Wednesday, June 27, 2012

One Month to Surgery

One month today I will be going in for weight loss surgery! Needless to say, I am both very excited and completely petrified. The majority of my posts on this blog will be very 'dear diary' style without a lot of structure, but I thought that my first post should be somewhat organized and detail what my surgery entails, and what I can expect in the future. 

The Lap Band
After researching both gastric bypass surgery (the one where they cut a large amount of your stomach and lower intestines out) and lap band surgery, I chose to go ahead with the lap band. Basically, the surgeon will place a plastic band around the small pouch at the top of stomach. This band will require me to eat small meals very, very slowly, which in turn will stimulate the brain into thinking I am full. 

Fills and De-Fills
Based on the amount of weight I start losing, I will be required to go back to see the doctor for 'fills' or 'de-fills'. If I am not losing enough weight, the band will need to be made tighter (a fill), if I am losing too much weight too quickly, it will need to be loosened (a de-fill). To fill the band, the doctor (or nurse) will use a syringe full of water and inject it into a tube in my stomach that connects to the band, and makes it bigger/tighter.  For a de-fill, the doctor (or nurse) will stick the same needle into my stomach and remove some of the water. 

What Can I Eat?
This part of the surgery is what gets somewhat confusing. The doctor I met with last week basically said that I can eat anything, but in smaller amounts. The nurses and other women I spoke with (many who had the surgery themselves),  said that there are a number of foods that I will not be able to eat including soft breads, pasta and tough meat (oh well, I'm a vegetarian). Because the hole the food needs to pass through is so small, all foods need to be chewed within an inch of their lives and you MUST eat very slowly. If you don't eat that way, you will experience what they refer to as PB (productive burps), which is a nice way of saying 'throwing up' (gross, I know).  According to the doctor, I should eat three small meals a day (no snacking in between), and must be careful not to drink water 30 minutes before, during, or 90 minutes after my meals (not 100% sure why yet). I need to stay away from high calorie liquids, carbonated beverages and gum (that will be hard).  

Preparing for Surgery
The prep for surgery is what I believe I will find to be the most difficult. Two weeks before my surgery (July 13th), I will need to stop eating regular food, and go on a diet of protein shakes and vegetables. This diet will help shrink my liver, so that when the doctor goes to place the band on my stomach, he is able to bypass the liver and reach what he needs to. I got my list of acceptable vegetables today, and I am sad to say that the few vegetables I actually like (carrots, green beans, corn, sweet potatoes) are not on the list. 

The Surgery and Recovery
While I will be under general anesthetic (so scary), the surgery itself is done laparoscopically (with only five small incisions), and only takes 30-40 minutes. After the surgery, I will stay in the recovery room for an hour and a half, and if everything goes well, will be able to drive back home that afternoon. The doctor said I should be up and running within four to five days, but I need to be careful not to lift heavy items, and of course I have to follow a strict diet. The first week after the surgery I will be back on protein shakes (I'm sure I will be loving them by this point...not!). The second week I can start to introduce other liquids. The third week, I move on to pureed food, and finally, during the fourth week, I can start eating 'real' (but soft) food.  

My Thoughts and Feelings
To be honest, my feelings are all over the place at the moment. I am really excited to be having this surgery and, hopefully, to lose a lot of weight. I know it's going to be a rough road, but I am definitely committed and ready for a change. With that said, I am in a sheer panic over the surgery itself. The night before I had my brain surgery a couple of years ago, I was pretty much crazy with anxiety. I spent the entire night crying and throwing up (sorry!) and decided I really didn't want to go through with the surgery. The anxiety I experienced was horrible, and I really don't want to feel that way again. I am also really nervous about being put under general anesthetic. You always hear horror stories about people who either, never woke up from surgery or were awake the entire time (and felt everything), but couldn't move or tell anyone. I am also petrified of having a breathing tube. The last time I had surgery the breathing tube was removed before I woke up, but the idea of having something stuck down my throat sends me into a panic. Finally I am worried about how much pain I will be in after the surgery. This is pretty ironic considering the fact that I have fibromyalgia, and struggle with fairly intense pain on a daily basis. The doctor said the pain will be minimal (and they will provide me with pain meds), but I'm still scared. 

The Support
I was beyond amazed by the supportive comments I received from so many of my subscribers. Your encouraging words will help me get through this process, and have definitely helped resolve some of my fears. I plan to document this entire journey (through posts and videos) as I'd love to share it with all of you. 

If you have any questions, would like more information on the process or have any suggestions for future posts, please let me know. 

Thank you again for all of your support.