I’m writing today’s blog post for those of you on Facebook freaking out and questioning why I would even be considering gastric bypass…..the horror…..gasp
First of all let me say this…..NO decision has been made…..NONE!!!
At this point, I’m simply just exploring my options and why you ask? Well I’m glad you’ve asked…..let me explain.
I had the sleeve on 2/3/14, shortly following the sleeve surgery, like within the first 2 weeks, I ALWAYS felt hungry and this is unusual, in fact, my horrible surgeon would say to me, “it’s just the acid in your stomach” HA…..looking back now, what I think I assumed was hunger was in fact the acid in my stomach because that acid has made my life nightmarish!!
Now before sleeve surgery, I had a far amount of acid reflux that was, for the most part, controlled by daily doses of raninadine. From what I’m now learning about the sleeve, had I had a good surgeon, she would have cautioned me against the sleeve surgery perhaps even refusing to do it on me for this very reason.
She did not.
Instead, she moved forward and ran into a host of unnecessary complications with me, in fact I came out of my surgery with a hematoma and was told that she had found a “small” hernia while doing my sleeve but opted NOT to repair it because of all the other complications she was dealing with!!!
Do you know that I’m now learning it’s very possible that untreated hernia could be the reason for all of my current problems?!!
In Rolla, my new bariatric doctor put me on a double dose of pantropazole, which was about 80mg a day….normal for most patients
But I was having breakthrough episode of GERD at times, nothing major, but still annoying and I’ll be honest, I just figured I would have to live with it my whole life. On those days I would eat between 8-10 tums in a night and IF I drank too much water, the Tums would come up. It felt like a never ending battle, but I was losing weight and for the most part happy.
Sure I would complain to Jeff at times, that my stomach felt
Even at times thinking that I was constipated and maybe this was the reason I was in so much pain, so I would literally drink a ½ of milk of magnesia to try to have a BM the next day….sometimes it helped, sometimes it didn’t.
But the other thing I was noticing was the explosive flatulence I have. Now again not putting this all together, but at the time it began I was thinking….”oh it’s because I’m eating such a high protein diet blah blah blah”” It’s protein farts”
Protein Farts are one thing, but this is the sound of a loud siren going off, I can’t even explain it….it’s alarmingly and it hurts and oh my goodness the smell is toxic. This has been going on before I was even a year post op.
But back to the acid reflux…..
The first time I became really alarmed about it was in the summer of 2014, not quite 6 months after my surgery, we were in Houston and we had gone out to eat. I hadn’t eaten much, but I ate to late (to late being 2 hours before my bedtime) That night, I remember being woke up out of a dead sleep, jolting out of bed to sit straight up, coughing on what I assumed was puke. It wasn’t…it was acid. It burned the bad of my throat and the next day I was hoarse and didn’t eat anything at all. I just drank unflavored protein powder in soup broth. I deducted I ate to close to bed and vowed NEVER to do that again!! Another episode that summer happen just like I described only it didn’t happen with food, it happened with WATER
Imagine feeling like you are choking to dead on WATER!!!! And the acid that came up into the back of my throat still burned just like it did as if it were food.
My bariatric nutritionist explained the GERD can be brought on by anything and to prop myself up on pillows at night.
So was this going to be my life? Prop myself up on pillows to sleep and wait for the next burning throat acid incident to occur? I supposed it was what I signed on for to be truthful and I just suffered, pretty much in salience.
Then we moved to Houston for good in May 2015 and I was still having the GERD so I told my new PCP about it and he doubled my dose of pantropazole to 160mg daily and I thought my troubles were over!!! FINALLY no more GERD. I was loving life and thought all my troubles were over.
That is until I moved to Ohio
Ohio is where the rub is occurring……
So I established my care with a nurse practioner to oversee my medical needs. When I told her all my medications, she has absolutely refused to continuing prescribing me pantropazole in that dose saying “it’s unsafe and can cause other problems” So I called my pharmacist who also agreed and went on to say, “I’ve never seen anyone on that high of a dose before” When I asked him why this was so dangerous, he explained that over time the medication cuts the production of stomach acid and this can actually create other problems that “you don’t want to deal with”
My new PCP has prescribed me pantropazole 80mg daily with the understanding that this will not be longterm, she’s included Carafate 4 times a day, which means I have to set alarms to take this med 1 hour before I eat, which probably doesn’t seem like a big deal but I eat 5 times a day, plus one of those alarms goes off at 1am so that I can take a dose at night…..it’s just a pain.
So what prompted my call to a bariatric surgeon?
So a couple of days ago, my family was eating spaghetti. I normally don’t eat any, but this night it smelled delicious, so I had literally 2 bites of the tomato goodness and I paid for it for the next 72 hours. Meaning. I was up choking on acid in the night, unable to tolerate anything besides yogurt and protein shakes the day following the spaghetti. My stomach hurt, like needed to put a heating pad on it hurt but like I’ve said my stomach has always felt tender to the touch or not quite normal so I just thought this was part of the sleeve process. However, I’m learning that nope this isn’t actually normal, that it’s in fact NOT normal to have explosive farting, acid reflux that wakes you at night and leaves you hoarse the next day, pain pretty much all the time in the stomach, even if less than a 5 on the pain scale. This ISN’T normal.
So yes, I’m looking into the option of having my sleeve converted into a bypass. I was hoping perhaps the DS would solve this problem, but it won’t. Which is a bummer because I’m already ¾ of the way to that surgery with not having a gallbladder and already having a sleeve, BUT the DS is a much riskier surgery and not many doctors perform it, so I’m just not willing to pursue it, plus it won’t fix this acid reflux problem either. Now if I were just after weight loss then yes the DS would be a great option, but I’m not. However, yes I’ll lose more with the bypass, but this isn’t my sole reasoning behind even considering it. PAIN is the reason.
I recently posted a Facebook status asking my bariatric friends what questions I should ask a new surgeon, thank you to those who actually answered the question. There is of course, always one who has to veer off course so let me address those concerns now. This friend is a bypass patient and a fitness buff. Her words were “don’t do it!!” with the absorption issues etc. Someone else chimed in about all the vitamins and supplements I would have to take.
First let me say, you are right, I don’t know anything about the absorption issues. I only know what I’m researching and malabsorption is part of the gastric bypass, it causes the body to NOT absorb a certain % of calories. I get it, as a result bypass patients have to take a boat load of vitamins. I GET IT, but what makes you think I don’t already take a boat load of vitamins????
Here’s what I take EVERY DAY already
Vitamin D, E, B50, Super B complex, Biotin, Calcium, Magnesium
So please don’t talk to me like I’m stupid when it comes to taking vitamins, this is not to mention the BP meds I take AND the pantropale and Carafate. I take a handful of pills 2 times a day.
So this should give you a glimpse into where I’m currently at. No decision has been made at this point. I’m looking at the option of bypass as a solution to my reflux. I have my first surgeon consult on Monday. I WILL be shopping surgeons this time and going with one that I love and fully trust I can tell you that IF I decide to do this at all.
I can tell you I am NOT excited or thrilled with the prospect of going under the knife, in fact I don’t even know that I will.
I can tell you the idea that there is hope to be out of pain is attractive.