I get asked a lot about my RNY procedure. First, I’ll start by saying that this is definitely not an option for everyone. Its a complete life change. Even though I understood going in what the procedure was and what the limitations would be once I got it done, the first few months were a complete shock to my system.
I had Roux-en-Y laparoscopic gastric bypass. In the procedure, the small intestine is divided below the lower stomach outlet and is re-arranged into a Y-configuration, enabling outflow of food from the small upper stomach pouch via a “Roux limb”. The Roux limb is constructed using a portion of the small intestine, preserving the rest for absorbing nutrients. The result is a very rapid onset of the stomach feeling full, followed by a growing satiety shortly after the start of a meal. The gastric bypass reduces the size of the stomach by well over 90%. As my doctor explained beforehand, my stomach started as the size of a football and was reduced to the size of a golf ball. At just over a year out, I can consume about 4 ounces of solid food before feeling really full and by the time the stretching is done, I will be able to hold about 6 ounces.
My lifestyle changes have been pretty significant. On the list of things I am never supposed to ingest again are fruit juices of all types, citrus fruits and carbonated beverages. Kicking my soda habit was about the hardest thing I ever did. I have a regiment of vitamins and supplements that I have to take everyday and take certain ones at certain times to make sure they are properly absorbed.
My side effects from my RNY have been minimal. You will find lots of people talk about “dumping syndrome” and I have been lucky to over suffer from that a couple of times in the last year. My biggest side effect is my body no longer absorbs iron correctly and since I was anemic pre-surgery, I am now required to have monthly IV iron infusions. The iron deficiency has caused me to develop Pagophagia, a type of Pica, which is the pathological consumption of ice.
Since my surgery, my health improvements have been enormous. I have been taken off all blood pressure medications and have had a normal blood pressure for over 8 months. My insulin resistance has been greatly improved. I started at well over 900 units (not a typo) of insulin a day and I am now down to 100 or less. RNY has reversed type 2 diabetes in up to 90% of patients and I am hoping to be insulin free eventually. My edema has been completely eradicated and I am having far less joint pain. Overall, I feel better than I have in almost 15 years and its so worth it.