I’ve had a lot of disparate questions come up, so here is a collection!
Q: What was your health before surgery?
A: Other than being fat, I’m in excellent health. All my lab work pre surgery proved that. I take no medications other than my daily supplements. I am also at the bottom end of qualifying for the sleeve. My weight is relatively low for a sleeve patient (250) and my BMI was just one tick above the minimum 40. I think this contributes greatly to my speedy recovery and success so far. As they say, your mileage may vary (YMMV).
Q: Why did you go to Mexico?
A: Coupla reasons. The first is cost. Sleeve is $4k in Mexico rather than $10-20k that you’ll pay here. Second is my complete lack of confidence in the medical industry here. If you want exemplary care, the US is not the place to look for it. I also feel that RNY is still pushed in the US as the “superior” gastric surgery, and I disagree wholeheartedly with that. I think the US healthcare system is mired in status quo rather than looking at what is BEST for the patient.
I went to Tijuana, Mexico and Dr Mario Camelo did the surgery at Florence Hospital. If you’d like a recommendation, I’m happy to hook you up with the coordinator, Veronica, who works with Americans who need bariatric, dental and other medical stuff done. Please email me for contact info: misangela at gmail.
Q: What is the timeline from surgery to real food?
A: The standard answer for gastric sleeve is 2 months. For poor RNY people, it’s like 3-4 months. MY timeline is this:
Liquids until May 30
Purées until June 13
Soft foods until July 11 (aiming to be off these sooner than a month) **As of Jun 22, I am on track with this timeline.
Furthermore, once I hit the soft food mark, I’ll be incorporating soft whole proteins, mainly fish. Fish is the softest protein and a great place to transition. For more on this, pick up the book Ultimate Gastric Sleeve Success.
Q: How did you get that surgical tape residue off?
A: I tried Goo Gone, alcohol, acetone and oil. Nothing. Then I read about liquid eye makeup remover. THAT worked better that the others. I saturated the goo with EMR, rubbed with rough gauze to loosen, then got into a hot shower and literally rolled up the goo into balls and picked it off. Time consuming, but it worked.
Q: When can you take pills, capsules, etc.?
A: Official answer from my Dr: 2 months. Which makes sense. At the beginning, I opened up the prilosec and cephalexin (smells and tastes like FEET) and I waited to start gummies until week three. As of June 22 (wk 5): I take prilosec caps whole and selenium caps whole. I take Vit B12 sublingual tabs, calcium chews and gummy vitamins (and vegan iron chews every other day). When the gummies run out, I’ll go back to my regular capsule regimen.
Q: OMG! You drank coffee and tea! Won’t your stomach explode?!!??
A: Obviously NO. The party line is to avoid all coffee, tea and caffeine for the full 2 months. But if you think about this logically, that’s just a one size fits all answer, like most things from Drs. I drink coffee and tea, yes, BUT it is 50% or less of the beverage! I’m really drinking cafe au lait, which has little coffee in it. I don’t think I’d dump in plain coffee, it’s too acidic. I did drink some plain tea and it was fine – tea has less acid than coffee. My logic is that with so much Silk (or whatever your mixer), the acidity is near zero. I’ve had no issues. I would say to use caution if your pouchie has been bitchy with you. Mine doesn’t seem to care what I drink so far. YMMV
Q: Why are you documenting all this stuff?
A: I think the more info out there about living with sleeve (or Pouchie as I call mine. YES I named it. What?) the better. I found lots of “official” info that was just copied over from RNY (bypass) and that is not really applicable, IMO. I think sleeve offers a faster recovery, faster transition to whole foods and is overall less harsh on the body than RNY. If you’ve not found it already, I also post video updates on my youtube channel.
Q: Did you get pix or video from your surgery?
A: Why YES! Yes, I did. I’m weird that way. I got a pic of my excised stomach from the doc. Stomachs are HUGE, dude! I also have a clip of my actual surgery on the youtube channel if you’re curious. Another great thing about Mexico is that you get ALL your files. X-Rays, EKG, blood work, barium leak test, EVERYTHING. Unlike the US, where your medical files belong to everyone else BUT you. I love having all my medical files at hand so I can compare my follow up blood work and have records of my overall health.
Q: Is your Dr doing follow up?
A: Well, if I had a great Dr, my answer would be a strong yes, but my crazy Indian Dr is CRAZY, so the best I can say is maybe. From the get-go I’ve handled all my own arrangements and planning, so my follow up is the same. I’ll have blood work done in six months to see what’s changed and if I am doing OK with my supplements. As for physical healing, my incisions (FIVE!!) are healing up nicely and starting to itch – which is a good sign. Speaking of incisions, there are no sutures on the outside, they are sealed with Dermabond! The drain hole heals itself from the inside out. **NOTE June 22: One incision became deshisced, which means it opened up. At week 5, I’m still dealing with it. It is not infected, but it is still open. I think it did not have enough dermabond on it, so it popped open. In any case, it is aggravating, but not life threatening. Hopefully it will close up on its own, without having to see a wound clinic, which is PRICEY. ::fingers crossed::
Q: Can you help me with my planning and recovery?
A: Yes. I am available for consulting, menu planning, travel arrangements, etc. I’m a professional organizer and I’m ALWAYS for hire. Hit me up if you’d like some help. I can also put you in contact with the organizers in Mexico. Shoot me an email: misangela at gmail.