I've been over weight/obese all my life. From my earliest memories in childhood I can remember being bigger than all my peers and the older I got, the more my peers would point that out for me. By the time I was in the eighth grade I weighed nearly 200 lbs. When I graduated from high school I weighed a little over 200 lbs. I married my high school sweet heart and we are still married to this day. What a wonderful guy he is. Getting pregnant was a feat I thought would never happen, but at 26 I gave birth to a healthy baby boy and that would be it. No more babies came. I pushed over 300lbs in my 30's. My youth and strength kept me active. I took part in diet after diet. All of my attempts had success and ultimately failure which left me even heavier. I first approached my doctor in my early 30's seeking bariatric surgery. He said I wasn't going to qualify and sent me away dejected. In my mid 30's I tried again to get a referral. He said I had no good health reasons and should pursue Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. By the time I hit 40 I felt my stamina, strength and will slip through my fingers. It was hard to do my job and I refused to step on a scale. I didn't know what I weighed, but I knew it was over 400 lbs. I had pushed away all my friends and my life revolved around my family and...misery. Two years of pain and frustration passed and I finally reached a point where I felt I could no longer work. This was devastating to me. I went back to my PCP and told him I couldn't keep going. I needed help, I wanted surgery. Now..finally I had type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and I felt like I couldn't breathe. When I stepped on the scale it read 474. Immediate depression. But..the referral went out and my feet started down the path to surgery. I started dieting right then and there. When I met with the surgeon he wanted me to lose 100 lbs before surgery. That was devastating, but I nearly did it. VSG surgery with a hiatial hernia fix took place on February 27, 2018. My recovery was pretty easy, but as soon as I hit the solid food stage I knew something was wrong. I couldn't tolerate solids. Up they came over and over. 10 weeks out I had an upper GI and was diagnosed with a stricture right in the middle of my banana tummy. A week later I was put to sleep and a stent was placed in my stomach to try and open the narrowing. Here a week later, I'm not doing so very well. Sick all the time. The food aversions are real. 5 weeks to go.
Update: Last Wednesday I got the stent out. It was a long 7 weeks and so sick I could not work. I took Zofran every 8 hours and wore a scop patch on my neck changed every 3 days. These meds made me a zombie with no life in my soul. I was dizzy when I stood, I couldn't do much of anything but watch tv and lay around all day and I threw up and dry heaved many times daily. It was violent heaving, nothing was pleasant and every day and night was long and hard to endure. When I finally got the stent out, it was broken in two pieces and the stricture was still present. The doctor wanted permission to put a new stent in if necessary, but I refused it. I cried when he said it was best for me to have the stent longer if needed. I was unprepared for him to say this too me and as I cried about the prospect of having the stent longer, I reminded myself how many times I wished I was just dead while I was going through all the nausea and vomiting. I'm documenting this because it is not easy to find information about it. I want people to know this can happen and what it is like. I want people to weigh the risk. I needed this surgery, more than anything. I would still do it again knowing all that I know now, but there is risk and it can be scary and very very hard. The doctor had never seen a person break there stent. I know it was from the violent and HORRIFIC vomiting and retching. I'm not trying to glorify some sobby story of my misfortune, but rather for anyone who needs to know can know what is about to come. I see my surgeon in few days. I feel like a new person atm to be off those horrible meds and to actually feel well. With the nausea gone I'm very active and busy, but weather or not the stent helped open my stomach enough to allow better eating still remains to be seen and tested. I'm trying lots of different things and have had successes and failures. Even if there are a lot of things I cannot ever eat again...I would rather accept that then go back to having a stent.
Update: July 24, 2018
My surgeon really wants to proceed with converting to gastric bypass, now, but I've asked him to monitor me over the next school year and see if we can delay until I'm off again for the summer break. My diagnosis on paper is called Hourglass Stricture 2 cm. Eating is still very hard and unpredictable. Sometimes something that has gone down well before, comes up the next time. I have a lot of anxiety eating in public or out with friends because I never know how the food will sit. I'm going to describe this for anyone who needs to know for themselves, but fair warning, it is gross. I can take about 1/2 cup of food volume in one meal. 1 c. if it's a thin soup. Meat is really hard to eat. Lean boiled ham has been the best so far. I chop it up really small, cook it with egg, eat it on salad, or in stir fry. So when food doesn't sit well, or "get's stuck" my tummy starts making alien slime and saliva in copious amounts. Instead of pushing the food through the stricture it pushes it up, sometimes violently throwing up, or other times its just spit up. In either case, my tummy doesn't make this an easy affair. Instead of expelling the offending food quickly in one throw up, it carries on for 30-45 min spitting up this alien slime and little bits of the food slowly. By the end, I feel tired and frustrated. There are some things I can eat that are never a problem. These things would be classified as puree stage foods. Yogurt, pudding, applesauce, soft soups. I have a decent variety of healthy food I can consume that is mostly okay. I'm very active now, plenty of energy. If things stay this way, I can see a time I will be just utterly tired of all the new restrictions, but I think I could live with it for a while and I plan to.
Update October 13, 2018
I saw my surgeon yesterday. It was a scary appointment to look forward to. I have developed even more food intolerance to the point of just being apathetic to food in general. I sip on protein drinks with little to no interest just because I know I HAVE too. So....the surgeon ordered an upper GI and ultrasound on my gallbladder. This took place a week and a half ago. The doctor who did the upper GI scared the life out of me. He showed me a sleeve that looked completely strictured, top to bottom and spoke out of turn about how "these things happen with these new fad diet surgeries." Because of his carelessness and lack of sensitivity, I spent the last week and a half believing that I was completely wrecked and nothing was going to fix this. My surgeon put me at ease though. More surgery is planned in about a month and a half. He said very confidently that he CAN and WILL fix me. I feel so much better! Despite the eating troubles my blood work looked great! I'm a little scared, but I'm also so very happy to feel this good. Oh, and my gallbladder is gonna go. Gallstone Central down in there :P.
Update: December 3, 2018
I had my revision surgery. I was 5 hours on the operating table, but all went well. Because of the poor imaging done by the radiologist prior to my surgery, my surgeon was surprised by other narrowings in my sleeve, but he was able to position my intestine above the strictures and make everything work out. He did complete me into a gastric bypass which should help me get the last of my weight off too. My gallbladder was in fact filled with sizeable stones and removed. I don't miss it. I think it had been bothering me. My surgery was on the Friday before Thanksgiving and I went home on Sunday pretty early. I was ready! The very next morning after surgery, I was able to drink liquid better than I could before! I was astonished at how poorly food and liquid consumption had really been for me. I am in my week three post surgery now and I am completely fine! My energy is better than ever and if anything I'm a little worried I might be able to eat too much! What a head trip. I still have to follow the normal 6 week post op diet instructions, but my tummy is feeling quite well. I'm having fish with zero problems and look forward to the progression. I don't throw anything up anymore! My fingers are crossed, I'm still a little worried that I will develop more stricture during the last of the healing, but I'm trying not to let my mind go there. So far so great!
Let's see. It's been a year and 3 months almost since I started all this. It's been worth it. Ups, and downs be damned, this was the most important thing I could have ever done to better my health. My diabetes is in remission and controlled by diet, no more hypertension or cholesterol issues. I can go, go, go. To anyone who ever reads this and is thinking about what they should do for themselves I would say, you will KNOW if you need this. The possible complications will not scare you off because you KNOW with every fiber in your body that without this surgery you are lost. You will feel as if you are in a trap you cannot spring yourself from.
Update March 24,2019
About 5 weeks ago I started having stomach aches. I was feeling completely fine, fantastic really and I'd seen my surgeon for a very happy 3 month post op visit. I reported feeling wonderful and then in the days to follow, these strange stomach aches started. I thought little of it at first. The episodes were infrequent but still daily, but easily cured with a small meal. However, in short order the stomach aches became more frequent and more intense. I started to try to see the doctor after two weeks of this and the realization it was getting worse. Getting the authorization from the insurance was delaying the appointment. A week later I called the doctor in tears from the pain. It was all I could think about, every day, every moment. Finally they got their authorization but I would not get to see him for another 5 days. By the time I kept my appointment I was feeling so aweful and tired from inability to sleep. My doctor sent me right to the emergency room and I stayed for two days in the hospital. Cat scan and then endoscopy revealed ulcerations at the surgical sites in my poor tummy. The doctor said it was very swollen and difficult to see things clearly. I'm a little scared. He gave me medications to allow for healing, but he is not sure why I'm not healing properly. He said the surgery sites are deteriorating and I will go back for an endoscopy in 5 weeks to check first hand on the healing. If he is not satisfied it will be surgery again. Jeezus.......
Barely got to see my surgeon yesterday due to a delay in my insurance. Honestly, I was just a fool and not very good at standing up to my doctor's office for not following through and my IPA not moving very fast. In hind site, I should have been pushing the IPA, but its very hard for me to be demanding. Not in my nature. An endoscopy is being scheduled. We'll see how long this takes....sigh. My *** is great as far as picking up the bills, but the down side is that it doesn't move very fast when I need immediate action.
Height: 5 feet 8 inches
Starting Weight: 474 lbs
Weight on Day of Surgery: 388 lbs
Current Weight: 240 lbs
Goal Weight: 160 lbs
Weight Lost: 234 lbs
Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
Surgery Status: Post Surgery
First Dr. Visit: 09/12/2017
Surgery Date: 02/27/2018
Hospital Stay: 2 Days
Surgery Funding: Insurance
Insurance Outcome: n/a