Before you can schedule surgery you need to see the surgeon, a nurse, a dietitian and an anesthetist. Because it will be private surgery these appointments can be made all on the same day. Today was that day.
My first appointment was the surgeon but I arrived early so the nurse saw me almost straight away. Not only was there the normal family history, and the standard pre operative tests we also had a questionnaire about my lifestyle, work conditions, post operative plans etc. It was very thorough and I felt cared about. I must also say that she was very proud of her job. They did have my first name spelt incorrectly but as Deborah, if it had been Debbie I might have lost my temper and walked out. I got very upset talking about family health, my mum really is ill and has all the complications I hope reducing my weight will help me avoid.
I was tested for MRSA and had an ECG. The only issue she found was my blood saturation level, but I knew about that. The final task she had was to take blood samples but my veins simply refused. She got a colleague to try but again no luck so we pushed that to the end of the day.
Next up was the Doctor and he was fantastic, easy to talk to; we talked about options and we agreed the gastric sleeve is defiantly the right one for me. This is the actual diagram he drew, basically my stomach will be stapled to reduce the size, the area that produces the hunger hormone will no longer work and so I should not feel hungry and I will be full up very quickly. It is not a magic pill, it may be easier than a diet but it is will power I lack and I want to do this.
He asked me why I had chosen him and this clinic, I told him about my experience with the other organisation and he was determined to show me it wasn't like that here. He gave me his private email address and asked me to send him the details and to keep in touch. I told him I was going to blog and he was very supportive and gave me the URL to someone else who had done so.
Then there was quite a wait (bit of a pun), as most staff were having photos taken; the clinic was celebrating an anniversary I am not sure what but they had a big poster showing 51 tons lost, there were several people having photos taken holding up their pre op clothes. They were all very enthusiastic and keen to talk to new patients. One lady said she missed not being able to go out for a big feed and sometimes hated paying for meals she knew she wouldn't finish, but she would do it all again.
The anesthetist was more scary. I know it is his job but he was very clear about the risks, and when we went through my medical history and I mentioned my mum, there was no sympathy, simply "well she has missed the boat then", - hard to listen to but actually reinforces the reason for wanting to do something. I asked a lot of questions about travel because Deep Vein Thrombosis is the biggest risk for me, but he said short hops were OK and a good 6 weeks before long haul. He also said I had a little fluid on my ankles but not enough to worry about at this stage. He told me off for sitting on my legs (so if you see me do it, stop me).
Then I saw the dietitian, who weighed me and measured me. All day I had said I was 118Kg and 178cm tall (which gives me a BMI of 37), she says I was ONLY 116 Kg but 173 tall. I can't believe I have shrunk that much. Anyway that gives me a BMI of 39. 35 - 40 is the BMI category that allows you to have the surgery. Over that is morbidly obese and there are many more complications.
She also measured my body fat and muscle. I don't have enough muscle so I need to do more exercise and i will do if only to minimise the left over skin when I loose all this weight.
The dietitian told me to cut out sugar from today - so I will try, this is the worst thing for my body and I will do my best. Then for 2 weeks before the op I have to go on a liver reduction diet to ensure it is as small as possible as it needs to be moved out of the way during the operation.
After that it was back to the nurse for another attempt at bloods, this time it was OK and they appear to be testing me for everything possible.
Final stop was the office, to confirm the date for surgery and get the dreaded cost.
I travel a lot and so when to do this is a big consideration. It is not that the surgery takes a long time to recover from but that all post operative recovery is a consideration for the likes of DVT and the initial diet requires a lot of planning. So I need about 4-5 weeks no travel sounds easy doesn’t it. Well I am hoping for mid October which gives me 5 weeks I can avoid my hectic lifestyle for. Luckily the optimum date of 14 October was available, so that is it, all booked.