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Daniel M. Herron M.D.
Although surgery scheduled for 3/27/01 - original consultation to be on 3/1. Haven't met but did send email to which he replied the next day! While office staff didn't originally return my call, once I got to speak with Yvette, she was terrific and helped with scheduling and understanding pre-op tests/consultations.
3/22 - Surgery date was changed to one day sooner - great! Met Dr. Herron and I liked him very much, along with PA Diana. I had so many questions written, but I asked only the ones I could think of quickly. The rest I sent to him via email and, I love this part - he responded to every one 24 hrs later! For an I.T. person, this is just wonderful.
4/4 - The surgery went well and Dr. Herron was able to do lap RNY even tho I was almost at the top limit of his being able to. He visited each day in the hosptial, and always with a smile for me. Both surgical competence and bedside manner are wonderful. I am so far very pleased with this choice. My only criticism would be in the delay in getting letter written and sent with other tests/letters to the insurance company. But I do realize that the timeline was very tight and consider myself fortunate to have had everything fall into place. I took it as a sign that this was meant to be.
Latest Surgery Support Comments
When I was in the 9th grade, the doctor told my mother I was 10 lbs overweight. Didn't seem like a terrible amout, but I decided to walk home from school every day (3 miles) instead of taking the bus. Didn't make a dent. That was the start of my dieting career.
By my junior year, I was 160 lbs. Active, playing sports, having a steady boyfriend, made me a pretty normal teenager, but clearly "overweight". I can recall another girl insinuating I must be pretty loose in order to keep my handsome boyfriend.
After graduation, I went to work full time, and just continued to gain and gain, even though what I ate was not very different from most people. In my early 20's, I tried diet pills, hypnosis, Weight Watchers and probably a few other that have long been forgotten in their failure. Big time yo-you stuff. You get the picture. Same thing into the 30's and now the 40's.
Somewhere along the line, I met Mal. We are very different, and it's hard to write about, because approaching this surgery, there are very mixed emotions. We've been together for 20 years, the last 5 married. Let's just say that while there is love, the next 5 years will bring major changes. Don't know what they will be, but am sure the times they are a changin'. And if I am successful with WLS, I also know I'll be OK.
I used to ride and have horses. This is my goal - to one day ride again. It is as close to flying as I can ever imagine, and riding through fields and woods, as close to nature as one could ever feel.
3/4/01 - It's Sunday night, and there is a huge snow storm brewing. What better time to update profile? It seems like there is just so much to say, it's hard to know where to start. Oh well, here goes: In February, saw Dr. Arturso in Valhalla and Dr. Homan in White Plains. Had long, in-depth conversation with both and felt very good about them both. Since they both brought different things to the table, it was interesting to ear their viewpoints. Dr. Arturso was willing to try lap RNY, but I'm a the top limit and he felt that open was a little safer. However, I had some reservations about the hospital facilities. Dr. Homan did only open RNY and VBG, which is fine, and his hospital was desirable. However, his experience was limited and my sister, the former nurse, purely insisted I wait and find the very best surgeon. I could not ignore her strong advise.
I knew Dr. Gagner was absolutely one of the best and about 90 minutes away. Made an appt for 3/7. Called office at one point, and asked when surgery could be scheduled. Next appt was 7/3! Now, I have to stop at this point, and say I'm pretty much in a big rush. I simply do not want to waste one more second of my life. I have done so much research at this point, and I'm so sure it's right for me.
I asked Yvette if any of his associates had an earlier date available. Dr. Herron had a slot on 3/27! Perfect. She said fine and penciled me in. Then she transferred me to the person who books the consults. Can you guess that there was nothing available until April something or other. I said, well, that will be difficult, because I've got the surgery on 3/27. She said she would transfer me back to Yvette. Yvette is my hero. Yvette said wait a minute, after I told her about no openings for a consult. Yvette came back a few moments later and said, how's 3/1 at 9 am. Yvette faxed me a list of supporting tests/appts required. I just love Yvette....
Once I had this list, I really had to get going! This was around 2/20, and I had a surgery date of 3/27! Immediately, I contacted one of my doctors, who is a gastro-enterologist to do the endoscopy, but it wasn't looking like there was any availability until the end of March. Decided to look up another in my PPO provider book, and found one that had the first name of my husband, and the last name of a veterinarian who saved my dog's life. Good enough. The person at his office was very responsive. She booked it as an emergency procedure when I told her surgery was scheduled for 3/27. Got a date of 3/5 for pre-procedure dr. appt and 3/7 for the endoscopy.
Contacted recommended nutritionist. Was able to get an appt for 7/8 in NYC at 3 pm and appt with recommended pschologist at 5 pm. Same building I believe. Got copy of results from sleep study done in '94 and followup in '97. Wrote to 2 doctors that I've seen over the years with a request for a supporting letters. (Have received one back so far) And got a letter from my counselor at Jenny Craig, satisfying an insurance request.
In the meantime, I spend nights and weekends researching WLS. It has absorbed my life, but right now, that's just the way it has to be.
3/7/01 - Had endoscopy today. Not terrible, worse part was not eating all day, and the stuff the spray on the back of your throat. Made me gag a bit. But it took less than 10 minutes, and that helps make it easier to endure. Dr. says everything looked ok, and will have report tomorrow! Yesterday had annual physical (all ok) but blood sugar will probably be high. Tommorrow is pysch eval and nutritionist. Things are coming along.
3/8/01 - Dietician's office called to postpone, as she was out sick. I overreacted with a little frustration and anger for I'd made appt for psych consult same day. They were both 1 1/2 hrs away, so I was faced with traveling to the city and getting only one done. Two things saved the situation: 1) she was willing to do a phone consult next Tuesday and 2) I'd originally made an appt with a nutritionist near work which I hadn't cancelled - just in case - also for next Tuesday.
Anyway, got the psych consult done. He's supposed to send report ok'ing WLS to my surgeon tommorrow. That's the last piece required for insurance, so I'll start calling them Monday to submit for pre-approval.
One more piece today - received letter from my primary doctor giving support for surgery!
3/22/01 - I'M APPROVED! I was so happy at work today, I was close to tears. I just kept calling the doctor's office, the insurance company, anybody who could help. PLUS, I "met" Sharon on this website who works at One Health and is also going for the surgery. We began an email corrspondence, and she gave me great advice. This was amazing to me - to find people thru the internet, who are so wonderfully helpful great people! Now I have one more day of work, the weekend, and then - the big day!
4/6/01 - Today is 11 days past and I feel pretty darn good. I suppose I should recap my hospital experience while it's still fresh in my mind. For starters, I got a pretty good view of the operating room before being put under. Where they usually prep you in another area, there was no room so I followed the anethetist on foot into surgery. It was freezing! 62 degrees to be exact because I saw the thermometer on the wall. Even though they put on a warming blanket, my extremeties were exposed, causing me to tremble. I was introduced to all the doctors and nurses who were each very busy doing their part of the prep. I don't think anyone looked like they were over 25! They put the stockings on my legs while the anesthetist sought a good large vein. Has to be a bigger one than normally accessed for blood, so it ended up in my hand. No problem - it didn't hurt much at all. We discussed intubating me before being put under, which is less safe but easier on me. I'd had surgery twice before, both intubations being done after it was lights out, but I was lighter then. He agreed to numb up my throat with a local spray and look at my airwaves. If it looked like smooth going, he said he'd wait til I was under. Dr. Herron came in then, and until waking in recovery, that's all I remember. Never remembered the anesthetist looking at my throat, though we laughed about it a few days later. My airways were clear, and he was able to wait, but I can't recall his even checking.
Once in recovery, I don't remember being in pain or not - just looking at the clock and my husband telling me they were able to do lap. Apparently, he could only stay for 15 minutes, so after a long day he left for home, knowing I was supposed to be in recovery until morning. This was due to my sleep apnea, and recovery is a good place to be because you know they will be constantly monitoring you. One thing, I kept asking them for a CPAP machine every step of the way. I've used it for years and felt more comfortable knowing I'd breathe easier.
Sometime in the night, they decided to move me to my room. Oh, boy was I in pain during that event. I think I kept pushing the button on the morphine pump every 6 seconds. I was moaning but was too drugged up to open my eyes. Recall hearing a woman's voice telling me they were giving me an injection for pain on top of the morphine. La la land again.
At two a.m. I woke up and seemed wide awake and was absolutely pain free! Turned on the TV to the station that was a clock, then drifted in and out of sleep until the intern woke me at 5:30 am to take vital signs.
Day 2 was pretty uneventful. Got ice chips that hit the spot, walked alot, sat in the chair, lots of people taking my temp...I had a 100.4 degree temp, which freaked me out. Thought I had a leak for sure, but it just went up and down between 99 and 100 for the 3 days I was there, which they said was pretty common and not to worry. I was hitting the morphine pump, but at greater intervals. Remember I was so out of it that I would fall asleep while doing breathing exercises on the incentive spirometer! My poor husband was bored to tears because conversation was interrupted by dozing off mid sentence.
Day 3 I became more independent. They took out the IV, which was ok by me. I'd pretty much stoped taking the morphine anyway, because it was making me nauseaus (or was it the Gatorade I swore made me dump) The pain wasn't that bad anyway and I preferred it to the nausea. Now I could walk without having to get the pole's power cord unplugged first. However, my thighs were sore from getting up so much on day 2. You tend to use your legs to protect your abdomen muscles that are sore from the surgery. Plus, I had walked a very lot the day before. Also got my first taste of pureed hospital chicken. Not a good recollection.
Day 4 was all about going home. Had to wait til the afternoon when Mal could pick me up. During the wait, I was able to take a shower for the first time and wash my hair. Days 2 and 3 were sponge baths and definitely not the same. Dressed in a loose fitting jumper. The ride home thru the New York City streets were bumpy, but I'd brought my pillow and now it helped as a brace. I'd taken a crushed percocet for the ride - guess it helped too.
Now, I'm home and on pureed stuff for 3-4 weeks. I'm never hungry and have tolerated everything just fine. No nausea or vomiting since I stopped morphine. Been walking on the treadmill, ever increasing pace, distance and time. So now I'm dying to know - have I lost anything?
While I was walking the ward in the hospital, my husband spotted a scale and insisted I just take a peek. By this point it had been 3 days since I'd virtually eaten nothing or very, very little. Do you know it showed I'd gained 5 lbs! I knew it was from the IV fluids, but was disconcerting nonetheless. He felt so bad about making me check it out, that he said, "wait, maybe it's not accurate. I'll test it" Oh it was accurate, all right.... So yesterday, 10 days post op, he brought me to Jenny Craig. As a lifelong member, I figured there wouldn't be any problem using their scale. Heck, I'd been buying their food for the past 2 years and become friends with my counselor. And wonder of wonders - I was 15 lbs down! That's a heck of a lot more than I'd ever lost in 10 days of Jenny Craig.
4/28/01 - Got weighed at JC. Down to 319! total lost 30 lbs in just over a month. I asked her to review my records and see if I'd ever gotten down to this weight in the 2 years I've been going. Nope. So I haven't been this low in over 2 years. Feel fine. Not great, but every day it seems like there is some little change in ease of movement. Continue to do treadmill and can now do a mile in 30 minutes. Trying to do arm circles to hopefully eliminate eventual bat wings.
This was first week back at work and Monday I came home and crashed asleep in recliner by 6:30. Did manage to get thru full day every day. Feels good to use my brain again.
Husband made homemade turkey chilli last night with onions, carrots, mushrooms and a little jalepena. Was outstanding! Ate about 3 oz. and plan to freeze for lunches. Will be perfect to eat at work.
5/5/00. Today is 40th day post op. Total lost = 36 lbs. Went to Dr. Herron's office last Thursday for first followup. Gave me a prescription for Actigall (to reduce risk of gall bladder problems caused by rapid weight loss) Must take 2 times daily for a year. Other prescription is Chromofen Forte, which is an iron pill to also be taken 2 times daily. The scars looked fine, we scheduled next appt, and all was well. I had compiled a list of questions for him, which we went over to my satisfaction. I feel like I wear a perpetual smile. Hope this honeymoon period lasts, and lasts....
Oh, I actually vomited 1/2 scrambled egg Friday. Clearly ate too fast, as I begin to have less anxiety about my pouch. Have had eggs often, and scramble in microwave so doubt much fat beyond the egg's own, though i did put a little Velveeta in - very little. While it wasn't a pleasant experience, it was sort of like a rite of passage -- and a good lesson. I can now truly believe I've had this surgery and am like other RNY people. Further, it served as a warning that if like others, then will probably dump on sugar/excess fat. It's important to me to know that my innards will punish me if I don't behave. Never push the line, and there's no going back.
5/27/01 As of yesterday, I've now lost 46.5 lbs. I'm being obscessive about the numbers, and continue to creep towards breaking out of the 300's. Just love how I eat now! Have tolerated everything so well and it tastes so good when you chew forever. Still have problems with getting in all the water and supps, especially when normal routine changes. Last night I went to Mohegan Sun Casino with old friends AND had a slice of the best ever tasting mushroom and pepperoni pizza. What a rare treat!
6/8/01 Finally got to 50 lbs. 52 to be exact and left the 300's never to return! Such a great feeling. Bought digital scale at Jenny Craig. It's highest amount is 300, so I was waiting to be able to use it. Now I don't feel I have to go there or to a doctor to get an official weigh in. I called my best friend Sandy to tell her we were halfway to Vegas, which is my reward for when I get to 100 lbs lost. My reward for 200 lbs will be a trip to Austrailia - my dream vacation destination. It's so nice to have dreams.... The other person I told was my mother and for some stupid reason (guess i just couldn't contain myself) told her I crossed into a new 100's. She said, oh, you're in the 100's? I told her no, the 200's. She didn't say anything, but I could sorta see the look of shock on her face. I know she has no conception of what being overweight is even like. At age 70, and about 125 lbs, she is the most fit woman you can ever imagine. A typical day, she was doing yard work (I mean heavy duty stuff) all day. I am glad to know she will live til practically forever barring a terrible disease or accident. I always figured she'd outlive me, that's for sure. I think my husband is pleased and believes now that this weight loss will really happen. It's a real red letter day!
3/25/02 Tonight is one year from surgery. Loss of 159 lbs amazes me daily, and progression to this point has been my constant focal point. It has been an excellent year.... However, since early February, I've experienced severe abdominal pain that caused me to venture 50 mile trip to Mt. Sinai at midnight. After cat scan (to rule out diverticulitis), ultra sound (to rule out gall stones) and upper GI with barrium, Dr. Herron will be doing laparoscopy tommorrow afternoon. The possibility of scar tissue/adhesions is most likely, but until he goes in, there is no other diagnostic that can say for certain. Generally, I have been on Stage 1 and 2 (puree) diet for about 3 weeks now. 99% of the time, I'm just fine and have increased my time on the treadmill. Except for the ER visit and subsequent admission, I have been able to function perfectly at work. The pain happens when I eat solids, and then it's only at night. So strange. But no regrets. I've suffered no other complications, and scar tissue results from any surgery. I'm fortunate that it's a constriction of the intestinal area, and not an obstruction. With luck, this surgery will be quick and not require open due to lack of field of vision. I feel I'm in exceptional hands with Dr. Herron. Also in a lot better shape for surgery than a year ago. Sleep apnea and diabetes are just a memory. All movement is easier, swifter. I never dreamed it could be like this!
3/26/03 Incredibly, today is my 2 yr. anniversary since gastric bypass! First, the stats: Total weight loss at max was 201 lbs! I have since gained back only a few pounds by weighing each day. All the food demons are still with me, tempting me when I know I shouldn't or I'll dump. In spite of that, I still can't resist the sugar. So I dump in varying degrees that are in direct proportion to how badly I behave. But by monitoring my weight every day, I am able to use the surgery tool to cut back when it gets to a high of 154. That's 5 lbs from my all time low of 149, and I'm comfortable with the fluctuation and don't stress. I imagine this is what normal people do.
Reading my last post from a year ago, I figured I'd better get current. I ended up having surgery EXACTLY on my one year anniversary because of the complications described. Unfortunately, it couldn't be done laproscopically. There were 3 problems: diverticulosis (so he removed 5 in. of intestine), adhesions causing bowel obstruction, and an internal hernia (not the kind that would have helped get a TT!) I think the surgery took 4 hours and 2 weeks disability. Recovered very well, and I specifically recall the moment I was transferred from guerney to bed. When I had the bypass, it was the single most painful moment. When I had the 2nd surgery a year and 159 lbs lighter, I literally hoisted myself easily and quickly, even though this time it wasn't lap. Used to brag about my teeny lap scars. Now I have a long one straight down the middle. Fortunately, it is very thin.
The last part of this update will be about the monumental changes in my emotional life. Work - I get more respect. Marriage - filed for divorce last September. Lots of reasons, but only the changes brought about by the WLS could have given me the courage. Social Life - experimenting with dating and seeking new relationships. Sounds strange, but I really love singing at karaoke. Not really into bar scene, but I have one little place I love and know the owner for years and years. There's also a dance floor, and I've not had a shortage of male partners. Men approach me often (really scary to a former fat person) and dreams of an exciting social life seem possible. One particular evening was spent juggling three! (i.e. giving them the attention they love and demand) I've told them all about my former self, but love that they don't know or remember me that way. Physically - started rowing. Great calorie burner! Bummer to work out at 5:30 am. Couldn't do it this winter. Currently ready to start plastic surgery. Unsettled finances due to divorce proceedings causing delays, but I had 2 consults. Stopped smoking in January in prep for plastics. Able to stand on tiptoes. Run up staircases! And I'm not even breathing hard!
Here's the best way I can describe what it's like to lose 200 lbs in under 2 years: It's like a combination between coming out of a coma after 30 years and switching bodies with someone else. It's still your head & personality, but you wan't to take the body out for a drive and see what it can do!