I am going to start this blog off as if none of you have read it before by including links to previous blogs that explain everything I’ve gone through. The reasons I am doing this are 1) it’s been a long time and you may not remember, and 2) you may be new to my blog.
June of 2016 I underwent a sleeve gastrectomy. You can read about that experience here. There are several blogs I wrote around that time about how happy I was to be losing the weight. But there was something wrong. And I knew it. Things just didn’t feel right.
It got to the point that my intuition told me to fight for myself and my health. And that’s what I did. Read this to understand how bad it was.
I went in for surgery and had a complete gastrectomy. That’s right. They removed my entire stomach. Read about that here. It was a long road to recovery. I had a lot of family support and was able to heal. The feeding tube came out and I was on the mend. This whole year has been pretty good.
But a few months ago, I felt this lump near my belly button. A scan showed that I had an umbilical hernia. And since it was along my belt line, it was painful. And my intuition, again, told me to get it taken care of now rather than wait. My doctor explained that it was probably caused by one of my two surgeries not healing correctly. So, on April 17, 2018, I underwent laparoscopic surgery to place a piece of mesh in my belly so that the hernia didn’t get worse.
When the doctor got into my belly, he realized that it was not an umbilical hernia, but rather an incisional hernia. The bottom 2/3 of my total gastrectomy scar from last year was starting to open and separate. If I were to have waited to get this fixed, things would have been much worse. So, in order to fix this, my doctor had to use the largest piece of mesh they had (6″ x 8″). It took ELEVEN incisions to attach it correctly. It isn’t guaranteed that it will hold or last. There is an 8% chance that this will reoccur.
This is what my stomach looks like now after three surgeries. One to help me lose weight and two to correct complications from that surgery.
It was rough for a few days. I couldn’t go from laying to sitting, sitting to standing, standing to sitting, or sitting to laying on my own. My husband was a Godsend. He helped with everything at home until he had to return to work the following Sunday.
I will be two weeks post op on Tuesday and I’m feeling better. I am able to do most things on my own. I am still on a weight restriction, but have been able to cut back on pain pills from 6 a day to 3 a day.
My goal with this blog has always been to be open and honest about my experience with bariatric surgery. With everything I have been through, and if I could go back and do this again knowing what I know now, I think there are a lot of things I would have done differently. For those who say surgery is the easy way out, I am living proof that it is not. I think the main thing I would change is to take the EASY way out and lose weight naturally. Without surgery. Using diet and exercise.
I will say that my complications are very uncommon. The most common complication from bariatric surgery is a leak. And that chance of happening is only 3%. With all of the regulations and hoops that you have to jump through, bariatric surgery is one of the safest surgeries. I know that sounds ironic coming from me. But it is proven and factual.
I can only hope and pray that this is the last surgery I will need. Each surgery I go through is harder on my body than the previous. And I’m not sure I can handle much more.
Thank you so much to all of my family and friends who have offered to help in any way including prayer. I hope that things only get better from here!!