So I had opened myself up to the possibilities of Bariatric Surgery and how it could possibly improve my life. I think it was fairly obvious that it was now time to take this further. At this point, I had been to a general ‘open day’ with the Nurse and came away with plenty of information. I now needed to implement my charm offensive and make sure I was getting on the ‘to do list’
My next stop was a full interview by the Nurse on a one to one basis. We discussed by hopes and fears, my expectations and how I would manage my life afterward. I was again made to understand the sheer gravity of the operation. That absolute finality of it. Then I was packed off to the Dietician. We discussed my eating habits, did weigh-ins, worked out statistics and looked toward a plan. I was offered help by email and phone, I had iPhone apps recommended such a My Fitness Pal and Map My Walk things were really being taken back to basics. With one main thing being pushed at each meeting.
I had to start losing weight in order to start the program proper and thus began a series of meetings back and forth with the Clinic. I visited once a month (and still do) and discussed how things were going, how I had been eating, what I had been planning. In my mind this is all part of the preparation for the actual procedure itself. I believe they slow the system down to a bare minimum so you are really and truly focussed on the end game.
There were horror stories of people going through with a procedure, losing loads of weight, having surgery done to get the excess skin removed, really turning their lives around but then, after a couple of years, the weight slowly started to go back on and in no time at all, they were back to their old ways and bad habits. I mean, the amount of times I heard of people liquidising a curry or a mars bar just to get the badness into you, this was something I could not let happen. Certainly not after the sacrifices that would have to be made over the coming months, the fact that I would be putting myself in danger with a General Anaesthetic and what about the cost of all those new clothes I would be buying……
So I asked what help there was for the mental side of things and was referred to the resident Psychoanalyst. You know the type “Tell me about your dream’s, am I in them?” 😉 Anyway, my meeting with the shrink went ahead and went well. Again we discussed the hope and fears of the surgery but were more focussed on what would eventually be the amazing out come and the improvement in my life. What I could do to ensure the procedure was a success, how I could get help at anytime from the clinic and mostly just making sure that this is something my mind REALLY wanted to do and not just a ‘pipe dream or fad’.
So things were moving in the right direction, next stop was to meet the Consultant Surgeon.
Mr Bruno Sgromo
A thoroughly nice chap.
He asked me what I might prefer in the way of procedure. Now this was something I had been thinking quite hard about, I know I didn’t wasn’t the Laparoscopic Band. I don’t fancy the idea of carrying around a piece of plastic strangulating the top of my stomach and then all of the possible maintenance that goes with it. The next choice was the By-Pass, also known as the Roux-en-Y. Now this is possibly one of the most common procedures. It basically creates a new small upper stomach for you along with a lower small “pouch” and then the small intestine is re routed to connect the two. The sound of “re-routing” parts of my insides fills me with a good deal of “I really don’t fancy that” if you know what I mean. I prefer to have my insides mapped out the way they always were with no short cuts 😉
So we came to the last procedure available to me, the Gastric Sleeve. This is the one that sounded thought sounded best. Firstly nothing gets left inside you, secondly you don’t stand the possibility of having your earhole connected to your ar5eh@le and finally, it is the only one of the three that is not reversible thus making sure failure is NOT an option, at least to my mind anyway.
So all of that taken into account, I put to him that I thought I should like (mad right?) the Gastric Sleeve as my preferred choice but it was up to him, whatever he felt was best. I had learnt earlier that the stomach produces a hormone called Ghrelin which is the thought to be the hunger hormone. Simple common sense to me dictates that less stomach means less Ghrelin, which should mean less hunger.
Mr Sgromo listened as I gave hime my reasons and agreed that yes in theory my simple terms would indeed be correct but not to forget, it was not as straight forward as that. The procedure is only part of the process. As we talked he read my notes and noticed the fact I take an acid reflux tablet and had been doing so for many years. We did not know from the notes as to what caused my acid reflex. It could be the fact I took pain tablets that caused reflux problems, or maybe the fact the I had once been treated for a Hiatal Hernia. A condition where part of the stomach squeezes into the chest through an opening in the diaphragm called the Hiatus. So we needed to know. We needed to get a look at the insides of my stomach and especially the parts leading down to it, to see if we were all in good working order. This knowledge was required because with the sleeve they cut away a large part of the stomach thus making you more prone to acid reflux should there already be issues in the general area. It would not be a problem though said the consultant. We can perform a Gastroscopy and put a camera down your throat to take a look and determine if there is any issue.
Still it was a good meeting, I had been consulted on the hot topic, we had discussed where I saw myself after the surgery, how it would affect my life and what the future held. I thanked Mr Sgromo no doubt went out to the dietician and was weighed and probably hadn’t lost as much as I maybe should have, but then I had been on a stag weekend in Spain, eating my way around the town of San Sebastian and then not long after to a fabulous wedding of two confirmed foodies, so you can imagine the calorie intake that day!
Still, everything was positive, I was looking forward to the next meeting and still really enjoying the process, apart from that bloody camera…..