So, in February 2022, I started looking into weight loss surgery. I had never wanted it before, because I don't even eat too badly, I only eat one meal a day, I'm generally active, and I should not weight what I weigh. I admit I'd probably be overweight still, but my sh*tty body had be at around 310-315 pounds when I have the diet of someone who's maybe 235. I don't eat like a vegan, but I live off of sandwiches, chips, and water everyday. I could also mention I have Hypothyroidism among other f**ked up issues, but that's an excuse.
After my entire adult life trying to lose weight the traditional way through cardio gyms, martial arts, and exercise, I only gained more weight over time. I remember I was 235 when I joined my first gym shortly out of high school in 2006. In 2012, I was 275, somehow. In 2016, I was 290-295, which wasn't that long ago. And before I left the US in 2019, I was 295-300. Again, ALL of this happening while doing martial arts, riding a bicycle everywhere, living on the third floor of an elevator-less apartment, and living off of a single turkey ham and wheat sandwich (with some Pringles and cold water) everyday. I don't know why I effortlessly get so fat.
When I got to South Korea in late 2019, I thought I was actually going to sign up to a serious gym and work out everyday. But then COVID happened just two months later, and I wasted that membership money. We couldn't go go the gym. In 2021, gyms re-opened... Briefly. From early May 2021, to early November 2021, gyms were open again, and I was doing kickboxing once more. However, starting November 4th, they started to enforce that BS vax mandate policy on all restaurants and gyms. Meaning, you had to be vaxxed to go to them. So... I couldn't go to the gym, yet again. Only lasted six months. Eventually, the vax BS would be scrapped by March/April 2022, and that's right around when my surgery process would begin.
Because of my age and the fact that literally nothing I did ever helped me lose weight, is the reason why I finally gave in to the surgery. That, and the fact I hated being short even more during this period. My friend Marla back home used to talk about guys and say how "They can be tall, or they can be ripped. But they can't be short AND fat." Not that I wanted to change for women, but I admit she had a point. If my midget Hobbit ass couldn't do anything about being 180 cm like a woman, then I might as well at least work on my fitness the only way I could.
And since years of martial arts, living an active lifestyle though security/bouncer work and riding a bicycle to jobs, and being too broke to afford order-out and fast food, didn't help with jack sh*t, I figured going under the knife was my last resort action, especially since now, I was over 300 pounds.
Three hundred pounds! Like some kind of f*cking glutton! I didn't even eat fast food, cause McDonalds don't take EBT Cards! I'm so pissed off at how TF I ended up being 300 pounds being broke as hell and living off of $5 a day in food.
So, once I arrived in South Korea and was put on their mandatory expensive AF national insurance plan (something like $250 a month taken out of your paycheck every month to be on their insurance), I started looking into weight loss alternatives. Only two places nearby were affordable. One place was cheap, but had a shady doctor and got my height wrong. (I'm 181 waking up, and 179.5 at the end of the day with spinal compression, but this broken machine tried to say I was 176.9, which is five-foot-nine and change. I'm not f*cking 5'9"!) They tried to say they can only go by what the auto-machines assumed I was. I explained to them how I wasn't going to do the surgery if they had the wrong height on there. I have a tape measure and an at-home height chart, so I know what I am, and bailed that clinic.
The only other place was a huge hospital south of Seoul. They were a little more expensive, maybe an extra $500, but they didn't care about my height and when I told them I was around 180 cm (and brought tape measure to prove it, and not use those broken damn automatic machines), they were just like "whatever" and we were good to go. When I went to this place, it was in February 2022, with a March 2022 surgery date. However, COVID outbreaks and other such issues, delayed the surgery.
I told my job about the surgery and that March was the only open time I could have to do it. I had scheduled time off and everything. So the surgery didn't happen, but I was able to refund my sick/vacation days. However, I could not take other days off in May or June, due to how busy the schedule would be. So this pushed the surgery back from March 17th, to July 29th.
There are essentially four types of weight loss surgery, but really only two matter. The Gastric Bypass has been the standard for a while now, but I was told it costs more, has more complications and risks (not that I were afraid of those), had a far slower weight loss period, and generally wasn't recommended. Although the Gastric Bypass has one major benefit in that it's reversible. The Gastric Lap Band was also seen as being more and more risky over the years with results being slowest, so was also not recommended. The doctor didn't want me to go with those and instead suggested the Gastric Sleeve, where they just straight cut out most of your stomach.
I explained to him I wasn't overweight due to gluttony or overeating, but he said there would be a lot of positives to doing this surgery over the bypass regardless of overeating or not. And since the bypass was $2,000 more and riskier, I just decided I'll do the Gastric Sleeve and have them cut most of my stomach out. It's not like I expected to survive surgery anyway. I had $4,000 US saved up for this surgery in combination with being on Korean health insurance (and the surgery would've cost at least $11,000 in the US, insurance or not). So it's how I made my decision.
I honestly didn't think I'd ever make it to the surgery. Like, I'd have a heart attack, or get hit by a train or something. Or best case scenario, would die in the surgery room. And no joking; there actually was a chance I could die in the surgery. Even today, I'm still not 100% sure why I got the surgery. I'm still always going to be short. But I guess it's like Marla said: At least I can be short and not-fat, if I can't be tall (regardless of fat).
So while I always do want to improve myself and get better, I was skeptical of the surgery results, to be honest. After all, if me never eating like a slob, living a sedentary lazy lifestyle, and already being semi-active only made me gain weight, what do I have to lose with this? Even today, I haven't seen any visible weight loss yet, just living off of water, soup, and yogurt. Not a single thing. Of course, you can say "It's only been two weeks." But... Yeah, who cares? I haven't lost any weight yet.
The late July/early August is Summer break in Korea, so that's why my job was cool with me doing the surgery then: We had time off anyway. I checked into the hospital on Thursday and had to do a bunch of tests, including blood work. In Korea (and maybe elsewhere), they charge you for different kinds of rooms. About $30 a night for a five-person shared room, $110 a night for a two-person room, and $150 a night for a private room. Sharing a room with other people while sick and unable to leave? F**K THAT.
I told them 100% I was willing to pay the extra $500 for a two-person room, and hope that the other guy wasn't as annoying as four other people in the same shared hospital room. But they told me some sick kid needed my room more, and it was taken from me. I mean, I can't be mad at that. But I was still annoyed. So instead of getting my semi-private room for $110 a night, I had no choice but to be put in the basic shared room, with people yakking, coughing, chainsaw snoring, playing loud mobile games, watching stuff on their phones, and all the other rude BS you'd expect from sharing a room with four other random people. Imagine taking the experience of a city bus and making that your hospital room. It was Hell for me. They also brought me the wrong dinner. They say they would get me a "Western/American" style dinner, and not Korean food. However, I didn't exactly get that. Though it's my fault for expecting hospital food to be any good. I'd never been hospitalized before, so what did I know?
I didn't stay in the actual room myself. I found a stretcher in the halls, took it to a secluded dark corner, and slept there during the night. Around 5am, someone came to check up on me and ask why I was out there. I told them everyone in my 5-person room were noisy assholes. The nurse shrugged and took my blood pressure, as intended. With that experience, I didn't think the rest of the procedure would go well. But things did change.
Once the surgery day came, I thought how it could potentially be my last day on Earth and if I should leave behind a MyTake on GAG or do something special. ...I didn't do anything Friday, July 29th. I was put under the sleeping gas and thought that'd be it.
However, I woke up. So the surgery was a "success." They didn't even cut open my entire stomach like I thought they would. Just a few incision points. I had been cranky going into this, with the recovery room issue, the yucky "last supper," and everything else. But the surgery was now over. Not only that but I had finally had my two-person room now, as well. And the other guy in there, would be leaving that day. So, the surgery was a success and I was just told to recover, I just had to do four things: Blow into a tube to get my lung strength back due to the knockout gas. I had to start drinking water when allowed. I had to walk around often in order to induce physical recovery. And I had to sleep on my back, even though I've never been able to sleep well on my back and always sleep on my side or belly.
So from Friday to Sunday night, that's what I did. I got my lung strength back, walked around despite being in pain, managed to only sleep one hour at a time because I was on my back, then waking up and spending 20-30 minutes trying to get back to sleep again, only to sleep one hour more, and sipping water when I could. The terrible sleep schedule caused me to hallucinate and half-dream a lot of things, though. Stuff I thought was really in the room, being induced by being half-awake. Like dreams with your eyes open. That was kinda bad, once I was conscious enough to realize the walls weren't made of Marvel comic pages or the doorknobs being ice cream scoops. I'll also spare you the painful-as-sh*t urinary catheter from the first day.
Me having my own room to myself, though, is what lifted my spirits, though. Just peace, quiet, and the light sound of rain out the window. I didn't have a caregiver or anyone with me, either. I checked in and left, all by myself. My roommate had indeed checked out that day, and no one else came in, so I had a two-person room with just me in it. That honestly helped more than anything else. Just being by myself and no one bothering me by nurses every three hours to check my blood pressure or IV. Because of that, I had mostly recovered by Sunday. I was still in pain, but healthy enough to move on my own. This would've never been the case if I had to share the room with four loud noisy Koreans. I even gave the hospital a five star review on Google Maps just to show some kind of gratitude after the first day had sucked so much.
So I had the surgery at 3pm Friday, July 29th, and left 11am on Monday, August 1st. The surgery was now ten days ago. Here are the things I can share with you about weight loss surgery and the changes that happen.
1. The first four days after surgery are the hardest. Like with many things, the beginning is the hardest part. I was in a lot of pain due to that catheter on the first day. The stomach pain was nothing in comparison to that, but you're still barely able to walk on your own. I consider myself tough, so I was walking less than 24 hours after surgery, but I imagine older or lighter people would have a harder time recovering so quickly.
2. You have to live off an all-liquid diet for two months. Liquids and soft foods like yogurt, soup, and ice cream. Nothing chewable. Technically, you're supposed to do all liquids a month before surgery too, but it is not mandatory. Once you have Gastric Sleeve surgery, your stomach can easily live off of just minimal water and yogurt. But before then, it was virtually impossible; I tried it. I couldn't do it prior to surgery.
3. You won't be hungry anymore. However, you'll need to drink more water than you used to. With the Gastric Sleeve surgery, 80-90% of your actual stomach organ is gone. Which is why, living off of nothing but liquids is achievable. You also won't really get hungry anymore, either. Although I rarely EVER got hungry before surgery, either. I had a dead metabolism, so could literally go days without eating if I wanted to. (I rarely did, just because food tastes good and sometimes made me happy on bad days, but I could.) I would technically get hungry, but it'd be easy to ignore it and dismiss the hunger for another 12-16 hours or so. It was barely an inconvenience and never bothered me. But after surgery, there's not even any stomach growling anymore.
4. You won't poop anymore. At least, while only on liquids. However, you'll always have to pee sitting down because your stomach will hurt too much. Your piss will also be hotter than usual. This may vary from person-to-person and diet-to-diet, though. I just only pee now, and haven't pooped in almost two weeks, since I'm not eating any actual solid food. But some people may have the "liquid sh*ts" (technical name: Watery Diarrhea) and that's unpleasant. Honestly, I don't know how your digestive system decides what becomes "pee" and what goes out the backdoor, even when you're on an all-liquid diet. I think 55-60% of people who do the surgery have the "liquid sh*ts", but I've only ever had to pee. But like I said, it's still too painful to pee standing up. Oh, you'll still fart, though. Farts aren't going away.
5. Your stomach will feel all messed up. You may THINK you're hungry because your stomach hurts, but in reality, it's really just gas. If your stomach hurts, just go sit on the toilet and you'll feel better getting that super-hot urine out of you. If you feel gassy, it also means you just have to pee. Your stomach used to hurt for different reasons: Hunger, indigestion, gas, cramps, need to poop, etc. But now, there's only one reason why it'll hurt.
6. You'll lose your craving for junk foods like burgers, pizza, etc. And most other foods. As much as I would like a pizza or burger right now, I'm not dying for one, you know? It's kind of like, "I remember pizza. Pizza used to make me feel happy." But I have no desire to actually go out and buy a pizza right now, not that I could currently digest solid foods, anyway. So yeah, no more cravings. This is likely due to your stomach hurting a lot to where you just have no desire to put anything in it that isn't smooth. It's harder to want pizza when you feel like you've got gas all the time.
7. Your s e x drive won’t be there for a while. I don’t know if this is common for any surgery or not, but I didn’t feel a single bit of horniness after surgery. No need to wank. What used to be a three times a week thing, I haven't done in weeks. I'm not sure if it'll will return or not, or if it's common for anyone who's gone through surgery to no longer feel that way, but I do feel a lot more productive and happy because of it.
8. To avoid saggy skin, get a compression suit, drink protein powder, and use some Biotherm. I don't certainly have the money for skin removal surgery, which insurance DOESN'T cover. So to avoid all of that, I need to wear a medical compression suit every single day (it's kinda cool; I feel like a superhero in it), to avoid sagging skin, as well as use Biotherm lotion after showering. After three weeks, you can resume going to a gym again, and I plan on doing weight machines a few days a week, in addition to the protein powder, to avoid permanent sagging skin (that is, assuming my weight loss will be fast anyway; I doubt I'll lose much). So wear the suit, drink protein powder, do weights at the gym, and use skin lotion daily, to reduce sagging skin.
So that's been my experience with weight loss surgery. Like I said, I'm unsure just how slow the weight loss will be, or if it'll happen in a "faster than normal" amount of time or not, but I've wanted to share my experience with it, in case anyone else was thinking of getting a Gastric Sleeve surgery too.
I know most of you on here won't read 17,700 characters of this, but it was something I did for me. I want to look back on this some day and remember it. Maybe the weight loss will work within a year, and maybe it won't. But as of Summer 2022, this is where I'm at. Good luck to those of you also about to consider Bariatric Surgery.