Choosing Between Surgery or a Lifetime of Diets

by Quin Burgeson
(Murfreesboro, TN)


I have been overweight my entire adult life. I’m not sure what I weighed when I was in school, but I know that I was wearing size 12 stone washed jeans in junior high.

My weight has been a major source of my depression over the past 15 years. Back in 2003, I was about 225 pounds at 5 foot 3. I used ephedrine in those days before it was banned and got down to 155. I worked out on the treadmill maybe 4 days a week and ate decent but not great. I’m not a veggie lover and diet soda makes me gag! But I did it.

It was around 2006-2007 when I began putting those pounds back on. I just loved to eat, especially fast food and Pepsi. I had an obsessive relationship with food, not normal at all. From then until 2013, I had been in and out of so many weight loss clinics,gotten so many B12 injections and Phentermine perscriptions, purchased so many gym memberships or equipment for the house that I hardly utilized.

I have Googled reviews for and tried every good rated diet/energy pill on the market. Nothing seemed to work as well as ephedrine once did, but I also lacked the willpower to follow through. I would go get a ton of fast food and act like I would be sharing it with someone because I would have so much food in my arms, knowing darn well it was all for me. I was so ashamed of myself.

And I hated the way I looked. I could never stand to look at my body in the mirror. I got in the habit of closing one eye when I walked past the mirror to get into the bath tub so that I wouldn’t catch a glimpse of the horrific mess that I was carrying around. The rolls, the saddle bags, the knots and dents. I knew they were there, but it would send me to the darkest corner of my soul when I would actually look at them.

I hated the way I looked. I hated that I constantly had to go buy “fat girl clothes” when I got too big for things. I hated to know what size I was, and having to buy clothes forced me to have to put a dreaded number on what I looked like.

The largest size of jeans I wore was 24, not women’s size. I was in a XXL shirt. I felt hideous. I had low self esteem anyway, but the bigger I got, the more depressed I became.

From 2008-2013, I had gone from maybe 230, down to 182, then (at my heaviest) was 260 pounds. It was then that I started looking into other options. I thought I could go the rest of my life constantly falling off the wagon with this food. I was well on my way to 300 pounds. At 5’3, that was not going to look very good.

In October 2013, I sat through a dozen phone calls with my health insurance provider, getting details on exactly what they required in order to approve my weight loss surgery. Once I had all the info, I started looking into the different types of surgery available.

Knowing me and what had led to my morbid obesity, I chose the gastric bypass. I wanted the malabsorptive and the restrictive. I wanted to have very little say so on what and how much I could eat. I wanted my stomach to make those decisions for me. I hadn’t been doing such a great job on my own.

My surgery date was April 17, 2014 in Nasvhille, TN. I weighed in that day at 245 pounds, BMI was 42 or 43. I fell asleep while they prepped me around 6am and woke up in the same room around 10am. I felt very nauseous, but no pain, no gas.

I was full of fluid, so had to constantly get up to use the bathroom. I stayed in the hospital for 24 hours. I must say, every hospital and every surgeon is different. I was on pureed stage foods the day I left the hospital and on soft foods one week later. Other surgeons have completely different guidelines, usually a slower, more gradual step from liquids to solids. I had no issues with the foods I was allowed to consume.

I was on leave for 6 weeks. I came back to work weighing about 205. The first thing everyone noticed was how much smaller my face looked. The first thing I noticed was clothes becoming too large for me.

Fast forward to the present time. As of February 2015, I am 10 months out and weighing in at 126.3 pounds. I have a little loose skin that could be taken care of if I worked out like I should.

The one sacrifice I didn’t realize I’d have to make was my breasts. I was a B cup. Now I have barely an A and they do have a wrinkled deflated look to them. Again, this may be improved if I would lift weights like I should be doing.

For the first time in my life, I am in Junior size 7 pants and medium shirts. I still have psychological issues with food, but I have a good therapist who is helping me deal with it. My depression still shadows me.

This surgery-any surgery-is not going to fix all that ails you. It can help get rid of certain weight-related medical issues. But it alone will not make you happy; it may even create new issues.

Please do not commit yourself and the rest of your life to this surgery if all you want is to be able to wear small trendy outfits. I’m happier now, but still sometimes depressed, although it’s not due to my weight.

Please do all the research you can on all the different procedures to choose what is best for you. Your surgeon will often recommend a particular procedure. However, if there is not a medical necessity to his/her recommendation, go with the surgery you think will be best for you, but only after THOROUGH research, including talking with real people who have been through it.

Any of the surgeries you choose to have will be life changing. Some people will have several complications while others will hardly ever experience dumping syndrome even if they eat something sweet.

Every patient is different. Please be true to yourself on your willingness to commit. I will share my therapist’s encouraging words to me while I was getting ready to go into surgery: “That’s a BRAVE thing you’re doing. I don’t think I could do it…”

Good luck, all!


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by: Patrick

Hi Quin, it was nice to read your honest and thorough breakdown on your experience.

You make a good point about the importance of finding the right procedure and doing your homework on what you choose. There is actually a quiz on this website that helps prospective patients find the right procedure.

Best of luck to all.


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