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Gastric Sleeve

whitewave

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Here I am! So DH’s office has always had a bariatric surgeon working there, so I’ve been thinking of weight loss surgery for 20 years off and on. Our insurance doesn’t cover it.

In these 20 years, I have yo yoed up down and all around. Losing 4 sizes, keeping it off for years to the point I figured I’d finally conquered it, only to get sick and sofa bound and gain it all back plus twenty, Rinse and repeat.

I do not have high blood pressure, nor diabetes, but I do have severe sleep apnea. My neck is thin though and I remember complaining about daytime sleepiness back when I was thin and 19, so I truly don’t think weight loss will resolve it.

After speaking last Summer with a poster here who I met at the Boise get together (she had gastric bypass in Mexico and highly recommended it), it’s been back in my mind. I spoke with another friend over Mardi Gras who I didn’t realize had the sleeve (our sons are friends and so she had it before I knew her) and she highly recommended it.

So I read about it and researched it and decided I’m so damn sick of the yo yo; I made an appointment with my husband’s partner.

More in a minute.
 
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whitewave

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Ok, back.

I do have an eating disorder background, so when I turned 40, I made sure I dealt with that in what turned out to be basically a year of therapy and CBT etc. I was discharged from therapy but go back when I need it. I have successfully disconnected eating from emotion, etc.

But when I turned 50 with a broken leg and torn meniscus and back on the sofa again, I thought it’s really now or never.

While waiting for my first appointment with the doctor, I went ahead and scheduled the things I would need to to anyway like an EGD and colonoscopy which was done about 2 weeks ago by another partner of my husband. One polyp now gone and he took the measurements the bariatric surgeon needs for the sleeve. I went to gyn and had a check up and found out I’m in menopause (yay!!) and had my mammo today.

So all he wants me to do now is the factor V laden test and to determine if I am in fact allergic to titanium since the staples are titanium and I think a little bit of nickel. He said suture line failure would be catastrophic.

I have to see a therapist next appointment to talk with her for about 45 minutes about the surgery, and she works with the woman who prescribes my anti depressants, so that should be fine. I called my prescriber to see what she thought and she gave her blessing.

The procedure is $11,300. The surgeon fee is $4,000 of that which he will not charge me. Since our insurance doesn’t cover it, I have to purchase Bliss insurance which will cover complications for self pay procedures. That is right over 1k.

So for me, it’s about 8k out of pocket.
 
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whitewave

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Dr. said it works 3 ways:

1. obviously the restriction keeps you from eating too much but you can overeat and stretch the sleeve. People who are compliant with post sleeve appointments do not have this problem. You cannot drink carbonated beverages any more, including my beloved Perrier.

2. The removal of that part of the stomach fixes the hunger hormone issues and changes your set point. For some reason, the surgery tells your body to shed fat and weight when it’s been holding on to it.

3. Something changes in gut bacteria for the better.


Oh, I started the pre op diet today. I’ll go get it and post it BRB.
 

whitewave

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The print out is pretty blurry so not sure how well you can make it out.

I don’t like it lol. Eating 6 times a day is ridiculous in my opinion for insulin release and it has a lot of sugar and carbs. (Grapes, low fat dressing etc) so I’m doing intermittent fasting and protein shakes, which he is fine with.

They want you to shrink your liver a bit before surgery so it isn’t in the way.

6730F886-387B-4C88-81AF-AA7D4F37DAA2.jpeg
 

Gabbycat

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Thank you for starting this! So, my first question has to do with depression/anxiety. I have heard that since our gut is our "second brain" that many after this surgery deal with depression. They feel it is from the change of the microbiome after surgery. @asscherhalo, did you experience depression after surgery, and if so, do you think it was the surgery itself or just all the emotion tied to doing something that drastic?

@whitewave, what helped you disconnect eating and emotion? In my family food was both a reward ("you did a good job! Go pick out a treat") and punishment (oh you're complaining about the food? You get a double helping then). Our weight was always scrutinized and commented upon. Now it's my comfort since I have so many other issues. I "treat" myself all the time.

For both of you, what helped you get past concerns about side effects/complications to finally agree to the procedure? My biggest fear is doing something to try to help myself but having things go south and making life worse than it is already.
 

whitewave

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Thank you for starting this! So, my first question has to do with depression/anxiety. I have heard that since our gut is our "second brain" that many after this surgery deal with depression. They feel it is from the change of the microbiome after surgery. @asscherhalo, did you experience depression after surgery, and if so, do you think it was the surgery itself or just all the emotion tied to doing something that drastic?

@whitewave, what helped you disconnect eating and emotion? In my family food was both a reward ("you did a good job! Go pick out a treat") and punishment (oh you're complaining about the food? You get a double helping then). Our weight was always scrutinized and commented upon. Now it's my comfort since I have so many other issues. I "treat" myself all the time.

For both of you, what helped you get past concerns about side effects/complications to finally agree to the procedure? My biggest fear is doing something to try to help myself but having things go south and making life worse than it is already.
Let me try and remember the books I read while in therapy (it was a while ago)... I know one was “intuitive eating” and another was “eating in the light of the moon” and there was a workbook.

Therapy, lots and lots of therapy, it took a year to disconnect and re wire my relationship with food.

As for complications, I still have to determine if I’m going to react to the staples and if I do, then no surgery for me.

In terms of surgery, sleeve has a very low complication rate.

At first I was scared out of my mind because it’s elective and all of that. But it’s fear of the unknown.

The divorce rate post weight loss surgery is (I have read 80%) High and so it has a name: bariatric divorce.
 

Gabbycat

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I have talked about doing this for years, and my husband always just passed it off. Last time I mentioned it just a few weeks ago, and he didn't pass it off. He actually thought it was a good idea, and my new doctor wants me to enroll in their program. I think he is finally getting how much carrying the extra weight hurts me. I am over 300 pounds. However, now that he's on board I find myself really scared to actually make the move to start the process.
 

whitewave

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@whitewave I'll be following closely to see how it goes with you. I hope everything checks out with the staples so that you can proceed. I'm sure I'll think of more questions later.
Thanks. Yes, if I don’t react to the staples, then I’m 100% getting it as soon as I can.
 

whitewave

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I have talked about doing this for years, and my husband always just passed it off. Last time I mentioned it just a few weeks ago, and he didn't pass it off. He actually thought it was a good idea, and my new doctor wants me to enroll in their program. I think he is finally getting how much carrying the extra weight hurts me. I am over 300 pounds. However, now that he's on board I find myself really scared to actually make the move to start the process.
I think you will feel calmer after you meet the surgeon.
 

Asscherhalo_lover

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Thank you for starting this! So, my first question has to do with depression/anxiety. I have heard that since our gut is our "second brain" that many after this surgery deal with depression. They feel it is from the change of the microbiome after surgery. @asscherhalo, did you experience depression after surgery, and if so, do you think it was the surgery itself or just all the emotion tied to doing something that drastic?

@whitewave, what helped you disconnect eating and emotion? In my family food was both a reward ("you did a good job! Go pick out a treat") and punishment (oh you're complaining about the food? You get a double helping then). Our weight was always scrutinized and commented upon. Now it's my comfort since I have so many other issues. I "treat" myself all the time.

For both of you, what helped you get past concerns about side effects/complications to finally agree to the procedure? My biggest fear is doing something to try to help myself but having things go south and making life worse than it is already.
Re: depression: NO, not for me. But I've never been prone to it. So I come from a "big" family. All of us in retrospect are over eaters and pretty much encouraged to overeat. For me it came to a head, I had thought about it for years. Never wanted the bypass because I had other family members do it and have severe malnutrition issues, never wanted the ring thing because I had friends do it and have issues and eventual reversal. Then I had my son. I was around 300lbs at his birth. After I had him my gallbladder went. After gallbladder removal I developed a surgical hernia. I picked up my surgery report and upon reading it discovered I had a "fatty liver". Started reading into that and how it can lead to further problems (no other weight related problems at this point). Started researching and discerned that the sleeve could be done at the same time as the hernia repair. I was correct. Went through the motions and ALSO found out I had a hiatal hernia. Had all 3 fixed at once. My doc only does gastric surgeries, I felt very confident.

The worst part after the surgery was the removal of the drain tubes but compared to childbirth it was nothing. I was also fairly young (31) and I did get myself into decent cardio shape BEFORE surgery which greatly aided in my recovery. I was back at work (teaching) 10 days after surgery.

All this time after and I've lost and kept off well over 100 lbs. I'm not perfect, I eat food, sometimes foods I'm not "supposed to", and I'm OK with that. I CAN have carbonated beverages although it took over a year, I just don;t overdo it with anything anymore. All in moderation. I have zero regreats and if anything with I had done it sooner!
 

Asscherhalo_lover

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@Asscherhalo_lover so, no dumping or malabsorption issues for you? I also have IBS-d to boot, so... actually hoping that having to eat less at a time would help but again scared it would be worse.
"Dumping" if ever hits is more because of my lack of a gall bladder seriously, at this point I know my body well, what it will tolerate, and what it won't. No malabsorption but I DO need to take daily vitamin supplements. For awhile I did the special bariatric chewables but I handle regular pills just fine now. I exercise steadily, work more than full time, chase a 4 year old, sleep well, and I'm in overall better health than I ever have been. I'm happy
 

Gabbycat

Shiny_Rock
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Thank you for the information. I knew that sometimes supplementation was required, but I didn't know that there was special vitamins for bariatric surgery patients.
 

Gabbycat

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@Asscherhalo_lover I remembered another question I was just thinking about the other day. When you do get something like a stomach bug, do you find that recovery is any different? For instance, do you get dehydrated more quickly due to not being able to take in as much liquid?
 

Asscherhalo_lover

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@Asscherhalo_lover I remembered another question I was just thinking about the other day. When you do get something like a stomach bug, do you find that recovery is any different? For instance, do you get dehydrated more quickly due to not being able to take in as much liquid?
No, I can drink liquids just fine. I drink about 100oz of water daily. The only thing I'll note is that since I can't vomit much I'm more likely to get it out of the other end. If you think you're ever getting dehydrated switch to Gatorade or Pedialyte. I've never needed to go to the hospital or anything.
 

whitewave

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I had an abnormal 10 second EKG yesterday, which I figured and is why I went.

He is calling if “pre A fib” and said if it progresses into A fib then it’s serious; he repeated that twice. I know because my mom has it.

He said if I have A Fib then we get into hyper coagulation issues, etc, so I told him what the bariatric doc wanted for my labs (factor V Leiden) and he agreed and it took a while to figure out the panel, where to get it and what the codes are and if the hospital lab could do it, etc.

I texted my oncologist friend and he helped them figure it out and I was able to have the blood draw at the hospital main lab yesterday.

I’m supposed to go back a week from today for a chemical stress test and fitted for a 7 day Holter monitor and an echo. I guess that is all getting cancelled, but at least I got that panel in.

He said I’ll likely be put on a beta blocker but that I should start to feel much better (I asked could this be why I feel so bad all the time and he said yes, definitely)...
 

whitewave

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Ok, so my echo was normal and my stress test was normal and no pulmonary hypertension.

However, on my holter monitor, I threw PACs, PVCs and V tach.

(Premature atrial contractions, premature ventricular contractions and ventricular tachycardia)

So my heart structure is fine, but my electrical system is out of whack. I started a beta blocker on Tuesday.

Oh, and my coagulation panel came back normal.


I’m cardiac cleared for surgery on May 5th (fingers crossed surgeries will be happening again!!) and the cardiologist said he will round on me. He also said if I lose a bunch of weight, the symptoms might resolve or at least become less serious.

So that is my update. Sleeve surgery scheduled for May 5th. I will stay one night and it will be in the women’s and children’s center which is not in the main hospital.
 

DAF

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I'm so proud of you, WhiteWave. Thank you for sharing the beginning of your journey.
 

missy

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whitewave

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@Asscherhalo_lover
@DAF
@missy
@OdetteOdile

thank you so much! The doc just left. I feel calm and good about this decision.

I have to sign all of my papers, see nutritionist, pay, and get a coronavirus test (interesting— I better not turn up asymptomatic positive).

One of our closest friends is doing my anest, and he said he won’t change me. I never asked— he insisted.

I don’t know how that works—or if he can even do that, but I appreciate the sentiment.

Every friend and doctor who I’ve told this to have been super excited for me. The docs especially have been funny and supportive.
 

whitewave

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Ok to be complete, because my insurance doesn’t pay for this, I had to buy a surplus lines (I guess that is what it is) insurance policy that covers complications for 90 days post surgery. It’s called Bliscare Insurance and is $1050.00 for the sleeve. Slightly more for bypass but not a lot more. image.jpg
 
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