An anxious heart weighs a woman down, but a kind word cheers her up. Proverbs 12:25

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Insights Regarding My RNY Gastric Bypass and After Care

There are some things I have learned in regards to my: pre-gastric bypass; surgery and hospital stay; and post-surgery care in a nursing facility.  I would like to share my insights:

1)      Pre-surgery:  If you are considering weight loss surgery, you need to check out the various programs that are covered through your insurance company.  Not all hospitals have the same weight loss surgery programs.  Investigate the surgeons who perform the surgery, the hospital, the pre-weight loss program, and if they provide post-surgery support.  Read everything you can concern the different weight loss surgeries.  The internet is a great resource.  

2)      Something else I should have done prior to surgery:  Knowing ahead of time that I was going to go straight from the hospital to a nursing facility, I should have investigated various facilities prior to my surgery.  Just because a facility says it takes bariatric patients does not mean they know how to provide sufficient care for post-surgery gastric bypass patients.    A bariatric patient is just one who is of a certain weight that needs a special bed and other items for proper care.  Do not assume the insurance company and hospital has researched these facilities as well.  I suggest that you interview the facilities whether by phone or physically.  When you find one that claims they can care for post-gastric bypass patients, ask questions as to what they provide – especially the diet/food you will need while in their care.  If you find a facility, go visit the facility personally so you are not shocked like I was when I arrived at the care facility. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Becoming a Healthier Me Post Gastric Bypass – Part 4 - There's No Place Like Home

I sounded like Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz on the drive home I kept saying to myself, “There’s no place like home!  There’s no place like home!”  If I could have clicked my shoes to get home faster I would have done it right in the car. 

When I entered our house I said, “I’m home!”  Of course there was no one there to greet me (our dog was still at our daughter’s home – and the cats – well they’re cats!  Lol), but it was so good to say, “I’m HOME!” 

Jim made sure I was settled and had everything I needed before he had to go back to work.  I encouraged him to go to work because all I wanted to do was rest and sleep.   I laid back on my recliner but it’s not the same as my own bed; but could I lie down and then get out of bed by myself?  After all, this is not a hospital bed, but I was determined – and that was enough!  I slowly sat down on the side of the bed, then I leaned my body on my left elbow, then I lifted my legs onto the bed and lowered myself onto my pillow laying on my side.  I fell fast asleep and woke up on the same side 3 hours later.  Oh, it felt so good to be in my own bed – so good to be home!

For the first time since my surgery I had finally slept through the night – and each night thereafter.  Each day I continue to grow stronger, though I still have trouble at times getting in all the protein and liquids I am supposed to consume each day.   Each of my doctors are amazed as to how well I am doing – and so am I! 

Considering I have been living with multiple chronic health conditions for over 30 years, my decision to have gastric bypass surgery was one of some risks and at the same time could help me to become a healthier me.  For ten years I have felt that the risks would be worth having the surgery in order to possibly become a healthier me – but I had to get others on board with my decision – family, doctors and finally insurance company.  For those who are considering the surgery but one or the entire aforementioned are not on board with your decision, I say – PERSEVERE!  If it is Go’s will – keep praying –it will happen- All in His time. 

Yes, there’s no place like home to recuperate.  I am so appreciative of all the prayers, cards and words of encouragement from family, friends, and online friends; I know that it is because of all the above that I am healing so well.   You are all part of my becoming a healthier me. 

Stay tune for my next entry:  My Insights Regarding My Care

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Becoming a Healthier Me Post Gastric Bypass Part 3 – Post Surgery Care

After the surgery on Monday, June17th I was transferred via ambulance on Wednesday, June 19th to a nursing/rehab facility to continue my recuperation closer to home.  Needless to say the 1 hour and 30 min. drive was extremely bumpy!  Why don’t they make ambulances with better shocks?  I truly believe parts of me drop off on the road!

To say that my stay in the care facility was not the best would be an understatement.   The moment I stepped foot into the facility I cried and wanted to go home.  First my room was in the nursing home unit; then the next day they transferred me to the rehab unit (a little better).  Then I found out that I was their first post-surgery gastric bypass patient.  They had NO idea how to care for me nor could they provide the nutrition I needed; all making me more determined to get strong enough to go home as soon as possible.  Jim had to daily bring my nourishment and place it in the small ice cooler chest we provided so that I could receive my nourishment every hour to 2 hours as needed now that I have a stomach the size of a small chicken egg. 

I also had to be alert regarding my medications.  All meds had to be either crushed or in liquid form, then placed in either half ounce of water or my protein drink.  Physical therapy was also interesting as well.  I had to educate them as to what I can and cannot do per surgeon’s instructions.  They wanted to work on my “other” chronic conditions that I have had for decades.  I told them that I was not in there for my chronic health conditions and those things can be taken care of as an outpatient. 

It did not take me long to realize that the facility wanted me to stay my full insurance approved 30 days.  I agreed to stay until my post-surgery follow-up with my surgeon the following Wednesday.  If the surgeon said I could go home, then I would go home the next day.  The surgeon was pleased with my progress and healing and gave permission for me to go home to continue my healing process.

Needless to say, I was ecstatic!  As I returned to the care facility I happily gave them the note/ discharge papers from my surgeon.  The next morning the facility still wanted me to stay, but I stood my ground and I left late morning, Thursday, June 27th. 

Oh, it is so good to be home! 
Stay tuned for more updates:  There’s No Place Like Home; Insights Regarding My Care

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Becoming A Healthier Me - My Gastric Bypass Part 2

 “Happy Birthday!”  I looked up in puzzlement and replied, “What?”  The nurse repeated, “Happy Birthday!”  I said,  “It’s not my Birthday.”  She replied, “Yes, it is – it’s the first day of your new life.  Your life will never be the same again!”  I just looked at her and tried to smile as I winced in pain.    It took a few days to fully understand what this well-meaning nurse meant.  First, I thought maybe she meant that my “plumbing” has been reconstructed to accommodate my now egg size stomach. (I won’t get into the details of the surgery but if you would like more information regarding gastric bypass please visit the following website:  ) .  After all,  my food now travels differently as before and my weight loss will increase  more than through the “conventional” dieting.

Then I thought, no I don’t think that is what she meant.   My life will change beyond the obvious weight loss.  I am looking forward to the multiple changes – both physically and mentally, that will come my way over the coming months and years.  Carrying around so much weight for years has prevented me from participating in so many activities over the years. My obesity has changed the way I viewed life itself.  Yes,  I am indeed looking forward to seeing - no, living through these multiple changes, challenges and positive experiences that will come my way.   One day at a time – one step at a time - my life will never be the same again!

Yes, I truly am looking forward to Becoming a Healthier ME!

Stay tune for more glimpses into my gastric bypass experience:  Post Surgery- Nursing Care/ Rehabilitation; Insights Regarding My Care;  HOME – There’s No Place Like Home. 

Becoming a Healthier Me Gastric Bypass Part One

Hospital Stay & Pain -

After ten years of trying to get approval for weight loss surgery along with the past six months of dieting and participation in the bariatric weight loss program at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, I finally had my gastric bypass surgery on Monday, June 17th. 

I must admit that the first 24 hours I doubted my decision to have the surgery.  The pain was excruciating.  Nothing seemed to relieve the pain.  I finally realized that much of the pain was gas pain due to the surgery itself.  Most people are able to walk up and down the hall after surgery to help eliminate the gas, but I was unable to walk due to extreme weakness, passing out when I stood up and my bad knees.  So the gas continued to build up inside of me causing my abdomen to feel as though it was tied up in knots and someone twisting the knots tighter and tighter.  Tuesday morning I asked if I could sit up in the chair to sleep.  This helped somewhat and I was able to alleviate some gas through small belches.   It wasn’t until early Friday morning, June 21st that I finally was able to pass gas.  I wanted to sing the Hallelujah chorus!  I felt like I had just come back from the dead!  LOL. From that day on I continued to feel better each day and gain strength.
 It may seem strange to openly talk about gas, but it is a natural “habit” and when one can no longer pass the gas that is built up in the body due to the surgery then it is most uncomfortable.  If you have any type of surgery and they suggest that you walk to help eliminate the gas I implore you to listen to the nurses; they know what they are talking about and truly want to help you to feel better. 

 Overall I had great care in the hospital.  Everyone was kind and helpful.  My surgeon, Dr. William Strodel is the best!  Really – he was chief of surgery and the most experienced surgeon on staff.  Two of the nursing assistance had the same surgery and they kept assuring me that it will be worth it in the end.  

I know they are right – I have my eye on the prize down the road – Becoming a Healthier Me!

Stay tune as I continue to journal about my experience with Gastric Bypass Surgery and Becoming a Healthier me!

Part 2 - Happy Birthday!
An anxious heart weighs a woman down, but a kind word cheers her up. Proverbs 12:25