On Monday, I had a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy. I wish I could say that I feel great and that I have absolutely no regrets. But, OA only works when you are completely honest. And in all honesty, I’ve been wondering a lot about my decision this week. Not that there is anything I can do about it. What’s done is done, and this surgery cannot be reversed.
First, let my share my pre-surgery stats. My weight as of Thursday, May 19 was 425 pounds. Yes, I know that is a rather larger number, but I feel good about it. Why? Because on the day I started my liquid-only diet, my weight was 445. A twenty pound loss in 10 days—without feeling like I was depriving myself—is pretty awesome! And when I think that it was May 19 when I started on a food plan and I have not deviated from that plan—WOW! Sixteen days of abstinence feels pretty good!
My body measurements as of Saturday, May 21, 2011:
- Neck 16.5 inches
- Bicep 21.25 inches
- Bust 60.25 inches
- Waist 61.5 inches
- Hips 73.5 inches
- Thigh 34 inches
I was a little bummed that I didn’t get weighed at all while I was in the hospital. I have to see my PCP next week, and I will get a weight then. It is gonna drive me halfway insane not knowing my weight until then!
The surgery went well. I was a little scared at first. There are risks with any surgery. A part of me was concerned that I might not survive the surgery. But I told my husband on the way to Ann Arbor, “I am going to die if I don’t do something. At least if I go on the table, it will be because I was trying to make my life healthier.” I have purple marks on my belly where the doctors could have made incisions—six different places. But one of those places wasn’t needed. The incision areas are itchy now. They were just glued shut, no stitches or anything. As they heal and the glue dries more and more, it itches more and more. But I am being good and not picking at it or anything.
The problem happened Tuesday morning. A nurse came into my room to check my vital signs around 5:30 or so. My blood pressure was high (not a big surprise as it has run high for a while now—and is one of the reasons I wanted the surgery) so she returned with a syringe of something to help bring that down. Almost as soon as that medication went into my IV, I felt odd. I was hot all over, sweating when I’d been comfy before, and my heart was racing. I felt like it was going to beat right out of my chest. I told my husband who told the nurse who told the team of doctors…. An EKG was ordered immediately and I was moved from the general surgical floor to a room in the cardiac unit where my heart could be monitored more closely. They told me my heart had gone into a fib—arterial fibrillation. The way I understand it, part of my heart was beating too fast and the other part was not beating fast enough. There was concern that possibly my sleeve was leaking (that was ruled out with the swallow study, which showed everything inside was just as it should be.) The doctors insisted it had nothing at all to do with the medication that I’d been given for my blood pressure. Still not sure if I believe that, but OK. I was told that this is a normal complication of surgery near the heart muscle, but that they were rather surprised to see it in a woman my age. Even though I’d been prepared to walk within hours of the end of my surgery, I was not allowed out of bed. The doctors wanted me to get into a normal heart rhythm before I moved much.
I was put on medications right away to bring my heart back into a normal sinus rhythm. It didn’t work as quickly as hoped. Actually, I think it was the third type of medication they tried that actually worked. Because it took so long to get it under control, I expected at least one extra day in the hospital.
Imagine my surprise when the surgical intern asked me Wednesday morning if I’d like to go home that afternoon! Once my heart rate was under control, I was able to get up and walk around without problems. After I passed the swallow study, I was put on clear liquids and I tolerated that rather well. The intern wanted to advance me to full liquids and said if my tummy tolerated that OK, I could leave Wednesday afternoon. It went well and I was home with my husband and sons by 5:00.
I did have one other problem while in the hospital. All of my medications need to be either crushed or in liquid form for 2 months, standard procedure for bariatric surgeries. They ordered a liquid version of my anti-depression medication. The problem is that it was flavored with peppermint, and I am allergic to peppermint. Knowing that most liquid medications have a nasty taste, I just took this in one swallow. So I didn’t notice the peppermint taste until after the entire dose was down. Not that it stayed down. The nurse stood beside me, rubbing my back as it all came back up. She felt so horrible because she knew I was allergic to peppermint, but had no idea the medication was flavored with it. The next morning, we tried opening the capsule and sprinkling it on my food. That has such a disgusting taste that I can barely get it down. So now I am waiting for my psychiatrist to call and let me know what to do. I’d love to go without the pills until my tummy heals enough to be able to tolerate taking pills, but I am not sure that is a very good idea. Maybe I can mix it with sugar-free chocolate pudding. Everything tastes better with chocolate, right?