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Gastric Sleeve Patients
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Everything posted by pantala

  1. This month is the 4 year mark for my VSG in Mexico with Dr Garcia. It's still one of the best decisions I ever made. At the time, I told my sister and my grown kids (besides my husband who came with me). I correctly guessed there would be a lot of judgement about the surgery and fear for me going to Mexico to have it. Now, after losing over 100 lbs, and keeping it off for 3 years, I tell a lot of people. I know it helped me to know actual people who had the surgery and were happy with it. But if you suspect there will be negative reactions from family, friends, co-workers, etc., you're probably right and you shouldn't feel like you need to share.
  2. Consider it all part of the journey......When I first mentioned WLS to my PCP I was shocked that she agreed it was a good idea - even though I was below 40 BMI. Then when I mentioned it to my Ob Gyn, he was positive as well! So you just never know. But you may as well get used to putting it out there in the world and learning to handle reactions good, bad, or indifferent. It will help make you strong for what's ahead. Good luck!
  3. pantala

    From Vertical to LapBand

    Like others said, you don't want to use a less effective tool if the more effective tool doesn't work. If your sleeve "fails" the next step would be the duodenal switch (DS) surgery for which the sleeve is a first step. But that is drastic, so give your sleeve (and you!) every chance to work.
  4. Mariah, If you tell the nurses or Dr. Garcia you are nervous, they will give you something to relax you, something along the lines of Valium I believe - it makes waiting for the surgery easier on your nerves. Everyone's experience of recovery is different: some of us have more nausea and pain than others post-op. Just accept your experience but be sure to let the nurses know how you feel and don't be afraid to ask the dr.s if what you are feeling is within the normal range. Same with progress after you go home. It took me the longest time to move from one food stage to the next but I took it slow and five months out, I have no problem getting enough Protein and fluids to do a good workout. That was a good question on your part. As for Protein drinks, this is hard as everyone has different reactions to different brands. I used unjury until I got sick of it. I couldn't stand Isopure from the start and gave it to my husband. Try different brands til you find one you like. And for heavens sake, DO NOT start smoking again! Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors for this surgery and post-op complications. We don't want to read about you on the complications board. Best of luck sweetie! You are very brave even if you don't feel like it.
  5. Sugar free Bomb Pops have saved me this summer: they don't even taste sugar free! And FWIW, I found I DID have to wait to have popsicles after eating; my tummy treated them like liquids. Everyone's different tho.
  6. pantala

    Food scale

    I couldn't do without it! You can't trust your eyes at all and tracking protein grams and calories is critical. Especially if you need to trouble shoot any problems.
  7. pantala

    How many weeks off

    I have a desk job and I was back on day 10 post op.
  8. pantala

    Hair Loss

    I'm at a little over 4 months out and haven't seen any hair loss yet (knock on wood). I have been careful to get required protein down and taking my bariatric vitamins. Or maybe I'm just lucky.....
  9. There is a difference between changes in how things taste and how things agree with my new tummy. I am very sensitive to salty and sweet now: almost all processed foods I find are overwhelming in either salt, sugar or chemicals. Blech. No (or very little) artificial sweetners for me! I still love spicy food but my tummy can't handle it I'm four months post - op so maybe soon I can do salsa but not now.
  10. pantala

    Any vegetarian sleevers?

    I am interested in hearing others experiences as well: I keep meat to a minimum and would like to transition to vegan at some point. I do well with garbanzo beans, tahini, pumpkin seeds and lentils for vegan protein sources. I am 4 months post surgery and grains still do not sit well. Or raw veggies and fruit except spinach which I understand is high in protein.
  11. pantala

    Insurance, self pay, and in-laws, Oh my!

    I'm so sorry this is getting so complicated for you! But even if it weren't for needing $ for the surgery, it would be great to get gma in law's name off the loan; I know but what a hassle. I have bought and sold three properties in the last three years and I think I must be crazy. Hang in there! Just FYI, I had to do self-pay and go to MX as my insurance would not approve me for any WLS and it was the best thing I ever did; great surgeon, awesome care. Best of luck!
  12. I'm a patent agent in a corporate legal department practicing mainly in the biotechnology area. I am four months post-op, lost 45 lbs.
  13. Look into the Duodenal Switch.....the sleeve is the first part of that procedure; it is an improvement on the gastric bypass. Anyway, if you find a surgeon who will do the DS, they will likely consider a sleeve first and if needed, proceed to the switch. I may not be explaining it well, but here is a link: www.dsfacts.com Good luck!!
  14. pantala

    How should I pay?

    Most doctors will specify how they want to be paid, but if it is not brought up, ASK before you go. Many credit cards have a huge (like 15%) surcharge when used in Mexico (Capital One and I believe AmEx do not do this but check). I put down a deposit with my credit card and took a cashiers check (in USD) for the balance.
  15. pantala

    How to choose surgery

    Well no surgery will help you with the carb monster! What I will say is that the first few months after surgery my sleeve has acted as a sort of Antabuse for food: I can really only eat enough to not be hungry and one bite more brings unpleasant side effects. So food in general is not that interesting to me anymore. Now that I am post-op, I love it that my tummy is permanently smaller although before surgery there was a definite "ick" factor when I thought about having most of an organ removed. What helped me was knowing that people have been having part of their stomachs removed for decades (for tumors, cancer and ulcers) which is one reason it's so safe. I know myself and once I learned that the lap band was going to require continued dr visits for fills, unfills, etc., that I would hate it on that basis alone. That was before I started hearing about troubles people were having. I also wanted something permanent. Like Bufflehead said above, the absorption issues with bypass and DS had me cross those procedures off my list as long as the sleeve was an option. I love my sleeve and the new life it has given me: I feel like those women I have always envied who could eat tiny amounts of food and be full and satisfied. Except for my scars (which are fading fast), I don't feel like I've had surgery at all.
  16. pantala

    Giving yourself permission...

    Globetrotter, thanks for starting this topic. I can't remember the exact moment I realized that wastefulness around food was baggage for me but I have been working at being more conscious of this for some time (even before my sleeve). So many people have this issue: my mom has kept containers of spices for 10 years (ewww) rather than throw them out! My husband keeps condiments with 2 teaspoons left until they are dry and hard. I have a dear friend who has no idea what is in the back shelves of her pantry. In each case when I try to throw that crap out, they have a fit. But I get that because almost every time I throw food away I feel a twinge. We all deserve better than to eat outdated, icky, possibly dangerous food. Never mind eating past health and comfort to avoid being wasteful.
  17. What percentage of you not wanting to miss this is guilt and what percentage is wanting to be with your family and brother at this event? 'Cuz if it's more about guilt, I say throw that bugger down the stairs - you went to his first wedding and you just had surgery - really??? Guilt for no good reason serves no purpose. But if it's more about not wanting to miss a big, fun, family event then you might want to put on your big girl panties, take the great advice here about how to handle that, and go!
  18. Yep, that happens to me too! I eat a bit more but I'm more active. Sometimes I think it's the change in routine as much as anything. Congrats!
  19. pantala

    Hush-Puppies are from the Devil...

    I think everyone's different but my downfall is potato chips. Sometimes I just need something salty and crunchy and only potato chips will do. Well I learned the hard way I can have 2, maybe 3 if they're small. You know those teeny bags you get from the vending machine? Yeah, that will last me two weeks. I am 4 months post-op.
  20. Having ANY surgery is a leap of faith: have you ever really read the consent forms you sign in the US? It can scare the isht out of you. Since the consent forms in MX are in Spanish, I'm guessing that's why Dr. Aceves spent some time going over that. But is it really anything you don't already know going in? I can totally respect an individual decision to not have the surgery. But please don't make it about this forum, particular posts, or the folks posting here. It's up to each of us to take responsibility for getting our needs met and living with our choices.
  21. pantala

    Help! Please...

    If you aren't doing well with a new food stage, it's OK to go back to the previous stage and try again in a week. It was ages before I could move from mushies to soft food and at 4 months out, I still stick with mostly soft foods. As long as you are getting your protein, water, and vitamins down, let your tummy and esophagus take the time they need to heal. But do let your dr know.
  22. I have heard of others who developed lactose intolerance after the surgery.....or conversely, those who were lactose intolerant could metabolize dairy better afterwards. Weird. Many of us have the opposite problem - constipation - which it's own kind of misery. I would pester my PCP about treatments til you find something that helps.
  23. pantala


    I had planned on using Isopure clear RTD for the first week after surgery but had a very strange reaction: I got very flushed soon after drinking it and within 12 hours my fingernails (I have thin "eggshell" nails) began peeling. After the first bottle, I didn't make the connection but after the third I stopped drinking it and the symptoms went away. My hubby had to finish the rest of the bottles I had purchased (took him a month...)
  24. pantala

    I need Advice!

    I think you are right to help your daughter now before the situation gets worse - it sounds like there is a true metabolic situation for her. Dr. Alvarez sleeved his niece when she was 14 - teens recover much quicker and will not have the years of physical and mental damage adults have had. Let us know how things turn out!
  25. pantala


    cdunn, I used Dr. Fernando Garcia and was/am very pleased with the care I received from him and his team. My surgery was at florence Oasis Hospital which is full service and paid $4700. Two nights in the hospital and 2 nights at the Marriott (which was lovely and made it feel like a mini-vacation). I am also very happy with the coordinating company Ready4Achange. I hear your concerns about complications and after-care in the US when you get home. There is no easy answer for this. My insurance, Wellmark BC/BS considers self-pay weight loss surgery elective and will not cover complications; the same with plastic surgery (I asked) . It doesn't matter where the surgery takes place. So I got all the tests I could in the months before going to MX: EKG, blood panel, pap smear, chest x-ray, the works. No underlying issues surfaced and that made me feel better. But it was still a leap of faith, I won't lie.