My Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Story

My journey through Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG)

September 10, 2010, a beautiful morning in Vegas, and my 35th birthday. This day would be the day that would change my life forever.

My whole life I have struggled with my weight. Unhappy with myself, and depressed about life, I decided that it was finally time to stop the yo-yo dieting and take matters into my own hands. 30 days prior to my surgery date, I made a call to what would be my future surgeon, went into his office, and within 2 hours had my surgery date scheduled. Since I was a cash-pay, the next couple of weeks would be relatively easy for me.

The hardest part of the whole situation would be telling my husband that I went ahead and made my own decision to have VSG. When I told him that the surgery was scheduled and paid for, he was a bit hesitant, but none-the-less supportive of the decision I had made. He was just hoping that having this surgery would make me feel better about myself, allow me to take less medication, and live a longer, happier life.

So I began drinking protein shakes every morning for breakfast as part of my pre-surgical routine. I didn’t mind these much, and found them pretty delicious when mixed with my vanilla soy milk. I guess when you weigh 325 pounds, and are about to embark on your new life, nothing is more tasty then the thought of losing weight.

The night before surgery was stressful. I was so anxious. We got to the medical center on time, checked in, and before I knew it, I was in the back, ready to roll. Within the hour, I was taken into the surgical room. The last thing I remember was that the room was extremely bright. Next thing I know, I was being woken up. Oh, I was so thirsty. The nurse gave me water, but I remember that even the slightest sip made me nauseous. Then it was time to stand up. Still shaking I made it to my feet, walked a few steps down the hallway, and sat in a chair. My husband finally came to see me, bringing a wheelchair, and was telling me it was time to go home. Already?

The ride home was the longest ride of my life. I was so groggy and uncomfortable. Considering this was my very first surgical procedure, I was really unsure of what to expect.

I was immediately quarantined to my bedroom. This way my grogginess would not be disturbed by the dogs. It took until I was at home, laying in my bed, to notice that I had this fanny pack around my neck. I tried to tug at the bag, and realized that it was the “pain ball” that I heard about, that had wires going into my stomach to supposedly numb me. HA!

Anyhow, I made it through the first night. Thank goodness for liquid loritab. Day 2 was the worst. I nearly strangled myself with the fanny pack, and I was so uncomfortable, not even the loritab was helping. There was this burning sensation where the wires were attached to me that I just couldn’t stand. I begged my husband, the EMT, to remove the wires and free me. (Keep in mind that the wires were supposed to stay in until the pain ball deflated and no medicine was left). Against his better judgment, he removed the fanny pack from around my neck, gave a quick tug on the wires, and I was free!

That moment was the turning point. I could finally go to the bathroom, walk around for a bit, and take a light shower. I was beginning to feel like a human being. I still missed sleeping on my stomach, which was probably the biggest thing for me to get used to, however, propping me up with tons of pillows to avoid rolling was the best thing that my husband could do.

The next few days things got much better. I would go sit outside in the backyard and enjoy the sun. I still had no appetite, but was finally able to get done water mixed with some grape sugar-free hawaiian punch. Oh, that was the best! Since the surgery was on a Friday, I had the following week off from work. I would suggest this to everyone even considering this procedure, just because there are new things going on in your body that you need to learn about.

Finally, after one week, it was time to return to work. I was tired, but could get down my 2 protein shakes a day, and by the end of my time at home was eating soft food, and loving my egg drop soup. Work was a bit of a challenge just because of my exhaustion. The vitamins I was supposed to be taking would make me sick, so I opted out of those on work days.

Days became weeks, and people were finally noticing the changes in me. I didn’t even notice myself until after 6 months, when I was down almost 80 pounds. Next thing I knew, I got on the scale and I was down 100 pounds since surgery, which was in May.

Unfortunately, I have been stalled since June. My weight went from 325lbs to 218lbs. I am not unhappy at all, as I can finally say that I am able to shop at stores I was never able to shop at before. There is a big difference between a size 30/32 and a size 18/20. I am so much more secure with myself then I was before, and I know it shows. I know that I still have a long way to go to reach my personal goal, which initially was set for 190lbs, but I know I will get there. I just have a few more hurdles to jump over to get there.

Today is Halloween, which comes with its own set of problems, namely candy. Now that I have the ability to eat food again (only about 4-5oz at a time) I crave my sweets. Yes, I may be limited, but still have those cravings and my taste buds still work. I oftentimes get frustrated because I cannot consume what I was able to, but learning how to just nibble every few hours can be really enjoyable, especially what you have cravings for Chinese food one minute, and two hours later want spaghetti.

However, if I can do it, you can also. This was a life changing decision. This decision has changed my life for the better. I am no longer a diabetic, nor do I take handfuls of medication each day. The only thing that makes me different is the few tiny scars that I have on my belly, which I actually like since they are a reminder of how far I have come to get to this place.

Since the weather is cooling down, I will pick back up on my exercising. Keep your fingers crossed! My personal goal is only 30 pounds away!

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