If it doesn’t add value to your life it doesn’t belong there
As I move forward in this process to revise my sleeve to gastric bypass, I’m not going to lie, it’s not an easy, flippant decision like the sleeve was for me. It’s this big, scary, overwhelming possibility that takes up a lot of my thought process throughout the day, along with time and energy as I research and talk to other people on Facebook who have gone through similar experiences to mine.
But how did I even get to this point?
I can honestly say, when I awoke following my sleeve surgery I NEVER in a million years considered I could possibly have another bariatric procedure in the future, let alone 2 years later. In fact, I didn’t even think it was possible. I mean, they cut out 80% of my stomach, I was under the impression that was pretty final!!
But here I am, 2 years later looking at revising my sleeve to gastric bypass and I can honestly say this decision hasn’t been taken lightly from my standpoint. In fact, I would even say I’m researching the heck out of this possibility more so than I did the sleeve. The reason this is even on my radar is a couple of reasons.
First, I’ve always thought there was something wrong or off with my sleeve. It just never felt right. Not that I would know what having a quarter of my stomach would feel like per say, but I would have this gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach most of the day. This gnawing feeling started shortly after I left the hospital. I spoke to my surgeon at my first pre op appointment and she just poo pooed it away as maybe being hunger and me just adjusting to my new stomach. I figured she knew right; I mean she was the surgeon? Yes, I hated her, but she was my only link to understanding anything bariatric. This should have been my first big red flag, sadly it wasn’t. I endured verbal abuse from her program coordinator over this issue and my surgeon continued to make me feel stupid. Looking back now it infuriates me, but at the time I just didn’t know any better. I eventually switched bariatric programs and I did like my new bariatric program and surgeon. But ashamed to even bring up this issue with him, I suffered in silence, I felt stupid.
I continue to hurt. My stomach continued to feel like it was eating itself. Eating would help sooth it, so I just assumed I was hungry…. ALL THE TIME, I figured I must be that rare case where the sleeve surgery didn’t work to remove the hunger hormones from the stomach OR it was somehow God’s punishment on me for having bariatric surgery, the very thing I was hoping to solve in my life, hunger, would now just continue to destroy me. So I suffered in silence, telling Jeff all along “I just know there is something wrong with my sleeve”.
My plan was to find a new bariatric doctor when we go to Houston, but Houston came and went and truth be told, I was scared to find a new doctor because my experience with my original surgeon had been less than stellar, I just figured it would be my lot in life, I would just be stuck with this stupid sleeve and “just be thankful you have anything Angie” Along the way I told my PCP in Texas about this gnawing feeling and waking up in the middle of the night gagging on acid and he increased my acid blocker, that seemed to solve everything. Anyway, long story short because I’ve already wrote about this, I was put on too high of a dose and I have since found out that over time that can lead to serious health risks like cancer and death. Sooooo here I am once again dealing with acid reflux and YES I’m looking to revise
This is where the heart of today’s post comes into play. I’ve posted on Facebook about possibly having another surgery and holy cow the firestorm…..wow. I’ll be honest I was a little taken aback. My husband says I don’t owe anyone any answers and he’s right, but I feel like since I’ve taken you all on this crazy ride thus far, it’s only far to keep you in the loop. Someone suggested looking into my diet or food sources as a culprit as to a “fix” to acid reflux. Let me explain why that won’t work.
I PHYSICHALLY altered my body when I had bariatric surgery. I no longer have the same size stomach as you or Joe down the street. Meaning, my new stomach is a pressure cooker. It has nothing to do with the types of foods that I eat, yes they can exuberate the reflux, but WATER can make this condition worse……get this WATER…..if I drink too much WATER before bed I am up choking on it at night. So it’s more than me eating spicy foods now yes spicy foods make it a ton worse and lately I’m finding anything tomato based, but it can be random things to. All of this to say, one of the surgeon’s I spoke to on the phone told me that new research is finding that anyone who is considering the vertical sleeve but has acid reflux BEFORE surgery should NOT be a candidate for this surgery. Um hello, I was on an acid reducer pre surgery. I should NEVER have been considered a candidate for this surgery. Had I had a good surgeon and a good bariatric program I probably would have been told this, but I didn’t!!
So here I sit. 2 years later. Gnawing stomach feelings back. Pain returned. I’ve regained weight. My blood pressure is still high and guess what all of these factors are called comorbidities and AGAIN, I’m labeled with that ugly term a term that got me approved in the first place for sleeve surgery and a term that will get me approved for revision.
So why am I doing it?
It’s funny, I ran after the sleeve to lose weight….that was my focus. The golden achievement if you will. I was so focused on getting under 200. If you’ve read here for any length of time you know that that number was so SUPER important to me. It drove me. I was ridiculous, but of course couldn’t see it. I also ran after the sleeve because I was terrified of developing diabetes and I knew I was close to developing that hideous disease. I mean I weighed 315 pounds. I was tip toeing on the border of it.
Today I’m moving forward with gastric bypass revision NOT for weight loss. Although I will say it was reassuring to have a bariatric surgeon I TRUST squeeze my hips together and say, “yep your frame is small, you should weigh between 150-160” Not this 222 none sense my original surgeon said, anyway I digress, NO my goal now is to prevent esophageal cancer first and foremost….bottom line why I’m going to move forward with it. I have a HUGE dominance of various types of cancer in both sides of my family so if I can decrease my risk of cancer by removing this acid reflux then you better believe I try. I have two children I want to see graduate and get married….I have to try!!!
Barrett’s esophagus, a condition that affects the lower part of the esophagus and can lead to esophageal cancer. Barrett’s esophagus may be caused by GERD. Over time, stomach acid in the esophagus can cause changes in the cells that increase risk for adenocarcinoma.
Now as a side note, the other big reason I will be revising, although NOT the primary reason is that my surgeon believes it will eradicate my high blood pressure. THIS would be incredible!! This would decrease my changes of a heart attack and stroke. So you see, I have 2 very good reasons, in my opinion why revising my sleeve, which is actually not as uncommon as my Missouri surgeon’s would have me believe, is the right decision for me.
At this point, this is how the process looks for me.
I am scheduled for an EGD (aka scope) on March 24th
Once that scope is done, I will be scheduled for
1-hour consult with psychiatrist for a consult/evaluation-this is standard procedure
1-hour consult with a dietician
30 min consult with an exercise professional (which I’m actually really excited about his one and is new to me)
I’ve been told, since I’m driving 2 hours to get there, these 3 appointments can be scheduled in the same day.
Then once these things are completed, I will be scheduled for surgery. When I spoke to the surgeon at my consult with him, he thought surgery would be end of April/beginning of May.
At this point, I’m not excited or scared, I’m just kind of indifferent, still trying to wrap my brain fully around this because like I said I NEVER thought I would be in this boat again. I’m trying to not be to positive or pessimistic. I’m just trying to balance this as much as possible. My prayer at this point is that if God does NOT want me to move forward with this that HE would shut the door along the way, preferably sooner than later though.
So the next few blog posts will probably be about my thought process leading up to surgery, how I’m feeling physically and emotionally. My husband’s only request moving forward in this process is that I follow this new program’s guidelines to a T and NOT take ANY advice from anyone on Facebook. So I plan to honor his request. This may result in deleting people. I just don’t know at this point, but if you are interested in following my new journey, I would suggest just quietly pray for me from the sidelines and keep you mouth shut…..lol