So, it seems a year has passed since my last post, and am now at the cusp of getting the surgery. What has transpired between then and now?
On July 19 of last year, I met with the surgeon. He gave me some details about the surgery, checked to see if I had any questions, then said I could expect to do the surgery around November or December.
The next day was an appointment with the Internist. They ran a small series of tests to be sure I was healthy enough to undergo surgery. They did an EKG, checked blood pressure, listened to my heart and lungs, and asked lots of questions regarding my health and confirmed I did not have any type of sleep apnea.
Now, it’s into October, and I had meetings scheduled with the Bariatric team.
I met with the Nurse to discuss vitamins and calcium. I was weighed and measured, and tested on my knowledge of the surgery. That part went just fine.
Then, into see the Dietitian. This is where things started to stall. She asked what changes I had made since the last assessment. I was supposed to start living like I had the surgery, meaning, eating slower, eating healthier, doing small bites, chewing numerous times, all the changes they said would need to take place after the surgery. I didn’t realize this was supposed to have happened by this point. So, instead of giving me a pass to move forward, she scheduled a follow-up assessment 4 weeks later.
Last was the Social Worker, who helps you deal with the changes in your life, the challenges, and to help you see why you eat as you do. She got stuck on the fact that I like to eat later at night, after my daughter and husband have finally gone to bed. Seems that time of night is my favorite time to indulge in chips or cereal or some other high calorie, carb-filled food as a reward to getting through my day. She also wanted to reassess in a month.
Fast forward 4 weeks to the phone re-assessment. The Dietitian is pleased that I have lost 12 lbs, have been tracking my food, and stopped drinking coffee. The Social Worker is satisfied that I have stopped snacking late at night. They tell me all is good to go!
So, I wait patiently for the call. And wait. And wait. Nothing comes through, so I start calling to see when I can plan on the surgery. I leave messages, but don’t hear back. I finally remember the surgeon has given me his card so I can call his office directly. His receptionist is super helpful, and returns messages when needed. She arranges my next meeting at the surgeon’s office for January 3. I guess the surgery is not going to happen in November/December. I was really disappointed with this, as I was heading to the Caribbean in January and hoped I would have already dropped a bunch of weight. But, there is no hurrying the process.
At this meeting, I purchased my two week supply of OPTIFAST, which cost $110 per week. I would be on a liquid diet for 2 full weeks immediately preceding the surgery date. Surgery date is set for March 20. The OPTIFAST is not bad at all! I have chocolate and vanilla, and both are just fine to drink. I just make sure the water is really cold, and I mix it well in my shaker. Along with 4 packages of OPTIFAST per day, I am allowed 2 cups of green vegetables such as pepper, lettuce, cucumber, celery, and broccoli. I can drink clear fluids such as broths, diet drinks, decaf tea or coffee. I am almost through the first week!
Next step is the Pre-Operative Assessment. This involves a series of meetings including one with a pharmacy technician to review any medications I take. I only take one, which in the world of bariatric surgery is unheard of, as most people getting the surgery have an extensive list of health issues. The next meeting is with a nurse to discuss pre- and post-op preparation and information. She notices my Internist appointment has been more than 6 months ago, so we schedule another one immediately following the pre-op assessment. Then more blood work, I don’t know how many vials they take because I can’t watch it. More waiting, then finally meet with the anesthetist, again another super fast meeting due to good health.
Once that was all done, I headed back over the Internist for more blood pressure, EKG, and questions. All clear!
Now, I wait…..9 days to go!