Had my sleeve gastrectomy a week ago today

7 days since surgery.  It has been scary and painful but I think it has been worth it.  Not everything went to my plan but I can and am dealing with those things.  I will start my story from the day before surgery.

The day before my sleeve gastrectomy my mind was raging at a million miles an hour and all I wanted in the world was to eat an actual, proper meal.  I woke up early in the morning unable to sleep anymore and got ready for a walk.  I figured a long walk would do me a world of good but wasn’t sure how far I really wanted to go but set off with my day pack, a bottle of water and a debit card for buying tea at stops along the way.  About four hours (and 9 miles from home) later I decided my head was finally clear enough  and got a bus home.  It put me in a good place for the rest of the day.

Wednesday, Surgery day was very long and hungry.  Organisation at the hospital left a bit to be desired but overall for the procedure I signed up for I was happy with my care.waking up after surgery was directly into pain and panic as I could get a deep breath in but my nurse was excellent and they allowed my husband to sit with me in recovery so my anxiety was calmed a bit.  Eventually I was moved up to a ward and tormented by the vile to show Judge Judy as I intermittently slept.  In the night I started shaking and overheating which eventually lead to my one and only vomiting episode probably brought on by a lack of effective pain meds. I don’t respond well to the medications they were willing to give me and as per usual the doctor blew me off.

The next day I did figure out I had to pester for what little meds they offered as they didn’t offer or give out pain meds regularly.  I walked about as much as I could on the small ward with the expectation of going home.  The doctor had said I could on morning rounds but had not communicated this to anyone else.  They also were of the mistaken impression that being in pain would be a reason I would want to stay on the ward.  It took tears, a bit of anger and insistence but I got to go home . At least at home I had control of my own meds and didn’t have to guess the schedule or beg a busy nurse.  An hour long drive home was less than wonderful but I was happy to feel in a safe place again (hospitals are scary and peoply which is not a “safe” feeling for me).

The first couple days was exhaustion and sleeping sitting up as I can’t yet lay down without suffocating pain (part of another story I am not yet ready to write but not due to the sleeve gastrectomy procedure itself).  Friday I went to the store while my men food shopped to get out of the house and get a few steps.  I leaned heavily on the cart and it wiped me out.  On Saturday I went to the store again and pushed the cart and was not wiped out and saw a light at the end of the tunnel.  Sunday I walked around the shop unaided and started moving about the house better too and stopped using the pain meds.  

Monday I went for a short walk with my daughter….maybe a mile.  Tidied up the living room a bit.  Went to Costco with my husband. Then finally went to the gym (very gently used the exercise bike and treadmill) and weighed in on the boditrax machine.  I had lost 7.7 lbs in the first 5 days and had broken through my next 10lb goal.  My muscle mass has suffered greatly but I still have more muscle than the average female athlete weighs in total.  My fat mass dropped considerably in those 5 days.  I really needed to see this as I was actually having a down day since my short walk had puffed me out a bit.  By the time I went to bed I had reached my 10k steps and knew I had lost weight.

Tuesday I started the day with a two mile walk.  I got some laundry done and generally started to feel more like myself again.  I went for an evening walk to puffed me out again and did just over 11k steps.  I discovered that my evening “heartburn” was actually that my liquid thyroid meds upset my stomach but following up with water clears it.

Things that had not gone to plan.  I stocked up on protein shakes only to find I couldn’t tolerate them.  In fact anything with artificial sweeteners seems to irritate my stomach.  Luckily the gym has a shake with no addded sugar or aspartame (I think it mentioned stevia) which goes down well and tastes nice. So I have a shelf of protein powder I can’t use.  Pain meds: I don’t get any effect from paracetamol that I have ever noticed but stubborn enough to try anyway.  They gave me an option of big horse pills or a bubbly tablet in water thing….neither are tolerable in the slightest.  So off to the store and buying masses of children’s calpol fastmelts so I could suck on them until they melt…four times over to get my full dose.  It was expensive but if it did give any vague relief it was worth it.  Also, they only sent me home with 3 days of codeine so I made do with half doses in the day and full doses at night to be sure I didn’t run out ….I still have some if needed. 

Lastly, I cannot lay down to sleep.  I am propped up on 3-4 pillows or else I wake gasping for air.  I believe this is due to another procedure that was done switch was was not given an option of saying no to.  This is a whole other story which I will tell when I am feeling less angry.  Let’s just say I am not happy they “repaired” a hiatal hernia which was not harming me at all and which they did no testing to confirm needed such extreme treatment.   This has also caused a stabbing pain in my diaphragm and an inability to take a deep breath.  I would have refused this procedure if I had known the facts and the doctor had not tied it to being able to have my sleeve gastrectomy.

I am glad I had the sleeve gastrectomy.  I am no longer excessively hungry and a protein shake fills me up nicely.  I know this procedure was the right choice for me and will help me immensely in reaching my weight goals.  I do recommend this procedure for anyone that has truly researched and considered it in detail.  It is not something to jump into quickly.  I learned as much as I could and even watched video of surgeries for about 8 years before even requesting referral for weight loss surgery 2 years ago.  It is serious abdominal surgery and of no use to someone with food addiction or binge eating issues until they have conquered those problems.  

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