Sleeved! What I did right (long)

on 6/9/11 6:59 am - VA
Hi OH!

My surgery on Monday at noon went super smooth.  My poor husband was terribly nervous, more than me even, and everyone was kind to him and answered all his questions.  The hospital checked me in, and the staff was great.  The anesthesia nurse and doc took my concerns seriously, and everyone was really nice.  There were several observers (med student and another doc) and assistants I didn't expect --quite a crowd in the OR.  Immediately post-op I had a kind of naseous pain, but they gave me good drugs. I soon found that when my morphine was starting to wear off, my stomach muscles would tense and I'd start to shiver.  I learned to ask for the drugs before I really needed them.

Had my swallow test the next morning.   Turns out I had to swallow two different contrasts.  The first was clear and had iodine in it.  Very nasty, and the radiologist kept telling me to take a gulp, but that was not going to happen both because it was super nasty and because I was nervous swallowing anything.  Turns out a few sips was enough.  Then when those pictures looked good, they switched to the barium, which was white and not as nasty.  Sips were still sufficient for the test.

My new stomach is not the shape I expected.  It has a reservoir at the top, where my doc was uncomfortable trimming too close to the valve because important things are in that area.  Then a very narrow channel connects to a reservoir at the bottom of my stomach, which is left intact because it's the part that pushes food into the intestine.  So rather than a banana, it looks more like a very skinny dog bone.  I suspect it'll even out after the swelling goes down.  He used a 38 bougie to size the thin part.

No drains, no catheter, and only two incisions that are remarkably small.  Drugs going into the IV stung, so the nurse put them into the farther port very slowly so everything was diluted by the time it got to my vein.  Finally got off the IV after the swallow test.  None of the clear liquids I was given in the hospital tasted good at all (low sodium broth -- ugh), and the liquid narcotics are nasty.  Went home the day after surgery, so all told I was in the hopsital about 30 hours. 

So now I'm at home sipping slowly and am relieved to have a little yogurt after all those protein drinks.

So with all this smooth sailing here are some decisions I made that turned out to be right for me:
1.  I picked a good doc and hospital.  I almost went with a big urban hosptial since it was closer to work, but this one was nicer and the care was more personal and well-staffed than I think I would have gotten at the other place.
2.  I was really glad I didn't try to leave town for the surgery, even though I was thinking I'd need to to save money.  The short rides and easy follow up are a big stress reducer.  It was also easier on my family.
3.  I didn't give up on coverage.  I got insurance approval less than two weeks from surgery and was able to change my self-pay date into an insuance-pay date.  Whew!!
4.  I followed the pre-op diet but didn't drive myself through pure hell to achieve 100% compliance.  I was so miserable by the third day of seven that when I got to the point I was in tears I let myself have just enough non-liquid proteins that I wasn't a basket case.  In the end, nobody even asked me if I did the diet.  I'm not suggesting that anyone else not comply with their doctor's orders.  I'm just saying that a little low fat cottage cheese was not going to ruin my surgery and it made all the difference for my state of mind through that week.
5.  I followed all your experiences so I knew what to expect!  I expected some things to be harder (gas pain) and some things to be easier (walking  right after surgery was out of the question).  But no real surprises other than that strange shivering when my pain meds wore off and the shape of my stomach.
6.  I did a lot of exercise pre-op, so was about as fit as possible going in. 

Thanks everyone for their support during my long heinous insurance battle.  And thanks for the room on the bench!
5'7"  VSG on 6/6/2011  HW 224, SW 214, CW 144  
on 6/9/11 7:09 am - Laurel, MD
Welcome to the losers bench!  So glad things have gone so well for you.  Now take good care of yourself and remember your new mantra - sip, walk, rest, repeat!

Lucy  (Imma Loser!)
  LilySlim Weight loss tickers                  
HW 335 SW 311 CW 181.2 -- Goals:  Twoderville - 6/7/11, 280 - 7/1/11, 260 - 8/1/11, 240 - 10/30/11 Centry Club - 11/22/11, 220 - 12/27/11 Onederland - 5/25/12, 180 - , 170 (surgeons goal) -  
We shall see where this leads...  

on 6/9/11 7:21 am
VSG on 02/21/12
Congrats and I am glad everything turned out great for you. Thank you for your detailed hopital and surgery tale. It is helpful for someone like me who is on the journey to get the surgery too. I will say a prayer for you for great healing and strength! 
on 6/9/11 10:39 am - NJ
I cant thank you enough for the very detailed description of your journey into skinny-land!!  I have my surgery scheduled June 21st and this has really helped understand what to expect and what may/may not be a challenge!

Very interesting on the shape of your new doggy bone sleeve also - I have my pre-op appt next week so I'm going to ask about that.

Best of luck to you and see you on the flip side! 
B. Bap
on 6/9/11 12:24 pm
Congratulations.... I am so happy for you.
And I am really truly glad that everything worked out for you. I can wait to follow you in your sleeved journey.
FYI, I submitted my appeal to OPM this week. So as I keep you prayer for your speedy and safe recovery, keep me in prayer for a successful appeal to OPM.
Congratulations again! YAY SLEEVE!
on 6/10/11 2:13 am - VA
Thanks very much, B.Bap!!  I know you understand.

I have already alerted OPM to the righteousness and self evident worthiness of your appeal  (kidding - but in my thoughts I have 10x over!) .  All the best luck!  Do keep me posted. 

5'7"  VSG on 6/6/2011  HW 224, SW 214, CW 144  
B. Bap
on 6/10/11 3:29 pm
lol, Telepathy... it's gonna work.

I will do.