Friday, September 30, 2011

A Week Out-

Well it is Friday and I had the surgery last Saturday morning. I am doing just fine. My chest feels a little tight which is sometimes uncomfortable, but not painful. I still have one day of meds to take. Then it is just the nexium, which is nasty. I don't know if I have lost any weight yet, as I don't own a scale. That will be rectified today. I did weigh myself at moms, but since I don't regularly weigh myself on it, I ave no idea if it is accurate for me. I am going to back to work on Tuesday and am looking forward to it. I am not a good homebody.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Well, it's been a while-

So if anyone cares or reads this at all, Cole and I just got back from Mexico. Yes those globe trotting Christensen's went out of the country again. But this time was for a completely different reason. No turquoise beaches or museums for us, this time it's medical.
I had a bariatric surgery, Otherwise known as the surgery for fatties. Yes I am a fattie. No I am not the fattest person ever, I get that. But I have spent the last 20 years overweight, and I was sick of it. I have done diets, drugs, Weight Watchers, some work great and then I would just gain it all back (and then some). I looked into gastric bypass a few years ago, but was turned down twice as I was not fat enough for a healthy person. They will still do for you of course, if you self pay. I had looked at a few medical tourism sites (mainly India) just casually of the last couple of years but did not take a bigger interest until I nearly could not buckle the seat belt on a airplane. That was my breaking point. Now what I would want to ask someone (but would never do, manners and all) is how much they weigh. The day before my surgery I weighed 250. That is a lot. I am not that tall, maybe 5'6". that is a lot of excess weight. On my last Dr. visit my blood pressure was up for the first time in my life and my glucose levels were not going in the right direction.
So I decided on surgery-
But where? What type?
There are actually several different types of fattie surgeries, gastric bypass, lap-band, sleeve gastrectomy etc. For me I wanted the best results with the least amount of recovery time, so I got the gastric sleeve plication. What is this? You wonder, well basically:
The stomach it sutured so that only a small pouch remains (2-4 oz after recovery)
Then the rest of the stomach is kind of rolled into itself and then is sutured. Since all the blood vessels remain intact, the stomach does not atrophy or die. It just hangs out like a trussed turkey, not being used.
Since you are not removing anything (bits of stomach, intestines), and you are not implanting anything (like a band) recovery is much faster. Another upside is that since you are not bypassing your small intestines (as in gastric bypass) you still get nutrition from what you eat.
It seemed like the one for me. It is a relatively new procedure and while being done other places is still being tested in the US. They actually did about 100 patients here in Utah last year. I read the medical journal paper about it.
Now here is what everyone says: You went to Mexico for surgery? Not only Mexico but Tijuana. That's right, TJ! The doctor who is the most experienced with the surgery practices there. He also practices in San Diego. So why not have this done in San Diego? $$$$ The surgery in Mexico cost $7500 with a discount for attending consult webinars of $250. So I am out of pocket $7250. What did I get for that? You will be amazed-
We were picked at the San Diego airport last Friday by a driver. He took us over he border (yes you do need a passport) no hassle. We arrived the Hospital Angeles (google it) around 4. Now whatever you are thinking about hospitals in TJ, forget it. This place is state of the art. It reminded me a lot of UVRMC but bigger rooms and cleaner. My bathroom in my room was bigger than my bath at home. They dressed me in my sexy gown and then left us alone for the most part till early the next morning.
Saturday morning around 6 they came and did my IV and blood work, chest xrays and EKG. The sent me to the operating room about 9:30 am and I was was in recovery awake at noon. I am fine with surgery and anesthesia but I do feel better after I vomit, well vomiting is a no-no with this surgery. It is the worst thing you can do. So instead I walked up and down the hall do get all those meds out of me.
Sunday I did a barium swallow and watched it on a fluoroscope. It was pretty cool if I do say so myself. All was well. I went off the narcotics then and have not been on since.
Monday we moved to a local hotel, and I could have cried when I saw the comfy beds. No matter what hospital it is, the beds suck. We spent the night there.
Tuesday morning the driver picked us up and we came back into the US. And here is a little funny side note. They have a special lane for medical tourism coming back into the US, so you bypass all the traffic. Very cool.
The Hospital Angeles had a great staff, tons of nurses and doctors. The nurses did not hover either which I hate. They came in, did their job and left. Most did not speak tons of English, but I got by on my VERY limited Spanish. Asking for shots of tequila is I guess not regular hospital speak.
So for this week, I am on a clear liquid diet, oh goody. But to be honest I am not hungry at all. I start on other liquids next week and then we will try soft foods, yogurt etc. But I knew all of this coming into this.
Now before I sign off, I just wanted to let you know about two things.
1. I have the best husband in the world. He loves me as a fattie and let me have what I wanted anyway. He helped me everyday and stood by me, even at our darkest hour; When he realized that netflix and hulu aren't available in Mexico. He endured 4 days of Mexican soap operas and the same repeat episodes of CSI.
2. I did lose a friend with this decision. Someone who has been frankly at my side for more than 20 years. You made every morning special at work, diet coke I will miss you.