My Experience Getting Weight-Loss Surgery

MCheetah

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.

I ate stuff like this, but without the bacon.
I ate stuff like this, but without the bacon.

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.

Been doing martial arts since 2012; no weight lost from it.
Been doing martial arts since 2012; no weight lost from it.

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.

By 2019, I weighed 300 pounds. (Not me)
By 2019, I weighed 300 pounds. (Not me)

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.

The Gastric Sleeve (gastrectomy) was the cheapest and safest method, I was told.
The Gastric Sleeve (gastrectomy) was the cheapest and safest method, I was told.

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.

I already lived a semi-active daily lifestyle and didnt eat junk food, so why the weight gain?
I already lived a semi-active daily lifestyle and didn't eat junk food, so why the weight gain?

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?

"American food"
"American food"

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.

My solitary bed where I hallucinated some strange things. Includes lung machine and some ice packs.
My solitary bed where I hallucinated some strange things. Includes lung machine and some ice packs.
The empty bed no one else took, so I was all alone!
The empty bed no one else took, so I was all alone!
The restroom and rest of the recovery room.
The restroom and rest of the recovery room.

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.

Compression suit
Compression suit

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.

My Experience Getting Weight-Loss Surgery
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  • exitseven

    Damn, it sounds really scary. I got a total hip replacement and the scary part was that once you do it there is no going back. this sounds a hundred times worse.

    I would be freaked out having it done in a foreign country too. I really hope everything turns out good for you.

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  • ShadezMcgee

    Quite the take, man. Glad you are still here and I hope it works for you.

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What Girls & Guys Said

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  • Massageman

    OK - I'll admit- I skipped a couple of thousand characters, but I get the gist of things. Have a friend who went though the same thing- her experiences sound mostly similar.

    One hint in passing about the skin. In absence of any other Tx from the MD, use a cocoa butter base "stretch mark" cream on your skin. Palmer's is an old stand-by and a good product. (They do not pay me for any mentions- it's just a good product).

    Reply
  • Mess96

    Wow! I hope it works for you. Back in 2018/2019 I was 238,239 almost 240 pounds which was my highest weight record at the time and the PCP I had started the referral process for me to possibly get the gastric bypass. Him and someone I knew who had it 3 years prior said that that was better than the sleeve, less issues. I think I was really close to getting the surgery because I just had to schedule an appointment with the gastric surgeon for a consultation, and I made a mistake of saying “nevermind” because I went from living in a motel with no kitchen or anything, a basic motel where it was only a microwave and a tiny fridge, to a hotel suite where I started to have it and I thought my one on one personal assistants were gonna teach me how to cook because that’s what they promised (I was in an ILS program at the time). And it turned out that they didn’t give a shit, they were lazy as hell and rather take me to continue eating out which made me really mad. And I ended up switching my PCP and then no luck from there. I kept talking to my insurance and doctors after that about it and they were full of shit and refused. I’m 5’6.5” or 5’7” and I’m supposed to weigh no more than 159 lbs according to the medical bmi stuff. I’ve been overweight with hypothyroidism too ever since I got the hypothyroidism from a psych med I used to be on for a long time. I got diagnosed with it when I was 13 and in 2010 when I had to get off of the med cold turkey due to kidney issues along with starting the synthroid, I went from 161 lbs kinda chubby to 140 where I was like skin and bones in 2 weeks and I miss being that skinny but the thyroid pill I guess my body got immune to it so I eventually took myself off it because I felt like there was no point because with or without it I have all the symptoms and no difference at all. I still refuse to take it because of that even though I’m no longer prescribed it. And last October or November, my insurance sent me a letter saying I might qualify for a breast reduction but not the gastric bypass. And they were rude, didn’t answer my questions or help me understand so I refused to go to the doctor because I’ve always had bad experiences with doctors. So I haven’t been to a pcp since last summer when I had a shitty healthcare group. And now I moved out of state, across country a month ago and I don’t have anything here yet but I hope soon I’ll be able to get insurance and everything I need together, and start having better luck with doctors

    Like 2 People
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    • MCheetah

      Good luck to you.

    • Mess96

      Thank you. Towards the end of 2021 I reached my ultimate highest weight of 246 and now for the past few months it’s been ranging from 222-232

    • GlassTop

      If you lived with me you would lose 100lbs in less than a year

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  • whirled_up_girl

    Interesting mytake, thanks for sharing! I've known people, some of them patients that have had gastric bypass, but I haven't know anyone who's had the gastric sleeve. It sounds like it was quite an ordeal to get everything lined up and then when you where there. If it works then it will be worth it, I suppose that will just take time.

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  • RealMarek

    Hypothyroidism is so difficult! I hope the surgery works for you. I’m glad you pulled through! Great mytake!

    Like 1 Person
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  • lightbulb27

    I hope it works for you. Someone at work had the same experience and worked for her.

    Like 1 Person
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  • Rania05

    Woah 😳
    You were really unlucky, but glad you made it to the end
    While reading this take, I worried you would die of your lungs exploding out of anger. 😂

    Like 1 Person
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  • Sirenboobzilla

    Good on you for posting this. This is the kind of stuff people don't really hear about, but really should

    Like 1 Person
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  • hahahmm

    So why are there celebs who get this surgery and then they get fat again later on? Good luck tho. I bet probiotics don't hurt.

    Reply
    • MCheetah

      I don't know any celebs who have gotten weight loss surgery. Most of them can afford personal trainers and super expensive healthy food and chefs to make it for them.

    • hahahmm

      Rosie O'Donnel had it in 2013 and she's huge today. In 2017 Mariah Carey had it. I think the weight is starting to creep back up. She must be eating 100+ donuts a day to get fat with surgery. There's celebs who admit to the surgery but most don't. There's also some celebs who had it and now always look too skinny.. like Randy Jackson & Al Roker. I suspect these guys are borderline anorexics now.. like they went way far to the skim milk side of life. I'm sure there's lots of cases where people ended up okay tho.

  • xJayleenx

    Hope you’re doing okay now. My dad had a gastric sleeve procedure in February and has been losing tons of weight. His problem isn’t like yours he always ate a lot out of anxiety. He has been miserable ever since the gatsric sleeve

    Reply
  • Jamesshinobi

    i had a friend just like you. he had surgery to make all his problems go away. it worked. he died of complications from surgery at 23. his Dad had to leave his honeymoon to bury his kid.

    Reply
  • CA4444

    What a journey!!! good luck :)

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  • Light909090

    You sure like telling people every thought and everything that goes on in your life.

    Reply
  • msc545

    This sounds rough - I wish you the very best!

    Reply
  • ElementoP

    That BLT looks delicious

    Reply
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