Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why I decided on the Sleeve Gastrectomy

For years I have been thinking about getting a weight loss surgery. I remember about 5 or 6 years ago I talked to several people who had the Gastric Bypass. All were very happy they did it. I can totally understand. It is miserable being hugely fat.

I am considered morbidly obese. I hate that term. Actually my BMI put me in the morbidly obese several points ago. I'm sure it was the same doctor that said I should be weighing 99lbs. I don't think I even weighed that little when I was born. My bones weigh more than 99lbs! Anyways I hate that term morbidly obese.

Back when I was looking at the Gastric Bypass, the cost was astronomical! I think it was around $20-25k. The insurance wouldn't pay for it no matter how much it would save them in the long run nor how much I needed it. Fortunately, I am a complete believer in the fact that God has a plan for me. The plan was not to get the Gastric Bypass and not to lose weight at that time. I don't think we had anyone local who could do the surgery. I would have had to go to Las Vegas.

We now have local surgeons who perform weight loss surgery. They offer the Lap-Band, Gastric Bypass, and Sleeve Gastrectomy.

The Lap-Band is not for me. Typical Lap-Band patients lose weight very slowly and it needs constant attention to continue to lose weight. There are some people who are happy with it, but a lot of the information I have found shows that it doesn't work as well for people who need to lose more than 60lbs. The one person I know personally who had the Lap-Band didn't lose any weight the first year she had it. Mainly because she didn't do the follow ups as required and it had not been filled as needed.

I thought that since the Lap-Band was not for me the only other option was the Gastric Bypass. I was all set to have that surgery, but I was very troubled by the fact that the stomach stayed in there not really doing anything. I know that it does stuff, but basically its not used and it just gave me creepy feelings to think that there was something in my body petrifying. I was also having problems with the malabsorption. I really was not looking forward to having my hair fall out. But I was willing to put up with it to lose this damn weight.

I went on to our local surgeon's website and noticed the Sleeve Gastrectomy was listed as an option at the bottom. At first, I dismissed it. Never heard of it. The more I went back to the website, the more I looked at it as an option. It was perfect for me. No bands to get filled and it didn't bypass anything. There wasn't any problems with malabsorption either. They consider it a rather new procedure.. for weight loss anyways. Basically what they do is cut out 85% of your stomach. The part they cut out is the stretchy part. What is left is the harder fibrous part of the stomach. I think the scariest part of it all is that it is the only surgery that is not reversible. The nice thing about it is its the same price as the Lap-Band.

Both the Lap-Band and Sleeve Gastrectomy is around $14k. The Gastric Bypass runs about $17k. Insurance companies will now typically pay for the Lap-Band or Gastric Bypass because there are long-term (10+ years) data on them. The Sleeve Gastrectomy's data is only about 5 years old as far as weight loss surgery goes. I think I am glad that I do not have insurance at this point as it doesn't bias my options.

With any of the options, you are required to do a 2-week liquid diet prior to the surgery. This is to reduce the fatty content of your liver which needs to be moved out of the way during the surgery. With the fatty content out of your liver, it is stiffer and easier to move aside. Then you are on a liquid diet for two weeks after your surgery while your stomach heals. I would imagine this will help your weight loss dramatically that first month and give you encouragement.

My fears... you would think pain would be the first one..but actually it comes second to the anesthesia. Eleven years ago I had an out-patient hernia correction surgery. When I awoke, as I have with previous surgeries, I was very nauseous. I had dry heaves the first hour. It was horrible. I then lay in bed nauseous for a week, but had to get up and go to work the following week. A woman I worked with suggested I get some anti-nausea medicine from my doctor. He prescribed me Compazine. A little known fact about Compazine .. a side effect that rarely occurs is sever panic attacks. I have never had a panic attack before so of course didn't recognize it when it occurred. I absolutely believed I was going to die. Right then.. I didn't know from what.. but I was certain I was going to die that instant. This literally destroyed my life for three years. If you have lived with anxiety attacks you know exactly what I am talking about. If you live with anxiety attacks, the way to fix them is cranio sacral work. A special thanks goes out to Brian Fisher who saved my life. Since he worked on me, I have not had an anxiety attack and we are talking about over seven years now. I explained this fear to the doctor's office and they assured me that there are things they can do to make sure this does not happen.

Next would be the pain. I had my gall bladder out many years ago and I was told it would be about the same. I do not remember having any severe pain with that, but what I have heard from people is that there is a lot of pain when they wake up. My theory is its from the stretching that is caused when the gas is pumped into you to stretch your abdomen so they have room to perform the surgery. I understand there is pain, but it seems to only last a day or two. It will be worth it!!

My next concern would be the saggy skin. This is more of a concern than a fear. I can guarantee that saggy skin is the same skin I have right now just without the fat in it. I am going to start saving up immediately for cosmetic surgery. I will work on it while I'm losing the weight, but I will be prepared if the surgery is needed afterwards. If for some miraculous reason I do not need the surgery.. Costa Rica here I come!!!

I am not sure I will be posting before pics in the beginning. Its very hard. If you have seen the pics on my Facebook, you will notice that I do not post any pics that really show how fat I am. I was tagged by my niece in a picture that was taken many years ago, and I removed the tag so no one looking at my page could see the pic. (Kelly, just in case you wondered why my tag was removed lol.) That goes along with listing my current weight. I am not sure I will have the guts to do it. Maybe after I lose some. I don't know.. maybe I will just do it all. Its not like I'm hiding it from anyone. Anyone who knows me knows how fat I am. Its not like my clothes hide 50lbs. HAHA I know my pics hide it as I do not post any pics that show how truly fat I am. I do have the pics. I always take the pics because I know that eventually I will have to have before pics. When I see a picture that I think is horrendous I always think.. that will make a good before pic!

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