Friday, August 2, 2013

The Difference Between The Sleeve and Other Weight Loss Surgeries

I've had a lot of people ask me questions on this.
"Why is the sleeve so different?"
"Why the sleeve and not (enter other WLS here)?"
"What's the difference between the sleeve and (enter other WLS here)?"

There are so many surgeries out there, which one should a person chose? Which one is right for you?

I chose the sleeve because it fit in with my lfiestyle and what I wanted out of surgery. I didn't want to have to deal with the complications that can (and often DO) arise from the bypass or duodenal switch. I didn't want to have to continuously go back to the doctor for adjustments like you do with the band, and I wanted to know that there was no going back with this - that I couldn't reverse it even if I wanted to.

The sleeve is different than any other surgery out there for many reasons, here are just a few:

1. There is no pouch. With the gastric band and the bypass, the patient is left with a pouch at the top of their stomach. This pouch consists both the strong, muscular part of the stomach and the looser stretchier part. When used properly, this pouch restricts the amount of food that a patient can take in, therefore reducing calorie count significantly. The downside of the pouch is that since it does contain some of the stretchier stomach material, it can stretch, and often does. There are many, many stories of people "eating around" their band or their bypass. Not losing weight, or gaining a lot of weight back. This happens because the top of the stomach (the pouch) can stretch out to almost the size of the stomach prior to surgery.

2. Your intestines are left alone. With both the gastric (roux en y) bypass and the duodenal switch, your intestines are re-routed. This causes malabsorption of both calories and nutrients. The upside to this is that, especially for DANGEROUSLY obese people, the weight loss is very quick and efficient. The downside is that - well, you're not absorbing nutrients! Many people that have had these surgeries have to take multiple vitamin and mineral supplements daily. Another downside to this is what's called "dumping syndrome". While the sleeve patient does live with some dumping in the first 12-18 months, by the second year it has disappeared. With the bypass and duodenal switch patient, however, it is a consistent issue for the rest of his/her life.

3. It's permanent. The lap-band, bypass, and duodenal switch (the intestinal portion) are all reversible. The sleeve is not (keep in mind that the first step in the duodenal switch is removal of a portion of the stomach, similar to the sleeve. This portion of this surgery is NOT reversible). There IS no "changing your mind" after surgery. In my personal opinion, having the option of reversal is almost like giving yourself a way out. "If I don't like it, I can get it fixed" - almost like going into marriage with the mindset that "if this doesn't work out I can always get a divorce". It doesn't work that way with the sleeve. It's yours, to have and to hold, for better or for worse, 'til death do you part.

4. It's foolproof ... Mostly ... At least for the first year.  You really can't mess things up. Okay, well there was this one story my doctor told me about one of his patients that didn't lose any weight because all she ate was ice cream. Okay, come on, ICE CREAM?? That was her own fault, because I KNOW she got some nutrition training (my doc's nurse is a certified nutritionist and she's amazing). My point is this, though. MOST of us - at least in the first year - can't eat ice cream anyway or we'll get really sick. After the first two months (of which are spent in liquid and soft foods diet phases), you can eat what you can tolerate. And you will still lose weight. At least for the first year. There is no stretchy portion of the stomach, so you CAN'T overeat - or you'll get very, very sick. For the first year there will be things you can't tolerate - your body will take care of that for you as well. So you see, you really can't mess things up the first year. After that, your stomach will relax and the amount you can eat will increase slightly, so you will have to be more mindful of that. But as long as you stick to the diet plan that your nutritionist tells you to (which I can tell you right now will be - PROTEIN FIRST), you'll be just fine.

It was not an easy decision for me to make the choice to have weight loss surgery. I fought against the idea for years. Literally, YEARS. The day my husband looked at me and told me he didn't want to lose me was the day I made that choice. And I will never regret it. While I'm not where I WANT to be as far as my weight goes, I am so much healthier than I have ever been. I am able to do things now that I couldn't do even in my teen years. I am so thankful for the tool that I have been given with the sleeve and I will never go back.

Thank you all for joining me on my journey! God bless!

Don't forget to check out my vlog on my You Tube channel.