Thursday, January 14, 2016

Taking the Plunge - Here's the Skinny

So it's true.  I've decided.  I'm going to have bariatric surgery!  I know there are a couple of choices offered by my doctor's office and that the lap band isn't one of them.  I think they were finding issues with it being a foreign body and slipping, but I'm sure that's not the case for everyone.

First, I should offer some info on the two procedures my doctor does.

Gastric bypass is the more drastic surgery, as it re-routes your digestive tract.  It is also a longer surgery.

There are two steps during gastric bypass (emphasis mine) surgery:

  • The first step makes your stomach smaller. Your surgeon uses staples to divide your stomach into a small upper section and a larger bottom section. The top section of your stomach (called the pouch) is where the food you eat will go. The pouch is about the size of a walnut. It holds only about 1 ounce (oz) of food. Because of this you will eat less and lose weight.
  • The second step is the bypass. Your surgeon connects a small part of your small intestine (the jejunum) to a small hole in your pouch. The food you eat will now travel from the pouch into this new opening and into your small intestine. As a result, your body will absorb fewer calories.

In [sleeve gastrectomy, aka: gastric sleeve]
Your surgeon makes 2 to 5 small cuts (incisions) in your belly.
  • The scope and instruments needed to perform the surgery are inserted through these cuts.
  • The camera is connected to a video monitor in the operating room. This allows the surgeon to view inside your belly while doing the operation.
  • Your surgeon removes most of your stomach.
  • The remaining portions of your stomach are joined together using surgical staples. This creates a long vertical tube or banana-shaped stomach.
  • The surgery does not involve cutting or changing the sphincter muscles that allow food to enter or leave the stomach.
  • The scope and other tools are removed. The cuts are stitched closed.

First I have to say - Praise God for laproscopic surgery!

I have chosen to have the sleeve procedure.  Of course there are a plethora of tests before I am fully approved, but some of them I've had and others are simple.  I do not drive in the city.  Period.  I saw the doctor in a satellite office and would like to see other docs in the general area.  Hey, I'm open to 4-5 counties but not, I repeat NOT the city!  While he operates in the city, my husband will be taking me and bringing me home (I'll be in 1-2 days barring any unforeseeable complications), so no city driving for me!  My doc is so fabulous and is willing to work with me.  For the psych eval, he will take a letter from my psychologist (an eval with their doc will offer far less in depth information.  I have already had a sleep study and use a C-Pap machine.  I can use an affiliated cardiologist here in the 'burbs.  For the endoscopy, he knows my gastroenterologist and said he'd like to coordinate that so he can be in the room and view the procedure.  I've had phone consults with both the nurse and the dietitian, who have encouraged me to call with questions and they will be in touch on a regular basis to ask if I have questions and to guide me through the steps both pre-op and post-op.

Certainly, as with any surgery, there are risks.  I have researched them extensively.  I know how my lifestyle MUST change after surgery.  Not only will I be incredibly limited with what foods and how much food I can eat, but I know I will get sick if I go against the set regimen.  Right now, I am trying different protein drinks to see what I like and what I don't.  That way, when I get to the time where I am limited to only those drinks, I won't have to mess around with them and learn that some are downright disgusting!  I am prepared to follow the plan and to exercise as soon as I'm medically cleared and have lost enough weight that the strain on my back is minimal.  I'm not so much focused on the scale, but as a self-proclaimed "fat chick" the scale will always be a tool in gauging where I stand.  Of course the way clothes fit and the ability to do more and more exercise will be huge indicators as well.

Because I take so many meds and drink intake at one sitting is limited, I am concerned about that, but have already alerted my doc to that concern.  I'll speak more with the dietitian and RN about that.

That's all for now.  If you've had the sleeve, please let me know what your experience was.  If you have questions, I have a huge binder full of information!