*Disclaimer: Amanda Wilde is not a medical professional and there for is not giving advice on the practice. She is simply explaining her first hand experience of the process & procedure. Mama Gracie's Pregnancy Shop & Spa does not endorse or promote weight loss surgery for any insurance or medical institution. MGPS is allowing Amanda to provide information of her own personal feelings and experiences dealing with weight related issues with concerns to overall health and fertility*
So many of you wanted to know more about weight loss surgery. And I don't blame you. It's not a highly discussed topic. I will say right now that this is NOT for everyone. It is a personal choice that is backed up by health and medical need. What do I mean by that? Well... put it this way...
Weight and body build are different for each person. Everyone carries weight differently. A 5'4" woman who is 225lbs is going to look different from a 5'7" woman at the same weight. Weight is just a number and the BMI chart is bogus (if you ask me). How do you feel? Are you physically healthy? Are you taking care of yourself by eating proper foods & exercising? For me personally the mental aspect as well as my genetics played a large roll in my weight struggle. I really didn't realize how much of a mental game it was until I had the surgery.
Here is a more in depth break down of what I did and had to do...
I talked to my primary care provider in the late fall of 2014 and discussed getting a refferal for Weight Loss Surgery (WLS). I then had my first visit with the weight loss care team (WLCT). The first visit was to discuss my overall initial candidacy from a surgeons perspective.
I was worried that I would be considered too young or not "unhealthy" enough to get this done. You have to remember I was having a slue of issues. My horrid acne was a sign of going down the path of being pre-diabetic. I had high blood pressure and was put on a med for my acne that had a side effect of lowering BP. This worked for me pretty well. I also had really bad anxiety & some depression - not helping the BP at all. When they did more tests they found out that my cholesterol was "elevated" and on the tipping point of being considered high where I would need to be put on medications. I also, had back, knee and foot pain from all the access weight. At the time I had been working with kids and I was constantly moving but extremely sore at the end of each day. It was nice to hear that the surgeon listed to my concerns and as to WHY I wanted the surgery.
1) Overall health
2) Preventative measures due to family history of many weight related complications
3) Future Pregnancies!!!
He validated all my feelings on this. I knew I had picked the right Doctor to meet with.
Anyway... after that visit went to the informational seminar to learn more about the different types of surgery.
-Gastric Band: an actual object that restricts how much you can eat at one given time. From the support groups I have been apart of many individuals who had the band are actually having a revision done to get the sleeve.
-Gastric Bypass: This has been one of the more popular ones. Even though you keep your stomach you are literally skipping the digestions process of the stomach and going directly into the intestine. This process is most commonly used for individuals who have more than 100lbs of access weight to lose.
-Sleeve Gastrectomy aka Gastric Vertical Sleeve: For this operation they take away 75-80% of your stomach. I like to use the analogy from a large bean to a small banana. What really drew me to this surgery was the fact that I could keep my pylorus (a pouch at the end of the stomach that helps with absorption of nutrients before entering the intestine). For me this was important because I wanted to reduce my chances of nutrient deficiency as much as possible, especially when I want to have children. The statistics say that with the sleeve a person will (on average) lose 60-80% of their access weight.
So, check out the chart below and get to see what each of them look like as well as a chart about the health issues that can be changed with having surgery.
Ok, so where was I? Oh yes... after the educational seminar.... I then started my 6 months of routine doctor visits that required food & activity keeping a journal. At about month 4, I saw the therapist. That was interesting... (I will talk about mental health in a later blog).
Did my mental/personality testing in month 5 and reviewed everything on my checklist month 8. At about that time there was a laps in my insurance. I went about 6 weeks without insurance and therefore couldn't submit my request. It was so frustrating! When I was finally able to submit it, I was well into 10 months of this process. The insurance application review process takes up to 30 days. I am happy to say that mine was approved within 2 weeks. Those two weeks were very stressful for me. I had a lot of emotions going on.
After that process, I had to meet with my surgeon a few weeks later to finalize the type of surgery I was going to have. In that same appointment we scheduled my surgery date! Exciting! Tuesday December 15th, 2015. There it was. Written in black and white. A day & even a time! Scheduled for 9am. I was to report to Pre-op by 7am. Wow!!!
*WARNING* below are pictures of my abdomen & my hand with an IV (in case anyone is squeamish).
December 15th came. It was time and I couldn't believe it. My husband was with me from start to finish. I didn't get much sleep the night before because I had a combination of nervousness & major excitement.
I was told to report to the hospital at 5am. I arrived and ended up waiting until 7am for prep then another few hours before they took me back. My husband was with me for prep. When they were about to wheel me off for surgery they gave me an IV of drugs and I got loopy almost right away which was probably a good thing because I wanted Mike with me but knew I couldn't. I don't remember much during the transfer except for a point where I was on the table and they were getting everything good to go and the anesthesiologist was telling me to take deep breaths. I vaguely remember seeing everyone dressed in sanitized dull blue or white scrubs with blue paper everywhere and some big bright lights. The next thing I remember I woke up in my room not entirely sure where I was - and with the worst cotton mouth I had in my life! And I couldn't drink water. I was only allowed the sponge swabs. In regards to being sore or in pain I honestly felt stiff. Almost as if I had done a million crunches at a gym. I think the worst discomfort I had was the odd chest pain I felt. Note: this was totally normal. They put a scope down your mouth into your stomach and with the surgery a lot of air gets into the system feeling like really bad gas build up. I just felt mine closer to my chest. Walking REALLY helped. That's why I walked a ton! Besides all the walking frequently due to being bored I slept. I didn't watch too much TV.
I felt bad for Mike because he didn't get much sleep the night before surgery or the night of. The hospital recliner worked ok but I wished he could have been in bed with me. I get needy when something big like this goes on (maybe it's an insight into how I will act during pregnancy, labor/birth???).
The day after surgery I was asked if I wanted to shower - and YES I really wanted to. It was really weird though because I felt sooooo slow. I felt so good afterwards though. One of the nurses even did me a big favor by braiding my hair afterwards because I didn't want to raise my hands above my head. Then it was time to try and drink some fluids and keep them down. The nurses also wanted to know when I urinated, when I had a bowl movement or any gas & needed to see it. Sorry but it's the truth.
I never said this was glamorous.
By 5pm that day I was released from the hospital and got to go home to be with my fur babies! Mike was worried they would jump on me but they did really good about not jumping.
The fist couple of days at home I spent a lot of time in the recliner with Mike ordering me around to get up and walk consistently (like a good"husband-nurse"). At the time of the surgery I had a slight cough afterwards and OMG that sucked! Mike was good about making sure I had a pillow to press up against my abdomen. I wasn't sick it was more of a dry winter cough (anyone from Minnesota would understand what I mean).
I really hated meal times at my house though. I was pretty crabby about particular smells because they made my mouth water but I was NOT interested in eating. This was the real test for the first 4 days after surgery to get over the mental game. About day 5 food smells didn't bother me and I was able to start controlling that little voice in my head telling me I should want to eat unhealthy foods.
At my one week appointment I had lost 10lbs! My incisions looked good and I was feeling pretty good.
As time went on more and more weight was being lost. I was "disappearing" before my coworkers eyes. They were extremely supportive (Shout out to all the lovely ladies at Light House Learning Academy in Zimmerman! I miss you all!)
My access weight according to BMI charts and profes
sional observations was 100lbs. I am so happy to say that I have even surpassed the 80% mark. I have lost 86lbs as of 7/8/2016 which would put me at 86% of my access weight gone. For me that is huge! I haven't seen the scale that low since.....high school maybe?
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