I've decided, I'm going with a sleeve! on January 25, 2007 12:59 pm
Jan 25, 2007.
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I met a third surgeon today, doctor Liagre. He didn't come across as super friendly at first, but we warmed up to one another. He's done loads of sleeves the last 3 years and he thinks it's the best WLS out there, so he's my man!
I asked him about my concerns about losing enough weight, he said if I can't make a big dent in my weight with the sleeve I probably can't do much better with the bypass, so I'd have to go to a DS. In other words, the sleeve is almost as good as the bypass as far as excess weight loss.
Then I asked which surgery he'd choose for himself if he were me and he said sleeve, no doubt about it. It's easier on the body, yields good results, great quality of life, etc. Another point for the sleeve.
I also asked about reflux. He said within one year of WLS 80% of his patients don't have any more reflux, for the other 20% there is Nexium. I asked if a bypass would be better as far as reflux, he said no, all his patients get Nexium (well actually a no-brand French equivalent) the first year after surgery, even the one who had a bypass. So that shouldn't be a big consideration.
Then he asked if I'd like to talk to one of his former patients and I said yes, maybe one who's had the surgery a while and had a lot to lose. He gave me a man's name and phone number (with permission) of someone who had his surgery Sept 05. I called him and we talked for a long time. He's 38yo and has lost 80kg (that's 170lbs?!) he says the sleeve is fantastic, no pain, great surgical care from the Liagre team, no complications, great quality of life, he doesn't get hungry, eats small portions of healthy foods, feels like a new man, no regain whatsoever. He doesn't like Coke any more. Gees, that may be a bit extreme, but he still likes some wine sometimes!
So now I have to do some blood tests, go see the endocrinologist again, meet the anesthesiologist, and submit my paperwork. We can't set a date until the approval has come through, but surgery should be March or early April. Out of pocket cost: €350. That's so incredibly affordable, I'm stunned! Everything else is covered by national health care, bless them!
Pre-op diet is kinda funny. Dr Liagre says that 3 times he's started surgery on someone who hadn't been put on a diet and when he goes to push the liver out of the way he gets a bleed. So he does something to fix the bleed (technical term that I didn't get), closes up, then puts the person on a strict diet for 3 weeks, and in that time the liver's much healthier. He compared it to foie gras (you know the goose liver French people eat as a Christmas delicacy?) So for 3 weeks pre-op he wants me to eat nothing but fruit, vegetables and yogourt. No restrictions on quantities, but those foods only. I think it'll be hard, but I'm going to do it. Will probably lose some weight just doing that.
Oh, I also asked about gall bladder. He said 15% of rapid weight loss patients need to have their gall-bladder out within the first year. He doesn't remove it because he doesn't want to complicate recovery, but it's a simple surgery if needed.
So I'm very encouraged tonight, I think I'm begining to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that's a great feeling!
A little about me on January 1, 2007 7:23 am
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Jan 1st, 2006
I've been fat most of my life and honestly I wasn’t too worried about it for the most part. I felt it was a flaw, but life was good anyway. But as my weight increased and as I got “older” things changed and I started to worry about my health. Currently my BMI is around 50 and steady. Over the last 5 years I tried phen-fen, Weight-Watchers,
Beach , Atkins, Phen-Pro, I've done diets under medical supervision, and some on my own. When I go on a diet I lose 20-40lbs, die of huger (excpet on Phen-Fen and to a lesser degree on Phen-Pro), then gradually get back up to 280-290. It’s like I’m stuck at that weight. I have the phen-pro pills in a drawer, but I don’t think I’d do myself any favors taking them so I won’t.
Normal life is exhausting, sleep is not restful, and I don't feel healthy. I used to think I was fat and fit, which I was for a while, but not any more. I can't keep up with a normal day of work and life and I make choices every day to do less and less. The trend is alarming and I want to reverse it.
So in June last year, for my 41 birthday, I got brave and told my husband I want to have weight loss surgery. Hubby isn’t thrilled, but he’ll go along and hope for the best. I don’t think I have a choice. I’ve dug myself into a very deep hole and I need help getting out.
I didn’t choose surgery lightly. I’ve been researching things for a year and I’m not likely to have surgery until March 2007, so plenty of time to think and consider my options. The VSG looks like a better solution to me than other WLS. I recognize that we don’t have long-term data on it, but I like what I’m seeing. Surgery risks are lower than with other WLS, results look about as good, and what wouldn’t I give for a chance to not be hungry all the time!
I wonder about two things still:
1. Will I lose enough weight with the VSG? The surgeon I’m considering (Dr Anduze in
Toulouse, ) doesn’t think the sleeve will be enough. He thinks my choices are bypass or full DS. But he’s willing to do a two stage DS, which means sleeve first then derivation a few months later. Just the thought of a DS makes me sick, so I really don’t want to go there. Call me crazy as lots of people do great with the DS, but that sounds like really risky long term as I see it.
2. Will my heartburn get worse with the VSG? Again the surgeon says the bypass gets rid of heartburn and the sleeve will make it worse, but if I lose weight won’t the heartburn go away eventually no matter what surgery?
I’m a hybrid French-American, I have both passports, family in both countries, and I love both equally. I live in currently, but I’ve lived most of my adult life in the . One of the perks of living in is national health care. WLS is going to be almost free, yet I get to choose my surgeon and my hospital. The process is a little slow, information isn’t as free-flowing as in a competitive for profit medical environment such as the has, but I’ve been impressed with the medical care we’ve received in . Doctors are sharp, compassionate, and very willing to take time to talk to their patients one-on-one.
So here are my thoughts for this first day of 2007. I want to do this because I love life and because I’ve been disappointed in how little I get done these days. I’m going to have to change my love affair with food, but most French people love food yet they’re skinny. Eat well but not a lot, that’s the VSG too I think.