Thoughts BEFORE my 6 month post op appointment
As I sit in a hotel lobby here in Dayton, waiting to check in with my Bariatric surgeon for my “late” 6 month follow up appointment, I can’t help but feel motivated to blog about something that has been heavy on my heart lately.
In the Bariatric world, or at least in my mind, I’m considered a “Bariatric Revision” now, it’s super important to understand a few things about me:
- It was a HUGE leap for me and for my husband to even consider bariatric surgery, let alone actually go through with it, Originally I chose the sleeve.
- When I had, the sleeve done in 2014, I had NO clue that there was such a thing as a bariatric revision option out there. Shoot, I was barely grasping at the original bariatric option, let alone looking down the road. I just assumed my sleeve would’ve been done correctly…….it wasn’t!!!!
Then from late 2015-2016 things got really really crazy for me physically. I would wake up from a DEAD sleep, gagging on acid coming up into the back of the throat, even at times up into my nose, it was painful and gross. I went to my Texas PCP and his solution was to increase my pantoprazole to 320mg a day, of course I just trusted him and obliged, plus it stopped the reflux so I felt like, “hey bonus this is working, sure it’s ANOTHER pill, and it’s a HUGE step away from WHY I had bariatric surgeon” but I just figured it was my “lot” in life and went with it. Never mind the 40+ pounds I had gained, I just knew it was my diet so I figured again, my lot in life…..Then the bottom fell out on life and we moved to Ohio. When I needed my pantoprazole prescription refilled my new PCP said, “Absolutely NO!!!” that dose is dangerously high, you need to see a bariatric surgeon. This is when I began researching Sleeve and reflux and found there are a TON of sleevers who suffer greatly from acid reflux and they were being revised to gastric bypass. In all honesty gastric bypass scared the crap out of me, that’s why I hadn’t gone with it originally (long story). Anyway, I set up 3 or 4 Bariatric consultations in Ohio and waited for my appointments to arrive. My first appointment was with Dr. David L. Schumacher of Kettering Bariatrics in Dayton, Ohio. In all honesty, because I was so fearful of bypass I was looking at the DS, duodenal switch, but I wasn’t sure for a variety of reasons. Anyway, long story short. I PRAYED and PRAYED before this appointment with Dr. Schumacher that God would give me peace and wisdom, something that I HADN’T done before really, in all honesty, I was just so blinded by wanting to lose weight I didn’t care if I loved my surgeon or trusted her and I didn’t!!. Anyway, I knew INSTANTLY upon meeting Dr. Schumacher that I felt peaceful and trusted him. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain, I just do……I know in my heart it’s a complete God thing. Anyway, he first wanted to do an EGD to see what was going on in my stomach and go from there, but his recommendation for me was the gastric bypass based on my reflux and my goals of wanting to be off cholesterol meds, as much BP meds as possible and weight loss. The EGD revealed that my sleeve surgeon had only removed roughly 5-10% of my stomach, I later got a path report that confirmed this. That 5% was more accurate.
Anyway, all of this to say, I went with the gastric bypass with Dr. Schumacher.
That backstory leads me to today’s blog post which is this…….
I am 6 months’ post op, I’ve been TERRIFIED to eat food and stop losing weight (plus I don’t like how some foods feel, another post for another day)
When I was originally researching bariatric revisions for the sleeve I joined a Facebook group dedicated to Bariatric patients who had regained weight and had revisions, a lot of sleeve to bypass patients, but also A LOT of gastric bypass patients, revising their bypass and in all honesty, it’s SCARES the CRAP OUT OF ME!!!!! COMPLETELY!!!! Because I NEVER EVER EVER want to have another bariatric revision surgery, EVER again!!! The ONLY case in which I would have one is it were medically necessary……that’s it, bottom line for me and even that thinking is new for me because that wasn’t on my radar in 2014. So I started asking in this group, “why are bypassers having revisions?” and the over arching response was “I’ve stretched out my pouch and/or my stoma” and since I question EVERYTHING, it’s just who I am, I started digging into HOW the pouch and stoma get stretched, WHILE asking 2 or3 of my FB fellow bypass friends who are 5 or more years out “hey have you heard of this before?” and the one girl who I deeply respect and works out and is 5 years out said this, “NO!!!! I still have restriction, But you HAVE TO RESPECT YOUR TOOL ANGIE and get out of that group!!” another friend who I think is 2 or 3 years out and I admire to pieces said this, “I’ve never heard of people having to have revisions because of a stretched pouch and I go to weekly WLS support group meetings and it’s not common there either!!”
Bottom line…..I WILL NOT FEAR!!!! If I respect my tool, don’t overeat/push my limits, continue to exercise…. basically, follow my program’s guidelines and everything is medically sound, I WILL NOT need a revision.
Before I close it’s VERY important to say this, there are legimate medical reasons to need a revision for bariatric surgery, I’m not saying there isn’t, BUT there are also other reasons, the main reason being a disrespect for the tool we’ve been provided. I don’t claim to be perfect at this journey, AT ALL!!! Shoot I’m only 6 months out and don’t claim to be an expert, this is just where I’m at today. I am choosing not to look too far down the road and get caught up in fear because that’s where I’ve lived for the last couple of months and it’s NOT healthy for me.
Thoughts AFTER my 6-month post op appointment
Had a great appointment, met with the PA Jarod in the beginning and then Dr. Schumacher arrived. I was sharing with Jared how I don’t like how food feels in my pouch and we talked about that further with Dr. Schumacher. I told him that I’m basically still on soft foods primarily and will eat some food here and there. That I’ve been worried that I could be developing and eating disorder and have been questioning that lately, but am torn with that thought because I struggled so much with stenosis immediately post op. Then I told them I’m struggling with heartburn and thought it may be related to my diet but wasn’t sure if it could be that or my vitamins not agreeing with me. Dr. Schumacher now wants to do an EGD (or have it done in Illinois) and have a Ph monitor placed and get a manometrey workup to determine if there’s some communication with my old stomach somehow that’s causing acid, or if I could have a mini ulcer of some kind. Anyway, he said I could do that here in Illinois, but afterward I got thinking, we’ll be in Ohio after Christmas, so I emailed the office to see if Dr. Schumacher could just do it. I would feel MUCH more comfortable with him doing it. Please pray that it would somehow work out in my small window of opportunity.
As for voicing my other fears about stretching my pouch and stoma and needing a revision, he said that it’s impossible to stretch the actual pouch and that it’s the STOMA that gets stretched out and once this happens it allows food to pass through quicker, leaving you less satisfied, causing a vicious cycle of overeating. He did say that over time the stoma will “relax” and you’ll be able to eat a little more and this is normal. Honestly, at this point, I can’t even imagine what that could look like exactly, I just PRAY that I never need to worry about it!! Because my plan is to RESPECT MY TOOL, I see this as my ONE shot to finally lose my extra weight and just be healthy.
As for my goal weight of 157, his words, “anything is possible”. When I said that originally he gave me a goal range of 155-165 (something I nailed him down to because he wasn’t interested in giving me numbers, something I appreciate about him) I said, “is 165 probably more realistic?” He said, “yes, because of your height and your very muscular” That made my heart smile, because I guess I don’t think of myself as “very muscular” ha ha, but I should be by golly, I lift weights 6 days a week (although I’m now taking Saturday/Sunday off so only lifting 5 days a week now) He said I should get to 165 by my one year mark of April 2017 so we shall see, it will all come down to my diet at the end of the day, that’s the rub as always.
Something else I found VERY interesting that he said when I reminded him my bowel was naturally short and I ended up basically a distal bypass, when I asked him about requiring more protein, he said no, “you have to stay away from carbs as they are the leading cause of heart disease, but you actually need more fat in your diet than the basic bypasser”. I thought this was interesting and kinda ironically funny because I’m not a HUGE fan of fats, carbs have been and will probably always be my arch nemesis (the bad carbs, crunch, salty, sweet, soft, warm, gooey, yeah those ones)
So that’s it in a nutshell, my takeaways and goals for the next 4-5 months
NOT worry about needing a future revision
Lose another 20ish pounds
Continue to run 3 days a week, lift weights 5 days with the weeks OFF
Set up my Ph monitor/EGD, praying it could happen in Ohio
Keep my diet tight and clean, high protein, higher fat, low carb
Enjoy EVERY SINGLE MOMENT of this incredible journey and watching myself shrink, stay tuned on FB for more daily NSV posts.
Just learning more and more to let go and let God be in the driver’s seat.