I weigh in excess of 350 lbs. Can't get the exact weight because the scales at the doctors don't go that high. I think my weight is related to my emotional self. I recently started Paxil to see if that would help. I've been overweight since I was 10 years old and am now 38. The weight has been going up and up and up. I lost 65 lbs in '94 with Weight Watchers but put it all back on and then gained some more. I'm considering surgery, but feel I would like to examine other options before I commit to something this drastic. Any help or information offered would be greatly appreciated.
Hospital Reviews(Toronto, Ontario, Canada, ) - Scarborough Grace Hospital
Surgeon: Jacobo Joffe, M.D.
I have made three appointments with different surgeons. I want to have as much info as possible before making this decision. Unfortunately, the first appointment is not until Feb.19/2001. then March 07/2001, and the last one (which I may cancel) is August 01/2001. Unfortunately, here in Ontario Canada, there are not many surgeons who perform this type of surgery, so the wait for appointments and then surgery is incredibly long. I have only found 3 doctors that perform this surgery and I have appointments with all 3. My family doctor is not very supportive of my decision to pursue this option. It was difficult to get the referrals from him and he has tried to talk to out of it, but I still want to investigate and talk to these doctors. I have been dieting on and off for more than 25 years, so I feel this may be my last chance. At this point in time, I'm not even that concerned about my outward appearance, but it is my health that worries me. How long can my heart carry all this extra weight before giving up. Heart disease and cancer run in my family, so that is already two strikes against me. Anyway, I hope my emotional health can hold out until I get to see a doctor, as well as my heart.
I've now been to see two of the three surgeons. The first on Feb.19/01 gave me a pile of papers and appointments for endoscopy, ultrasound, nutritionist and follow up appts with him. He didn't however explain any of the surgical procedures to me, what to expect in the future, how my life will change, risks of the surgery...absolutely nothing. I went with a friend who has had the surgery with this doctor and I suppose the reason he didn't offer any explanations, was possibly he thought my friend had explained it all to me. I wasn't impressed with him or the facilities (hospital) where the operation would happen. It is at a combination hospital and nursing/rest home for senior citizens.
The second surgeon who I had an appt with on March 7th, cancelled and resceduled the appt for April 4th. (I wasn't too happy about that, since I made the appt last October) Apparently he was going to be away (on vacation??? I don't know). I saw him at a colleagues office. He didn't have his own offices. My appointment was for 11:30am and I was seen at 1:40pm. He has a room in this other doctors office with a desk and some pictures of the digestive system propped up against the wall. Nothing looked permanent to me which gave me an uneasy feeling about him. He was pleasant enough and answered all my questions, but I just have a weird feeling about it. I received in the mail yesterday 2 files folders, scotch taped together with some papers stapled together from this doctor.(I don't know why he can't use an envelope) that explains some of the risks of this surgery. To be honest it scared me half to death. It said 1 in 200 people die from complications of this type of surgery. It didn't really say anything positive about how your life could change. I was very disappointed and started secnd guessing my decision to have this operation. Also I was told that your stomach can go back to its original size (if not bigger) even after this surgery if proper diet is not followed. I'm very torn now about this surgery. My health is not good though. I'm suffering from depression but a new therapist I'm seeing hasn't prescribed any medication. My knees are very painful (probably arthritis says my family doctor). Can't get a job because I'm too big to fit in the standard office chair and my personal/social life is completely non-existent. My new therapist has brought to light some reasons that she thinks I overeat and has asked me to seriously think about them. They are somewhat painful to discuss and too much information for this page, but suffice it to say, she too, doesn't think this operation is the way for me to go, since my eating problems are emtionally based. (Who's aren't???) Anyway, I have some medical appts scheduled for May 8th for an endoscopy and ultrasound as required by the first surgeon. I'm going through with all the pre-op stuff and appts and will make my decion when I see the surgeon after all this pre=op stuff has been done. More later!
Well, the decision has been made! I'm scheduled for surgery (open RNY) on Monday July 30th. I hope I don't chicken out before then. I NEED AN ANGEL REALLY BADLY!!!!!!!!! After a lot of soul searching and thought and talking to others, I've decided to go ahead with this surgery. I realize it is not a cure for obesity, but rather a tool to help me lose weight. I would still rather diet and exercise, or should I say CHANGE MY LIFESTYLE AND EATING HABITS, but I'm worried about health risks associated with obesity. My family is still against this, as is my family physician, but they're not the ones with the weight problem...I am! So I'll take all the support out there I can get.
This is it until after the surgery, so wish me good luck and I'll be back sometime in August.
Saturday August 4th/2001
I'm back. I hope my typing is okay, because I just took a Tylenol with codeine and I feel a little spaced out right now.
I did it. I can't beleive I went through with it, but I'm glad I did. I came home yesterday after 4 nights in the hospital. The care I received in the hospital was amazing. The nurses were so nice and genuinely seemed to care about me and how I felt. I had a young male nurse, Brian the first night and I was a little uneasy about going to the bathroom and peronal hygiene stuff, but he was wonderful and so empathetic. I had a hospital gown on (which doesn't completely cover my behind) and Brian had to help me to the bathroom the first time. He went and grabbed another gown and put it over my shoulders and said something like, after what I'd been through the least he could do was give me a little more of my modesty back. Something like that. I was on morphine, so some of my recollections are a little foggy and jumbled. Suffice it to say he was absolutely wonderful. He was with me for 2 nights and constantly checked on me (most times without me even buzzing him). I was lucky enough too, to have my own private student nurse for Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Mary Ann was her name and she couldn't do enough for me. I had to have an exray on Wed. morning to see if the nasal tube could be removed and I had to drink the most disgusting tasting liquid I've ever had. After I'd had the exray, Mary Ann raced around to get me crushed ice, so I could rinse my mouth out. She'll make a great nurse. Very caring. Lastly, but certainly not least, is Teresa. She should be called Mother Teresa, because she was a saint. Great care, wonderful person! She didn't just do the nursing duties, then leave. We actually chatted on a few ocassions (when she wasn't taking care of someone else) and she gave me some info on others that had had this surgery and what to do and what not to do. She said she also knows of a good cosmetic surgeon, for when the time comes to have my tummy tuck done. Anyway, the nursing care was really good and I would highly recommend Scarborough Grace Hospital to anyone. I have lots more to say, but I'm really whacked out now and my back is starting to ache from sitting up too long, so I'll finsih here and be back later. Also one last thing. Thanks to everyone who sent me good wishes before my surgery. I really, really appreciate it and was glad to know that there were a few people out there thinking of me. Back soon!
Hi All. Sorry it has taken me so long to get back here. Last time I wrote things were going well, but unfortunately since then I've had some complications. I had the staples removed on Augsut 10th, a week after getting out of the hospital. That was on a Friday, then on the Saturday the incision opened up about 1.5 inches and this gross yellowy liquid started pouring out. I soaked through a towel folded 4 times in seconds. I freaked out and called my Dad and my parents rushed me to the Emergency Room. I had been feeling really bad pain in and around the incision for 3 days before the staples came out, and I called the doctor about this too and he said to apply warm compresses to the my stomach and wait til I was to see him to have the staples out. All I can say is Thank God for narcotics like Tylenol #3. They didn't get rid of the pain totally, but enough that I could sleep. At the ER they decided to leave the split portion of the incision open and they cleaned in out and then packed it and dressed it. I am still having daily home care nursing to clean this wound and change the dressing. About a week after the first hole opened up a second one opened about an inch down from the first one. When I saw the doctor reagrding this he decided to cut through the skin (without freezing) from the second hole up to the first hole. It was then the size of a small tangerine. The packing they were putting into the new hole increased to approximately 2 yards of 2' wide packing soaked in saline. I'm happy to say that although I still have a hole in my stomach, it is much smaller and healing nicely. I think they're getting about 2 feet of packing in now. The nurses don't like to give me a prognosis of how long this will take to heal, but I think a safe estimate would be another 4-6 weeks. I see the surgeon every 2 weeks now so he can check on the progress of my hole. The scar will definitely be bigger now, but I'm not a vain person, so I don't really care. I'm not striving for supermodel status, but a normal, healthy woman status would be fine with me.
The eating has also been a problem too. The diet I am supposed to follow is clear fluids for 2-4 days, full fluids for 2-3 weeks, then pureed foods for 2-3 weeks, then slowly introduce regular food. Well I'm only just off full fluids, because eating anything else other than broth or creamy soups and baby food left me writhing in agony. Pain killers didn't help at all, because most time I would start feeling nauseous from so much pain and would end up throwing up. That is of course if I didn't already stick my finger down my throat to help things out. I had a gastroscopy done on Sept.10th, where they determined the new opening from my stomach to my intestine was extremely small and not allowing anything solid to pass. I chewed and chewed and chewed my food until it resembled pablum, but that still didn't work.They were supposed to schedule me for a procedure called a balloon dialation where they stretch the opening, but for some reson I got the runaround and after 4 weeks had still not been done. I finally had it done this past Thursday (Oct.4) courtesy of my sister-in-law who works at another hospital. She is a nurse and asked the asst. chief of radiology and I had it done the same week. (Wish I'd thought to go to her sooner). On Thursday night I had chicken noodle soup and the noodles went down fine. Last night was minestrone and that was okay too. Tonight the minestrone didn't go down for too long before it came back up again. Don't know why. I'll just have to see how it goes. This weekend is our Canadian Thanksgiving and I'm looking forward to trying some mashed potatoes and stuffing and gravy and hopefully a little tiny bit of turkey and gravy.
On the up side of things I have lost 57 pounds to date (9 weeks) and I can see it in my clothes, in chairs I never could fit into before, in my car (not so tight) and I have to admit I like the comments I get from people that notice the weight loss. I can't see it when I look in the mirror, but then I've always been my own worst enemy and critic. Well that's it for now. I'll keep updating as time passes. Even with all the problems, I'm glad I've done this surgery. I couldn't have gone on the way I was going. I had no life and what little I did have was so severely restricted by my weight, that this weight loss so far has already improved things, not the least of which is my outlook.
At this point though I would like to thank everyone who sent me wishes for luck etc. I really appreciate it. If I can be of any assistance to anyone out there, please don't hesitate to contact me. Thanks again.
Really quick update. As of January 11th, I've lost 98 pounds and I have so much more energy and my knees no longer hurt. I fit in the chairs at the hospital as well as at my therapist's office. I've been to the movies 6 or 7 times in the last 2 months because the chairs are comfortable now. My wound infection is still not fully healed and the surgeon wants to re-open it, if it isn't healed in 2 weeks time. He says he will excise and clean it??? Not too sure what he thinks that will accomplish. I have daily home care nursing visits who irrigate with saline and pack and dress the wound. He may or may not leave it open again, and if it is left open I have to go through this all over again..(daily nursing visits to pack & dress the wound). I'll post again once I know more. Am able to eat a wider variety of foods now, but can't eat any type of soft bread, soft breadsticks, rolls, turkey or chicken stuffing. That type of stuff seems to get stuck in the new intestine opening. I've been back to the hospital twice to have dilations done (as an outpatient) to try and stretch the opening. The first time I had a gastroscopy done to see how small/big the opening was, they couldn't even get the scope in because the opening to the intestine was extremely small...8mm I think he said. It's a little better but I may have to go back again. Can't eat white meat of turkey or chicken. Dark meat is okay sometimes. Anyway, it's late now. I'll post again in a couple of weeks.
Quick update. I was to my family doctor yesterday for 6 month bloodwork and check up. Happy to say I've passed the 100 pound mark now. I've lost 103 pounds to date. That number just seems so surreal to me. As one of my nieces puts it, I've lost the equivalent of her and her sister (66 lbs and 34 lbs respectively). I'm so glad I did this even in spite of all the complications and problems I've had. I had a slight bulge beside where my wound infection hole is and the doctor says it is a hernia. Another surgery, but at a later date after this wound is healed. I may have a fissure. Had never heard of this and thought I had hemorroids. I thought all the pain I was feeling when sitting too long in the same position was due to the loss of all the extra padding I had previously on my butt. After describing my symptoms to my Doc, he thinks it is a fissure and has receommended a cream to try. I'm hoping this works, because after some limited investigation on this fissure thing, surgery is one of the options to correct it, and that is one surgery I'll do anything and everything possible to avoid having done. If anyone can offer any suggestions, I would welcome the info. Anyway, that's it for now. Will update after I see the surgeon on Feb. 08th.
Okay he didn't open me up today to clean out the wound, but has booked me back into the hospital for this coming Monday (Feb.11/02). He wants to re-open the incison - part of it, under general anaesthetic instead of local. I'm scared now. Don't really know why, since my surgery went okay last July 30th, but I have to admit, hearing of Minja's death has frightened me and brought me to the realization that problems do occur. I'm tempted to say forget it and I'll just deal with it, but I guess he knows best (I hope so). That's all for now. I'll update when I get home from the hospital.
Okay don't anyone freak out. I came home from the hospital the same day and I'm sorry about not posting ASAP, but I'm back now. The operation went well and I did so well, that I begged him to let me go home and not stay overnight and he said fine. Well I'm happy to say that my hole/wound infection is finally closed. Almost 8 months and also daily home care nursing, but it is finally closed. I went swimming for the first time, one week after the hole closed March 17th. It was wonderful. I wish he'd done it earlier. Anyway, total weight loss to date is 123 pounds and I feel great. I now have less still to lose, than I've already lost. I'm going to aim for the 165 pound mark, which means I have 96 more to go. I'm fitting into so many new "old" clothes. People keep asking me if this or that is new and I say not really. Been in the closet for over eight years. I can wear jeans now. I need a new swimsuit. My old one falls off my shoulders and I could fit another person with me in it. I start Co-ed Yoga on April 8th and Aquafitness on April 10th. I can't believe I've signed up for two exercise classes. I used to avoid that kind of stuff. Anyway, this is just a quick update in case anyone was wondering what happened to me. TTFN!
Okay it's my first year anniversary and I feel great! My surgeon says I look awesome and he doesn't want me to lose anymore, but I want to lose another 40 or so. Total weight loss to date is.................164 pounds. I've lost a whole person now. I can hardly believe it. Anyway, it's late here but I just wanted to update, so keep your chins up, anyone that is waiting for surgery or anyone that is having a difficult time post-op. It is all worth it and I'd do it again in a heartbeat (although I hope I won't ever need to).
Okay folks. I didn't think it had been this long since I'd been here, but since it is now my 2 year anniverary, I figure I'd better update things here.
Total weight loss so far ranges between 211 pounds and 204 pounds. I fluctuate a little back and forth, but that's okay. I have people calling me skinny which is so hard to comprehend. I have to do a double take when I see my reflection in a store window. I don't recognize myself, although that is starting to change now. I've been on more dates in the past 6 months than I've ever been on in my entire life. I've been called sexy and beautiful, but it still hasn't sunk in. I've been dating one man now for almost amonth and have been honest with him about my surgery and weight loss and it doesn't matter to him at all. He thinks I'm beautiful (hanging skin/flesh and all). He supports my decision to persue the plastic surgery option, although I don't know when I'll ever have the money I need for the surgeries. I'm back working part time, but looking for full time work. I couldn't work when I was at my heaviest because I didn't fit in to the standard office chairs, so I stopped working and/or going for interviews. That is a little awkward to explain to prospective employers, (the gaps in my resume) so I'm still somewhat reluctant to actively search for full time work although I have to do that very soon. I've exhausted my savings account and will be officailly broke soon. I'm lucky in that I have my parents still who are doing their very best to help me out, but it makes me feel so incredibly guilty to have to rely on them at my age (and at their ages).They're in their 70's. The weight loss in absolutely wonderful and I'm so glad I did it and can't even imagine living my previous life, but the surgery and weight loss didn't solve all my problems. I'm still seeing a therapist who I thank the Lord for every day. One of these days we'll get to the root of my obesity problems and I'll be hopefully living the life I know I deserve (and want so badly). Anyway, that's all the info I have for now. If anyone wants any further info or has any questions, by all means feel free to contact me. I'm more than happy to help where ever I can. Bye for now all and continued success in your respective weight loss journies. TTFN, Deb
It's been a while since I was here, so I thought I'd better pop in and update what's going on in this new and slimmer life of mine.
I'm still dating the man I was when I last posted here and although I'm in love with him, I'm not sure if the feelings are reciprocal. Time and talking will tell. It's hard to handle because I have little experience when it comes to relationships, because I never had a relationship when I was fat. So this is all very new to me. Exciting and frightening all at the same time. Say a little prayer to whoever you pray to for me please.
Now on to something else. I have been approved now for plastic (reconstructive surgery) and have a date of March 31st, 2004. I'm excited, but scared as my WLS had so many complications, but as I'm so much healthier now than I was when I had WLS, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all will go well. I don't really have too much else to say here, but once I'm home from the hospital in 5 weeks or so, I'll post again. Good luck to all of you who are still in the beginning stages of this wonderful process. It works if you work at it. The surgery alone will not cure you of obesity, so make up your mind, stick to it and you will succeed.
Please refer to my profile page. I saw Dr. Parekh in February and posted my comments about him on the profile page.
Please refer to my profile page. I saw Dr. Joffe in April and have posted my comments about him on my profile page.
Ontario Health Insurance Plan
In Ontario, the provincial government covers the cost of this surgery if you are more than 100 pounds overweight. I consider myself very lucky NOT to have to pay for this, although I would take out a loan if I had to.