One last thing I have to do before surgery — a blood draw. We never did this after my initial meeting with my doc. We have to be sure I’m not vitamin deficient in any area as the surgery I’m having will technically do that in the end. I can’t start out that way. I will be on vitamins the rest of my life post-surgery. And not just a sweet little multi-vitamin…2 multis, calcium citrate x3, iron, and vitamin D. I am combining both surgeries. The sleeve and the gastric bypass. My procedure is called the Duodenal Switch. The procedure removes over 2/3 of my stomach, leaving a pouch about the side of my index finger to start, and then reroutes my small intestine until only about 5 foot total will be in use connected very near the colon portion of the large intestine. This makes digestion a much quicker process, but also gives my body less time to absorb calories and fat, which doesn’t sound too bad, until you give that some thought. It also means my body won’t have time or the ability to fully take in the nutrients either. Ultimately, the surgery will make my body both malabsorptive and malnourished.
I have been stockpiling my vitamins so that I am well prepared. They are chewable and specifically designed for bariatric patients. I don’t love how they taste, but on the other hand, they taste like health — my health — so I’ll learn to love them in the end.
I had the good fortune to chat with a co-worker yesterday who is three-weeks out from his sleeve surgery. He’s already down 23 pounds and looks much better. He’s feeling good and is almost back on food — his in the pureed stage right now. We shared so much of the same sentiment, similar stories and background, similar relationship with food over our lives, and the reason we need this drastic tool. It was good to hear some of his warnings — stop before you take that bite that makes you “full”. When you THINK you have an inkling you might be getting full — STOP. He stressed the discomfort he felt in his solar plexus (because that’s where the “stomach” now resides, literally at the end of the esophagus). He said the food feels like it lodges there because it has no where else to go — and it just sits there for 10 minutes or so while you squirm to find that comfortable spot. I’m sure I’ll experience it at least once while I’m trying to figure things out, but he assured me, I wouldn’t experience it twice.
I went through a few days of shock after getting my approval. A few days of fear. What am I about to do? Now I feel more committed than I did in the beginning when I started this journey. I know this is the right thing for me. I know this will be life altering — in a good way. I know there will be challenges ahead and this won’t be an easy road to walk. I am ready. I am ready for health. I am ready to be fit once again. To be active. To find that part of myself again that I feel I lost long ago. This — this shell I’ve been living in is not fully me. I’m ready to shed the shell once and for all.