Super Weight Loss Surgery Success (After Duodenal Switch Surgery)

Question Below Submitted By:  

Brenda Seelbach (a patient from Kansas -

Brenda Seelbach at my heaviest

Brenda Seelbach at my heaviest

Brenda Seelbach now

Brenda Seelbach now

Brenda Seelbach at my heaviestBrenda Seelbach now

Reading and listening to weight loss surgery success stories made me apprehensive. I knew it was possible, but I knew many people failed. I did not want to be a statistic the one who just could not make it.

Fourteen months after having biliopancreatic diversion with a duodenal switch I am down 193 pounds and still working at it. This procedure was ideal for me as it preserved my pyloric valve and that helped my digestion operate more normally so I figured I could live with this for my new life for a lifetime!

Losing 193 pounds seemed nearly impossible to me. I started my weight loss surgery journey at 344. Well that is as close I can get because I rarely weighed myself it was too depressing. So 344 was my highest recorded weight. My surgeon wanted me to be around 180 or so. She thought it was reasonable that I could get to around 164 pounds.

I did extremely well following my surgery and at one month had lost 51 pounds! This was amazing to me I could not believe it and was astounded. My doctor was pleased as well and when I saw her at my eight month check-up and had lost 150 already she revised her wishes for me. She said there was no reason I could not lose over 190 pounds and weigh about 150 which is exactly where I am today.

I was not suffering from some of the regular co-morbidities that obese patients suffered from like diabetes or high blood pressure but I did have sleep apnea and low thyroid.

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea just 7 weeks before my surgery. Immediately after surgery I did not need my CPAP machine, I was breathing better and sleeping like a baby. I was well rested when I woke up in the morning and within a month or so post op, I was never sleepy, didn’t take naps or fall asleep during movie night! This alone was a huge benefit to me. After work, prior to surgery, I was just too tired to get anything else done because of the sleep apnea. The horrible disease makes your body work harder at night while supposedly resting than you did during the day. Glad that one was gone for sure.

I still have low-thyroid, but now require much less medication but my doc told me, thin people have thyroid issues too. So we shall see.

I was not really attending the weight loss surgery support groups in my area but I was using the online weight loss support forums. It was so great to connect with people who had been where I was now. They could relate and knew what was around the bend for me, what was realistic and what I could expect for my specific surgery. They were also there when I needed food help.

I would suggest you find a forum that is geared toward your particular surgery. Each type of bariatric surgery has different eating prescriptions. Some things I can have, someone with RNY gastric bypass can’t have.

I also strongly recommend you keep in contact with your surgery team. I did a lot of research up front and really wanted to have a very active, supportive weight loss surgeon and staff. I sure found that in my surgery team. They are just an email away and are so helpful it makes a difference you don’t feel like you are flying solo. You or your insurance company paid them a lot of money so don’t be afraid to call or email them some questions.

All in all I am a different person now. I hear so many bariatric surgery patients say this and while it is true in some ways, I must caution that it really isn’t at the core. I am the same person with the same desires, faults and weaknesses that got me to where I was.

While genetics play a big part in my personal story, I still contributed, in a big way, to my weight gain. It became a vicious downward spiral. You are tired, you hurt, you don’t want to exercise, you eat and on and on.

My best advice to you: read, study and learn all you can about weight loss surgery, talk with your doctor and follow their instructions to the letter. If you don’t understand, ask. You will be successful if you follow their orders.

Related Pages:
Types of Bariatric Surgery – Comparison of the 16 Established & Experimental Weight Loss Surgery Procedures
Duodenal Switch Surgery (DS)
Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass Surgery (Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass)
Analysis & Cost of Lap Band Surgery (Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band) & Whether It’s Right for You
Bariatric Doctors / Bariatric Weight Loss Center: 4 Essential Steps to
Finding the Surgeon That’s Right for You

Conversion from Lap Band to Gastric Bypass


Expert Responses to the Question Above

Response to Anonymous re: DS cost and surgeon

by: Jeff

Hi there,

The following two pages have the information you are looking for:

1) Cost: Duodenal Switch Analysis and Cost
2) Surgeon: How to choose the right bariatric surgeon

Good luck!



Patient Responses to the Question Above


by: Anonymous

I am very interested in having the DS surgery for my weight and my comorbities. Can anyone tell me how much the DS sugery cost them (their portion out of pocket)? and if they can recomend an excellent dr.?

Good Job

by: Anonymous

I'm DSer: 6 years out. Keep on working, you're doing great!

Reply from Brenda:

by: Brenda Seelbach

That is a great question and I know in my case, I had to have a phych evaluation for my insurance to cover the surgery. They wanted to make sure that I had a balanced approach and then I was not magically going to become "barbie" and also that I had an active support network at home.

I was in pretty good shape with all that. I had no delusions and really did not know if I would be able to lose all the weight. I was determined to grasp this chance I was being given and make the best of it! I am sure that I suffered from some mild depression and did avoid events, people because I did not feel good about myself.

That being said, I think that having the evaluations before surgery would help people. I think you must be realistic about what you are about to undertake and get your head straight so that you can deal with your new life after weight loss surgery (eating, diet, recovery...) so that you will have the best chance at being successful.

I have seen a TV show about a young man who was super morbidly obese (over 700 lbs, I think... this was years ago) and his mother bought him McDonald's burgers on the way home from the hospital to their home! This is not a recipe for success - he still had the bad support around him that certainly contributed to his demise in the first place.

It seems to me that when someone is this self-destructive and not really willing to try - they really aren't a candidate for the surgery - that they really should be getting more counseling before it. Well, that's my two cents.

Physical v.s. psychological

by: Anonymous

Brenda, Very proud of you for what I know must have been extreme motivation and determination to get you to where you are. Congratulations! You mentioned in your article about how you are still the same person inside, even after your weight loss.

Since in most cases obesity is the result of both physical factors (genetics) and psychological factors (stress, trauma, depression etc), would you recommend that others going through this process of weight loss seek professional counseling to resolve their mental/emotional issues?

Depends on if your insurance covers it

by: R. Thompson

I have two insurances and neither covered weight loss surgery in my case. It was not "medically necessary". My BMI was over 55, but because I did not have sleep apnea, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes etc....other than being morbidly obese I was "healthy". answer your self pay costs were as follows for my DS.....
Dr. - $10,995 for the surgery
Dr. Visits - $180 for each visit
Anestediologist - $1,550 day of the surgery
Hospital - $13,300 for hospital stay
Hospital - $3,650 for endoscopy prior to surgery (included anestesiologist) including blood work

Every person's needs are different, but can cost was between 39 and 30k. It's a huge cost but not having the surgery came with a bigger cost. My quality of life is so much better. My only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.

If you are concerned with cost. There are options for financing....and you might even look into your 401k. I borrowed from mine and payments come out of my paycheck.

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