Friday, October 07, 2011

My Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) Surgery:

To read my story from the beginning start here , then here.

So…. phone call, emotional breakdown, now what?

I had a small window of opportunity to have this procedure done. I was grateful for the opportunity to work on another show for Tamarie Cooper this summer at the Catastrophic Theatre, but that meant I had to have my surgery early enough for me to recover and be ready for rehearsals – and not just walking around saying lines rehearsals, but dancing, singing, high energy rehearsals. Otherwise, I was going to delay the surgery until September after the show closed. I called the doctor’s office up and I poured the honey on thick begging and pleading to see if we could make the MD’s schedule work. We did. We scheduled – May 5th – Happy Cinco de Mayo to me!

Pre-op appointment: 1 week before surgery:
I was giddy excited. My mother came with me to ask all the questions and hear for herself. The nurse practitioner came in and told me that starting that day, I was on a liquid diet until surgery. 3-4 cans of a diet supplemental drink and clear liquids (broth, popsicles, etc). Before I left the MD office, I had what was called a light scan – it is probably the most uncomfortable, vulnerable thing I have ever done. I had to strip down to nothing, go into a booth and have a machine scan me from every direction taking measurements that where then plotted to give me a 3D image of myself with perfect dimensions. Not only do you feel vulnerable because you are naked in strange place, but then you have to actually look at a 3D scan of yourself and all the ugly parts that you can’t see in the mirror! All I kept thinking was, “Please, God, don’t let their be a fire, please, GOD – DON’T LET THERE BE A FIRE!!!”

Now – I wasn’t prepared for an immediate cut off of my food – so I have to admit – I had one final meal right after we left the MD office. I knew that I was going to be saying goodbye to my raw vegetables for awhile, so I decided my last meal would be raw feast at a salad bar – odd I know, but it really was what I craved and was most sad about losing. But after that – nothing but slim fast and the broth of my progresso light soups. I was continuing my workout schedule which was about 5 times a week, but at one point I was pounding away on the elliptical when I got really light headed and almost passed out. I called my mother and she said – nope, sorry – that’s it for you – you are not getting enough calories in to burn the way you are at the gym. Time to slow down.

May 5, 2011 – Surgery Day:
Damn, I was so nervous. I have had surgery before, many times. But this time there was no illness or uncomfortable situation related to it. In the past, I was always in need of the surgery and it resulted in comfort on the other end. Not this time. This time I was walking into the hospital a healthy person with no pain or misery. I got there and it took forever to get me in the pre-op area. Nothing worse than sitting in the waiting room pretending to watch the Today show, and all I could think of over and over was “Call my name… call my name… call my name….”
We finally got back to the pre-op area and started the process of getting into the gown, IVs, and the final weigh in pre-surgery. At this point I had lost 30 lbs – 10 in the past week alone on the liquid diet. I had several moments of – “Wait, what am I doing – I am doing this without the surgery – wait wait wait –maybe I don’t need this….” But there was no time to turn back now. My doctor came in and looked at my torso to plan out how he wanted to perform the surgery, and then I went to another holding area.

That is where I met Rebecca – my pre-op nurse… NO… my little pre-op angel with my final sign of encouragement. I was so nervous at this point I had the shakes. She walked up and asked if I had any questions. I smiled nervously and said “No – just waiting for the anesthesiologist for my Cinco de Mayo cocktail to get this party started!” She laughed and said, “Well, I can answer any questions you might have about this, I know what you are going through!”
Wait – what?
I have had this surgery
You?!?! ( I did mention above that she was my “little” pre-op angel)
Yep – a year ago.
No way!
Yes way! I usually have a pic with me to show people because you would never know.
Well – then no – I have no question other than when do we get started?!

They wheeled me into a huge operating room and moments later I was out.

I really do not remember much from the rest of the day, I understand that the surgery was a couple of hours and routine. I remember being wheeled to my room, transferring to the new bed, and I remember my mother and sister in the room (Mike had gone home to get the kids). I never opened my eyes. I just laid there in this sort of awake, sort of asleep state. And I will not lie – I was miserable. The gas they pump into your system so they can maneuver the equipment is miserable. Painful and constant. I know I had to get up and walk, and I did – but it took finding all my will power and determination from the bottom of my feet to do it. I was very nauseated, threw up, peed all over myself – all the fun things no one likes to talk about. I didn’t want to lay down, I didn’t want to walk, I didn’t want to do anything. I do remember that Mike was supposed to bring the kids, but I just couldn’t find the “mommy is all right” lie to face them, so they stayed home. I did not have any incision pain because my surgery was done entirely though my belly button. I did have pain inside because you can imagine there was a lot that was stretched and moved to make way for the equipment and the maneuvering it takes to remove 85% of your stomach through one tiny hole.

The next day was my swallow study to confirm there were no leaks in the stomach. It would be the first thing I had swallowed in over 36 hours. I was weak and still very nauseated. They gave me the nasty 1 ounce fluid contrast to drink so they could do the first scan – it was aweful – it felt like I had already filled to overflowing with just one ounce of liquid. Time for scan two – another ounce – I swallowed – they walked out of the room and I stood there by myself trying to not pass out, when I couldn’t tolerate the second ounce and threw it up. Right about here is where I realized that this was gonna suck – a lot – for awhile.
I go back to the room. My floor nurse, who was also an angel – came in and said my scans were perfect so it was time to start drinking – 1 ounce every 15 minutes. F*&^ity- f%#k-f(*&k-F*&K!! I don’t want to put anything in my mouth AT ALL – and now I was going to have to do it every 15 minutes. Big Girl panties on – sip – not an ounce, but a sip. I know I did not get a full ounce, and not every 15 minutes, but I did as much as I could before I would get exhausted and just had to take a break. You read that right – exhausted from drinking an ounce of fluid.
I threw up a lot the first few days, but I managed to keep truckin’ along. By the end of day 2 post op, I was given the option to go home and I was ready. The next day was Mother’s Day, I knew there was nothing more to do but lay there, walk, and drink, and I could do that at home. So late Saturday night, we packed up and headed home.

1 comment:

~Crystal said...

Good job! So proud of you for doing this!! It wasn't easy...I'm prepared for that...but I'm sure it's worth it! :)