was for, but after i was doing my research and read your story my decision became very clear... And i just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story, it has helped me enormously! Take care!!

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    1. Dont base that from one persons story. Ive been dieting for 30+ years. My kids are growing up.. im missing out on life... my weight is killing me. While I worry about complications of surgery, I also know I worry about things continuing on the path ive been on and wonder if ill even make it to 50. Im 98% sure im ready for my last resort in my battle- surgery.

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    2. Don't be naive. I had the malabsortion gastric bypass. Its been 2 years and 180 lbs. I'm more unhealthy now than I was at 325 lbs.!!! Id give anything to take back the choice of surgery. I used to feel like a ghost just watching people live around me. Surgery is not much different than dieting. It takes work and DIETING to not gain your weight back. So now I'm still heavy, malnourished, infertile, lost my teeth and hair, constantly sick, more tired than ever, increased estrogen caused severe suicidal thoughts and deppression, have painful ulcers abd a hernia and still dieting. Even worse is I have 2 kids and my chances for a longer life are gone. I had a better chance to live longer even w/ an enlarged heart and severly obese. Before surgery.I thought like you, I wouldve given anything to lose weight. God, I had no idea, I heard other stories like mine and thought "that won't happen to me, I'll be careful and do everything right." Lol. What a joke, I'm more dead now than ever. I cry myself to sleep every night REGRETING my surgery. Worst part is no one can see your malnutrition and how crappy you feel. People are like you must feel great losing all that weight. I just want to smack them!!! Worst mistake of my life!!!!!!!!!!

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  14. I had my gastric bypass back in 2007,Everything has been great only my iron and also getting the Infusions is a pain BUT EVERYTHING GOOD surpasses the only bad thing... I lost almost 1/2 of my weight I was 250 pounds now I am at 140..and felling happier than ever..no more HBP meds,no more gerd,no more astma, no more pills other than vitamins and iron.... no more Huge clothes for me... Thank God for my surgery and I will recommend it to anyone who wants a better life!!

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    1. Nice to read some positive comments for a change. I understand that there are complications and risks associated with the surgery....people who do their research beforehand should know all this, and ask the doctor lots of questions before going ahead with surgery, and if in doubt DON'T DO IT. I don't understand why people have to whinge about their bad experiences what could have happened BEFORE they had it done.

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  15. I had surgery two years ago and have been doing well. Lost 110 pounds and feel pretty good. My iron levels are also off and may need to do intrav. iron also. However, I must say I have been very fortunate and had no real complications..except the iron issue. I am glad I had the surgery and would do it again. It has totally changed my life. Best of luck to everyone in their struggles.
    S

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  16. Oh my am I crying. I had my gastric bypass three years ago. Six months after they found my ulcer. The same doctor who did my surgery found the ulcer gave me a script for prilosec and didn't suggest any follow up. I went to my pcp once a year to have everything checked. All blood levels came back normal I was on no vitamins or anything. On July 29 I woke up having severe chest pains. Immediately called 911 found out I had a perforated viscus and ulcer that had torn through my stomach and small intestine in two places. Within four hours of waking up I had been at two hospitals, icu and on my way to surgery. I quit smoking the day I went in the hospital but here I am again, liquid protein diet losing weight like crazy again. To find out on top of everything the surgeon who originally did my surgery skipped town and my original bypass was a chop job. I don't recommend this surgery to anyone. I'm so scared that I'm going to continue to have problems. I almost died two weeks ago, I can't even describe the pain I was in. It's not worth it. I lost a good amount of weight after the surgery didn't gain any back. I wish the government would look into this surgery further and make better recommendations on who can and can't have it. I was obese almost 300 pounds but I wish I would of been denied.

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    1. When I had my gastric bypass I was put on a vitamin program just for patients of the surgery and had follow-up lab tests every month the first year. I was put on a ulcer medication at my first appointment after surgery. I received clear information about the surgery, what to expect before and after the surgery. I would have the surgery done again. It's not easy, but weight loss is not easy. Gastric bypass is just one more tool in losing weight.

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  17. I am crying too...I sit hear, 41 lbs up in 6 months...all happens overnight so we know it is water retention. Have been to 5 docs of various specialties, including a kidney doc and no one knows why I am uncontrollably gaining water weight. I work out 6-7 hours a week and eat very healthy...can not even get enough sodium to be able to "eat low sodium" diet. I had RNY 10 years ago and was in hosp 3 weeks with a leak and complications with feed tube. I then had wound healing issues as I had to heal from the inside out with no stitches...it was 4 months before I could lay flat in my own bed. I had iron issues prior to surgery but this was not shared with me until after having surgery...thanks mom! I still am anemic and can not seem to get my iron to stay up. I have Hashimoto's and PCOS with insulin resistance. (which is probably why I needed surgery to begin with) I had ballooned to 373 lbs and was able to lose 190 until the water weight. I don't regret the surgery cuz it was my "12 step" program for my food addiction. However, I didn't come this far to reverse all my issues both inside and out to gain uncontrollably...diuretics don't even work. So, I am hoping the water gain will stop...no answers from anyone and going in today to have my hear checked for possible water retention there. May have to have IV iron here soon...PCP told me yesterday while saying he just doesn't know what is going on except I had that "horrible" surgery and I will never be the same. Tears!! I just wanted to reverse my bad choices and gain my life back for me and my family...

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  18. My name is Cendy, I am 40, and 10 years ago (almost 11 now), I had gastric bypass. I now would rather eat ice all day than anything else. I an freezing all the time! I am so tired that I have started to neglect myself and my family, I have trouble staying awake to even drive home. I feel like I am just letting life pass me by.

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    1. Cendy, eating ice all day is one of the signs of low red blood count - anemia. Along with the fatique, you probably should have a blood test.

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  19. Wow, we are the same with iron deficiencies. I just went to my pcp, and my iron level is a 9. But he wants it higher. They gave me iron pills but one of the side effects is diarrhea, which is crucial because I have celiac disease. I have bad eczema. I am anemic. I weighed 415lbs, had gastric bypass in 4/27/01, went down to 252lbs and nothing less. Over the past 12yrs, I had my gallbladder removed, 2 hernia repairs, 2 c-sections, and bowel obsruction surgery. I gained weight to 289lbs. Thinking if having the micropouch gastric bypass surgery, which will help with losing the rest of my weight and eliminate most of my ailments; knee and ankle joint pains, heel spurs, arthritis

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  20. I want to thank Amanda and everyone who shared their stories, it is very helpful. I have two friends who had the bypass surgery about 10 years. They had very similar problems that you have shared. One thing I have not heard through the postings, is the problem with alcohol that they both have. I have read many articles on the subject of bypass surgery - Here is a quote from (CBS/AP) Patients who undergo gastric bypass surgery, the most common type of obesity surgery, may increase their odds of becoming an alcoholic, according to a new study.
    The study found that patients who underwent the procedure - which shrinks the stomach's size and attaches it to a lower portion of the intestines to limit food and calorie intake - doubled their risk for excessive drinking compared with those who had less drastic weight-loss surgeries.
    Researchers believe gastric bypass surgery also changes how the body digests and metabolizes alcohol; some people who've had the surgery say they feel alcohol's effects much more quickly after drinking less, compared to before the procedure. The study suggests that may cause problem drinking. Here is quote from a mother - The Mayo Clinic has more on gastric bypass surgery.
    Horrible effects of this surgery Posted by Carol on 12 Jul 2013 at 1:22 am I just lost my oldest daughter to alcoholism who was only 40 years old. She had gastric bypass surgery. She had the surgery 9 yrs ago. She showed signs about 2 years afterwards of drinking more and when confronted she would hide it. She was in and out of the hospital for the last 5 yrs for complications due to the surgery. Her liver was completely destroyed. I know this was caused by her bypass. I will now be a person who will speak out about the horrible effects of this surgery. I would really appreciated any input anyone can share about problems with drinking. My friend was put into intensive care last week and has been there 6 days she has Pancreatitis, colitis, blocked bowel, urinary track infection, MRSA, low calcium, potassium, and magnesium.


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    1. I had my gastric bypass surgery in 2007 and to date I have had zero problems at all not sure if Im a lucky one or have done everything as far as vitamins and avoid
      foods that we should not eat doctor also put me on purple pill one month out and I also have not gained any weight I have lost which is 145 pounds. Sorry so many people have had a bad side effects my labs have always been normal and alot of the doctors are always shocked but Ibdo not regret ever having it done.

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    2. I attend Alcoholic's Anonymous and Overeater's Anonymous 12 step meetings. They have made it possible to not drink and nor over eat (after bypass surgery) ONE DAY AT A TIME for quite sometime now. You might want to attend some meetings in your area. The people are very nice, honest and have found solutions for long term abstinence and sobriety. Hope this helps. You are not alone

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    3. ...doubt the surgery caused her alcoholism.... she most likely just "swapped" her food addiction for another addiction (alcohol).

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    4. Anonymous,
      I am so sorry to hear of the passing of your daughter. The terrible things that happen after the gastric bypass surgery should be fully disclosed and I know that they were NOT. My sons father passed away 11-24-13 because of cirrhosis of the liver due to the transfer addiction after gastric bypass. NO ONE and I mean NO ONE should have to endure what my family and I had to go through all because the Dr. and his staff failed to inform us of this terrible side effect. I wish there was some way or some how I can get the word out so another family will not feel the pain of this. I feel this is negligence in the highest regard and that Dr. should be held accountable. Any thoughts?

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  21. thanks everyone for sharing I had gastric bypass 4 weeks ago im sick all the time I cant even drink water I get sick im always at the Dr. I just dont know what to do

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    1. I had the surgery 2 years ago and I had the same problem for about 3 months after the surgery. I lost close to 60 pounds in those three months. Drinking protein shakes was the only thing that helped. Small sips constantly and couldn't get water to stay down but tea would stay down. Was hospitalized 3 weeks after the surgery due to internal bleeding from taking Coumadin . Our bodies absorb meds differently and we need more frequent testing. It will get better.

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  22. I had this surgery over 30 years ago. I weighed 252 pounds. I lost 100 . Over the next 20 years I regained 40 pounds. I went to Weight Watchers and lost back down to 150. Over the last few years I have continued to lose weight periodically and presently weigh about 125. I have had the dumping syndrome the entire time. Ocassionally I have to take iron tablets. I do have slight osteoporiasis but I think that has a lot to do with my age. I will be 70 years old this month

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  23. I had byepass surgery in 2005 and lost 140 pounds but my life fell apart from that moment. I did not realise the psychological effects that I would suffer would be so extreme. My surgeon offered no useful help or aftercare was only interested in collecting his £50 fee for 10 minutes consultation. Although losing the weight was great the side effects since have been same as others on here have commented on. The anaemia the shortness of breathe the eyesight problems the sicknes the sneezing if I try to eat too much, would I do it again ??? Not sure have to really think about that .

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  24. My partner had her gastric bypass at 17. She is now 22. She has been sick since the surgery. Her surgeon stopped seeing her once she lost insurance coverage at 18. She is malnourished, unable to stop loosing weight, has had multiple EGDs, additional surgeries, ulcers, GI bleeds, anemia, adhesions that caused her intestines to twist, strictures, constant pain, nausea and vomiting. Slowly watching her die is horrible. Whoever decides to have this surgery, make sure its your last ditch effort to try and be healthy.

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  25. I am so glad I came across your story. I realized this year that I am 10 years post gastric surgery. Although you look much thinner and had better results than I did -- I also needed to stay living longer and really needed the surgery. I am still glad I did it because I have not had diabetes since the day after my surgery. However, since I have not had really great consistent health care providers I have had to struggle with many of the same problems. First was the vomiting. Even now 10 years later I can still vomit if I am not careful, the dr's never gave me a good reason -- just that I can't tolerate certain types of foods, etc. I had chronic iron issues and did have the Ablation, which helped alot. My Iron level was the same as yours, in fact on two occasions I was in a teaching hospital and they made the person re-run the tests because they didn't think someone of my size could possibly have Iron that low. The hematologist would not do the Iron infusion at first when my Iron levels were crashing, 7, 6, 5, etc. Finally at four I found an unrelated gynecologist and due to my heavy monthly cycles begged for the Ablation or a Hysterectomy. Now at 10 years post I am hovering at 218 lbs - highest weight was 297; but am starting to get reflux but dread trying to find a dr. to even discuss this. The whole thing was a journey. I can't say I wouldn't do it again. Part of the issue is that we know so much more now than we did 10 years ago. I know I would do it smarter.

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    1. Its been 10yrs this year since my weight loss surgery and I have had problems and almost died 2x, but over all I'm glad I did it.

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  26. I had gastric bypass 9 years ago in June. Things have gone very well other thanksgiving anemia. I am going for a blood transfusion today due to severe anemia. I just found your sight and all of this makes me wonder if this is a result of my gastric bypass or something other underlying problem. Hopefully I will find some answers soon.

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  27. I had gastric bypass 9 years ago in June. Things have gone very well other thanksgiving anemia. I am going for a blood transfusion today due to severe anemia. I just found your sight and all of this makes me wonder if this is a result of my gastric bypass or something other underlying problem. Hopefully I will find some answers soon.

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  28. I had gastric bypass 9 years ago in June. Things have gone very well other thanksgiving anemia. I am going for a blood transfusion today due to severe anemia. I just found your sight and all of this makes me wonder if this is a result of my gastric bypass or something other underlying problem. Hopefully I will find some answers soon.

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  29. I had gastric bypass 9 years ago in June. Things have gone very well other thanksgiving anemia. I am going for a blood transfusion today due to severe anemia. I just found your sight and all of this makes me wonder if this is a result of my gastric bypass or something other underlying problem. Hopefully I will find some answers soon.

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  30. I had gastric bypass 8 years ago and would not recommend it to anyone. If you are overweight exercise and eat smaller meals. I have had 7 endoscopy procedures to correct stritchers. I had to have my gallbladder removed shortly after the surgery . I still have nausea and vomiting ,diarrhea . I stay sick all the time I guess to my immune system . If you are considering the procedure please get all the facts good or bad before you proceed. It takes a lot out of your whole body and especially your mental state. The Pysco test that is done before the surgery doesn't prepare you for all the problems afterwards.

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  31. I am scheduled for surgery next month May 2014 and I have already started my eating habits, work out and about to start to go to support groups. I have a few family and friends who have had the surgery and all take thier vitamins, eat healthier and exercise and they are very healthy and happy. I'm sorry the young lady suffered so many problems. Hopefully she gets better. I'm looking forward to being healthy. Diabetes, sleep apnea and terrible back pain should all subside.

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  32. Thanks to all for the stories. Very enlightening. I had RNY 12 years ago and have had no real complications. Lost 130 pounds (half my body weight) while pretty much eating everything just a lot less of it. Lately I've been having a dull ache under the lower part of my left rib and have no idea what it is. Spleen? Pancreas? Def not gas (got plenty of that and this is not gas). Has anyone also had this pain? If so what is it?

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    1. I had my bypass 2007, regained a lot of weight. I too have pain under my upper left side, it is horrible! I've had this pain for about 2yrs now and every doctor I've seen has no clue. I've had many x rays, MRI's,endoscopes, colon too. I have had just about every possible test there is and still no idea. The last gasto doc told me more than likely it is related to my gastric bypass but they don't see anything to help me. The doctor told me I need to look into going on disability as even sitting has me in great pain. I'm 54yrs old with a good job and the last thing I want is disability. They all look at me like I'm nuts when I say I'd rather be dead than to live the rest of my life in this awful pain. I don't know what to do, Kaiser has given up on me. The doctor told me getting a revision might help but Kaiser will turn me down unless they can actually see the problem. I wish I never had the bypass.

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    2. Have you guys been checked for ulcers. That is what my symptoms have been with recurring ulcers. If you are stil reading this since it is now November you might want to look in to this.

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    3. sounds like its in the liver gall bladder area.

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  33. I had bypass in November 2009. I am scheduled for my second iron infusion next week. Although I have had great (some say too much) success with weight loss, my health has suffered significantly. Since my surgery, I have been hospitalized for dehydration 9 times, malnutrition 4 times, anorexia 4 times, emergency small bowell obstruction surgery, lived off TPN through a PICC line 3 times...see the patern? Again, I did say I was successful with my weight loss, however, I am at risk for losing my life at this point. As I sit here and type this post, I know there will be readers who say it's something I'm not doing or I'm going to extremes to keep the weight off, however, that couldn't be further from the truth! My surgeon says out of the thousands of surgeries that he has done, I am one of 5 that he has seen this happen to. Go figure??? Still to this day, I can not eat a full meal...even a kids meal, as my surgeon says I should be able to. Anyways, I will stop here for now, but please, reasearch this procedure if you are thinking about having it done, AND if you have already had it done, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! Nobody knows your body like you!

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    1. Oh, How I totally understand. I posted for the first time today. I, too, have several times wondered if I can even live through this. I went from Really Fat and Mostly Happy to a skeleton of depression. Dr after Dr. Dehydration after dehydration. My albumin levels were too low to get admitted to a hospital because of my low immune system. My dr said "if you get the flu, you will die". Not the words you want to hear...EVER. I was unable to get TPN with a PICC line because of any chance of infection. I feel like this is a never ending cycle. I have been strong for years. (I have severe Intercostal Neuralgia, rib pain from an old injury). Doctors kept telling me to lose weight and it would go away. I tried everything. Then I decided on the bypass. And here I sit , with a Fentanyl patch on my ribs. At least they can't blame the fat anymore.

      When you are having your worst days...like I do. Just remember your Survival Rate of Worst Days is at 100% !

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  34. I am 15 years out from having gastric bypass. I too had some complications. Developed incisional hernias. Surgery to fix was almost as painful as bypass. Most of my other complications were caused by me not doing what I was supposed to do. Exercise, vitamin sup, healthy diet, etc. the comments earlier about alcohol addiction, is just that. Addiction. Many of us have addictions, when food isn't available, maybe we turn to other things like shopping, drinking,etc.
    When people who have struggled with excessive weight most of their life suddenly lose weight, they gain social confidence. They go out more, socialize in establishments that serve alcohol. Alcoholism didn't suddenly become a bypass consequence. Alcoholism is an addiction, and sadly, the more exposure to social drinking, the risk of alcoholism increases. Some people are more likely to get addicted than others. Bypass patients also have to be careful the rest of their lives of abusing not only alcohol, but food too. :).
    I'm 62 and have gained about 25-30 lbs in the past 15 years, but it's been a great ride. I would do it again if given the choice. The bypass aftermath has not been an easy road, but carrying around an extra 100 pounds would of had its complications too.

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  35. I had RNY Gastric Bypass in May 2011. I was 288 before the pre-op diet. Right now I weigh 98 lbs. It was the worst mistake I have ever made. I only wanted to weigh about 150 lbs of total hotness. But instead I have had a bowel obstruction 2 days after surgery that nearly killed me. I quit taking my vitamins...why? I was just throwing everything back up. I continue to stay nauseous on a daily basis. I am STILL on the liquid/soft food diet. I have had seizures, fainting spells, and the "this could only happen to me" syndrome since. I have been on pain meds, and docs still don't know what the malabsorption problems we have. Have you ever been looked at like you were asking for drugs? Not a good feeling. I don't recommend that feeling to anyone. OH, and the pain level charts. "On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst pain you have ever felt, where are you today?" REALLY? My worst pain ever felt and my child's worst pain ever felt is more than a scale of 10 can measure. I am ALWAYS at an 8. I have had 4 ulcers. I take my ulcer meds as prescribed. But they keep coming back! I bet I have had 20 endoscopies in the last 2 years. I have had my esophagus stretched. NO HELP. So, since the Gastro doc couldn't find a reason for the vomiting....he actually asked me if I had an eating disorder. I calmly explained to him the amount of money, time, and drs I have invested in to find an answer. I don't believe I would do that if I had an eating disorder. GEEEEZ! Feel like I have lost all of my strength. When I was fat, I could move the living room furniture around in 10 minutes to redecorate. Now, I can barely open a car door. WTH? 98 lbs is not your average result .....but it COULD BE. I wish this on no one. What is next? I will see another surgeon to operate on my ulcer. YIKES. I have lost friends because....basically I am not social. I feel guilty for being sick. And I hurt for the pain my family is going through because of me.

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  36. I am so sorry for all of you who are having complications. I have also had a few complications from my RNY in Jan. 2007, but I have kept off 140 lbs. and was finally able to get pregnant and have twins because of the surgery. I went off blood pressure medication, no more sleep apnea, and I can walk up the stairs again. It was and is a hard road, but I am so glad I did it. The key is to take the vitamins everyday and take them correctly. I take a slow Fe everyday with a chewable vit. C (vit. C helps the absorption of iron), but not within 2 hours of my citracal pills because calcium blocks the absorption of iron. On top of that, I take 3 citracal petites twice a day, and two chewable centrum twice a day. I also take one sublingual B-12 daily along with a cod liver oil capsule (for extra vit. A & D). I was so lucky to have one of the best surgeons in the country. I wish you all the best.

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  37. I'm glad to have found this site. I just lost my sister to weight loss surgery 4 days ago, two days before her 46th birthday. When she went in she weighed about 315 and then the weight was coming off and the last time I talked to her she was down to about 244. She had the surgery at the end of January of this year and was having quite a bit of pain, more than I knew until my mom read her journal to me about how she feared she was going to die because she was in so much pain. She was put in the hospital June 4, 2014 because she kept throwing up and couldn't keep anything down so the doctors were going to put her on a feeding tube but when they went in they found out that her liver was bleeding and they couldn't stop the bleeding. While in surgery her heart stopped beating and the doctors worked on her for 30 min until they got it back. They put her in an induced medical coma so that her body would heal. Her kidneys completely stopped working and she was put on dialysis. On June 24th the heart went out again, they worked on her for two hours to no avail. My big sister was gone. She lived in New York, but most of the family is in Cali so her husband was going to bring her body here for the funeral, but so much damage was done that she will have to be cremated. My heart aches for her. To all those who have gotten the surgery and it has worked well for you, I am very happy for you and pray that you continue to have good health. For those who are suffering I pray you can find something that works for you and you will not have to live a life of pain and for those who are looking to get the surgery please do your research very well, make sure your body is well enough to handle it and make you only go to the best of best doctor. I had thought of having the surgery too, just this year as my sister was beginning to lose weight and me being 5'3 238 lbs am not at the most healthiest weight, but I've decided to try again to do it without surgery even if it means going back into therapy which I'll probably do. I don't want to put my family into any more pain.

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    1. I am so sorry to hear about your sisters death, my sincere condolences.

      Did the doctors ever say why they think her liver had been bleeding in the first place? There was no sign of her having any internal bleeding such as blood in the stool?

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  38. I had my gastric bypass surgery 12 years ago. Over the last few months I have suffered with severe anemia. My iron count was so low, I was scheduled to have the Iron Infusion (IV), but my insurance company Anthem BlueCross/BlueShield will not cover the procedure. They say because of the gastric bypass surgery, the anemia is a "pre-existing condition" and will not cover it. They will not cover blood transfusions either. What the heck and I paying for every month?!?! This has ruined any hope I had for a better life. I am so tired all the time I cannot do anything around the house. A short trip to the store drains me to the point I need to lay down and rest. I will file an appeal with Anthem, but do not hope for much. They were so rude and disrespectful... I was shocked at their lack of good customer service. I don't know how I'm going to live like this.

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  39. I had my gastric bypass april 2010. I was unable to hold anything down. Even the protien shakes from my doctor. Was losing weight fast but was hospitalized 4 times for dehydration 2 tomes for malnourishment. Month after surgery i Found Herbalife shakes.
    I was able to drink 1 shake a day and finally hold it down. Crushed my vitamins and put it in my shakes. Started doing better. Lost 80 lbs. Then changed my herbalife plan up and lost an additional 44 lbs. Was drinking 3 shakes a day, and two small meals.
    2013 I was unable to afford the vitamins and shakes.
    My health has deteriorated since. But in the last 6 months my life has bottomed out. I am only 43 but feel like im dying. I justhad my second iron infusion yesterday. I have an elevated prolactin level, I am unable to rremember things and events or dr. Appointments. I am back up to 214 lbs in last 4 months. (Went down to a happy 136), and still gaining. I am constantly drained unable to even sit ip some days. The last 3 daus I have started having severe pain across the middle of my back and a painful burning in mu stomache.
    Yesterdau and today my stomache has swollen like im 6 mo. Pregnant. Severe diarrhea. Scheduled for an endoscopy and colonoscopy in 3 weeks. Very scared today. Going to call my gastroenterologist now.
    Does anyone have any other suggestions?

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  40. Thanks for sharing this. I just happened to see this article on your sidebar when I was here reading something else. I read one or maybe two of Carnie Wilson's books back in the day. I had forgotten all about it until I read this. I can't imagine how hard making those decisions was for her. You were very brave, too. I have been anemic my entire life. Iron pills, multivitamins, whatever, I am almost always anemic when I go to the doctor. Some things are just hard to cure.

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  41. I had the surgery 6 years ago...the first few years were great...lost over 100 lbs...felt amazing...barely got sick...but the last two years have been pure hell....it started out as random stomach aches with some vomiting which would last a few days then go away for 4 to 8 weeks....then it comes back....but each time has gotten worse more pain n more vomiting...and lasting a week or two... the pain has been so bad I've went to the hospital for it...they run tests n tell me they dont see anything wrong...worst decusion ive ever made

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  42. Omg i am going through the same. I was fine for three years after my surgery then bam! The fourth year hit and all hell broke loose. Doc after doc! My blood testd are "out of range" almost every time. Iron infusions helped but i didnt not feel as good a thry said i would. So many problems now especially stomach pain with bowel movements, they say its constipation??? It feels like labor pains! Anemic, ulcers, iron deficient, ibs-c, hard to heal normally, nuero issues, depression, hormone issues, now having a full hysterectomy. What bother me the most is the sweeting and dizzyness! I hate it. They are now checking my thyroid.

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  43. I am an RN and I cared for gastric bypass patients post op until 2013. Short of it....Ive seen things and DONT DO IT!!!@@!!@

    Weight loss surgery should be a last resort and is NOT an answer for MOST. Unless underlying issues are resolved most people regain a large portion of the weight they lose.

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  44. I had my RNY bypass in2003,I have had pretty good success,I started out at about 300 lbs and lost 158 lbs . I have yoyoed up and down in the last 10 years reaching as high as 208 in the past 2 years,I am now at 168.But now I an suffering from Hypoglycemia,I am going round and round with my Dr.s they do not understand what I am telling them.My body is over reacting to food,what ever I eat it seem as though my body dumps to much insulin. One Dr. Tells me don't eat any carbs and then put me on glucophoge,I'm a trade to take it .Does anyone else suffer from this problem? I Have stopped eating carbs an still have low blood sugars every day,I have passed out,been rushed to the hospital by ambulance twice,blood sugars as low as 32.my husband is tarafied I'm going to die so I. Now have a life alert so if I'm alone I can get help. Does anyone else know what's wrong with me ? I need help fast!

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    1. If you have LOW blood sugars, doctors should absolutely NOT be telling you to STOP eating carbs... Thats just going to lower the sugar in your blood...

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  45. I am nearly 14 years out after my surgery. I had it in Sept and by Oct 2001, I had started with all of the complications. I went to the emergency room for severe upper GI pain. I was admitted for "observation". the only 2 Gastro doctors with this type of gastro knowledge were not even in town. After 1 week on the hospital, thanks to an RN and a doctor that helped with the pre surgery testing (sleep apnea and breathing issues, etc), put their heads together and shipped me to Boston, to the best. and saved my life. I had a gastric leak, a blood clot in my leg, my kidneys had shut down and I had many more issues that I can barely remember due to being out of it most of the time. I returned home after 3 weeks in the hospital and was not allowed to eat for over 1 month. I came home with a port inserted in my chest to be able to use TPN 2x daily. This was to heal the leak. and it did heal. I started out at 375lbs, gained 20 lbs in the hospital due to my kidneys failing so they overloaded me with fluid to restart them. Ok so that worked. Now I am 395lbs and slowly after 3-4 months after my surgery I began my weight loss journey. It came off easy and finally I saw new numbers. I got down to 200lbs. I looked great. I threw up daily. Cold all the time, but I was able to move around without the floors creaking from my weight. Then I got too comfortable, it was too easy. I was eating anything I wanted and the pounds were starting to come back on......not come off. I thought what the heck is going on? I had the surgery, I went through the tough stuff. I didn't realize that I really had to DIET! OMG! Well I gained it all back except for 50lbs. I have recently retired and thought that I am not going to be overweight in my last yrs. I have changed my life around and started to go to Weight Watchers and work out daily. I have loss 40 lbs and have started seeing new numbers again.
    I recently was treated for another bleeding ulcer ( my second) my 5th endoscopy. I still have to take iron and apparently it is sufficient for me. Back then, when making my decision whether or not to have the surgery, I WAS dying. I was going to die without the surgery and if I died from the surgery...........Well, I am here and after 15 yrs I am now making my pouch work for me. My pouch is still 4 centimeters and I still vomit daily. I need to work on that. I am so sorry for those who are still struggling , physically and emotionally. I've been in your shoes. My best to all of you. and for those who are not sure about an ache or pain, follow your gut instincts. No one knows your body better that yourself. Listen to it!

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  46. As a post gastric bypass patient I had problems with constipation for the first time in my life. My doctor recommended The Lady Soma Fiber Cleanse & after 3 days of taking the capsules there was no strain, no stress. Every morning (without fail) I would have a nice bowel movement. It's been 3 months since that experience, & I've gotten my mother using Lady Soma too,

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  47. I am 13 yrs out and have been anemic for several years. My Dr said to take 5000iu of b12 everyday. He said his stomach cancer patients take this protocol with luck. Im trying this before iron infusions. I just started this protocol as I go forward with chemo for breast cancer.

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  48. I am 11 years post op and went to the dr with all the signs of anemia. Feeling exausted, faint, shortness of breath, etc. My iron came back at 7. I was told to take otc iron but it gave me terrible diarrhea and gastric distress. He had me stop taking the iron and did a re check with virtually no change but sent me a message that said my level was "tollerable". What the heck. Should I request a second opinion from a hematologist?

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    1. Have you guys used bariatricadvantage.com they have iron pills that are made by gastric patients. I use the lime ones.

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  49. Hi Everyone! Thanks for sharing your stories. I had y cut gastric bypass 8/2008. I lost all my weight in 6 months and wanted to have a tummy tuck to remove the skin. But doctors advised to wait since I wanted to have kids. Since I have had 2 babies. Youngest is now 10 months. Since I've had him I have had lots of complications. In June I had a mini-stroke with trans glival anmesia. Which during my hospital stay my severely low iron level came up. Doctors are not sure what caused the mini-stroke or amnesia still. I'm not old just turned 35. I had another amnesia episode in October and now having the pains in my stomach region. Doctors told me today they think its ulcers. I'm going for a GI on Tuesday. Had anyone else had the mini-stroke or amnesia issues too??

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  50. I had gastric bypass 7 yes ago, I lost 150 pounds. It was very painful, my only regret was not doing it sooner. I love it. I am able to play and run and keep up with my children. My self esteem went through the roof.

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  51. HI,I had Roux-En-Y Gastric Bypass in 2007.I take Prevacid Fastab now but there is a long back order for them and they dont know when i will get any.I see some of you take Nexium, the little purple pill.I was taking the purple pill for years before i had the surgery and after i had it the doctor took me of it and told me take the Prevacid. I dont understand that some of you can use it.Is there something i'm missing that i cant you this pill instead of the Prevacid.

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