- HEALTH TRACKER
Before & After
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Rex A. Sherer M.D.
When I first met Dr. Sherer I felt at ease right away. I and my wife both felt he is a caring man and does not think he is god or has the power of life like some docs who are full of themselves. I think he is a down to earth person. All of the people in the office were very nice and pleasant. He went over the surgery with a video and after a brief physical exam he asked and answered a lot of questions. The dr. laid out all of the risks of this surgery including death as a possibility.
Latest Surgery Support Comments
I started out my weight loss journey a long time ago. I have been overweight all of my life. I have lost as much as 165 pounds at one time but gained it back and then some. In the last few years it has really become a burden to me physically, to the point that I had problems standing for more then just a few minutes and I could not walk very far at all. It also was a problem for me whenever I went out in public too, such as having to make sure that anyplace I went had chairs without arms to accommodate my size. This is very embarrassing. I had also got to where I didn’t like to go out in public because of the stares and comments from people and kids. It really made me mad when teenagers said things, I really had to hold back several times. My health had got to the point where I was a diabetic (diagnosed in 1992 as a type II) I have hypothyroidism, mild high blood pressure, Asthma, arthritis, self diagnosed sleep apnea (I just couldn’t do the sleep study) and major aches and pains from years of joint stress from carrying all of this excess weight. I decided that I had to do something about my weight but was not sure what. I had tried different diets over the years but any weight I lost always came back with extra weight added to it. I had even tried the "FEN-FEN" diet for a short period. Luckily I did not have any of the side effects from this that some people have. I had 2 choices at the point I was at. They were either have the surgery and start over with a new chance in life, or don’t have the surgery and become very, very bad off and probably bed ridden as a friend of mine is, and then die a slow miserable death. This would be a real burden on my wife which is one of the main reasons I did make this decision. I didn’t want her to have to go to work and take care of the people who can’t take care of themselves anymore and then come home and have to take care of me too. I just couldn’t do that to her.
A real close friend of mine who is really like my son is also overweight and so is his brother. He told me that they had been doing a lot of research on the internet on gastric bypass surgery and decided that was what they wanted to do. They found out about Cahaba Valley Surgical Group and decided to talk to Dr. Stahl about having the surgery. After his appoint he told me the doctor said that both he and his brother were good candidates for this surgery and his next step was approval by his insurance. They got their approval and a surgery date for Oct. 2004. After seeing how well they did with their surgeries (they both had the laparoscopy & had them 1 week apart) I started thinking that maybe this would be a good thing for me to look into and after thinking long and hard about I talked it over with my wife and decided to make an appointment to see Dr. Rex Sherer of Cahaba Valley Surgical Group and talk with him about having the surgery.
My wife also was going to see him at the same time for a consultation but BC/BS had just made changes in their policies so that she was unable to have her appointment. She has since gotten more bad information about her insurance. She got a notice the other day that she is now responsible for half of the cost of the surgery herself. So she is really upset about all of this. Hopefully she can get the surgery in the near future.
So anyway on to my own story. After my first appointment I got my surgery date after a short wait. I did my pre-op stuff on December 30th, 2004. My surgery was done on Friday, Jan. 7th, 2005 at the Shelby Hospital in Alabaster, Alabama. My surgery lasted for around 5 hours and the doctor did the full open as he had told me he would have to because of my size. The doctor had to take out my gall bladder which had 7 gall stones. I had no idea I even had any gall bladder problems. My surgery went well except my oxygen levels got really low, so they decided to put me into intensive care so they could keep an eye on them. ( I had told the doctor that I probably had sleep apnea but had not done the sleep study) I had a Morphine pump for pain and I used it a lot. I spent 3 days in intensive care and they finally put me in a regular room after taking my Morphine pump away on Sunday evening. That was OK because that stuff made me itch really badly all over.
(Side note: The Nurses up in the intensive care were all great. They didn't want to let my wife stay with me at first. I told them that my wife and I have not spent a single night apart in over 15 years and we damn sure were not starting now. I also told them that she works in a nursing home and would be a really big help with me for them. They said that she could stay but that we had to do it quietly, if the other families found out the nurses would get into trouble.)
I had one nurse that said my wife could only come in to visit during the regular visiting time and that was it. Well this little gal who was maybe 125 pounds was no match for me at all. I told her we did it my way or I was not doing anything for her. She said that I was and that I had to walk for her before she would even let my wife come in. Well there was no way in hell this little thing could help me walk with me out weighting her by at least 400 pounds. I would have crushed her like a grape. When she came in to get me up to walk I told her not only NO but HELL NO. She was surprised. I reminded her what I had said, and told her to go get my wife. Well she finally gave in and got my wife and afterwards she saw that I was right and my wife did most of her work for her.) I had to have a leak test before I could drink anything at all. I was anxious to have this done because was dieing of thirst after almost 3 days with nothing to drink. They sent a orderly to get me and take me down to the lab. He was very nice and rolled me down to the lab in a wheelchair. When we got there I was told to stand-up in front of a machine and the tech reached over and started to grab a part of the machine that was supposed to move over in front of me. Well I am a very big guy and there was no way that part of the machine was going to pass in front of my stomach. I saw that, my wife saw that but I guess the tech was blind or maybe just stupid. She grabbed the machine and tried to pull it across my stomach. Well I had just had a full open gastric bypass and I had a incision from my naval to my breast sternum. I had to grab the machine and stop her from trying to drag this part across my stomach and I told her there was no way in hell that it was going to make it. She huffed and said it had to and I told her well it will not. She huffed again and said she would be back. Well I had to sit down and so I did. She came back after a few minutes and said there was nothing she could do. I was then rolled back to ICU and I told the nurse about what happened and she was pissed. She said she would take care of this and she went and called my doctor. Well I don't know what was said but 15 minutes later I was taken back down to the lab and into a different room. They had 3 people in there this time and one was apparently the head of the department. They had a different machine they said they could use to check for leaks. I had to drink this awful tasting stuff but they said I didn't have any leaks. It was kind of cool to see this because I could see the liquid going down as the machine scanned me. I could see my throat and everything. It was really cool.. Well they took me back to the ICU and I was told I could now be moved to a regular room.
I saw the doctor on Monday and lied to him. I told him I was doing better then I really was so he would let me go home. (they tell you to rest up in the hospital and then they drive you crazy taking vitals and blood and everything else. There is no way to get any rest while your in the hospital.) Well they discharged me that afternoon and I went home to Montgomery.
I was really glad to be home. I could now really get some rest finally. I could sleep in my own bed, sit in my chair. My biggest problem after my surgery was the fact that I could not sleep on my side or stomach because of the pain. I have never been able to sleep on my back. I tried to roll over but boy did that hurt really, really, bad. Well after a few weeks of trying on and off I finally made myself sleep on my stomach and boy did that feel great when I was finally able to do that.
My next big problem was I had an infection set into my incision and I had to get on some antibiotics. The next problem I had was my incision opened up from a fluid pocket that had formed under the skin. I had a hole about 1.5 inches long. I had a lot fluid draining out of it for a really long time. I am right now almost 3 months out and it is just about completely healed up.
My problems with the infection and my incision opening up is not normal but it is all part of it for me. I have as of Thursday March 31, 2005 I have lost 65 pounds. I now can stand much easier and can really tell a difference so far. I am looking forward to the time when I am under the 400 pound mark. I know that I will feel a lot better then and even better when I am around 350 pounds. My goal weight is anything under 350 pounds. If I can make it to under 300 pounds that is even better.
Ok, now on to the facts. Would I do it again? Well if you would have asked me that right after the surgery I would have said no, but now 3 months out I would say yes. Was it easy? No, not at all. This is a drastic life changing choice. Would I recommend this to anyone else? Yes, but only as a last resort. If you are at least 100 pounds overweight or more and have tried many other ways and failed to lose the weight and keep it off then go for it.