Saturday, 24 October 2009

Do you really want to know?

As i feel so much better now and finally able to talk about it and recall the day of the operation, i thought i would go into a bit more detail about it. I hope it will be helpful for others about to have their band fitted. I dont want to scare you, but i would have wanted to know more about what to expect so that i would have spoke to my surgeon more and asked more relevant questions. I am sure each hospital and surgeon have their own routines and way's of doing things, but this was my experience at the Dolan Park and my surgeon Mr Alan Li.

As i went to the hospital the day before the op to have my bloods done, i was told i didnt need to arrive on the day until 10am, as oppose to 7am which would be the usual time for arriving.

I woke early after having a good nights sleep, i was a bit nervous but i had resigned myself to the fact that this is what i have got to do, if i want to enjoy the rest of my life being slimmer and happier about myself. My 2 daughters were going with me so we set off on the 52 mile journey, taking just over an hour to get there. It was a weird feeling walking in there, voluntarily, knowing this is my choice to put myself through this operation, it wasnt a medical condition i have, i am doing this by choice. I felt surprisingly calm, i didnt allow myself to feel nervous i chatted away to my daughters and the staff with ease. After a short wait i was shown to my room which was quite basic but big and spacious. I was given a gown, theatre cap and disposable knickers and told to have a shower and change at about 12. The Anesthetist came to see me at about 1 and then Mr Li came in at about 2, he said i was 2nd on his list and it would be around 3ish that they would come for me. Mr Li was lovely, very easy to chat to and reassuring. So that was it, at 3.30 the male nurse came for me to walk me down to theatre. I said goodbye to my girls and floated down the corridor, im sure my feet never touched the ground, it was surreal. We went into the anesthetic room where i sat shaking like a leaf while they connected electrode pads to me and then they took me through to the theatre, which was rather full of theatre staff in gowns. I was asked to get on the table which had 2 feet rests which i had to shuffle down until i was in the correct position, there were 2 outright armrests that they then strapped my arms to and then they strapped my legs in place. I was absolutely terrified as noone had actually explained any of this to me and i did not know what to expect or what was going to happen next and lying there strapped in a crucifix position, i felt vulnerable and scared to death, i thought any minute now im going to have a heart attack and die just out of sheer terror. The anesthetist then put a venflon in my left hand and a nurse connected the wires to the electrode pads and told me she was putting a cold slab on my left thigh. I just lay there thinking what are they doing, why are they doing this to me? cant they just put me out of my misery? Then to my horror they said they were going to put a mask over my mouth and nose and to breathe normally, i just couldnt believe they were doing this, why didnt they just inject me? It took what seemed like an eternity of breathing into the mask before i was told to take some deeper breathes, what i really wanted to do was shout out no, stop, i cant take anymore, but then eventually i felt like my legs had gone a dead weight and that was it. The next thing i remember is being back in my room and hearing my daughters voices, i knew it was all over then, thank god it was all over. I was aware of people talking around me and my daughters talking to me but i couldnt reply, i was exhausted, i just wanted to sleep which is exactly what i did! I had a reasonable night drifting in and out of sleep and the following morning when my daughter arrived i just couldnt wait to get home. Mr Li came to make sure i was ok before being discharged.

I am so relieved it is all over, but if i had any idea that i would have to go through all that in the theatre i may well have gone elsewhere. I would have talked to the surgeon before i even booked the operation to ask if it was possible to be put to sleep immediately on entering the theatre, had it not been possible i would then have made enquiries elsewhere to find out the procedures at other hospitals as i am certain they all do things differently. I just feel that it was a traumatic experience and wish i had been warned beforehand before making my decision.

I have to go back to see Mr Li at the Dolan Park in 2 weeks for an xray check-up and at the moment i have to decide whether to have a fill at the same time. Even though my band is empty at the moment, i do feel like i have some restriction but i assume that is due to swelling around the site of the band so i will see how i feel during the next week. Now that i feel so much better i am keen to get this band working for me as much as possible so a fill seems very tempting right now.

2 weeks today!

Wow, that 2 weeks has passed quite quickly really. Sitting here writing this now, i dont even feel like i have had an operation at all, no soreness, no pain and i can eat and drink with only very occasional discomfort. Obviously this was all a very different story this time last week, but i have definitely turned a corner.

For the first few days post-op, all i wanted to do was sleep, i have never experienced such extreme tiredness, i could literally be sitting talking to someone and nod off! My typical day would be having regular tiny sips of water, i only managed half a bottle of slimfast in total over 2 days, the third day i managed half a tin of tomato soup and a few spoons of custard in the evening. In between times i just slept, i had no interest in reading or watching tv, it was too much like hard work. Even talking was exhausting. During the first week/10 days i didnt even feel like going on the forum or blogging, truth is i couldnt stomach it, reading other peoples experiences and thinking about my own was making me feel sick and i wanted to avoid it at all costs. The surgeon said i would probably feel like i had been kicked in the stomach really hard and i suppose that goes a little way to describing the pain i felt. I had constant pain in my left side, in particular around my ribs, i was convinced the theatre staff must have been so rough with me that they must have broke my ribs! Breathing was painful, especially if i breathed in too fast or hard it really hurt and took my breathe away. The port site was the most painful wound, in fairness the other 3 were just a bit sore, but the port site was quite bad, especially in bed whether i tried to sleep on my left or right it was painful. I did go to the doctor last saturday, a week post-op, just to get checked over to make sure everything was as it should be. The doctor was very good, he examined me fully, listened to my heart, lungs, stomach and bowel. The thing i was most concerned about was the pain in my left ribs and shortness of breathe and he said he was making sure no problems had occurred and first thing that would show up would be in my lungs or bowel so by listening to them, he could tell that they sounded ok and just to be aware that if i got a temperature to come back to him so he could check everything again. I was very impressed with him and it reassured me no end. By the end of the first week i was now managing a little bit of ready brek, a full tin of soup (divided into portions throughout the day) and a small carton of custard and everything was starting to go down much easier as the swelling in my stomach went down. I guess the ice lollies must have helped with the swelling as by now i was having 1 or 2 each day.

Week 2 has been a much better week all round. I had booked to go to Cornwall with my children on the 19th which was 9 days post-op, wasnt really sure how i would be but thought it would be good to get away and i could rest all day! It has been fantastic! We got back last night and even though i had a good rest, i also did quite alot of walking, up very steep hills! We went out and about every day, mainly walking around the little villages, shopping, sightseeing etc. but also walked down to some hard to get to beaches and had to really climb to get back up! It was fun though and i never felt like i had overdone it and it even gave me an appetite!! So the 2nd week my typical day has been having either a poached egg or scrambled egg around 11ish, some chocolate whilst out and about (i know i shouldnt but i had to keep my energy levels up!!) some mashed potato with some mushy peas, or fish pie and then in the evening some custard. I even had a glass or 2 of wine each evening! So like i said, we got back last night and i have weighed myself this morning and i havent put any weight on, i have maintained my loss of 18lbs so i am really quite happy with that. So that is it now, no chocolate or wine, except for the occasional treat.

Friday, 16 October 2009

6 days post-op

Wow, cant believe how different i feel today, i started feeling a bit better over the last 2 days but didnt want to build my hopes up. I actually feel 90% normal again! im still sore and tender on my left side which is where the port is placed, but i dont feel groggy, dont feel weak and i can now swallow alot better. I still dont have much appetite and have struggled the last few days to get a few spoons of soup or custard down (shouldn't complain, make the most of it while it lasts!) From what i have read, my appetite will return and will remain until i have my first 'fill'. On the upside, i have lost 17lbs from when i started my pre-op diet to today! I feel more happy with the decision i made, i know i still have a long journey ahead, but i feel happier and excited about the future.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Its all done - 3 days post-op!

Its finally done, i have my band fitted and im not really sure how i feel right now, it has been a very grueling few days.

The truth is, despite all the reading & research i have done and the excellent forum i am a member of, nothing prepared me for how i would feel. At the moment i am wondering what on earth i have done and put myself through, was it absolutely necessary?, was it really the only option left to me?

I am feeling quite low in myself and feel like i am grieving, for my old life i guess. All the comfort i found in food that i can no longer turn to, ironically at a time when i feel like i need it the most.

Im not really in the mood to go into detail about the day itself. Im sure in a few days i will feel alot better and more positive, for now all i want to do is sleep, rest and heal.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Tomorrow is the day!!! - Take 2!

I cant quite believe it, but tomorrow i am going to have my gastric band fitted! It doesnt quite seem real, but it really is going to go ahead this time, no hiccups! Today has been a bit like the final weeks of pregnancy when you start 'nesting'! Ive cleaned the house all through, hoovered, bleached, polished, mopped! The cupboards are stocked up and all last minute bits of shopping done too!! I have just packed by bag, nightie, dressing gown, slippers, toiletries, magazines, sudoku, note pad & pen and in the morning i will pack my laptop just in case im up to it!

I feel quite relaxed actually, not anxious at all, although that could be a different story tomorrow!

Last night Mr Li (my surgeon) rang me, he sounds absolutely lovely! he went through everything with me. Because i went down to Dolan Park yesterday for blood tests, i will be one of the first on the list! So im really pleased about that, cant bear the thought of sitting waiting all day watching everyone being taken down to theatre before me. I explained my fear of waking up in agony, which happened to me a few years ago after having a laparoscopy, so he put my mind at rest there and assured me he would speak to the anesthetist about putting in a bit of extra pain-killer to hopefully prevent this (felt like a bit of a wimp!) He was very nice and very reassuring and it just so happens that when he rang me i was in curry's buying a nintendo wii fit! He was well impressed!!

So thats it, im just going to chill out and try to relax an early start tomorrow!!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Well its all finally sorted!

Im going to have my op on Saturday at Dolan Park, Its all organised, paid for etc., ive gone for the basic package of 28 days aftercare and then i will have my fills on a 'pay as you go' basis.

As for the Nuffield........... i really cant believe how badly they have treated me. They cocked up and didnt have me listed, then promised friday, then said no they cant on friday and said they are very sorry and they will sort things out asap. I then sent them an email this morning to tell them how unhappy i was, i thought it better to put it in writing, i told them i had an option to go to bromsgrove but wanted to stay with them but felt that due to the cock up and stress it had caused that perhaps a financial jesture was appropriate. I was wrong there!! I got an email back saying that they were very sorry for the cock up but as a jesture of goodwill they would not charge me £545 for having my bloods done last week and seeing the dietician and wished me well with my op at bromsgrove!! I really cant believe the cheek of them!!

But..... im not going to let this bad experience get me down. I have remained on my pre-op diet of slimfast & youghurts, so i will have done 2 weeks on it by saturday, my liver should be miniscule!!

So the countdown begins again............!


The Nuffield did eventually confirm that they cocked up and they are very sorry but my operation is not down for tomorrow and that they cant fit me in. They then rang back an hour later and said they can fit me in on friday. Then they rang back half an hour later and said sorry no, they cant do friday as they have no anaethsetist available! It was then left with them trying to sort something out for next week, obviously i told them i was not happy and had been stressed and upset all day.

In the meantime, mainly out of panic, i started ringing around and checking online. I have come up with Dolan Park Bromsgrove, Mr Super through the 'why go abroad' and they have been so helpful on the phone and have said they can fit me in for my op on Monday!! And..... i can save a substantial amount of money, ok i know it doesnt include the big package but having read lots of threads on the forums there seems to be alot of talk of Dolan Park and Mr Super and this doesnt seem to be an issue. I am very very tempted to be honest and want to tell the Nuffield to go to hell!!