Life Change: Sleeve Gastrectomy 9.2013 - Pittsburgh, PA
- updated 7 days ago
Post-Op: 254 lbs. 5'7.5" 43 years old female I...
- 18 Sep 2013
- 11 days pre
43 years old
I decided to have the Sleeve Gastrectomy in February of 2013, after attending an information seminar on Bariatric Surgery. I didn't even know the Sleeve was an option. I didn't want the Bypass and figured I'd have to have the Lap Band even though I wasn't thrilled about the idea of having that done either. I was pleasantly surprised when the surgeon discussed the Sleeve. I thought "Why wouldn't I have that?!?"
So I started the process right away. My insurance company required six months of weigh-ins and nutrition classes. In February my BMI was 40. I wasn't aware that I had any co-morbid conditions. I didn't have any of the obvious ones, but as it turned out I do have sleep apnea. My general practitioner has labeled me as a "healthy, big person." :) My insurance company approved me for the surgery and it is scheduled for September 30.
I had my pre-op visit today. It took about 2 hours. I met with the surgeon who asked if I had any questions and went over lab work that I had had completed a few months ago: EKG, Upper GI, etc. Then his assistant met with me to go over the pre-op diet and what to expect from my stay in the hospital. I had to sign all sorts of paperwork too. One thing that I feel is important to mention is that when I received my approval letter from the insurance company it specifically stated that it was for one night at the hospital. The doctor said I'd be there for 2 nights and that they would take care of informing my insurance company. Afterwards, I met with a nurse who talked with me about what to expect after the surgery. She also gave me some sample protein shakes and I watched a video about what to expect before and after the surgery. It was fairly repetitive -- they had given me the same information in paper form, but I didn't mind the repetition. I was able to ask a lot of questions, which mostly centered around my being nervous about how to manage my diet afterwards.
The nurse told me today that I should expect to miss 2 - 4 weeks of work with the Sleeve surgery. I, fortunately, am able to work from home so by week two I'm hoping I'll feel good enough to work. She said that it's important to get used to the new way of doing things and adding work to the mix can sometimes take your mind off of things you should be concentrating on while recovering: drinking enough, eating enough, etc. This made total sense and I'll be careful to not push myself.
I only have to do a five day pre-op diet, which will start on September 25. I'm not feeling all that nervous about having the surgery. My nervousness comes in when I consider life afterwards and the changes that will ensue. But I'm also excited about finally having some help in my weight loss struggles and efforts.
The only people that know about my surgery are people that are close to me (family, friends) and even then it's a short list. I have told my boss because I knew I'd have a ton of appointments and such and it would be easier if she was informed, but none of my co-workers know. I'm not sure if I'll end up telling others about it, but for now I'm content with who I've told.
Here's to a positive experience and life changing event!
Start of 5 day pre-op diet
- 25 Sep 2013
- 4 days pre
Just Got Home from Surgery
- 2 Oct 2013
- 2 days post
For the first day they had me on a pain killer drip and then on Tuesday afternoon switched me to a liquid. Monday went pretty good, and Tuesday morning I felt great, but Tuesday evening the pressure in my abdomen got really bad. I had dry heaves a few times which was terrible with the incisions. The nurses were pretty accommodating with nausea meds but they could only do so much. There was a lot of grinning and bearing on my end. This morning was a lot of the same the the doctor came in and told me the more I walked and the more I drank the better I'd feel. I figured I'd give that a try since I really wanted to come home today. I walked a lot, around the halls, and was able to drink 30cc's every 15-30 minutes. I drank water, had a little bit of sugar free jello and some diluted apple juice. The water felt and tasted the best to me.
I feel much better than I did last night. There's a lot of movement going on in my abdomen but it's not causing too much discomfort (thank goodness). I'm hoping that will subside in the next day or so.
My incisions are sore and are all very high -- right under my breasts -- which is helpful with standing and sitting. There are 5 of them. I have to hold them even still, when I sit down or stand up. I had my gallbladder out a few months ago and the incisions were similar and the discomfort lasted for about a week with them, so I'm expecting the same.
For the next week I'm only allowed to have clear fluids: sugar free popsicles, diluted juice (apple, grape, cranberry), sugar free jello, broths, water. I have a follow up appointment next Wednesday and after that, if the doctor says it's okay, I can start some foods like scrambled eggs.
I'm not hungry at all, but have been thirsty today which is good since I need to get 64 oz. in. As long as I drink a cup an hour I"ll be all set.
I haven't weighted myself and probably won't for a few days, only because I've read from other people how they've not lost weight when they first come home from the hospital.
I was 244 on Monday.
Day 5 post op
- 4 Oct 2013
- 4 days post
Today was SO much easier than yesterday. I'm supposed to have a minimum of 48 oz. of clear fluids with a goal of 64 oz. Yesterday (day 4) I only reached 44. Today I am almost at 56. What worked for me was to buy a 16 oz. bottle and I fill it with 1/2 water/1/2 juice (I've been using apple & grape). I figure I'm up from about 9 AM to 10 PM, with an hour for napping. If I drink 1 bottle every 3 hours then I will reach my goal of 64 oz. It's an easy way to make sure I'm on track. I also had 2 popsicles but they are very low ounce wise so I'm just using them as a break from the juice/water. I have to take sips and no big swallows or I experience discomfort in my abdomen. My pain level is decreasing every hour it seems but I still need the roxicet every 4 hours. I took a shower today. That wiped me out but it felt good to be clean.
I've been taking short walks around the outside of my house, which I'm sure looks funny to my neighbors, but it's been beautiful outside and it at least gets me up and moving around. I have helped a little today with doing the dishes but that's about it. I get tired fairly quickly so am trying to take it easy.
Week 2 | 10 days after Sleeve G.
- 9 Oct 2013
- 9 days post
I had my 10 day follow up appointment today. I'm down 20 lbs. since my surgery. It's shocking really. We talked a lot about what my diet will be in the next 2 months. I was able to start with soft/pureed foods today but the Dr. told me to take it slowly. It takes about 4-6 weeks for the swelling of your stomach to go down, so even though I'm able to eat a little bit I will still feel some pressure from the swelling. After that it should be a little easier to eat. I was so happy to be able to eat something, but the outing to the Dr. made me so tired that I came home and took a 2 hour nap! I did have some Greek yogurt, about 1-2 tablespoons of it at dinner time. It took me about 20 minutes to eat it. I didn't want to get sick so I just took very small (very small!) amounts over that time period. It didn't bother me at all. I'm really afraid of overdoing it -- the last thing I want to do is to throw up -- so I will be very careful. He told me to start with yogurt, protein shakes and creamed soups and if by Saturday I'm doing okay with those things then I can progress into eggs and some fish. My incision pain is so much better today. I'm thankful for that because I'm tired of sleeping on my back. I really do feel a lot better today except for the tired factor. I'm returning to work on Monday. I was going to try to go back tomorrow, even if for 1/2 a day, but decided to just wait.
Day 15 post-op Sleeve
- 15 Oct 2013
- 15 days post
End of week 3: post-op
- 20 Oct 2013
- 20 days post
End of week 4: post-op
- 26 Oct 2013
- 26 days post
8.5 weeks since Sleeve
- 3 Dec 2013
- 3 months post
It's been a while since I've written an update but wanted to let everyone know how I was doing.
My recovery was not easy. I had A LOT of nausea. It lasted for about 7 weeks. I was given an anti-nausea medicine which I had to refill once. It really helped to take the edge off but didn't take the nausea away completely. It seems to have gone away on it's own. Thank goodness!!!
I feel great now. The nausea is gone and I'm able to eat 'normal' food and have tried many things. I do not tolerate any high sugar desserts/food or caffeine. It took me a while to be able to drink Crystal Light (a lifesaver). I would definitely say my taste buds have changed. They are really sensitive. If I can even remotely taste artificial sweetener then I can't eat/drink whatever it is.
I'm really careful about eating slowly and chewing things completely. I've learned the hard way (threw up twice) that you can't take a bite of something without really chewing it. Also, the rule about not drinking while eating is something I have to follow as well, but it's all getting easier and I don't have to concentrate as much anymore with those two things -- or to remember those two things.
I'm able to to quite a few things, but I stick to some regulars: eggs, cheese (yay!), ham, turkey, chicken, yogurt, cottage cheese, soups, etc. I am making sure to eat protein first and that usually doesn't leave me much room for anything else. I eat anywhere from 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of food at one sitting. One thing that I do enjoy each night is a 1/2 english muffin with peanut butter. My dog appreciates it too -- I can't ever eat the entire 1/2 so she gets the leftover. It is like a big treat for me to have that. That's really the only 'bread' type substance that I'm eating.
Eat is really easy. Not being able to eat a lot has really simplified my life. What is not simple is my mind where it's all concerned. I know, now even more, why I was so heavy before. I'm still amazed at the value that I put on food: how is makes me feel, comfort, boredom, etc. I still struggle mentally with all of it, but fortunately I can't eat much and because my taste buds have changed and because I'm not craving sugar anymore, so it's helping me to wake up and realize and understand my actions.
This has not been any easy rode. I'm still not 100% happy that I had the surgery, but I do feel it was a last resort for me and I'm determined to not fail. It feels really good to be able to get rid of clothes that are too big for me. It also feels good when people comment on my weight loss. I physically feel great. My struggles are all mental and emotional, which is not surprising.
Having this surgery is truly an aide. Fighting the demons that I've fought for years is still a war, it's just now I have controls that I can't easily overcome, so I'm thankful for that.
So that's the scoop. Please let me know if you have any questions. I'd be happy to answer any that you may have. Thanks! I'll add a full body shot soon.
So far, so good. One name the hospital has is The Center for Minimally Evasive Bariatric Center... A center of excellence. They specialize in Bariatric surgery and I can tell. Everything they have done so far is excellent in that I don't have to worry about making appointments or worrying about lab work and such. They take care of all of it. Everyone is friendly and on top of their game. I appreciate how effortless my experience(s) has been thus far.