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So there I am! Living it up in my 30-somethings with a ridiculously hot hubby, 3 seriously outgoing matter-of-fact smart beautiful kids, a cat named Roxii that just won't quit, 2 chihuahuas named Lokii (what was I thinking) and Brodii who don't understand the concept of pee outside.

I'm a strongly opinionated, outspoken, inappropriate and absolutely unapologetic chick going through this thing called life and trying to do it with my sanity intact. So far, this isn't working out so well!

Follow me as I confession myself straight to the LCBO. My rants, my way...you've been warned ;) Xo

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Gastric Bypass Diaries - Part 1

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Hey Seekers (ya, ya'll get a new nickname and everything). I know this has been an anticipated post for many of my readers for a wide variety of reasons.  That said I'm going to just jump right into it and let you know how my journey thus far has been.  In my previous post I explained why.  Now I will explain everything else up until today, or within the last week or so.

What is gastric bypass (also known as Roux-En-Y)? It is a surgical process in which the stomach is divided into a small upper 'pouch' and a much larger lower "remnant" 'pouch' and then the small intestine is rearranged to connect to both. (see above photo). More often than not this procedure is done laparoscopically meaning 5 to 6 small incisions less than 1 inch.

Basically before surgery your stomach can fill to be the size of a football. Post surgery it becomes about the size of a golf ball.

SO... I went for orientation on Jan 23rd, 2020 at the Wharton Clinic in Stoney Creek. During orientation I was taken into a room with a group of people (I believe we had around 8), and an hour long orientation began with the usual introductions and then a slideshow going through everything you could want to know about the procedure, before, during and after.  An example is if you are a smoker you need to be smoke free for 6 months prior to surgery.  I obviously didn't have that issue as I don't smoke but there are some other things that factor in too.  Those would be no carbonated drinks or alcohol at least 2 months prior as well.  Once upon a time you couldn't have caffeine either but that has since changed, at least with my clinic.  I believe as long as you are limiting to only a few cups a day you are alright.

Anyhow I left orientation with my next 3 appoints which were scheduled for the same week as I did not have to 'think about it'.  I had done my research and was ready to get going. A hint: If you have open availability you will go through the process much quicker.

Fast forward to the appointments I had one with the nurse (went through basic medical information, took height and weight and answered any additional questions), dietitian (went through what my current diet was like, what it would look like post op and she got me started on supplements that day to help prep for surgery but also to get used to taking them etc) and last was the counsellor (who went through my mental state, bit of medical history and general questions etc).

I also needed to go for a gastroscopy (stick a camera down your throat to check out stomach and lining and check for any angry bacterias etc).  I had slight irritation so they look a biopsy but it resulted in nothing.  He mentioned that it could just be from heart burn which I said I don't recall ever experiencing and he said you could have it and not even know it.  I definitely learned something that day.

The next test I had to get done was an ultrasound.  They check the wall thickness and again any abnormalities.  I didn't have any so it was a straight forward procedure.

Other people need to get sleep studies shown, some need colonoscopy depending on age and may need to have multiple visits with the counsellor and/or dietitian before they get the green flag.  I did not need any additional tests or follow ups with the counsellor but did see the dietitian a second time to see how I was doing with the supplements and tracking my food prior.  Again got the green light.

Following those appointments you next meet with the internist which is basically the doctor that lets you pass into the next phase of meeting the surgery, pre-op appointments and then surgery.  Dr. Poddar was super nice, answered any additional questions, went over everything that had happened since coming to the clinic and ones again gave me the green light to move forward.

I went to meet a surgeon on March 4th, 2020.  I say 'a' as opposed to 'the' as at St. Joe's in Hamilton they have a team that works in bariatrics so the person that you see is not necessarily the person who is going to do the surgery.  Again I met the surgeon, he answered all my additional questions and then he sent me one section over to .... BOOK MY SURGERY!!!  He also told me I needed to do 2 weeks of Optifast and I was dreading it, not going to lie.

Megan at booking was a doll and helped to not only prevent me from having to do Opti (the surgeon didn't find my ultrasound so he went with the safe bet of 2 weeks of Opti), but because of my open availability again she booked me right then for the following Monday, March 9th, 2020.

I also then got to sneak in my nutrition class at Wharton, which everyone has to do, on the 6th because of the surgery being booked so very quickly.  Smaller class size and we just went over again what the stomach will be like post surgery, talked about dumping syndrome (I will explain in another post because I've experienced it once -- and hopefully never again), resources available, what is expected of us etc.

My whole process took 46 days from orientation to surgery. This is NOT typical but because I had no comorbidities aside from having a BMI over 40, I sailed right through.  Wharton also does NOT do the surgeries, they are a sister company to St. Joe's program so they take on a percentage of their cases and look after us patients pre and post op, the surgery itself is just done at St. Joe's.

How did I qualify? I had a BMI of over 40.  The only other way you qualify is if you have a BMI of 35+ but also have a comorbidity as well.  That could be sleep apnea, diabetes etc.

How did I pay for it? I was covered under OHIP because I live in the wonderful country of Canada.

What happened next?

Guess you will have to tune in next time for Part 2.