Approaching 70 Yrs Old and Tired of the 40+ Year Battle with my Weight! - Birmingham, AL

Had a consult in mid-September with a weight loss...

Had a consult in mid-September with a weight loss surgery center, but was unhappy with the negative attitude of the doctor, as well as the lack of information regarding insurance coverage from the staff, so I let them know I wouldn't be back. Discovered a major university hospital nearby has a bariatric surgery department, and have had nothing but a positive experience with the staff and the surgeon. My first appointment with them was on October 17. I was scheduled for fasting blood work and then an appointment with the surgeon. The meeting with the surgeon was what I originally expected. He is very personable, took the time to answer all my, and my wife's questions, explained in detail the process, including his timeline for recovery, and made us feel very comfortable. On October 19th, I received a message from him that my labs were A-OK; and yesterday, I received a call from his office that they've scheduled my barium swallow and cardiac clearance for mid-November. I am very busy the last three months of the year, and asked that we not look at surgery until after the first of the year, so we're proceeding on a relaxed time schedule. The only requirements I'll have to complete after the November appointments (both on the same day), will be to meet with the nutritionist and attend make an initial meeting with their clinic support group. After fighting the see saw battle with weight for the past 40 years, I have a very positive attitude toward having the surgery and hopefully watching the hypertension, diabetes, not being able to climb stairs, aching knees, not being able to get down on my knees, or get up off of them; and most importantly, not being able to have the mobility and energy to keep up with my wife and my two grandchildren. I have no estimate of the cost, as it's all covered by Medicare and my supplement. I am 69, 6' 2" and weighed in at 326. "Before" photos will be uploaded soon.

and the walk to better health continues

I've now got a couple of dates circled on the calendar - November 21 I'll have the Barium Swallow test done at 8 AM, and the cardiac clearance at 10 AM. On December 5 I'll attend the first of several required support group meetings.

All pre-op requirements almost done...

Had the barium swallow on November 21st, and all is well. The cardiac clearance turned out to be a meeting with the cardiologist, where we discussed my previous labs and history. He also scheduled me for a treadmill stress test on December 13th, which will complete all pre-op requirements. It will be just a matter of setting up the date in January for surgery....

Pre-op is done!!!

On December 13th, I completed the treadmill stress test! Yay!!! Was glad to get that done - the option was an injection that does to your heart what you do on the treadmill, but it comes with side affects that aren't all that pleasant (so they said). I had to return today (12/22) for "Day 2" which was the cardiac imaging "at rest". It didn't take very long, and I received a call later in the day from the cardiologist that I'm fully cleared for surgery now. Next step? Schedule the surgery, meet with the nutritionist, and begin the prep diet. Both my wife and I gave up bread, etc., a year ago, so that's not on my diet, and I have been essentially salt free for years. Depending on the surgeon's schedule, I'm thinking of having the surgery on my birthday - what a great way to mark turning 70!!

It's on!!!!

Just received my pre-surgery schedule......everything is a go!! Initial appointment with the nutritionist on 1/9, follow-up on 1/23. Pre-op to sign papers for surgery, weigh in, current medical history on 2/2 in the AM. Pre-admit testing to determine which of my meds I can or can't take the day of surgery on 2/2 in the PM. Start 2 week diet on 2/8: 4-5 shakes a day and meal in the evening. On 2/21, day before surgery, shakes only. Surgery scheduled for 2/22!!! Post-op follow-up visit on 3/2 .........

Another step forward....

Both sessions with the dietitian have been completed. Have the pre-op and post-op diet plans in hand. Post-op session was this past Monday (1/23), and was very informative. Their post-op diet is in 4 phases: Phase 1: clear liquid (day following surgery); Phase 2: 2-14 days post-op; Phase 3: 15 days-3 months post-op; and Phase 4: 3 months to life post-op. We're going on a cruise during Phase 3, and are planning now for my meals, etc., as we've obtained the ship's menu's and looking at what I'll be able to carry with me. Exciting times!!

Halfway through the pre-op diet......

I'm halfway through the pre-op diet and on track! By our digital bathroom scale I've lost about 10 lbs. Nothing was specifically said about "how much" I needed to lose, only that the diet was about thinning out my liver in order to make the surgery and recovery easier. I've increased my liquid intake significantly over what I previously drank, which is a very positive step; and have not cheated on my meals, ensuring I was within the limits established for the diet. I've got one more week on the pre-op, then a day of all shakes before surgery on the 22nd. I've been advised by my pharmacist that all but one of my meds is chewable, so that's a relief.

If you're reading this, are over 65 and on Medicare, and considering a VSG - go for it!

The last day before the first day of the rest of my life!!

Last day on the pre-op diet, and I have lost 20 lbs! Start weight was 328. This afternoon, I weighed 308. That translates into an easier and safer time for the Dr., and an easier recovery for me!! Have had three of my 5 shakes for the day - no food at all today! Nothing but water after 10:00 PM, and nothing at all after 5:00 AM in the morning except a swallow of water to take the two prescriptions the anesthesiologist said to take. I have to be at the hospital at 9:00 AM, but have no idea when they'll actually take me back to the OR. It's about a two hour operation according to what his assistant said when she called this morning...I'm excited! Let's just do this!!!
Birmingham Bariatric Surgeon

Initial visit was very positive. Dr. Stahl is very personable, and took all the time needed to answer any and all questions and concerns. He explained the procedure very clearly, and I felt very comfortable moving forward under his care.

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