I signed up to this forum solely to pass along our story in hopes others can learn from our experience.
Please read (It IS a long read)
As soon as I picked up the phone & heard her crying, I knew it was bad news.
Her Specialist had diagnosed her with advanced Liver Fibrosis.
Between her tears & what she said, I felt like I had the wind sucked out of me.
So what now? Almost as quickly as I took in the news, a sense of
to spring up within me. I had waited 45 YEARS to meet my soulmate & I
was damned if I was gonna lose her now.
"We have to tell Dr. Kantner" I insisted to her. Her Obesity Specialist.
Yes, my wife is Overweight & has type 2 diabetes. And to be hit with
this news on top of everything else...
Through fate or fortune, she had stumbled into our specialist's care
through me, as I was already seeing the specialist
for my own weight issues & shortly, after we met, I told her about my
Doctor & thankfully, Dr. Kantner took her on as well.
Through her own program, Nancy was scheduled for Bariatric surgery.
Specifically, Gastric Bypass.
We prepared to wait up to possibly 2 years for her surgery, but now
the situation had changed. Would she even be able to make it that
She did tell Dr. Kantner & somehow, through her influence, was
able to fast track Nancy to having her surgery within six months.
Still a bit of a wait, but a lot better than having to wait two years!
So now the waiting. And being the anxious personalities that we are,
it seemed to take forever.
But as the days drew closer to the date, it began to get more & more
real, until finally that morning,
when we were up at 4am, we knew this was happening. Finally!
I had spent that last few months emotionally supporting her,
reassuring her how everything was going to be just fine,
while at the same time trying to convince myself of the same. It had
finally reached zero hour & we were on our way to the hospital.
Her surgery was scheduled for 7:45am, so we had to be there at
least two hours prior to prepare.
I gave her as much encouragement as I could until she was told to
change into her hospital gown
& I followed alongside her on the stretcher till the last possible
second when our tightly clasping hands reluctantly separated
and she disappeared into the Operating Room. For the first time, I
felt helpless as her fate was now in the hands of the Surgeon.
Perhaps I was being a tad overdramatic as the procedure usually takes
anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes.
Counting on this, I went over to the McDonalds across the street,
where I figured I'd pass the time
by having a long, leisurely breakfast.
So, as I enjoyed my Sausage & Egg McMuffins & Hashbrowns, I watched
the time go slowly by.
8:00, 8:45, 9:10... Still no word. I couldn't sit still any longer, so
I went into the Mall & wandered around.
9:30, 9:50... still no word. Now, I was getting worried. Maybe she was
already done & they didn't have my phone number
to let me know to come & pick her up? 10:00. I stopped by the Pizzeria
& had a slice & tried to make it last as long as I could.
10:20, I had another slice. Finally, at 10:40 I felt my phone vibrate.
It was the hospital.
"Well," The Doctor said. "It wasn't easy, but we got it done."
Apparently, her previous surgery from 20 years ago for Acid Reflux had
caused some "challenges" for them.
But, even though it had taken longer than anticipated, it was finally
done. I could pick up my wife & we could go home.
But when I got back to the hospital, she still hadn't been moved to
the Recovery Ward. What's going on?
About an hour later, I'm let up to see her in a room that felt
entirely too small & too hot.
I looked into her exhausted face & when she opened her eyes, we both
felt it. That mutual spark of joy we bring to each other.
"Hi Honey," she said in a weakened tone. She HAD been through
something. But it was finally done.
Her Surgeon soon arrived & filled me in on the particulars. Because it
had been a "complicated surgery"
They would have her stay overnight for observation. Great. I have to
go home without my wife.
I stay with her till the evening & I go home around 8pm. I call a taxi
& indulge in McD's Drive through on the way home.
I wake up in the unfamiliar position of not having my Nancy beside me.
I don't like it.
I get up & get dressed first thing. I can't wait to pick her up & take her home.
I call the taxi & return to the hospital & grab a Starbucks,
conveniently located in the main lobby.
I get upstairs & there she is. Looking much chipper than yesterday.
She is understandably weak still, so we wait patiently
for the doctors to give her the all-clear to go home.
Once again, 11am..., 12noon... she ultimately wouldn't be released
till 2:30pm. But, she was finally released.
We taxi home & I assist her to our suite & I deposit her on the couch.
She is still in some discomfort,
despite having taken painkillers that morning. We both figured having
a good night's sleep should help.
The next morning, having barely slept & taking painkillers all night,
she is still in pretty rough shape.
Still sore & not even able to swallow even a drop of water without
In her recovery plan, it says to expect some "discomfort" immediately
but I'm beginning to wonder if discomfort includes burning dry pain
whenever she even tries to take a breath.
Fortunately, I had booked the whole week off work, so I could be home
to help her through her recovery.
But after 5 days, things don't seem to be getting any better. If
anything, in fact, they were getting worse.
The Doctor gave us his private number & encouraged us to update him
every day, which we did.
Despite our relating her situation to him, he dismissed it as being normal.
Now I may not be a doctor myself, but I can tell when something's not
right. Especially when it comes to my Nancy.
By the time came for me to return to work, I was an anxious ball of
nerves, as I checked in with her whenever I could,
and whenever she wasn't napping to try & deal with the pain, she would
tell me of how bad it was getting.
SNOWMAGEDDON 2019. It had dumped nearly 20 cm overnight. NOTHING was
moving. Even the busses had been grounded.
I figured I would get a pass from work due to the situation, but when
I called in & pleaded my case, they were so determined
to have me show up for work, the president of the company himself
drove out to my place in snow chains to drive me to work.
I was not only astounded they would do such a thing but genuinely
enraged. That they would put such effort into manning
their shift, when the rest of the world had pretty much shut down.
On this particular morning, Nancy was in more pain than she had ever
been in. I really didn't want to leave her to go to work.
I explained this to the President, to which he turned a blind ear.
So, after an hour's commute which by taxi would ordinarily take about
20 - 30 mins, I am deposited at my site, to which
anyone around was astounded there was someone working the shift.
Trying to hold my anger at my company at bay, while dealing with all
the problems that the snow was causing, & would continue to cause
throughout the day, I soon found out that I would be working a double
shift because my relief was unable to make it to work?
Strange how the president wouldn't also give that person a ride to work...
When I finally was able to check in with Nancy at 5pm. She was NOT doing well.
She was in so much pain, she couldn't stand it. We both agreed
something was VERY wrong & we called the Ambulance.
So. Now I have the prospect of working still another 7 hours in the
WORST snowstorm I had ever been in.
My wife was home waiting for an Ambulance & I'm stuck here. Helpless.
I call my boss pleading how I need to leave because my wife was on her
way to emergency.
After he practically cut me off in mid-sentence with an abrupt "NO.
You have to stay till the end of your shift!"
I snapped. I couldn't hold back any longer. I BLASTED him, screaming
obscenities in a rage-filled tirade telling them how
they were a bunch of heartless fucks who only cared about making money
& how they didn't give a flying f**k about their employees.
I got home just as the Ambulance had arrived. I have no idea by
what miracle she was even able to get one as it was a frozen tundra
But an ambulance did show up, festooned in chains & 2 saints who would
answer the call of duty on this disastrous night.
My Nancy was doubled over in pain sitting on the computer chair. So
much pain that we had to move her in the chair,
into the elevator & down to the lobby as there was no way to get the
stretcher upstairs. Not even a stokes could be used.
But with the help of some god-sent residents, we are all able to
transfer her into the stretcher outside & finally into the Ambulance.
To give you an idea of just how bad the snowstorm was, ordinarily we
would be no more than 5 minutes max from the Hospital as we lived
not even 2 blocks away. But even with chains, the Ambulance struggled
through the impassable road & we got to Emergency in about 15 mins.
As we unloaded her, the inevitable throng of Crachkeads, Junkies &
other Mentally Ill people that clog up our system was crowding the
area. But again, we were fortunate enough to be fast-tracked & she was
in the ward within the hour.
I never spent a more uncomfortable time than when I sat with her
there. I stayed as long as I could,
but was exhausted & could no longer stay awake & trudged through the
snow back home.
I really didn't sleep a wink the rest of the night. How could I?
My Wife was in Hospital,
& I was alone at home for the first time in 5 years & I hated it. I
couldn't think straight,
I couldn't even eat. I certainly couldn't sleep. In some ways, I was
worse off than she was.
For the rest of the night, I sat anxiously, wondering if/when I should
phone to find out her status.
Finally, around 10am the next morning, I called, only to find out she
had been transferred to Richmond Hospital.
Holy ****. What now? I called the Taxi immediately & raced out to
Like everyone in this life, I too have had my share of sadness &
sorrow. Even Heartbreak sometimes.
I don't know HOW to label the feeling I felt when I got to see Nancy
in her own tiny room in ICU.
But seeing her there, with all kinds of tubes & wires running in & out
of her looking like something from Star Trek.
I felt weak. PHYSICALLY weak. Like I was going to pass out. I had
never seen my Nancy this way. My mind couldn't process what I was
Quickly, I stepped out. I couldn't hold back. Tears just exploded out.
I never knew a person could feel this depth of sorrow.
I told myself, Snap out of it man! You've GOT to be strong! If not for
your sake, then for HER sake!
I don't know how, but I gathered myself together & re-entered her
room. Her eyes were closed. The nurse told me she was heavily sedated
& that she might not recognize me. But when Nancy weakly opened her
eyes & she saw me standing over her, she knew. WE knew.
that look of love we share was there. Again, fighting back the urge to
bawl my eyes out, I said: "Hi Honey."
My hand around hers, she weakly gripped my hand. I closed my eyes &
just sat with her while she came in & out of consciousness.
I had never felt such sorrow. Such a feeling of helplessness. I stayed
as long as I could until it became clear she needed to rest.
Taking the Taxi back into town, I stopped by McDonald's & loaded up on
comfort food. I didn't care. I needed something, anything to feel
To at LEAST, not feel what I had felt in that room.
I won't even speculate how much money I was throwing away on Taxi
rides to & from Richmond & the West End.
I only know that with an average of $30.00 per trip, I was rapidly
cutting into our bank account.
Needless to say, I returned the next day. Although still upsetting to
see her this way, it wasn't as shocking as yesterday.
I still felt like crying, but I was able to at least put more of a
brave face on. Although I knew she knew what I was feeling.
I returned again the next day, only to find she had been moved to the
THANK GOD! The first positive since this whole thing began. This time
she was in a bigger room with 3 other patients.
When I saw her sleeping in her spot, I quietly as I could pulled up a
seat to her bedside & within a minute, she opened her lovely eyes
and when I saw how they lit up, I felt like crying all over again. She
still had all her tubes, including Breathing in, but now she was
able to speak. She was still heavily sedated & communication was
difficult, she looked a whole lot better & at this point,
this was all I could ask for. I stayed with her until around 8pm,
althewhile the Nurses tended to her as I could never imagine.
I'd like to mention here just how special these people are. As I
write this, we are in the midst of the COVID 19 Pandemic,
and living just 2 blocks away from St. Paul's Hospital, we are
privileged to be able to not only see & feel the love for
the incredible Medical staff, but we are able to lend our small voices
to the raucous applause in appreciation every night at 7pm.
As nice a gesture as this is, I still don't think it's enough. These
people are heroes in every sense of the word.
I was already blown away by how well they took of my wife through the
entire ordeal, but seeing these brave souls
risking their lives each & every night. There is simply no possible
way to ever thank them enough.
But back to my story. I won't outline each & every visit I made
out to Richmond during Nancy's Recovery.
Only by the time she was FINALLY released, it had been nearly TWO
MONTHS since her initial surgery, which was supposed to be a day
surgery with an overnight for observation. During this time, she had
undergone a total of 4 surgeries & 2 "procedures"
SIX bodily invasive procedures in total. Not the least of which
included the placing of a Stent on her stomach,
due to a rupture caused by the initial surgery, which would end up
causing leaking from her stomach to further complicate things.
But today, this was it. She was finally coming home. There was no
particular time set for her release.. I didn't care.
I was there before noon & as soon as I got there, I packed up all her
belongings & sat with her anxiously on the bed,
just waiting for the word. 1 pm. No word. 2 pm, 3 pm... she ultimately
wouldn't be released until 10 pm.
The Taxi Driver was most courteous & helpful in assisting us with our
many bags, including a Walker.
I held the lobby door as she hobbled in, escorted her to the elevator
& when I opened that door to our apartment
and she crossed the threshold, an indescribable sense of both joy &
relief washed over me. My wife, my Nancy was home!
Our story wasn't over. Not yet.
Despite the stent being applied to her leaking stomach and having to
carry around what can only be described as a
miniature Colostomy bag that more looked like a grenade than anything,
her suffering was STILL not over.
Along with the awkwardness of carrying around the bag, who's smell is
something you have to experience to believe,
she now had to contend with not only being able to physically FEEL her
stent inside her but the resulting gas, nott o mention
involuntary heaving due to her body trying to reject this foreign
object would make the next several weeks nothing short of challenging.
Imagine having to put up with the urge to throw up, several times a
day, but never projecting anything, but waking up in the middle
of the night because of it. This, accompanied by substantial gas
pains, which also added to her struggle.
Yet through it all, she bore it. I could tell just how much pain &
discomfort she was in & at some points,
wondered if maybe she had been released too early. But somehow, this
exceptional woman endured for weeks.
To their credit, the Hospital didn't leave her high & dry. She was
being checked in on & her doctor had even given her his private
number, asking her to text him every 2 days with an update to how she was doing.
She even had weekly appointments at the Wound Care specialist, to
ensure her leakage bag was functioning properly.
Weeks later, her drainage bag was not only NOT slowing, but seemed to
be getting WORSE.
Bad enough so that once AGAIN, she had to go to Richmond Hospital.
Although this time, not only was the procedure
successful, but they even removed her stent, which only made sense as
she was already there.
She has been 1000 % better ever since. She is STILL leaking from her
stomach, but there is considerably less now
& most importantly, she is pain-free for the first time in months so
she can enjoy the rest of this Pandemic Lockdown in peace.
Our story isn't even anywhere NEAR done.
It's now March and not only do we have to deal with this
Pandemic/Lockdown, Nancy's tube had become dislodged.
Another trip to the Doctor. One positive that came from this, was that
they decided to not only remove her colostomy bag
but to ALSO remove the stent, despite it not being scheduled for a few weeks.
With the cursed thing FINALLY removed, she instantly felt %1000 percent better.
At LAST. The whole ordeal is finally over.
Or was it?
Of COURSE not.
After her stent was removed, Nancy would get the best news yet.
She would have to GO THROUGH THE WHOLE DAMN THING AGAIN!
Yes. You read that right. Whatever sport god was having with my Nancy,
he STILL wasn't done toying with her.
In short, the sleeve around her stomach had come loose, in effect,
undoing the entire surgical procedure!
I couldn't believe it. My sensory perception can only process so much.
Are you f**king KIDDING???
At this point, I'm convinced I'm just having a nightmare.
Because there's just no way possible this much bad news can happen to
anyone. It's just not humanly conceivable.
As I resign myself to this, we follow the plot of this terrible dream
who's storyline now plays out that
she will have to re-book a new surgery date sometime within a year, so
with little choice, I submit my will
to my apparent dream-state & can only hope I, that WE wake up soon to
escape this nightmare.
SO, Why do I tell this story?
Simply as a warning to all those who are considering undergoing
Gastric Bypass, or any other kind of Bariatric surgery.
Granted, this is probably an extreme case in the negatives column, but
it DID happen & I ask you to please read this before you make
your decision whether Bariatric Surgery is an option for you, or not.