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Wednesday, July 20, 2011



The sleeve.

Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. Sleeve gastrectomy.

Whatever you want to call it, it's what I've decided.

This is my solution.

In going through the pre-operative program with Geisinger, I was always under the impression that they only offered the full gastric bypass (RNY) or the LAP band. When I attended the informational class, led by one of the head nurses of the program, she mentioned the sleeve... and I suddenly felt committed.

Both the bypass and the band have their pluses and minuses, but in both cases, the negatives almost outweigh the positives. When push came to shove, I was leaning toward the band, but the very slow weight loss combined with the intensive adjustment period involved to add/remove liquid from the band really turned me off to the idea of it. Not to mention that any time I said to a medical professional that I was leaning more toward the band, they would inevitably do that little wince and suck air in through their teeth to make a hissing sound... then bombard me with anecdotes of patients who've failed with the band - especially starting at my size.

The bypass, however, did not appeal to me at ALL. It has the highest risk of complications and death and long-term effects on your health, such as iron deficiency (I'm already borderline), B12 deficiency (I may go vegan some day, I won't need any help with that deficiency), and osteoporosis due to calcium deficiency. Right now, the only thing that's wrong with me is that I'm fat. Why am I going to agree to a surgery that could cause problems I may never have had in the long run, just to be thin? Nuh-uh. Logic.Fail.

The sleeve... it satisfies all of my intellectual desires for a surgery. It has more rapid weight loss than the band (but not quite as rapid as the bypass); it does not induce nutritional deficiencies, because nutrients are all still absorbed as normal. All it does is provide a physical stop sign (where I often feel like I do not have one, now) and an extended feeling of fullness. I feel it is, in a word, perfect. And most of the first-hand accounts I've read seem to support that feeling. It's very rare to run across someone on a message board who has been unhappy with their decision to have the sleeve operation... and when someone IS unhappy, it's more often that they get heartburn more than they used to, but it's under control with over-the-counter medication.

I have another appointment with both the psych team (I got a "yellow light" the first time through) and the dietitian (I was upgraded to a "green light," but they want to do a weigh-in to make sure I'm staying on track) on August 10th - at which point, they may compose the letter to my insurance company to get approval to go-ahead with setting a surgical date.

1) Commence freak-out.
2) Get off caffeine. *sips coffee* Tomorrow.
3) Keep honest, accurate food logs from now until that date (and beyond).
4) Get more active on verticalsleevetalk.com.


Anonymous said...

How did the Aug 10th meeting go? Hope everything is going well for you.