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Waiting for Sleevie Wonder...- United Kingdom, GB

Hi there, I am in the very early stages of the...

Hi there, I am in the very early stages of the process of Sleeve Gastrectomy. I am forty five and have been overweight to some extent from around the age of six. In 2007 I was diagnosed with a rare auto immune disease which causes muscle weakness and extreme fatigue, among other symptoms. I am basically allergic to my muscles, my bodies macrophages (killer cells) treat my muscle tissue as though its a pathogen and much of it has been destroyed.

I spent three years in hospital, on life support for seven months and fed by tube for 2.5 years and still I gained weight, due to total inactivity and medications such as high doses of steroids, administered by IV. Unfortunately the illness has left me in a wheelchair, I am unable even to stand and need twenty four hour care.

After discharge in 2010 I returned to our adapted home, (I am married, no children) and continued to gain weight. My rheumatoid arthritis specialist, yes I have that too!!, referred me for surgery, something that has left me with very mixed emotions. At my first psych evaluation the doctor said he normally 'tries to talk people out of surgery', but he was trying to convince me to at least see the surgeon. He felt that my medication and lack of ability to exercise would make it very difficult to lose and keep off.

And we all know that's the crunch isn't it? Not regaining the weight!

Last year I lost about fifty pounds on a hospital supervised very low carb diet but it just isn't sustainable, I probably regained it, and I have too much to loose. I met with the Dietician last week and I am on a more balanced diet, I need to lose 42 pounds before surgery. Only once I've done this will I be able to start the two week liquid diet.

I am laughingly calling my prospective sleeve 'Stevie Wonder' but I know this isn't a wonder solution nor a magic wand. I catch myself thinking, 'I can't wait until after surgery and then I can eat 'nice' things but my sleeve will make me lose anyway'. NO. It's this thinking that got me here.

I don't know my exact weight as I have to be weighed in my chair, we think that weighs around 280 Lbs/127 kg by itself, it needs to be big because I am :( that's so shameful to admit and yet not one of you know me. I estimate I am about 300 lbs and I would like to be under eleven stone which is about 150 lbs/68kg. Phew all those conversions are hard. You see I think in stones and pounds (British), they weigh me in kilograms, and most people on here seem to use pounds. Either way I'm losing half of me.

Main concerns are recovery as I have to be turned in bed, dressed, and use a hoist. Recovery in relation to the twenty meds I take every day too. The main one about the op itself is going into hospital voluntarily, I spent three years there, away from my husband (we'd only ever spent one night apart) and all my friends and family, my beloved dogs who I didn't see for over a year, and frankly I think I must be mad to choose to go in again.

Last time I was supposed to be for four days and look how that turned out!

I'm not scared to die, I've come close too many times to care now, and I very much doubt I would, but infections etc scare me. As far as after its psychological, food has been so much to me for so long, it feels like they're asking me to get a divorce. I don't know how I'll be anything other than I am, it's been so long. I also worry about loose skin, I know I would never have an op to remove that, they have refused to do my gall bladder removal because of the risks. I guess at this point I'll die anyway if I don't lose weight.

It's not all doom lol. As any very overweight person will tell you, there comes a point where it's just too hard to continue being so big, maybe, just maybe I could stand if I lost enough weight and gained some muscle strength. I'd love to drive again!

150 pounds is what I weighed at 14, I don't even know what it's like to be a healthy weight.

Could maybe some peeps who've had gastric surgery, be it bypass or sleeve, tell me how it feels to be slim after many years of being heavy? I'd be so grateful for any insight.

So that's me - I will be weighed again in November and meet the Professor who will be doing my op, it's National Health Service (NHS) so it's no money to pay out and no insurance to convince, he just has to make the final decision as to whether I'll get through it. I have more psychology consults in October too. Until then it's

Hang on a minute!

I'm lying awake thinking about my diet and surgery and something occurs to me. the Dietician said I had to lose just over 14kg/~3st/42 pounds. If five percent of my body weight is 42 pounds then I am in way more trouble than I thought...then I realised, I have to be weighed in my chair and she hasn't deducted its weight!!! And it weighs over 280 pounds, jeeze I'd be dead at the combined weights. I need to give her a call I think. The better news is I need to lose 17 pounds to satisfy the surgeon, phew!!!

So far so...missing bread

I'm doing okay on the diet, I haven't had a day yet where I've gone over my allowance and I've even started eating breakfast! Before this I wouldn't eat until about six PM and then pick all evening until 11. I could get more calories in those five hours than is acceptable in a one day. I've found the lack of carbs hard, all my snacks and meals seemed to revolve around them, but we've found a way and I can eat a lot of veg to compensate. All this water loss means many trips to the loo. I'm trying to give up soda too as I won't be able to have that post op. I wish I could weigh at home to see if I've made progress.

Calling for an Ark

Has anyone else experienced ridiculous numbers of trips to the loo? I am peeling for England! I know it's a good sign, glycogen breaking down, water being released and all that but I can't go through the night! Today my husband had to run some errands and my regular personal assistant is on maternity leave, my father in law just comes round to stay with me, get me a drink or something like that. Hubby had been only gone an hour and, you guessed it, I needed the loo. Now, I love pa in law but no way is he taking me for a wee! So I had to call poor old hubby and he had to race back. He just made it. Anyway nothing else to report and I've got to go now...you can guess why ;)

It's all in the mind...

This week has been tough, I burnt my hand making some glass sculptures, although luckily not very badly, the husband and I had a really silly row and I said some things which weren't fair, and I'm feeling guilty because it's my Dad's birthday tomorrow. We're estranged from my parents, with good reason, but he's 82 and I'm an only child...the guilt.

Anyway the point of telling you all is this, I'm down so what do I want to do? Of course, I want to eat. All I keep thinking is 'a Chinese meal would cheer me up' or 'I deserve something 'nice' ( nice translates to unhealthy or a poor choice of calories) because I've had a bad time'. I can tell myself until I am blue in the face that what I deserve is to treat my body with respect, and that it's about time my mind realised my body is suffering for its problems...it's not my body's fault.

Eating a Chinese takeaway won't help my relationship with my parents. I don't know what will but I know it aint Duck in plum sauce and fried rice... /:(

Chocolate won't alleviate anything, all it will do is make me feel guilty about something else.

I don't want to brag, but I'm a pretty intelligent person...so why can't I change the way I think and accept these simple truths. I'm not a self help book 'love yourself' type, us Brits tend not to be :) but I do need to understand how to stop being so unfair to myself.

Gulp, gulp and gulp some more...

It's quite ironic really. At the group session the dietician told us we'd never be able to chug down a glass of water again, post surgery of course. Some people kind of groaned but hubby and I laughed. I was fed nasally for several months so I didn't eat or drink normally. The liquid that went down the pipe through my nose and into my stomach stopped me being hungry but the thirst was a living nightmare, especially as I drank three litres of water a day before my illness. They wouldn't even trust me to use water when they brushed my teeth, because they knew I'd try and drink it. Even though I knew I couldn't swallow and it could go straight to my lungs, plus I had a breathing tube through my neck so that wouldn't have liked it. But all the time I watched people drink, it became an obsession. I would make my visitors gulp down drinks and watch their throats, weird I know!!! So four years after I started eating and drinking normally I love to gulp water. You have to laugh don't you? The universe has a funny sense of humour.

As an aside, I had a doctor tell me (not from my team) that a VGS wouldn't be enough to lose the two hundred I need, and that I need a bypass. The bypass is out if the question because of a complication of my illness... I'm determined to get it all off though! I don't see the surgeon until November. I just want a date, even a month of when it's likely to be. Now I'm committed I just want it done and over with. I think I've lost the 17lbs I needed to. I was trying not to turn this into a diary, and stick to actual progressions, but you are all so supportive and it feels good to share. I don't want to go on about it at home, and the wider family don't know.

Good news and Cedric.

There you go Alicia, here is Cedric the newest addition to our family and a little brother to Bert, our pointer.

Today I had my final psych evaluation and the Dr, Dr Kendrick! was very nice. He says he is prepared to recommend I undergo surgery as he's convinced I understand all the ins and outs of the actual procedure and the issues which may raise themselves after the surgery. We talked at length about my fears regarding my ability to come to terms with the amount I will be able to eat, the emotional component of my eating and where I could fail if I didn't address those issues. I told him I only scared about one thing, and that's failing. This is the last chance saloon as far as I'm concerned. I'm a failed dieter of 35 years standing, since the age of ten. If I can't do it with the help of the sleeve and the support of experts then that really will be the final straw and I'll have gone through it all for nothing. I'm determined I won't fail, I can only go at it as educated as I can be, with as much strength as a I can muster and a knowledge that this is it, it's put up or shut up time. I'm not big on denial, I know what I do and how unhealthy it is, but I need to learn to stop giving myself permission to be so destructive. I hate being told no, but I have to learn to accept it.

After that he took me to be weighed himself. I'd explained about the paperwork being incorrect and he'd checked, agreed and changed it. I need to lose 8kg or about 17lb to have lost 5% of my body weight and satisfy the Professor. I've lost 11 since my last appointment, so he was pleased. He wants me to continue as the lower my weight at time of surgery the better. I am currently a very shameful 150 kg/330lbs/23.6st, but today is the last day I will ever be this heavy, I'll never see that weight again.

Next update is after my first meeting with the surgeon, on December 2nd.

Thank you for all your support, especially Kirsty, you've all given me hope that I can do it.

Fairly pointless appointment.

I had an appointment with the dietician yesterday, I wasn't sure what it was for, maybe just for a weigh in to see how I'm doing. As it was they had mistakenly put me in again for the group session, which I'd already done. I saw the specialist nurse instead and she gave a leaflet about the surgery and explained why we have to follow a clear liquid diet post surgery for two weeks. She said the staples and cauterizing doesn't completely seal the cut on the stomach, only the scarring does that and it takes two weeks. They don't want any food in there which will cause the stomach to churn whilst the healing occurs.

The waiting list is six to nine months and the surgery is only at the weekend because they do cancer surgery in the week.

I'm getting bored of the diet already, maybe it's because I lost what I need to and I'm a bot complacent now? I'm fighting it but it gives me concern about how I would be after the surgery when I have no choice. They remove the stomach not the mania I have about food. I wish I were normal.

The nurse asked me to write down why I want the surgery and keep it. I thought I'd write something like 'to improve my health, avoid co morbidities' but that would be just me saying what I think I should. If I was to really say what I wanted, I'd say 'to be left alone'

On the waiting list!

I saw the surgeon a couple of days ago and he was very nice, he seemed positive about the surgery. He advised me the only bump in the road we could come across, apart from hidden conditions, would be if the anaesthetist had reservations, but he said this is unlikely. The waiting list is six to nine months and I should be in for two or three days, maybe a little longer because of my other problems. He did tell me the mortality rate on this surgery is 1%, that's the national average, which seemed high, but then again surgery is risky on people with high bmi and maybe other issues like diabetes or high blood pressure.

I'm not afraid of the surgery.

Process rumbles on.

Since I last updated I have see the dietician a few times, a specialist nurse who had no idea why I was there :) and had a meeting with the consultant anaesthetist, everyone seems happy for the operation to go ahead and we are looking any time from July to October.

One horrible thing happened. I have a new wheelchair which is 80 pounds heavier than my old one, the scales I use in hospital are ones I can drive onto. The problem is the new chair takes me over the weight limit so they have no idea what my weight is. :( I know it's not my fault the chair is heavier but I felt very humiliated to be too heavy for scales designed for a person plus chair, and bigger ones than normal because they are in an obesity clinic.

I lost my required weight but I guess I've put it back on, I hope that doesn't mean they'd cancel my op...although part of me would be happy if they did...and I don't have a handle on my eating at all. My husband tells me if I could diet successfully I wouldn't need surgery, he's right to a degree but if I can't get my head into the game how will I ever cope with the post op diet?

The pre op one doesn't scare me, because I know it has to be done. The dietician told me about a man who got as far as the op, but he'd 'cheated' on the liquid diet and his liver was too big still. The surgeon refused to do the op and closed him up. I can't imagine what a crushing blow that would be, so I'm going to make sure that doesn't happen to me.

I know what my problem is, I want the results without the work!

So, I can't post numbers because I don't have them and I don't have a date so I can't post that. I'm reading all your reviews and trying hard to stay positive. Those of you who have been sleeved are doing so well.

Only a month!

I have a date, Saturday 3rd May. Gulp.

Processing the news.

Only a month away, that knocked me for six at first! I've spent the last couple of days attempting to get my head around the news, it's not the op or the recovery which bothers me, it's voluntarily entering a hospital again. Those of you who've read my story know I was in hospital for a number of years, so I have reason to be extra avoiding of the places!

My friend helped a bit by asking if I could tun it on it's head and think of it as my choice this time, I'm in control. It did help but there's this nagging voice that tells me I was only supposed to be in for four days last time....

I figure I won't be the quickest out, not with my other health issues, but I pray it won't be more than three nights.

I'm adding pics. I don't have many of me for obvious reasons. The day these were taken was a really happy day, but I look at the pictures and all I can see is my swollen face from weight and steroids and how huge I look...and old all of a sudden. In the one with Cedric my skin looks dry, I realised I stopped looking after myself so well when I got this big, there didn't seem any point. So I'm changing all that too.

This surgery, this tool, is all about finally looking after myself.

Count down to the yoghurt....

I have just finished a meal that contained roast potatoes, mashed potatoes and yorkie pud...my last supper you might say as my pre op diet starts on Saturday, just four days away!

I can have 5/6 yoghurts and two pints of milk per day. I hate milk so I'll just have yoghurt.

Today I saw my primary doctor (GP) because some of my meds for my auto immune disease are very large and I need the liquid versions. Thank goodness for the National Health Service, the solution is £108 for five teaspoons but I get it for free, phew. I really am grateful to not have to pay anything toward this process.

That's it really. Hubby has been buying me some new nightwear for the hospital, and various clear soups and protein shakes for after surgery. He's the best.

I see the dietician on Thursday and then I go for my pre op checks on Monday. After that it's waiting for May 3rd.

Things that make you go hmmm

It's been one of those days.

I know I'm a bit tense about the pre op diet, I'm sure it won't be as bad as I think but it's that psychological thing again..."you're taking my food away?!", so my father in law's behaviour didn't help.

Don't get me wrong, they are both great, even more so because I don't talk to my family anymore, they've been supportive since my illness, but sometimes he says things that I consider insensitive bordering on mean.

We have a niece and three nephews, all teenagers, their Mum is hubby's sister. She and I haven't always seen eye to eye and she sometimes has a few digs here and there. Mainly for embarrassment reasons I don't want the kids or SIL to know, she would have some ammo and I don't want to explain it all to them, part of me also feels I am a bad example to them for taking this route. Or being so obese in the first place, although both their parents are, that makes my SIL all the less easy to understand. Anyway, I am planning on telling them, if they ask, I'm having gall bladder surgery. Both inlaws know this and know not to tell.

But father in law, don't ask me why, keeps making reference to a 'diet', and what I can't eat afterwards. He thinks he's joking I guess but he says things like 'we'll come around with fried chicken so you can watch us eat it' . They are keen gardeners and when he tells us he's planted x he makes sure to say 'not that you can eat it', about things like potatoes and corn.

Hubby thinks the world of his dad, as he should, and he hates bringing up anything difficult with anyone. He watched my dad speak to me like shite for 18 years before he snapped finally. So I know he won't want to tackle the subject of confidentiality and consideration. FIL won't take me seriously, and I know I'll get upset or angry, I'm pretty on the edge you see.

I don't want to push him to say something, I guess his dad would stop if he saw he upset me, but I wish I could trust him to keep our confidence. I almost wish I hadn't told them but that wasn't an option, we spend so much time together.

Thank you guys, I wanted this off my chest. I don't have anyone I can talk to and be honest with.

This feels like a nightmare...

I've just been for my last group session with the dietician. As I mentioned before my new wheelchair is 60 pounds heavier than the old one and it's taken me over the scale limit, so they can't get a weight for me.

This they knew BUT THEY STILL GAVE ME A DATE THREE WEEKS AWAY!

Sigh, now they've just realised they won't have a weight from which to work out the anaesthetic. For some reason the dietician said she wanted me to follow the liquid diet for three weeks, which I don't have, so she mentioned putting the surgery back to the 10th.

If that wasn't bad enough, she just called me and said she needed to speak to the team about my surgery, as it seems as though I must have gained weight since last August. I know I probably have, if I could lose on a diet I wouldn't need the sleeve. I lost 55 pounds and I could have gained half back, no way of knowing.

If they ask me to diet until I can be weighed, maybe as much as another 60 pounds to counteract my chair, and cancel the op I don't know what I'll do.

Even worse we have two public holidays coming up so I won't know until Tuesday, and I have to start the liquid diet on Saturday, maybe to be told I'm not having the op anyway.

I need prayers, positive vibes, anything. I don't know what to do.

Moved to the 10th

I need to do the liquid diet for an extra week and my surgery has been moved back by one week. At least they are doing it still, I wish I didn't have to do that extra week and I can see any reason why, I still won't have a weight, but I'll get through it.

The dietician is still off the Christmas card list though.
Professor Mennon.

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Comments (58)

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That is a heavy load and I'm so sorry. Honestly, the way you talk about your FIL sounds like he is a kind man, but clearly has some issues being able to communicate. Sounds like he's trying to engage with you and even be a little humorous, but he's falling short of this as your procedure is not a joke. Your situation is not funny and it's very personal. You could pull him aside and be very open and point out specific examples of how he's making you feel uncomfortable and how it's leaning towards him knowing something others don't...only to beg the question you don't want to answer. I also think you could be on heightened sensitivity due to your pending procedure and many changes. So what might have been okay before...is not now. Either way, you are welcome to share here. You are not alone on your journey.
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Thanks Alicia, just to know I'm not alone does mean very much to me. Sometimes I feel like am, it's shameful to me to talk about this because I've spent years not talking about how it feels so be so abnormal. I'm angry with myself because it's all self inflicted, and I feel guilty for needing this op. A third of the world is starving and I need a surgeon to stop me eating, that feels so shameful so I suppose I am quite sensitive. Your words mean a lot to me, thank you.
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Congrats on your date and good luck with the pre-op diet. Honestly, it sucks, but you can get through. It's 2 weeks that will set you up for the rest of your life!
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You're right of course, and even with this latest development, it's such a hump in the road to be got past before I can be a better me.
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Whoo-hoo! This was the hope you needed! Congrats. Here you go...it's your turn.
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Thanks Alicia. I have spent since Wednesday looking a bit shell shocked, it seems to have come up quick. I don't know what I was expecting but maybe more than a month's notice? Still it's less time to obsess and I won't be in hospital during the hottest months. I've processed now and I'm ready for action. :)
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Keep your head up Allie. All surgeons are different and require different things for me there wasn't a pre op liquid diet. Not all surgeins require it I've looked this up on different site because I thought for sure I had to do a pre op diet if everyone else had to, but to my surprise not everyone does. I hope this helps a little, I hope and pray you get your head on track with your heart. Good Luck!!!!
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Thank you!
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Hey Allie,

That sucks about the wheelchair and the scales. I know it's hard when you can't weigh yourself and know how you're doing. Just a question, with regards to food, who does the cooking in your house? If it's your husband, can he take control and just provide healthier food and/or smaller portions?

It's a hard process but you have to get your head in the game before surgery. You can do it! :-)
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Yes it's hubby. I think he feels sorry for me to be honest, and he gets me little treats. It's never been about the amount I eat, always what I eat. I could have a cheese scone and crisps for dinner, not a huge amount of food but far more calories than a proper meal and just fat and salt. I'm carb crazy. I keep saying I have to get back at it, and I have cut down, but it's so hard. I guess this is why I need the surgery huh? It's been over a year since this started and I just can't keep momentum up.
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Have you heard anything about a surgery date yet?
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I've updated mine, so now it's your turn! ;-)
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I'm on it :)
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You are still beautiful x
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Oh, thank you!
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OMG AllieGB- I just read what you wanted to write down. It made my heart squeeze. You are so honest and that's why everybody loves to follow your story and updates. I'm so excited that you made it to the waiting list and especially that you are not scared. :) Keep on keepin' girl!

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Thanks so much Alicia, I must update my review soon.
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Hey Allie! How's everything going?
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Good thank you, I've seen the surgeon so it's just a wait now, how are you?
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Good luck! I love you accountability statement. " today is the last day I will be this heavy, I'll never be this heavy again". Get it girl!!!
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Thank you!
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Good luck. . I'm scheduled 12/30... but I'm scared! I think I should try a personal trainer first .. Ugh
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Let us know how you do, a new you for a new year huh? Well done.
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Good luck on your journey...
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Thank you!
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