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Surgeon TestimonialSashidhar Ganta, M.D.I first met Dr. Ganta a couple of years ago when I went to seminar in his office. I had been looking at weight loss surgery for several years and was getting closer to making the decision to do it. He didn't say too awful much beyond the mechanics of the surgery, but he came off as a very competent, reserved and caring surgeon. When I made the decision earlier this year to do it, I did not hesitate and made an appointment with Ganta. I should say that I had contacted others, but the office wouldn't stop mailing or emailing me. I was impressed that Ganta's office sent me mailing list stuff, but took me off when asked and they didn't push. It was my decision and they left me alone to make it. Having said that, they still had all of my information from the seminar so getting an appointment was easy.
Even though I was self-pay, I was still required to do a fitness and psyche evaluation (all done in his office) and meet with a nutritionist. I liked that. It made me get more prepared and also made me realize that I needed more help to deal with the emotional aspects so I went out and found a counselor to meet with (which I highly recommend to everyone, she keeps me in my right head space). The psychology, fitness and nutrition appointments all went very well, I get the feeling Dr. Ganta likes good people around him and goes to lengths to obtain that.
My only negative about the office is that they sometimes take a long time to reply to emails or they lose them. None of the important ones, but sometimes general questions seem to go into the ether. I had a few times that I had to send a follow up email a week later to get an answer. As someone that works mostly through email, I do wish they were a little more responsive. Anytime I need anything immediate, I usually call and they're very responsive by phone though!
My first one on one meeting with Dr. Ganta was during my consult. I have never felt so un-rushed in my entire life. He acted as though I was the only patient he had that day and was more than willing to sit there for as long as I needed to talk about options and answer my questions. He also asked me questions about what I knew of each procedure, gave me additional information, asked what procedure I thought I wanted and then asked me questions as to why. So, he wasn't there to just sign or do whatever I wanted, he wanted me to really think about what I was doing and why. At the end of the day, he agreed with what I wanted for the reasons I laid out, but he also gave me some additional food for thought as far as complications that I hadn't considered. I left there feeling very confident in my choice of surgeons and in his ability.
I will tell you that he comes off very reserved and quiet. Which kind of means when he says something, you listen because it's going to be important. His bedside manner is very gentle and matter-of-fact. At first I thought he might not have a sense of humor, but he certainly does, it's just a little dark and dry, which I kinda like. During our consult I mentioned that I knew he had a low rate of complications, leaks, etc. He said, "oh, we've had a few leaks, but I haven't lost anyone yet". It was the perfect thing to say to me because I've got that slightly off-kilter humor myself and I was a little nervous. I like that he was able to read that.
Having said that, if you need a surgeon that is all hugs and rainbows, Dr. Ganta might not be the right one for you. I wanted someone that I would (literally) feel comfortable putting my life in their hands and he was the right person for that. His office staff definitely makes up for any rainbows you are missing. That's not to say he doesn't have a great personality, he's just a little more reserved, but he listens and he's even cracked a smile and joke now and then.
I saw him once again at the pre-op appointment a few days before surgery and, again, he was unhurried and I felt like he would have been more than happy to sit there and answer my questions until I was fully satisfied and okay. I like that. All too often, doctors seem to be in a really big hurry and I feel bad for asking questions. He wasn't like that at all. I was free to ask anything I needed. I even had a small list - some were probably silly questions - but he didn't mind answering them and then making sure I understood.
He was great before surgery, he stopped in, made sure I was okay, reminded me what we were going to do. Let my husband know how long he expected it to take, made sure he had a way to get in touch with him afterwards, etc. I didn't see him again until discharge the next day where he made sure I understood all the post op instructions, made sure I had a follow up appointment scheduled and smiled and wished me well along the way.
I did have to call a few days after surgery because of nasty muscle pain that won't go away and the Lortab wasn't helping. It was after hours and he answered the phone himself. He listened and then called in an additional medication. He answered the phone himself - I was impressed with that. I didn't have to wait 30 minutes. I didn't have to explain my problem to several people until someone finally let me talk to the doctor. He answered. He handled it.
He seems to take after-care very seriously. In fact, for his cash pay clients, he includes a year of follow up. His pre-op and post-op diet is very strict and seems to be slightly more strict than others I've seen online. He did his part and he fully expects you to be accountable for doing your part. This has been true as I moved up to each level of food and beyond. I'm currently about 7 months out and have found his no nonsense refreshing. He did his part, now it's my turn to do mine.
I love the office. They always remember who I am, always smile, always say I look great (cuz I do, darn it!), and are very laid back. Dr. Ganta is always warm and inviting, he's still reserved a bit, but he can laugh with me while giving me pointers on what I need to be doing and things I can try as time goes on and this whole journey continues to take shape.
Overall, I've been very impressed with him and his office and I would not hesitate to recommend them to others (and already have!). I've done a lot of research on bariatrics in Austin - a whole lot. I can honestly say that THIS is the right doctor if you are in Austin. Do your research, look for people's experiences, you'll find Dr. Ganta to be tops in the area, heck maybe the state.
Update at 18 months post-op: Still loving this man. I've lost nearly 200 pounds. He gave me my life back and probably saved my life. More than that, he's an awesome surgeon. At my last appointment I even made laugh and got a hug on the way out. It's odd, but I want to make him proud. He did good work and so have I. We BOTH should be proud :)
Feeling better... on January 31, 2012 5:19 am
Just an update from my big angry rant below. I'm feeling better. I'm still not in my happy place (lol) but I feel less like ripping things off the walls and stomping my feet and demanding my cookies.
Thanks for all your kind words and notes. I think it's just something I have to go through at this point. It helps that I got my weight loss going again (more on that later this week, I'm a bookkeeper and January is always really nasty).
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So angry... and frustrated... and tired on January 15, 2012 1:39 pm
Yeah - this is just a big nasty rant and pity party - I might even delete it later, I'm SO not in a good place this week. If you're pre-op or early out and in la-la-la land, you'll want to skip it. LOL
So, I'm pretty pissed off these days. For so many reasons. I'm pissed off that I've come this far yet I still have so far to go. I'm pissed off that I got as big as I was. I'm pissed off that I'm as big as I am, even after losing 113 pounds. I'm pissed off that I have to work so dang hard to get further. That my clothes don't fit half the time, that I have so many clothes rotating in and out of my house. That I had to have freaking surgery to finally lose weight. That I couldn't do it on my own. That I can't sit down and eat like I used to. That when I eat too fast my stomach gets a little gurgle like. That I can't drink when I eat.
That every time I start feeling proud of myself, I hear someone say "oh, I was a whale" and I look and their starting weight was BELOW where I am NOW. I realize all of it is irrational and I'm sure this just part of the process for me (at least my counselor says so). I'm just not in a good place the past few days. I'm tired of this whole damned thing. I want someone to flip a switch and for me to weigh 140 pounds without any hanging skin to deal with and no wrinkles and a perfect hair cut with thick hair. Oh, while I'm wishing for the irrational, send me a few million dollars too.
I feel like it's not fair that the skinny bitches of the world can seemingly eat whatever they want and stay rail thin. It's not fair that I had to resort to sugery to fix something. It's not fair that I have seemingly no self control over food and that I'm busting my rear so hard. It's not fair that I have to track every thing I eat. It's not fair that I work so damn hard and then don't meet my calorie or protein goals. It's not fair that it feels like I've gone from one crazy extreme to another.
I miss food some days. I miss being able to go buy 4, 5 or even 6 breakfast tacos and stuff down the feelings of whatever is wrong that day. I miss eating a basket of chips and salsa all myself to celebrate whatever small victory I got into my head that I "deserve" to celebrate. I miss eating a really big container of leftover stir fry veggies and feeling self righteous that I ate a lot of good heathly veggies. I realize it's not possible and I realize that is why I chose THIS surgery but it doesn't mean that I don't miss it and it doesn't mean that I'm not pissed at myself that I even feel that way.
I'm sick of feeling so thin and good one day and then fat and dumpy the next. I'm sick of not knowing if I really do look good in a piece of clothing or not. I'm sick of trying to figure out how clothes are really supposed to fit.
I'm angry that I cannot undo this. I'm glad that I can't because I know I would, but I'm still angry about it.
Did I mention I'm not in a good place and that I'm fairly pissed off?
It will pass... right?
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Visit with the Doctor... on January 11, 2012 9:08 am
So I had a visit with the surgeon today. I'll get to that later, but... first...
So, my pulse before surgery was around 80-95 best I remember. I visited with my allergist prior to the surgeon and BOTH times my pulse was 68! And my blood pressure was right around 120/80. My BP is always normal at home, but at the doctor's offices it's always high. Anyway, I was stoked to see both of those numbers!
I've also been kind of "blah" about my last few weeks of weight loss. They haven't been stellar. I haven't been exactly a model paitient but I've been mostly following the guidelines. I'm totally tightening it back up the past couple of days and getting my rear in gear again.
So, anyway... my blood work results were in. My B12 was high (1950) so he said to stop taking that every single day (although it won't hurt me). My HDL was low (37), but nothing horrible. B6 was high (71). That's it. My liver enzyemes are GREAT! That means that I've undone some of the fatty liver damange (if not all, I guess a true way of telling is really required by ultrasound, but wow!).
I have got to get my butt in gear and back on the train though. He thinks I'm not eating enough calories. Sigh. I dunno. I usually net 650 after exercise. I'm going to leave it for another week and stay on the striaght and narrow and THEN up it if I don't see results. BUT the bottom line is that I've lost 16 pounds since my visit with him 6 weeks ago. I mean, that's still well within the expected ranges at 6.5 months out. I need to chill out.
Of course, my own negative self-talk says that 7 of those pounds happen in one week (which was CRAZY, by the way). I have to remember to think in averages here. Hopefully I'll see another large block like that so I can stop making myself crazy.
He said he fully expects me to his his goal of 250. My own goal is 175 and he seemed to think I could do it, but I have to put in the effort and show up and it will more than likely go beyond the 1 year mark (which I fully expected going in to this).
So, butt back in gear, nose to the grindstone. I got this.
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Dear Mr. Scale on January 8, 2012 7:39 pm
Dear Mr. Scale,
Pleave move again.
I mean, seriously, here... it's been like 10 days. I'm starting to feel offended.
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Cycles and girl stuff on January 3, 2012 7:19 am
If I wasn't pregnant, since I was 18, I'd been on the pill. Mostly, the 3 month Seasonique pill. LOVE that thing. Only one very light period every 3 months. When I made the final decision to have surgery, it was basically the same time we decided, absolutely 100% (instead of the 99.5% we were at) that we were done with kids. So, the husband went and got a vasectomy. The LAST thing I needed was to get pregnant and it would be good for me to get off of the pill and let my hormones even out.
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Yeah, except now I have a period every month. And it's pretty heavy. Sigh. I have to say I feel like my moods are much more mellow without the pill. Whether that's to do with my diet, the pill or losing weight I don't know. I don't really want to go back on it so I'll talk to my gyno in March when I have a regular appointment with her.
BUT the good new is that I'm NOT crazy. I've spent the past week trying to get back on the wagon again since my few days off at Christmas and I've been moderately successful, but it's been tough. The cravings are making me crazy. Because it started a few days earlier than I expected, I guess I didn't even think about PMS. Thank god I'm not insane. LOL
I've always had major PMS food cravings. I rarely have any other symptoms, but fighting the sugar/salt cravings is always a tough time. It also explains the 2 pound bounce back I've been maintaining pretty steady over the past several days. I'm not counting it because I knew it wasn't real, but sheesh already!
I'm still with the program and feeling less insane.
... and always oversharing :)