My sleeve gastrectomy surgery was done on August 31, 2011 by Dr. Panduranga Yenemula, MD. Thankfully I did not have any major complications with my surgery. My surgery was at 12:30 p.m. and I was in my room recovering by around 3:30 p.m. The nurses got me up for a walk that evening, which I barely remember as I was pretty drugged up for pain. However, I took my last dose of pain meds around 4:30 a.m. and didn't require any further pain meds during my stay, so I became a lot more lucid and able to take several walks that day. I stayed in the hospital 2 nights and came home on a bright, warm Friday afternoon. I spent three weeks recovering at home before returning to work full-time on September 26, 2011.
While at home recovering I took one dose of liquid pain medicine at bedtime for 2-3 days. This took the edge off my discomfort and helped me sleep through the night. I am not a person that takes pain meds well, they usually make me nauseated so I try to take very little or do without. However, I will say that my very wise and persistent husband recognized the difference in how I rested, once the discomfort was at bay and he insisted that I at least take one dose a day for the first two days (maybe 3). I cannot say enough.... REST, SLEEP, REST, NAP and REST some more. I never knew I could sleep so much, but I'm convinced that this is truly what my body needed and it helped me heal so well.
I did not have any major complications post surgery (no leakage, from stomach or incision sites, no need for drainage tube coming home or any further procedures or re-doing any part of surgery) so I feel very blessed! However, I must confess that week two was the roughest week in my recovery, as I had issues with a lot of stomach acid being produced and also lots of gas or air bubbles/pockets being trapped in my new sleeve/stomach. I could not burp or pass gas for the life of me and I was MISERABLE! I tried everything that the medical staff from my weight management group suggested (walking, warm towels across my belly/abdomen, rocking while holding a pillow or something with pressure across my belly, small bites, chewing food to applesauce consistency, I even resorted to sitting on the edge of my seat while eating, so I was able to sit absolutely straight) and nothing worked to relieve my pain. Yes, it got to point I was in pain and I did not want to eat or drink! I was supposed to keep eating 6 small meals a day and drinking 64+ oz liquid daily, but I was not getting anywhere near that, maybe 2-3 meals and possibly 16 - 24 oz of liquid daily. So my Dr. at the weight management program said I could try taking Gas X and antacids as needed (which was 2-4 tablets of each daily) to help control the acid and gas. I did start to get some relief about 3-4 days of this regimen, but my big breakthrough came when I "broke" the rules and bought a small bottle of Diet Vernors. It was on a Friday 3 weeks post surgery, when I cracked that bottle open, said a prayer... please God let this work, and I proceeded to take 3 sips of the bubbly stuff. To my amazement I produced several very productive burps throughout the day. It felt good to finally get some relief! Okay... now I'm not a big proponent of breaking rules, but this is one time that I'm glad I took the risk. Since that day, I take one sip of Diet Vernors daily and it seems to help me immensely. I only take the Gas X and antacid tablets if I need them, which has been one Gas X in the past 3 days. I haven't confessed to the staff at my weight management group yet, but I see my surgeon this Thursday and plan to discuss with him. I want to make sure that I’m not doing any damage to my sleeve or the staples etc. I would definitely say that the pain and discomfort has gotten better and I am able to get more of my food and liquid requirements met. Although, I’m not consistently at six meals and 64+ oz of liquid daily, I’m eating about 3-5 meals of about ¼ cup – ½ cup portions and about 50-70 grams of protein plus my liquids. I’m seeing and feeling improvement. I just can’t wait for the day that I will be able to eat comfortably without any discomfort while the food goes down, but I know that will come the more my stomach heals.
As of last week, I completed my 4 weeks of post surgery classes and group meetings through my weight management program and now I don’t go back for 8 weeks. I’m somewhat on my own and I’m happy and nervous at the same time. I’m hoping to lose another 25 lbs by the time I go back to see the Dr. and meet with the medical staff in November. To date I have lost 51 lbs and am eagerly waiting to be down into the 200’s again. I began this journey at 366 lbs and as of last Thursday weight 315. I’m 16 lbs away from officially saying goodbye to the 300’s. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I’m very positive about the progress I’m making and am very excited to be taking this journey. I got to a point in my life that I lost all control and my health started to go. I’m only 44 years old, and I developed arthritis in my back and hips and had two discs in my back go out of place. I could barely walk any distance without being so out of breath; activities that I loved to do have become non-existent. My blood sugar was elevating and showing signs of early diabetes and my triglycerides were high and my Dr. was concerned. After having a heart to heart with her, she asked me some tough questions and said are you willing to just go to a weight management session and listen to what they say? I finally, decided it was time to do just that and after spending 4 hours at this information session, I realized that I wanted to take my life back and to stop lying dormant and being a spectator of MY LIFE! So now, I’m back in the game and in control. My health is starting to show signs of improvement, and I’m off some of my former daily medications. For me this was the right thing to do and it was the right time to do it. Yes, I’ve had thoughts that I wish I’d done this years ago, but... I have to accept that I was not ready years ago and NOW is when I was ready to take control of my life again and to tackle this weight loss journey.... again!