The second time around

How would you feel about losing 50 pounds in three months? Pretty good, I bet. Well, that is what happened to me since my late July weight loss surgery. I feel great!

For me, it is the second time around for weight loss surgery. Five years ago I lost 90 pounds thanks to my Lapband bariatric surgery and kept most of it off for four years. Unfortunately, last fall I began experiencing a variety of issues with my Lapband. That led to its removal and revision to roux-en-y (RNY) bariatric surgery. After my first three months post-op, I can confirm that it was the right choice for me.

Revisions of a bariatric surgery typically come as the result of medical necessity to correct a life and/or health threatening problem; failure of the patient or the device to achieve successful results; or a life choice to live happier with another procedure. This diversity makes it difficult to talk in general terms about the topic. Each person and surgery tells a unique story.

Weight loss revision surgery is a contentious topic in the bariatric community. I have found over the past six years of chatting and living in the bariatric community that it can be a pretty judgmental community. Many bariatric patients see revision surgery as the patient failing the surgery and looking for yet another easy way to lose weight.

I find that discussion in the revision community can be just as contentious. Not all insurers will cover a revision surgery or place very restrictive guidelines around its coverage. This results in a vocal segment seeking revision surgery but find themselves denied or struggling for approval. Still others insist only certain revision surgeries are the right ones. People somehow miss the objective of supporting others in these communities; the core purpose of the forums.

When I decided to revise from Lapband to RNY, I was determined to tell my revision story. I needed to frame my story by sharing the above observations of the bariatric community. My story is really a story about living life the second time around.

tomoct2013What does the second time around mean to me? After my Lapband surgery, I dropped the pounds and dramatically changed my life to a more active, happier life. I changed my diet and eating habits to a much healthier diet. I made those fundamental changes that are critical to success after bariatric surgery. I realized it was a tool that enabled these changes in diet and activity to occur. RNY gives me a second time around to hone the tools that RNY gives me.

I am now enjoying bonus of the surgery. Five years ago I religiously tracked and blogged about my weight loss. I was very vocal in proclaiming the weight I lost. This time I see every pound that drops as a bonus and have been less public about touting my slimmer profile. I had told my surgeon prior to surgery that I would be happy dropping 25 pounds. I am of course overjoyed approaching 55 pounds down in only three months.

I have decided my second time around is going to be more about stretching the envelope. I know a lighter weight gives me an advantage in achieving goals in cycling, hiking and running. I plan on setting some ambitious goals for 2014 that challenge me to be faster and have greater endurance. You will see them in my 2014 wellness vision. I’ll close with a great quote from Oprah Winfrey.

Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it. — Oprah Winfrey

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