Friday, October 21, 2011

Summer 2011 Part 6 (Final One!!)

You all have been so patient with me telling my story. I appreciate that and I hope you've been enlightened and have somewhat enjoyed my adventure. This is the final "chapter" before I get to current status and blog about what's going on now.

I woke up in my hospital room. Keep in mind, the 24 hours following my surgery are really blurry. I do remember my husband being there. Those precious precious people gave Miss Hope a morphine pump. They are totally on my Christmas list now and forever. I had the leg covers (formal name eludes me right now) that kept massaging my lower legs to prevent blood clots (those bad boys are on MY Christmas list!). The catheter was in and I could have hardly cared less at that point. Little did we know that the morphine would relax me to the point where my body believed breathing to be optional. The machine would start beeping and my husband would say, "Breathe Hope!" Jeesh, man, I was SLEEPING HERE.  He finally left to head home and care for our kids and reassure them that I was fine. I may have spoken to Paige on the phone, but am not sure.

I had the bestest nurse in the entire free world that night. It was a young man who's name was Jake or Jace (the white board was across from my bed and no matter how hard I squinted, all I could see was a "J" at the beginning of his name). He was 25 and normally worked in the ICU. He was visiting the bariatric floor to see if maybe he would like to work there at some time. I do believe I loved that boy a little bit. He was in my room every 15 minutes checking my I.V. and the machines. He helped me move and get comfortable and chatted with me through my drug induced haze. He made my first night so bearable and I've already told the hospital to give him a raise (no joke).

Around 5 in the morning, he came to me and informed me that the catheter was coming out at 6 a.m. and then I was going to have to go for my swallow/leak test downstairs. I could not have a single drop to drink until I had this x-ray done in case there was a leak in my new interior system. I squinted at him and said, "So, who is coming to take the catheter out?"

He grinned and said he already had another female nurse coming to take care of that. I immediately felt relief. I told him that I surely meant no offense, but I was old enough to be his favorite Aunt and being Baptist made me modest to the core. He assured me he was not offended and that he normally did this with female patients to preserve their modesty.


After this lovely nurse came in and took out the catheter, it was time to stand up and get unhooked from everything for the ride to the leak test.

Here I am, full of pain and morphine and haven't eaten or drank in 30 something hours and they want me to stand and WALK to a wheelchair.

I believe the words "You people are HIGH" came out of my mouth at some point during this.

I was so nauseated, I couldn't hardly stand myself. Apparently, Miss Hope had hit the morphine pump a tad too much during the night. Gah, I can't ever remember feeling that sick.

I told them they better make this snappy, because I was going down quick. They gave me a bucket and off we went for the test.

I get down in the bowels of the hospital and there's this metal table. I have on a hospital gown and my pajama pants. Two tiny nurses help me get on the table and lay flat. Oh, my nauseated body!!!! I vaguely remember a man coming in with a balding head and shirt and tie on.

*Before surgery, we are stressed that you can only sip sip sip sip sip SIP SIP SIP liquid the rest of your life. No more gulping ever never.*

This man told me to DRINK the liquid he gave me. I held up my hand and said, "Let's be clear here. Do you want me to SIP it or DRINK it? Because I'm about to puke everywhere and I want to get it right the first time."

He laughed and told me this one time I had DRINK.

'Nuff said, my friend.

I started drinking.

Son of a gun, that was some nasty stuff. He told me to stop and I heard the clicking of the machine. He told me to DRINK again. Aye, Sir!! I took it down like I was at a college frat party.

Afterwards, I was gasping for breath. I forgot to mention that the table was flat when I got on it, but they tilted it until I was standing so it was not the best experience in my life.

They helped me get back in the wheelchair, handed me my bucket and back to the room we went.

The thought "Am I going to die?" crossed my mind.

Shortly after that, I was sitting in the chair beside the bed when my nurse J came in to say goodbye. I told him he should really come to the bariatric side to work. He laughed and asked why? I told him because we're not sick like those people in ICU, we're just crazy and we can have conversations! He laughed again and said it was a great shift for him. I never saw him again and was a little sad.

My husband showed up shortly after this to keep me company. It was time for me to start walking the halls. You have to walk a mile before they will let you leave. I was a shuffling turtle, but by golly, I walked.

My doctor came through when we were walking and he walked with me some and when I asked him if he wanted me to go back to my room to talk, he waved me off and said he was done with me that moment. (LOVE-for reals- his sense of humor).

I went in on a Thursday and was staying until Saturday. I begged for them to take the morphine pump off because that stuff is just evil, people. They refused and I am so glad because Friday night I went to turn over and got stuck. I was on fire and pulled something and couldn't move. I hit the nurse's button and when she answered, I told her I sure could use a little help. She came right away and helped me get comfortable. I didn't realize until a minute later, she hit the morphine for me. See ya until tomorrow morning!

I had a drain hanging out of my abdomen. Talk about gross?? Yuck. I didn't have to change it so I ignored it best I could. I've read where most people keep the drain up to a week or two. My doctor was awesome and took mine out on Saturday before I left.

After the results for the leak test came back Friday morning, I was given an ounce of water. One ounce. I was told to sip it and make it last. Seriously. My "meal" consisted of broth and lemon jello and protein drink. That meal was the best meal EVAH. I got that a couple of times while I was there and each one was so amazing to my food deprived body.

I know I'm rambling with this post, but I am truly trying to recall all that happened.

The surgery gas. Dear Baby Jesus and the little bitty lambs. That mess right there has the potential to bring an elephant to its knees. When I got home on Saturday, Neighbor Debbie came to sit with me while The Man took the kids out to supper and spend time with them. I sat in my recliner and dozed most of the time she was here. I woke up at one point and told her the gas was killing me! She has had a hysterectomy and knew where I was coming from. Together, we remembered heating bags the two of us had made a couple of years earlier. She went digging in my pantry and found two of them and started up the microwave. She put them on my lower abdomen and the RELIEF, people!!! I probably told her I loved her before I passed out again.

I did a lot of sleeping and between naps, I would walk around my house. That's because my husband nagged me to death about it. (I do love that man.) He was a rock for me. He knows as much about nutrition (for me or RNY) as I do and he pushed me when I didn't feel like being pushed.

Another point of interest I want to mention is hormones. Those blessed hormones. What I didn't know before surgery was that fat cells store hormones. Here I am shedding fat after surgery and guess what's popping in my body like a ticker tape parade in New York City?? Yep, hormones. (Guys, this may be a little too much for your liking, but the gals will get this next part.) I started my cycle two weeks early and it was like I had given birth but without the baby. I went to my regular family doctor to see if I truly was dying. She assured me I was fine and this is a by-product of surgery and especially this type of surgery. I asked her to give me a script for adult liquid Tylenol as I can never again take the amazing Motrin or anything like that.It was time to ditch the Tylenol with codeine they sent home with me. My cycle still isn't back to normal and I found out that may be the case for the next few months. Lovely. I tried to talk Doctor C into taking out my uterus while he was up in my abdomen and such and he refused. Said it might be a tad too much on my body. Humph. Sure am wishing he had by this point and time in my life.

Now you know how my summer went and how the rest of my life begins. I'm going to be posting some thoughts on food addiction and some of the hurdles I've had to cross in the two months since that fateful day. I have healed wonderfully with little dashes on my stomach from the laproscopic tools.

I went through my buyer's remorse I heard/read about before surgery. That was around the second and third week when I started coming back to my senses. I bawled over what I had done to my body (thank you yet again hormones) and just knew I would be miserable the rest of my life. Yes, there were loads of violins playing the most pitiful tune you ever heard all around my head.

I still have so many hurdles to get over and many issues left to deal with in my mind and body. I welcome you to come along on my journey with me and learn how I adjust and how my family adjusts.

We're the same 'Ol Edge...just trying to be improved!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Summer 2011 Part 5

The Man and I arrived at the hospital while it was still dark. It's a small Catholic hospital and it was very quiet as we walked down the hall to the day surgery and surgery check-in. We walked into a room full of people who were waiting for their turn in an O.R. somewhere in the building. Of course, it didn't help that as soon as I hit the door, I smelled fresh brewed coffee that was provided for the family members of O.R. patients. I let the front desk know I was there and we found a seat and settled in to get comfortable.

I was so sleepy. That nerve pill was working me over and my head was bobbing around worse than Granny in the nursing home. A nurse came to inform me that my surgery was scheduled for 2:30 that afternoon and I would be taken back around 11:30 a.m. Excuse me??? That woke me up a little bit right there. Seriously? They wanted me to sit in that waiting room for hours, then stroll back for a surgery.

I got a little bit ticked, I admit. I was starving. I was thirsty. I was sleepy. I told my husband I wasn't gonna stay. I went to the front desk and confirmed that I wouldn't be going back until around 11:30 a.m. I then told her I was going home to sleep in my own bed for a few hours and I would be back. She had a tiny bit of panic in her eyes at the thought of me leaving, but I have people who can testify that I have a knack of being obnoxious when need be, and I exercised that option at that moment. I told her I was not going to sit there for hours because my doctor has no sense of time. I would be back at 11:30 and would see her then.

Then we left and headed back home.

I  hardly remember the ride home as I was so sleepy. Gah, that nerve pill sure kept me calm. Calm and knocked out! We got home and climbed back in bed to snatch a few hours of sleep.

We got back to the hospital in plenty of time and it wasn't long before I was taken back to get all prepped and ready. This would be where my nerves were taking over and I was considering that maybe this wasn't the greatest idea I've ever had in my short 40 years. My husband was left in the waiting room and would be allowed to keep me company for a few minutes before they took me back.

I started texting with Lu. Now, Lu was a basket case over this whole deal. She's the one that is always having surgeries. I've taken her quite a few times as I know how to deal with her. It was killing her she couldn't be with me for mine, but Thank You, Jesus! for text messaging. She kept me sane and I promised to text her until right before they took me back.

Our conversation went something like this:

Me: I am voluntarily letting someone remove part of my stomach and re-route my intestines! OMG!!!!!

Lu: I know...I've been there...I wanted to back out when I got there that morning ...but my whole thing was I was doing it for me...and my kids...and I don't regret it one bit.

Me: Ya gotta help me with every step.

Lu: I will be there to hold ur hand just like u did with me.

Me: I know...I just wish we didn't have to stretch our arms so far!!

11:43 a.m.

Me: Gah. I am in the back and naked under this hospital gown. This is so against my religion. If I could wear my drawers, I'd be so happy.

(You come out of surgery with a catheter. This was almost the straw that broke the camel's back as Miss Hope don't do catheters. Last time I had one was when I had Paige and it was NOT the best experience of my life. Suffice it to say, I had to do some MASSIVE praying to get past this and keep on.)

Lu: LOL...girl what does it matter...they gonna be on your

Me: Know how I'm staying calm? I keep telling myself I can walk out at any time and they can't stop me.

This is the picture I then sent to her. See the terror?!?!?

Lu: I told myself that too...over and over and over..until they gave me the drugs and I didn't give a rats a**

Me: I know the thought sure is helping me right now!! About to get i.v.

15 minutes later....

Me: Slight spazz. I.V. is in. If I run now, I gotta take the pole with me!

Lu: Well, if it has wheels. LOL But...remember to close the gown. Hee hee

Me. Girl, if I run? I won't care who sees my nekkid butt.

That was around the end of our conversation. The Man came back to join me and I was semi-calm and wide awake. That nerve pill was taken over by my anxiety. I was seriously wanting something to knock me out.

Doctor C came in and he towered over the foot of my bed. He talked to me about the change in surgery plans in nixing the gastric sleeve and going with the RNY Gastric Bypass. I asked him what he thought and he smiled and said that it was going to be just fine.

He then turned and closed the curtain, pushed my legs over and sat down at the foot of my bed. He took my hand and reached and took my husband's hand. Then he prayed. Out loud. For me, for himself, for the surgery, for my family, and for the new life I was about to start. I felt tears come to my eyes and a peace come over my soul. When he finished, I was ready.

The nurse anethesist was the same one when I had my scope! She recognized me and I was so happy to see her. She came in and chatted and this other nurse was with her. He was a very serious and somber Asian guy. He proceeded to ask me question and I copied his demeanor and seriousness. He stopped and looked at me and I said, "Dude! Lighten up! I'm the one getting cut, not you!" Others hanging around laughed and said they tell him that all the time. He grinned and after that, he was super. At the end he said, "Do you have any questions?" I said, "Are you married? Do you have kids? What are they? Do you like your job?" We were having a great time when the call came to take me back.

Miss Sweet Nurse Anethesist snuck some goody drug in my I.V. and the last thought I had before I woke up was riding down the hall on the gurney and going into a room that way more stuff than I thought an operating room should have. I vaguely remember her telling me to dream of something nice and I sighed and said, "then I'll dream about the beach".

Next thing I knew, I was waking up in my hospital room and I really really needed to get the hot poker out of my abdomen.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Summer 2011 Part 4

When I heard those words, "We have a problem with your insurance", I froze. Everything was right there within my reach and all I could think was that my stupid insurance was going to screw it up.

Small side trip here. My insurance isn't insurance per se. It's a government health plan. That's what you get when you are military or retired military. There are times when it covers much and times when it doesn't cover at all. There are many prescription drugs we can't get because Tricare won't cover them. It's a true love-hate relationship a person has with this health plan. Right now, I am fighting tooth and nail to be able to see an ob/gyn out in town for my yearly women's checkup and mammogram. I do not wish to go on base/post because a friend of mine had her mammogram on base/post (it's Army and they call it post and we're Navy and we call it base) and got a call months later to go back and re-do the test. Why? Because the person reading the mammograms obviously didn't know what they were doing and misread quite a few. They had to perform an audit and suffice it to say, many women had to go back for another mammogram and anxiously await results and hope and pray they didn't have breast cancer that took the opportunity of no diagnosis to grow. Yeah, I don't want any part of that hot mess.

Back to the story....

The patient representative informed me that my procedure wasn't covered by Tricare.

HUH???? I told her that indeed it was because they offered it on base, which is where I first heard about it.

She told me to give her a few minutes to call Tricare back and she would call me right back. I knew then that my surgery wasn't going to be on Tuesday, August 16. I sighed and she was quick to tell me we were going to work something out and I would have surgery at some point that week.

Within the hour she called me back with not so good news. Apparently, Tricare would cover the gastric sleeve on base, but NOT out in town. Now, tell me how much sense that makes?? Absolutely none. She went on to tell me that I had two choices with their practice. I could do the lap band or gastric bypass. Wow. Talk about two extremes. I had to let her know for sure the next morning what my decision was and how I wanted to handle the situation. We mutually decided before I got off of the phone to let her schedule me for the gastric bypass on Thursday, August 18. I told her I had to talk to my husband and support group and if the decision was going to be different, I would let her know the next morning first thing.

I got off of the phone and took a deep breath. This totally turned my mind around. I was as prepared as I could be for the gastric sleeve, but the gastric bypass?? Do you know what they do with a gastric bypass,  people? Click on this sentence and see this mess. Yeah, that's what I was looking at doing inside of my body.

That evening Neighbor Debbie and Neighbor Greg came over and The Man and I sat down sat down with them for a serious hard down discussion. I made the point that before I even knew about the gastric sleeve, I was seriously considering the RNY (short name for gastric bypass). We all talked about pro's and con's for a while. Neighbor Greg had a valid point when he said I wasn't a stranger to the RNY and I was extremely serious about losing weight and getting healthy. The Man was highly concerned with me having my insides cut up and rearranged. Truth is, I was having concerns of that nature my own self. I called Lu (who had RNY 8 years ago her own self) and we had a talk where she supported whatever I decided.

By the time we went to bed, I was positive the RNY was the way to go. I was too obese and miserable NOT to do it and get healthy.

My husband works for an amazing place in his military retirement. They have family emergency leave you can take each year that doesn't affect your own sick or personal leave. His supervisors were absolutely wonderful (no, they don't read my blog) and told him to do what was necessary to make sure I was okay. All in all, he ended up taking almost two weeks off to care for me.

We went the day before surgery to do all my pre-op stuff. I was starting to have myself one doozy of a headache because there was no caffeine in my system. My health nut of a doctor requested that I walk two miles the night before surgery. I was informed this makes the body produce natural blood clotting properties and helps with surgery. I knew I couldn't walk two miles. See, my body had gotten so bad that walking was becoming quite an issue with me. Just standing at the sink to wash dishes or doing laundry would make my back feel like it was going to snap in two. Part of that is due to weight and a weird injury I did to it in my early 30's. I asked if swimming was allowed and was given the go ahead. Neighbor Debbie went with me to the pool so we could get my exercise going on. The pool was empty and all ours. We went from end to end dozens of times. We went from side to side in the shallow end walking and running. We were so exhausted when we finished, it was a chore to walk back to the truck to go home.

By the way, I did the nicotine test at my family doctor's office. I had no choice. I made her promise to call me if I failed (in case I hadn't waited long enough) and I would come right back in and do another one. I passed on the first try and she called to tell me. That was one proud moment I had right there.

I would also like to note that many people who have bariatric surgery are required to do liquid diets for a period of time before surgery. From what I've been told and have researched on my own, this is required to shrink the liver. Many obese people are diabetic and shrinking the liver is really important. See, they PULL the liver to the side and if it's all swollen and fatty? It could literally snap off. Snap. Off. I think I got a little nauseous typing that. I don't have diabetes or pre-diabetes (THANK YOU, JESUS!), so I didn't have that problem, but you can bet your fanny I cut the sweets out MANY days before surgery. Like a week early. I didn't want my liver snapping off.

I know I mentioned before that I take celexa for anxiety. Let's just say the night before, my anxiety was getting a tad high. Celexa starts at 20mgs. I can't take that much. It makes me all loopy and sleepy. So, daily, I take a half of a pill to make 10 mgs. It suits me perfectly and keeps me smooth. Yeah, Miss Hope took herself a full 20 mgs the night before surgery.

Getting up Thursday morning was blurry because that nerve pill was working its magic. I showered and used plain Dial bar soap. It's required to bathe with Dial because it's the greatest anti-bacterial around. I dressed comfortably because I knew I was wearing the same clothes home after surgery. I kissed and hugged my kids and tried to convince my anxiety stricken teenager that this was nothing and I would see them all in a couple of days.

The Man and I headed out in the dark with all the early morning commuters to the hospital.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Summer 2011 Part 3

I came home from that fateful appointment and had much to think about. I was about to take drastic measures to help me lose weight. We talked with the girls (because The Boy isn't really old enough to get the whole gist of the situation) and answered questions that we could and basically tried to prepare them the best way we knew how.

I had to sit there and really think about the no smoking deal. Intellectually, I knew it had to be done or healing from the surgery would be awful. I basically chain smoked the rest of the night up until around midnight. It was a Friday night and for that last cigarette, Makenna followed me outside. I told her it was time. I gave her the pack of cigarettes I had left (around 3/4 of a pack) and told her to just take them away. She agreed, took them and went inside (I found out later she and her sister had themselves a large time destroying/shredding them and throwing them away). I then prayed and asked God to help me. I had smoked for so long that not smoking seemed foreign to me. I told Him I needed Him to take the want/need/desire for a cigarette away from me. I went to bed that night determined I wasn't going to smoke again and ruin my chances for this surgery.

I woke up the next morning and was fine. It wasn't hard to quit. Looking back, I think it wasn't hard to quit then (now is a different story-my cravings have gotten worse the longer I go without), because I knew it was time to do something about getting healthy.

Before I could count on this surgery being done, there were a few things I had to do on the preparation list. I had to have an EGD done. Now, I'm not so sure on what those letters stand for, but it had to be done the following Thursday morning. It's an outpatient surgery where they run a scope down your esophagus to check your throat and stomach for ulcers and other issues that could complicate a bariatric surgery. Gah, I was so nervous. I haven't had any surgeries other than a c-section seventeen years ago. They were going to put me to sleep!!!

The Man and I were at the hospital at 6:30 a.m. Come to find out, I wasn't even on the list?!? They took me and apparently put me first on the list because I was there so early. Fine by me. The adorable nurse anethesist (not so sure how this word is spelled as spell check doesn't recognize it) came by around 7:45 and we hit it off immediately. She said she was going to grab breakfast as Doctor C never got in before 8:00. Seriously? Then why on earth was I there so early??

Finally, around 8:15, they came to get me. They took me back to this small room and we were all chatting. I saw Doctor C come in the door from my peripheral vision and said, "What's happenin', Captain? One week smoke free! High five!" He laughed and gave me a high five and told the nurse anesthisit, "Hurry and sedate her before she starts talking." I looked at the nurse and said, "He's just worried I'll talk him into something else."

Next thing I remember, I was waking up in recovery about 40 minutes later and my husband was coming in. I am very vague about things after that. I do remember Doctor C coming in and telling me that I had a hiatel hernia. My stomach was trying to come up through my esophagus. Ahhhh...there explains the GERD I suffer from and the love affair with Nexium. He said he could fix it with surgery. Awesome. The rest of my stomach looked fine and he felt good about the upcoming surgery.

I was released and kind of remember calling my Daddy to tell him all was well. The rest of the day is pretty much a blur. Apparently, the anesthesia they use causes temporary amnesia. Nice.

I also decided to do the psychiatric consult. I had done one the year before for the surgery and would have been fine, but I felt that maybe I needed to just have one more. The seriousness of bariatric surgery is so great, that if you don't have it? You just don't understand.

Can I say I just thoroughly enjoyed that appointment? We both sat on her couch and chatted like we were old friends. We talked about the gastric sleeve and how important it was that rules are followed. She told me that I needed to prepare myself to mourn and grieve food. I heard her. My brain understood what she was saying. I just never knew how incredibly hard that could be (more on that in a future post). She invited me to come back if I felt I was having problems with my grief after surgery. I still may take her up on that.

I had three weeks until surgery. This food addict had some serious bidness to attend to, my friends. I had to do a food tour quicklike and in a hurry. I informed a couple of close friends that every weekend before surgery was important and there were places I HAD to eat before it was taken away forever. I have good friends. They fully supported this idea and I got to pick where we ate for the next three weekends. We ate Japanese steak house, Carraba's, and Red Robin (Yumm!). Each meal was amazing and I made sure to fully enjoy myself. Don't worry, I totally worked in Mexican food and a few other places high on my list also during that time.

The time up until surgery flew by, people. I am so glad Doctor C didn't require a two week liquid diet beforehand. Oh, Dear Baby Jesus and the sweet little lambs. The new doctor that has replaced him is strict and requires stuff like that. I so don't like him. All that was required was a 24 hour liquid diet before surgery. That was hard enough like it was. Jeesh. No caffeine was allowed (can you say headache???), either. No, I did not quit the caffeine before surgery. I sucked down Diet Coke like a madwoman up until I had to quit. I figured I was going to be on a morphine pump during the bad headaches and would come home with good drugs. Seriously, give me a break here. I had already given up the cigarettes. ( defensive am I over this?)

I'd like to say at this point, I had a conversation with Makenna. She's twelve now and so incredibly intelligent. She has no weight problem at all and I secretly admire the heck out of her. I've watched her and she treats food like it should be treated. She eats when she's hungry and she stops when she's full. She doesn't over eat (unless it's a salad buffet-no joke). I told her that this was my adventure, not hers. While I really needed her support, I never wanted her to feel guilty for being able to eat something that I couldn't. I made her promise not to change and enjoy her food and life. She took me seriously and we were perfectly fine.

My surgery was scheduled for August 16, 2011. A big Tuesday. Whew. Friday, I hadn't heard from the surgery coordinator and I was tad bit worried. I was supposed to get the fine details from her before surgery. I had had one last visit with Doctor C the previous Thursday. Neighbor Debbie went with me as The Man had to take his son to a doctor's appointment at the same time. Doctor C hugged me when he came in the room and he treated Neighbor Debbie with full respect as part of my support team. He included her in the conversation and she liked him about as much as I did by the time we left.

I waited all day Monday to hear from the office and called a few times. They were moving their office across town so the phones lines were all messed up and communication was sketchy. Talk about making a person a nervous wreck?? Finally, she called at around 4 p.m. and this is what I heard...

"Hope, we have an insurance problem."

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Summer 2011 Part 2

I need to preface this with a few personal words to you all out in Internet Land. I'm sharing this story with you because there those of you out there who need to hear this. If you don't support the subject of my posts right now? Then so be it. If you put your nose up at bariatric surgery? Please, read my story and see if you change your mind. I promise this is as real and raw as it gets.

Where was I? Oh yes, the appointment for the bariatric surgeon was fast approaching. The day before my appointment, I went out on my back porch so Jesus and I could have us a private meeting. I prayed and told Him I was scared, but I knew the time had come to stop relying on myself because it had gotten me nothing but bad health and poor choices. I asked Him that if this was the way I was to go, then He would clear the path before me and show me that I was to do this without any doubts.

Be careful what you ask for.

The next day, July 22nd, The Man and I headed out to meet destiny. (How dramatic of me, huh?) Yes, I took my husband with me because he is my right hand (because I'm left handed) and my support system. We make as many decisions as we can together. It keeps conflict way down in our house. The doctor came in to sit and talk with us. He was around 6'3" and wearing slacks and a Hawaiian shirt. His hair was in need of trim and he was in his late 40's. I liked him on sight. We began talking and he got me. He's seen it all in his line of work, I'm sure, but his sense of humor and mine meshed perfectly.

I told him I wanted to talk about the gastric sleeve that I had been researching. (not sure how this print and font is turning out as of now. Please, click on "gastric sleeve" to see the procedure.) He crossed his legs and leaned back in his chair and squinted his eyes. He slowly nodded and said that he could see that procedure working for me.

*What I am about to talk about may offend some people. I'm not apologizing for what I'm about to say because: 1. This is MY blog. 2. I'm not giving up my place in heaven to keep someone else's feelings smooth. *

I then asked him a few important questions. It went something like this...

Me: Do you believe in God?
He then proceeded to tell that not only did he believe in God, but how God had worked in his life up until this point.

Me: Do you pray before surgery or with your patients? Because if you don't have God up in your operating room? I got no business in there.
He then gladly told me that God let him in the operating room, not the other way around and that he was thrilled to pray with patients before surgery.

I looked at him and said, "I want you to do this surgery."

He smiled and said he would be honored to, but there was a problem. He was about to leave the practice and head off to start a new program. He was to be gone by the end of August. If I wanted the surgery, It would have to be within the next four weeks before he left.

~ numb face~

My husband sat there quiet until this point. He then pointed out that he was leaving for a 15 week class the beginning of September and that this just couldn't be done. We went in to this appointment thinking it was going to take six months (standard requirement of insurance) and that I would have the surgery when he came back from this class.

I wanted THIS  doctor to do my surgery. Doctor C wanted to do my surgery.

Doc then told my husband that I needed two weeks to recover and could he work with me having it two weeks before he left. My husband agreed and then magic happened.

It was decided that since I had done a majority of the six month requirements the previous summer, I would not have to do it again. I am still in awe of how that Doctor C just made happen what needed to be done.

I then had to admit to this doctor my biggest failing. I smoked. Oh, how I hated to tell him that. He just sat back again in that chair and looked at me. "You think you can read people and then you get surprised," he said. He would have never guessed that I was a smoker. He then leaned forward and told me, "You have to quit. Now. I have a personal rule that if a patient is a smoker, they have to quit 30 days before surgery and I require a nicotine blood test done before surgery to prove it or I won't operate."


He went on to say, "I am going to break my personal rule because we don't have a month." I am humbled because I now know this man is all about the fitness and health and to break his rule? Was big.

Before I left that office, I had a surgery date of August 16, 2011. My husband and I sat in our vehicle in shock.

I had  3 1/2 weeks to prepare myself for a life changing event. be continued...