Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Under the VSG knife.

I typed in about 4 post titles and for right now I'm going to leave "under the knife" as the title to this post. So, as one might imagine this might indicate that I'm going to have surgery.  If your nose and previous knowledge pointed you to that, you would, in fact, be correct. 

On April 17th a mere 12 days from now, I'm going to have a vertical sleeve gastrectomy. In short, VSG. One of the first things many people say in response is, "well I trust you've researched this and know this is the best option for you" or some variation on that point.  This is surprising to me because any person I've told, obviously they are someone I do know well and they should know me well enough to know that I do my homework and if my highly anxious self is willing to have a surgery, it has come to {surgery} this as the only remaining option. Or, subsequently, being overweight and being able to do nothing about it.  Nothing about it you say?  Yes that's correct. I have documented medical treatment and attempts for the past 6-7 years of trying to not be obese. If you've been a reader of this blog you know that approximately 6 years ago I was part of a medical research study at University of Tennessee. For 6 months they gave me all of my food, I had weekly check ups, I abide by their every word on what to do. I did lose weight. And, at the conclusion of that study, it was discovered that I likely had PCOS. Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome is no baby game. It's awful. It's hard. It's emotional. It hurts your body. It eliminates your ability to deal with insulin. It's a monster.
Flash forward these many years later, I'm done with it. Hearing the doctor say at one of my latest appointments that he thinks "the PCOS will entirely go away" was absolute music to my ears. And I'm a strict critic on what's music to my ears.

I am now on day 3 of my 14 day pre-operation liver diet.  It's not easy. Going cold turkey on all chewable foods is really tough.  Occasionally, I'll see in discussion boards people that think folks who have bariatric surgery are taking the easy road.  I will wildly beg to differ.  Getting to the point you get to have a surgery date for bariatric surgery is a lot of work.  Ever wonder what goes into it?
Here's what you have to do:
1. Find a bariatric surgeon you're comfortable with and that is close to your house. If they're not close by everything else just gets really complicated.
2. Attend an information meeting at your chosen bariatric clinic.
3. Find out if your insurance will pay for the surgery. If it does not, they you have to figure out if you can finance it through any of the clinic options.  If your insurance does pay for it then your list of steps gets way longer. My insurance did not pay for it. I am cash paying. This is a double edge sword. If your insurance pays for it, it takes on average of 6-8 months longer to get a surgery date. If you cash pay then this is what happens next...
4. You attend a group/support class. During this approximately 5 hours class, you also get instruction from a licensed nutritionist how to not only prepare for the surgery but what happens after surgery.
5. You have a psych evaluation with a social worker.  The social worker I met with was at the hospital and focuses in this specific area (weight loss/eating disorders/morbid obesity).
6. Radiology appointment.  This was fascinating.  Probably my favorite appointment. You drink a variety of liquids. The Radiologist watches how you swallow, how your stomach reacts, looks to see if/how your body deals with acid reflux/indigestion and so on. Really cool appointment.
7. Meeting with the Chattanooga Bariatric Nurse Practitioner.  This appointment was the last one I had and it cleared me for surgery. We also discusses all of the medical ins-outs.
8. I applied for/got my surgery date.  Fortunately, you can make this request.  Because this surgery is out patient, you need to be able to deal with the pain/rest/balance how to get through the initial time following surgery.
9. Meeting with the surgeon. I must admit that felt pretty good to get through all those hoops to finally get the appointment with the surgeon.

During my final appointment at the clinic, the clinic staff also gave me the schedule for what would happen day of surgery (the time line) and then told me I would come back to the clinic the morning after for IV fluids (if needed).

Is this laborious. Yes. it absolutely is.  Is it practically a godsend to my person.  Yes it is.

As I shared above, I am now on day 3 of 14 days of liquids. 

This is tough.

I'm a little bit grumpy. 

I want something else to eat, etc.

What I wouldn't do for some eggs right now. Which is odd because I'm already consuming a huge amount of protein.

If you are interested in following my journey. Check me out on instagram @vsg_hilary.

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