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Surgery at 400 lbs +

cmbirkey
on 10/22/07 7:51 am - Springville, IN
I am scheduled to have surgery Monday; November 26.  I am having the RNY and I was hoping someone who is or has been my size might be able to answer some questions for me.  I am nervous, anxious, scared, and a little apprehensive.  I'm just trying to find out what I should be expecting.  I gave up caffeine in Feb, carbonated drinks in March, and have been on a carb free diet since mid-July.  I've lost 45 lbs as of 3 weeks ago.  I have sleep apnea, high blood pressure, and I am borderline diabetic (doctor has me on Byetta and Metphomin for weight lose).  I'm just wanting to know what to expect, etc. Thank you  :) Melissa

"When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance."

Amber M*
on 10/22/07 9:06 am - Northern, FL
Melissa,   I was 329 when I had surgery.  My best friend was just under 400 the day she had hers.  I went the day before her so she used me to get an idea of what to expect.  That doesnt work!  You can get a general idea from other peoples experience but each person has their own journey to make.   I personally jumped out of bed the same day as surgery and never got back into bed!  I didnt think the pain was bad at all... But my best friends experience was the opposite!  She spent a couple days in the hospital because of pain! There are several people on the board who can tell you their experience, share great tips, suggestions, and advise.  Gather all that this board has to offer.  Each person on the board has their own story and each story will give you hope, encouragement, and even some giggles!  This journey is hard enough at times to go through, but without support from people who have been through it its close to impossible.   Deb, Marge, Tanya, and Cindy (if the last 2 are still around) are the ones that pop into my head.  There were many when I started on this board but I think they too, like me have gotten busy and dont visit as often as they would like to..   Good luck!  Amber
Terri H.
on 10/22/07 9:53 am - Moore, SC
RNY on 02/06/07 with
Hey Melissa! Congrats on your surgery!  I will be praying for you!  I weight 425 pounds one month before my surgery.  I started on an optifast 800 liquid diet (per my surgeon's instructions), this helped me to cut out all the bad foods, and sugar.  It also helps to shrink your liver so the surgeon has an easier time of it.  Also, it gives you some excellent nutrition and protein reserves for before and right after surgery.  It is kinda a little of a wake up call to your body that some big changes are coming. I lost 25 pounds on this diet, and on surgery day I weighed 400 lbs.  I had my gall-blader taken out at the same time, as I had been having difficutly with it for some time.  The surgery went great, I had no complications from surgery whatsoever.  I had gas pain, but as long as I walked the halls, I found relief.  I did find it difficult to sleep, because the bariatric bed was torture!  The only problem I had was with the pain medication.  I had a bad reaction to Morphine, and it affected my breathing.  However, as soon as they switched me, I left the hospital in the morning of day three, and have never looked back.  I tried to get active, a little more each day.  Nothing major here, just more and more each day.  Make sure you do your breathing treatments in the hospital!  Very important, and even more important is keeping your little booties on that help prevent blood clots.  But the more you walk in the hospital, the better you will feel. Just trust your surgeon, follow what he says to do to the letter, and you will be off all of your meds in no time!  What a wonderful Thanksgiving present for you!    I hope I have helped.  E-mail me any time if you have more questions.  I am 8 months out and I have lost 130 pounds! Terri
margaret odom
on 10/22/07 10:17 am - sumner, GA
RNY on 01/27/06 with
HEY MELISSA,        CONGRATS ON YOUR UPCOMING SURGERY.. IT IS VERY NORMAL TO HAVE ALL THOSE EMOTIONS GOING ON IN THE HEAD FOR SURE. I WAS A HEAVY ONE FOR SURE. STARTED OUT AT 397 AND HAD SURGERY WEIGHING 386. I WAS VERY FORTUNATE IN THE WLS THING. I JUST HAD TERRIBLE NAUSEA AFTERWARDS THAT WAS LIKE THAT OFF AND ON FOR A MONTH OR SO.. SORTA LIKE BEING PREGNANT IN MY WORLD LOL.... SOME DAYS IT WASNT THAT BAD. BUT MY TASTE CHANGED ALOT. THINGS THAT I LIKED TO BEGIN WITH, WELL COULDNT STAND TO EVEN LOOK AT OR SMELL... BUT EVERYDAY GOT BETTER AND BETTER. I WAS SO HAPPY TO HAVE HAD IT LAP WISE... DIDNT WANT TO BE CUT ON FOR SURE. I BOUNCED BACK PRETTY WELL I HAVE TO SAY... MAIN THING IS TO GET UP AND MOVING AND SIP SIP SIP THAT LIQUIDS... IM GONNA BE TWO YEARS OUT IN JAN AND FEEL AMAZING... HAVENT LOOKED BACK ONCE AND WISHED ANY DIFFERENT. SOME HAVE ROUGH PATCHES BUT GET THRU THEM FOR SURE.. JUST REMEMBER WE ARE HERE FOR YA IN THE LONG HAUL.... AND NO TWO PEOPLE ARE THE SAME WHEN COMES TO WLS OR THE WEIGHTLOSS.... HUGS MARGE

Karma....What would life be without it?
       250lbs gone! 410/160... Life's sweet!

jdruski
on 10/22/07 10:36 am - Philadelphia, PA

Melissa:

I was 460 lbs. the day of surgery and I was 51 years old.  Was scheduled for the lap RNY but it was changed at the last minute to open.  I am 16 months post op and doing great.  You will be surprised at how good you will feel and how your life will take on a whole new meaning after the surgery.  Keep us posted on your progress.

 

 

Jeanne

(deactivated member)
on 10/22/07 11:15 am - San Antonio, TX

Hi Melissa,

I started at 445 and was 402 on the morning of surgery.  I had lap RNY (with apnea and high blood pressure).  I woke up from surgery in quite a bit of pain because they didn't start giving me pain control until I was almost fully awake, due to the apnea.  Pain meds can depress breathing further, so they wanted to make sure I was pretty much aware before really dosing up the narcotics.  Once my pain was managed, I walked about every two hours and it wasn't too bad.  The worst part was not being able to have any water because I was very thirsty.  Its also pretty tough to deal with going to the bathroom, so expect to ask the nurses for help wiping or whatever - its hard to maneuver with your belly so sore.  I also had a central line instead of an IV, and that was wonderful because they didn't have to poke me every morning for blood.  If you are offered a central line, take it!!  I had a lot of energy and felt pretty good right after surgery, but then I had some complications, and two weeks later was back in surgery.  The second recovery was much much harder but I am finally (2 months later) really feeling energetic. Like Marge, I had a lot of nausea and sensitivity to smells.  I felt like I was pregnant.  My tastes in food and the smells I enjoy have changed quite a bit.  One of the perfumes I really used to love now smells sickening to me.  Some people are hungry right away - I wasn't.  I really struggled to eat and drink enough at first.  I had to force it sometimes and I wasn't getting enough protein until at about 6 weeks out.  I just did the best I could.   I am off blood pressure medications (I was taken off them in the hospital and never went back on).  My blood pressure is still slightly high (146/90) but it was 170/110 before so that's one heck of an improvement already!  Also, I am sleeping a lot better.  I've never been able to use my cpap mask all night, but now when I don't use it I am still sleeping better and my husband says my snoring has improved significantly.  The health benefits start right away.   Best of luck to you, if you have any questions specifically please feel free to message me.   Jenn

cmbirkey
on 10/22/07 12:48 pm - Springville, IN
what happened that you needed to have surgery again

"When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance."

(deactivated member)
on 10/22/07 6:08 pm - San Antonio, TX
I had very severe scarring internally (adhesions) that caused me to have a small bowel blockage.  My intestine was twisted and the scar tissue was holding it against my body wall.  The blockage caused me to get very very sick and dry heave constantly.  The very powerful dry heaving caused me to have two internal hernias.  I had exploratory surgery to see what was wrong and he cut all the scar tissue bands (lysis of adhesions) to free my intestine, and then he repaired the two hernias.  It was a very unusual complication to have that much scarring only two weeks out.  Everyone makes some adhesions after any kind of abdominal surgery, but I am the superwoman of scarring.  You don't need to worry about that kind of complication - although bowel blockage and hernias can happen to anyone.  They are rare complications though. 
Beam me up Scottie
on 10/22/07 4:13 pm - somewhere
DS on 02/17/06 with
I was 492 at my first consultationa nd 472 the day of surgery......your surgeon is an experienced surgeon we have several DSers on our forum (the DS forum) that have used her for a DS. It's now 20 months later and I've been at goal for over a month.  I'm 197 lbs.  I think recovery was a bit more difficult because of my size, but I worked out before surgery and took vitamins..and recovered almost as quickly as anyone else. Scott

scottie.gif picture by x828 Read my blog for more info

kindredspirit fl
on 10/23/07 7:34 pm - islander, FL
hi there i too was concerned because i am so close to 400 i could touch it.i am in the process of getting referals to get the duodenal switch.it is a very big surgery and i have to admit i am scared to death(bad choice of words.)i get encouragement from lurking and reading the posts like yours and the pros come out and give us the good word.i will be watching for your post to see your progress.
Anne S.
on 10/27/07 4:59 pm
Hi Melissa, I had my surgery at 440 pounds. Dr. Smith in Marietta, Georgia.  I wanted it done laparoscopically, and from someone who'd take Medicare (at that time he did, now I hear he doesn't).  No other surgeon in the United States would take me and do the Duodenal Switch all in one operation (don't know if you've heard much about the Duodenal Switch, but some surgeons prefer to do the sleeve gastectomy first, have the patient lose weight, then go under the knife again for the intestinal portion of the DS). I also had sleep apnea (extraordinarily severe, and barely treatable on the bipap machine), high blood pressure, and was borderline diabetic, but not on any prescriptions for it.  Congratulations on having lost so much weight pre-surgery. That's a helluva hard task, if you ask me. Then again, I was at the very end of my dieting rope and then some. My metabolism was so broken that I'd diet for two weeks, see very little change, and the weight would come back something fierce.  What to expect? Well, regardless of what type of surgery you have, I'd expect to be in the hospital for at least a few days. I was in for a total of 5 days. While in the hospital, what I found the most valuable was - of all things - my sister. When the nurses weren't able to help me, she was there by my side. I wouldn't have made it without her. Sometimes the hospital staff was so busy with other patients that I'd wait in my room for an hour for a response from any of them. That's with pushing the button a gazillion times for help. The times I needed most attention was when I was worried about my PICC-line site (my arm swelled up like a balloon, and when the nurse finally came to see what was going on, she was taken aback, called the surgeon right away, and I was taken to get an ultrasound to look for blood clots immediately); when I sat on the toilet, and couldn't wipe for myself because I couldn't twist or turn cuz of my abdomen (my sister came in before the nursing staff did!! they were just going to let me sit in my own waste!!??!!); when I started to feel pain.  Hope I didn't overwhelm you with my hospital experience.  The surgeon was impeccable. The hospital experience sucked bigtime.  I hope you have an excellent surgery, and smooth sailing in recovery.  -anne s.

Learning about the DS? An excellent resource is www.dsfacts.com
For scientific studies about the DS and more, "friend" me, and then click on my profile. Best of luck on your journey.

cmbirkey
on 11/5/07 8:23 am - Springville, IN
I am so sorry your hospital stay was so horrible.  I have heard nothing but good things about Clarian North in Indianapolis; but I do know things can go wrong and people are people so I am not expecting perfection.  :) Thank you for sharing your story with me.  I'm looking at the calendar and see that my procedure is 3 weeks from today.  I go this Wednesday for my pre-op testing.  I have to be there at 7:30am and it's about a 2 hour drive, but going to be well worth it.  I am excited and nervous (though I'm not admitting it to many people).   I am keeping up a strong front for my mom and husband.  they are the two that I am most worried about.  I know that God will take care of me.  I have done a great deal of soul searching and found a wonderful family here on OH!  I cannot wait until I am up and able to respond to everyone.  I'm just trying to get things situated at home.  I know how I want to have things prepared for when I come home.  I don't want my husband to have to worry about all that needs to be done, so I'm trying to make sure I get things situated a couple of weeks ahead of time. We purchased a lift and recline chair in the event I would have trouble getting into bed.  Our bed sits a little high up and I'm short so it's a little difficult to get into bed now, so I imagine I will be sleeping in the recliner for a little bit.  It's fine, that is what it was bought for.  I want to get it in place so I can sort of break it in for sleeping.   Thank you again and keep in touch.  :)

"When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance."

Anne S.
on 11/5/07 11:54 am
Hi again, I was wondering if Inman had offered you the option to have the Duodenal Switch? Have you heard of it? Just wondering. I did lots of research on what surgery works best for us heavyweights, and the statistics looked really good regarding the DS (as compared to the RNY over the long-term). There are a few studies in my profile if you're interested and I've heard Inman is an excellent DS surgeon, too.  Best of luck, anne s.

Learning about the DS? An excellent resource is www.dsfacts.com
For scientific studies about the DS and more, "friend" me, and then click on my profile. Best of luck on your journey.

cmbirkey
on 11/5/07 12:05 pm - Springville, IN

Hi Anne Yes we discussed each of the options and I chose the RNY after reading several books and going through a great deal of research.  I haven't had children yet and I found a study that talked about the malabsorbsion and how it could affect growth of baby, etc.  I would hate to do that, so I went with the RNY.  thank you for all of your help and information though.  :)

"When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance."

Anne S.
on 11/5/07 1:01 pm

I hope I didn't offend, that wasn't my intent. I haven't had children yet either; I wonder if you could point me in the direction of that research regarding malabsorption and the effect on the baby. That would have been a study I should have seen prior to my DS surgery.

Thanks, Melissa. Wishing you well.

 

-anne

cmbirkey
on 11/5/07 1:09 pm - Springville, IN
You didn't offend me at all.  I hope I didn't come across as offended.  I got the book from a friend of mine that had surgery back in March.  She has recently moved to Nebraska, but I talk to her occasionally.  I will see if I cannot find out the information for you.  The name of the book, etc.  Unfortunately I don't have it anymore because she wanted it back prior to her surgery because it also had some good recipes and suggestions in it.  We'll keep in touch and I'll get the info to you just as soon as I can.  :)

"When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance."