Thursday, August 2, 2012

Not Beading related

I recently began a new journey in my life. On July 17, 2012, I had weight-loss surgery, vertical gastric sleeve.... in Tijuana, Mexico.

Most of my friends and family thought I was insane for going to Mexico for surgery. However, I assured them I had done my homework and research on the doctor and hospital I was going to. It was $6000-$8000 cheaper. The doctor has 15+ years experience in laparoscopic bariatric surgery. I also located some people who had the same surgery with the same doctor.

My motivation for having the surgery was to "cure" Type 2 diabetes. I was diagnosed 5-6 years ago. I've been hospitalized several times for critically high lood glucose readings of 600+. I was prescribed insulin in September 2011. A side affect of insulin is weight gain! OMG!

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When I saw the research report on Good Morning America in May 2012, I decided I wanted the surgery. Upon further research, I discovered it is an expensive surgery in the US. I found a surgeon in Mexico. I did my homework and off I went, along with my very supportive boyfriend.

3 days prior to my surgery, I started a clear liquid diet. My 1st day was horrible. I realized how much value i put on food/eating! I was irritable and cranky. I snapped at my boyfriend and broke down crying. Days 2 and 3 were much easier. The day of my surgery, me and 6 other people were picked up at the San Diego airport and transported to Tijuana.

We arrived at the hospital. It is very small! Check in went well. I saw a series of doctors. One gathered history and explained the procedure. One was cardiologist, who ran an EKG and listened to my heart. Then, I met the surgeon. I got an IV and antibiotics started to prevent infection. When all 7 of us were prepped and   ready for surgery, the surgeon explained the order of who went 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. I was 3rd! YAY! However, that was short-lived. I was pulled out of the group an hour later to be explained I would be going last. Due to my diabetes I am high risk for infection. The surgeon wanted me to have more and stronger antibiotics. This pushed my surgery to occurring at 8pm at night. It happened exactly at that time.

When I awoke from my surgery, the first thing I thought was "OMG! I have to PEE!" There was a nurse just outside my very small room. I hollered and he came in and helped me to the bathroom. Due to IV fluids, I pee'd every 2 hours all night. The second thing I recall was the pain. However, the nurse told me I could have pain meds every 3 hours. And I did. I have 5 small (1-3 stitches) incisions in my stomach. Minimal scars! YAY!

8:30am Wednesday morning - I was instructed to get up and get dressed. All 7 of us were going to one of 2 places - the hospital recovery house or the host hotel. I had a guest so I was going to the hotel. Hotel Ticuan is a beautiful hotel. GORGEOUS! The hotel offered free broth to all hospital patients and free ice pops. Which was all we could eat. I arrived at the hotel at 9:30am. I laid down and slept for a couple of hours. However, the gas pain was uncomfortable. I remembered reading post-op instructions to walk as much as possible. My boyfriend and I went walking in a nice shopping district in Tijuana. Multi-tasking - walking and shopping!

Wednesday evening we were all transported back to hospital for IV meds - antibiotics and pain meds. Also have incisions checked and drain the drainage bag (gross!). They hospital van was full and my boyfriend was not allowed to ride. So we took a cab. $6 one way. Taxi drivers in Mexico at 5pm drive crazy! We made it to the hospital in 5 minutes. The Hospital van took 15 minutes. LOL! We got back to the hotel at 7:30pm. I went to bed.

Thursday I awoke and got dressed. My boyfriend and I had breakfast in the hotel restaurant which was fabulous! I drank my broth - 5 tbsp. That is all my stomach would hold. It took me 2 days to drink 20oz of water. Thursday morning we were taken to X-ray for leak test. This is to ensure all stitching in stomach is holding and there is no leakage. I had to drink some nasty blue dye. I drank most of it. I thought - "how much of this stuff does it take?" So I drank 3/4 and dumped the rest. At the x-ray place, I had to drink, no, GULP some nastier stuff. Then x-ray taken. Back to the hotel. I took a nap, then did more walking and shopping. Thursday evening - back to the hospital clinic to have IV and drain removed. I got back to the hotel at approximately 7-7:30pm. I ate a small amount of broth from some minestrone soup from hotel restaurant. It was excellent. However, it came back up. The gas pain was excruciating, an all time high! I lost it. Broke down crying and began to feel regret for my decision to have the surgery. GasX and Milk of Magnesia was NOT working!

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I recalled a story told by a Hispanic lady who had the surgery the same day as me. She had told the group that if the gas got bad, get a votive or tea light candle, place in areas of gas pain, place a glass glass over it. The heat creates suction and will absorb the gas from the body. It's 9:30pm at night in Tijuana, Mexico. I sent my boyfriend out to find a candle! OMG! He returned within an hour. We tried the candle trick. All over my back and my stomach. Low and behold!!! I began to feel some relief.  I took a shower and felt 75% better! The shower was huge. I could have thrown a party in there! It was enclosed in glass and the tile was marble. Gorgeous! I'm glad I got to use it! LOL

Friday morning - time to pack. The hospital transport was going to pick us up at 11am to take us back to San Diego. 1pm - he finally showed up. I was not happy. Another 2 hours to get across the border. Ugh. Sitting in a vehicle for long periods is not comfortable after having surgery. However, we got to see a car be searched and some guy get arrested. Drug smuggling. Not smart. My aunt picked up up at the San Diego airport at 3pm. Then another hour to her house in Escondido. When we arrived at her house, I was hungry and tired. Chicken broth - then bed. I slept from 5pm till 9:30pm. I got up and ate, changed my bandages, and went back to bed.

Saturday - I woke up feeling like a million bucks!! I looked 8 months pregnant! I showered and off we went to the "World Market" flea market in Escondido. Then, I visited other family. By 5pm, we were on La Jolla beach! YAY! Me, my boyfriend, and my aunt, walked the beach for nearly 2 hours, picking up shells and taking pictures. We got home around 8pm. I showered - salty sea air is yucky on the skin.

Sunday - a day of shopping at Seaport Village. Then on to Star of India. Our flight left at 10:50pm. I arrived home Monday morning. Flying was uncomfortable. My stomach hurt.

Since my surgery, I've exercised (either walking or working on the elliptical machine) every day, but 1. I've lost a total (as of 8/2/12) of 18 lbs in 16 days! I'm still on liquid diet, but not clear liquids.

Eating has been very different. I get full very fast. When my boyfriend and I eat out - we choose the restaurant based upon whether they serve soup! LOL. I drink lots of water and Gatorade. I drink a half cup of coffee in the mornings. A bowl of soup from a restaurant lasts me 3 meals. My boyfriend calls me a cheap date these days. When I look in the mirror I can't see any difference. However, when i put my clothes on and I have to wear a belt- I notice the difference. My goal is to lose 60-70lbs.

As for diabetes, my first week, I continued to take insulin. My blood sugar stayed above 200 most of the time, which is normal for me. My 2nd week, it dropped to below 200. I quit insulin due to the low blood sugars that kept occurring. This week, my blood sugar has not been above 170. The surgeon had told me it could take a month for my blood sugar to stabilize to normal. I am excited!! It is happening! I feel GREAT!!!

My life is changing once again - change is the only constant!

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