Monday, January 18, 2016


I just want to apologize for the nightmare that is the font from my last post.  I didn't see that it was SO tiny and then when I went to change it (numerous times), it decided to do what it wanted.

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!

Friday, January 1, 2016


It's January 1st and here I sit at my computer.  I have no "resolutions."  I don't care.  Maybe because it's the fact that I'm stuck in an incredibly deep depression and my marriage is a mess.  Maybe it's because I'm super cynical find resolutions to be ridiculous.  I mean whatever we say today is usually broken by the end of the week or the month.  Very few of us actually do those things we resolve to do.  Whatever it is, I don't make them.

Ok, I got that out of the way.  I want to share that I've seen a bariatric surgeon.  He believes I'm a good candidate for a gastric sleeve.  Here is some information about the sleeve, but the site also includes oodles of information about bariatric surgery, including an hour-long webinar which offers a lot of information.  It's basically a doctor talking while you stare at Power Point slides.  It's not the most interesting of things, but it gets the job done, plus I had to watch it before my appointment.  It's not anything that's inserted, nor do they re-route any part of your digestive system.  They simply staple off part of your stomach.  This both makes your stomach smaller, but releases your body from experiencing the hormone that makes us feel hungry.

The doctor was wonderful.  He spent nearly an hour with me!  I recorded it so that I can refer back to it.  The city where the doctor will perform the surgery is in the city.  I saw him at a local office (30 mins, which is local for this area) and during the course of the appointment, told him that I don't drive in the city and he is totally willing to work with me.  There are a number of tests and evaluations necessary for the surgery to be performed.  One is a sleep study - already had one done and I use the C-Pap; one is a psych eval - since I've seen my psychologist for nearly 16 years, he will take a statement from him (who is the one who brought it up in the first place).  They also need an endoscopy.  I had one several months ago, but despite me telling them that I vomit with Propofol (they said it is the med of choice for those who do experience nausea and/or vomiting after a procedure), they gave it to me and the doctor couldn't finish the procedure because - guess what (?) - I vomited in the middle of it.  The bariatric doc wants to be in the room so he can watch the screen and know what to expect if there are anything which would interfere with the surgery, since my upper GI tract is involved.  Additionally I need a cardiac eval and he is comfortable with me seeing one locally.  I saw one many years ago and know that he's in the same practice as my husbands doc, but may wind up seeing whoever has an appointment available.  There is also a consult with a nurse practitioner and a nutritionist/dietitian, but he said those can be done over the phone.  I love this guy!  It doesn't hurt that he is the husband of one of the docs in the practice where my Mom (an RN) works.  It makes trusting him easier.

When we talked about the psych eval and my doc, he said that I understand the procedure and have done my research (I have a very full binder with tons of info, using page protectors, of course!).  He also said that I was asking all the right questions, so he feels comfortable with my psychologist covering that end of things.  Oh, and I have my entire medical history and a bunch of other things typed up since I'll never remember it all - it's too long and complicated, plus I'm on so many meds there's no way I'd know them all, especially if they want dosage and times!  He can see that I am "together" mentally, especially after seeing my OCD paperwork.

I asked how long it usually takes from the initial appointment.  I expected him to say 6+ months, especially after all of the testing.  Granted some of my testing is already "taken care of" but his answer was 6-8 WEEKS!  Ahhhhhhh!  That's soon.  While I'm excited, I'm also terrified.  This is an enormous lifestyle change and I guess it feels like that's a fast time to prepare mentally.  On the other hand, the sooner the better, right?

In other news, I became a consultant for Thirty-One.  My timing is pretty terrible as I'm dealing with the surgical stuff, but hopefully I can get something out of it, even if it's just a good group of Christian women supporting each other... and hopefully there are some close to me.

Well, "life" calls, so I have to say good-bye for now.  I'll try to write again sooner next time - I know I say that every time, but if I'm going to be down for a couple of weeks I expect to be online more.  So, happy new year!  I wish you all the best.