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My VSG Journey with Dr. Illan



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Hi everybody! I am confirmed for gastric sleeve with Dr. Jalil Illan at Hospital BC on July 17, 2020 and plan to report my progress here to you guys to provide moral support for anyone considering such a dramatic and life-changing decision. I am terrified about having surgery outside the US, and worried about complications during or after the surgery, but have read a lot of great things about Dr. Illan. His staff have been really wonderful through my whole pre-op process so far. I had a fever last week out of the blue, but am feeling better today, and tested negative for Covid. I was worried it was a false negative, so I am scheduled to take another test tomorrow to confirm results. I asked Dr. Illan if I should reschedule due to the fever I had, and he responded that we will stay on schedule for now. I didn't have any respiratory or throat issues with my fever, so I think that may have played a hand in the decision to not reschedule yet. I am almost 50, and have battled my weight all my life. I am looking forward to having this tool to support me in life-long weight management. Wish me luck! I plan to check back in periodically to let you guys know how the surgery and recovery went, and what my new life is like. Please feel free to reach out to me here if you have any questions and I will try to respond to you as soon as I can get back to you. Good luck to everyone here on their journey to find better health and happiness!! :) :) :)

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Best of luck! Just a week away now! I am scheduled with dr illan for August 1. Did you actually talk to him? I only ever talk to his staff. That is one thing I wish I could change about him - he doesn't connect with his patients before they travel to Mexico.

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Hi Daniela! Thanks for reaching out. No, I did not speak with him personally yet, I have only spoken with his staff - Michelle, Bill, Stacy and Frida. Good luck to you too! I will keep in touch with you about my results. Are you on his Facebook group? I am posting there, too, but using my real name. I posted recently that I am having surgery on July 17th, and also about hydration questions. Please feel free to send me a friend request there, or here, & we can exchange contact info if you would like to do that. It helps to know someone else who has personally gone through the same experience, in case you have questions about what you are getting yourself into!! LOL!

Also, my fever has been gone now since Tuesday (3 days). I still don't have results from my second COVID test, but think it is negative based on how quickly I got better. Just wanted to put that out there for anyone wondering. Feeling a lot better, but nervous about the upcoming surgery! Fingers crossed & prayers sent up for very successful outcomes for all of us!! :) :)

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I'm going August 31st! So excited for you and I'll be following your journey :)

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Good luck, @NurseJaci13! We head down to TJ early Friday morning from LA, I am super nervous to have such an invasive elective surgery, but all the research I am doing reflects that Dr. Illan seems to be a really talented surgeon. Fingers crossed that all goes well, and I have an uneventful & speedy recovery. I'm not interested in losing weight super fast, but I am hopeful that this tool simply helps me manage my weight around a healthy BMI for the rest of my life. It's not 100% clear to me how durable the loss of plasma ghrelin is from the removal of the fundus, and whether physical hunger returns with the same intensity as pre-surgery at some point in the future. Additionally, I am hopeful that the new stomach does not relax or stretch into a pre-surgery size, which seems unlikely, based on my research. As long as I can manage to break my emotional attachment to food, and reprogram my perception of food from anti-depressant/comfort source to a dispassionate source of fuel during the initial 12-24 months or so of tightest restriction, I should be successful over the long term.

I will be watching out for your posts, too, and am so happy to meet another of Dr. Illan's patients here. I will update everyone on my experience with him & surgical outcome over the coming weeks. take care ❤️

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Hi everyone! I sincerely apologize that I didn't update you sooner, but I wanted to take a little more time for healing before I came here to share how things went, and my outcome. My surgery in Mexico went very well, and Dr. Illan & his staff are truly amazing. I can tell you 100% that the experience in terms of surgical skill, and post-op care, was as good as, or if not better than what I have experienced in the US. They are true healers and I am so blessed for having found them. I was literally terrified, even going over my account numbers and password with my son before being wheeled off into surgery, and redoing my will & ensuring all financial directives were in order before heading to Mexico, in case something terrible happened. But I can report to you that my experience during the immediate postop, and since then, in the almost two weeks since I got home on July 20th, has been uneventful in a wonderful way. The day after surgery was the most painful day, and I did vomit a little bit of blood. I also experienced a low grade fever and high blood pressure for the first 4-5 days after surgery, as well as the continual gas pains from the CO2 that you are blown up with during surgery, and overall dizziness and exhaustion. But those are all normal reactions to a major surgery. Dr. Illan told me that he used a 36 french bougie on me, rather than the 34, maybe due to my low BMI (?), and dissected my antrum 3-4 cm from the pylorus to help negate after-surgery GERD, and was careful to remove all my fundus & tightly oversew the staple line; but my son said that the photo he took of my stomach was surprisingly small, although I never saw that photo. I will see after time how large my stomach is, and hope it remains tiny enough to restrict food and hunger for a long time. My 4 incisions are healing well, and the worst gas pain which occurs right under my sternum and radiates to my left shoulder, is almost gone at day 13. That type of pain can be a late leak, so I watched it carefully, but it has abated, so I think all is well. I never experienced the dehydration I was afraid of, because I have carefully drank electrolyte enhanced beverages sip by sip as soon as I was out of the hospital. I also surprisingly did not have the expected Migraines except for the first few days after surgery, because I have been a nazi about liquid intake. I graduated to smooth Soups and low fat greek yogurt a few days ago, and even tried some pureed hamburger today, and was able to get that down after burning it to a crisp in the microwave. My diet staples have been sugar free pedialite popsicles, 0 calorie Vitamin Water, chicken broth and several brands of pre-mixed and self-mixed Protein Powder. I was dizzy and exhausted into the second week, and on day 7 added in liquid vitamins, as well as half of an Iron tablet chewable, because my hematocrit and hemoglobin was low & I felt I was becoming anemic. Within a day or so, my energy came back strongly. I am always careful to take some Protein Drink or greek yogurt with my liquid Vitamins, and take the acid reflux meds away from the vitamins so they can be absorbed. At almost two weeks, I feel like the swelling in my stomach has gone way down, because I can drink liquids quite easily again. I have lost about 17 pounds including the pre-diet, but I was not a super-high BMI to begin with, so I expected a slower weight loss. I have to say that it has been surprising that many days I lose 1/2 pound or less when I am eating 300-500 calories per day. I have had no sense of hunger since the day of my surgery, and pray to God that continues. The head hunger has not been an issue while I am awake, but only during sleep, when I have strange dreams involving food, wherein I obsessively dream about food, chowing down on thousands and calories, and then awake in fear I have destroyed my new sleeve, before quickly realizing it was all a bad dream. Those dreams have subsided somewhat over the past couple of days, and were the most intense on the night of surgery and first week of post-op. My unconscious mind was coming around to the realization that something had happened to my body, and was trying to process the loss of food as a comfort tool.

I am struggling now with lots of fatigue, and alternating between feeling so much better that I want to get out and exercise again, and having no motivation to do anything. I am attributing this to the low calorie diet, and hormonal or neurochemical changes that happen after extreme dieting imposed by a surgery like this. My period came a few days early due to the surgery, and was extremely painful with cramps, etc, which I learned through research is attributable to "hormone dumping" which happens when estrogen stored in fat cells is released quickly into the blood stream after quick fat loss. I've been tracking my blood ketones with a meter and I am solidly in ketosis each day, which I expected with a low carb, high Protein & low calorie diet. I wish I could exercise again, to try and improve my energy levels, and improve my mental fog, but am afraid of causing a leak, as I have read stories about people who opened their incisions, or developed an abdominal leak from exercising soon after surgery. I am walking every day, and did some heavy yard work yesterday, but look forward to getting back into a sustained and vigorous exercise routine, if for nothing else my state of mind, as it feels odd to have days of exhaustion and no motivation to do anything. I'm sure that's serotonin/diet related, and surgical healing related as well, as the body works very hard to repair itself after a surgery like this.

That's about all I can think of to report on right now, please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about Dr. Illan, my experience in Mexico, or my healing from the surgery.

take care!

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