Ellen Rowland: 100 pounds and counting

After surgery, Herald-Mail columnist is two-thirds of the way to her weight-loss goal

After surgery, Herald-Mail columnist is two-thirds of the way to her weight-loss goal

October 26, 2009|By ELLEN ROWLAND / Special to The Herald-Mail

It has been eight months since my gastric bypass surgery, and everything that I am dealing with post-op has been worth it.

Before surgery, I weighed 317 pounds. I've lost 100 so far. I only take three medications, compared with the 10 I used to take daily. I do not take any medication for diabetes.

October marks the one-year anniversary of the first story I penned for The Herald-Mail about my journey to weight loss. I did it so that others would know what preparing for gastric bypass was really like.

Doctors suggested I get weight-loss surgery to help ease my spinal stenosis, diabetes and high cholesterol -- all health conditions worsened by obesity. I opted for gastric bypass, where surgeons reroute the digestive organs so that a person consumes less food, and, as a result, loses weight.


I had the surgery in February, after nearly a year of psychological and physical preparation, doctor's visits and mountains of paper work.

Today, I have no regrets and I would go through this again tomorrow if I had to.

I went into my closet and found so many blouses and jackets that for years I couldn't wear. Now I have to get them altered.

That in itself, makes me feel so good.

My wedding rings -- or rings in general -- fall off my fingers, so I will have to get them sized after I have lost more weight.

My surgeon told me that I would reach a point where I did not see any weight loss, but not to worry because it would not last long.

My goal is to lose 150 pounds.

Not everything that has happened after the surgery has been good.

One common post-surgery side effect is hair loss. And I have been losing my hair. I knew about this before surgery, so I am dealing with it. I don't like it, but it will grow back, and I have also lost most of my eyebrows, but that too will grow back.

Also, for the past few months, I have been having problems with acid reflux, nausea and vomiting, caused in part by medication and by not taking my time as I eat.

Old habits are hard to break, but simply forgetting to chew slowly would cause me to get really sick for a couple days.

I'm getting better at taking my time when I eat, but my surgeon has also prescribed me new medications for acid reflux and nausea. Both actions seem to alleviate the problem.

I still have some issues with vitamin B12 and protein. My blood tests indicated that these levels were too low, so I have had to take vitamin B12 shots once a week instead of once a month. I am trying to eat more meats and protein-rich foods, so my future blood work will have improved results.

Every day, I take one multivitamin and vitamin D, plus a biotin tablet to help with the hair loss.

Still, I have no regrets.

I don't know how I ever let myself get as big as I was.

I think back too of how much I ate, and now thinking how eating all that food then, it just amazes me. I can only eat small portions and I am full, which is a good thing.

Seeing my before and after pictures really boosts my morale. I love seeing the after pictures and don't mind having my picture taken now. I feel like doing more, I do not get as tired as I once did, and I can do more than ever before.

I try to walk as often as I can, I park farther away from stores, just so I have to walk more.

If anyone is on the fence about having this type surgery, please do not hesitate. Talk to your doctor, ask lots of questions, do a lot of research. Then decide. It has been so worth it for me.

I am thankful, and I know I made the right decision.

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