Well, it’s all happening now. It’s as official as it’s going to get without me donning a hospital gown. Last Wednesday I spent the afternoon at the “one-stop clinic” (known affectionately as the “round robin”) at Musgrove Park Hospital. I had a pre-op assessment – ECG, blood tests, blood pressure, peak flow and MRSA screening. I also met with the Bariatric Surgery team, one by one – the Specialist Nurse, Anaesthetist, Dietitian and finally the Surgeon. Everyone seemed happy with my suitability and it looks like all systems go. And now, we wait. At the moment, it looks like I’ll be having the operation in September, and the Surgeon assured me that it will definitely be “this side of Christmas”.
I currently don’t know whether I’m having Gastric Bypass or Gastric Band. Initially I was told that Gastric Bypass was my only option; but now I’m in the hands of the people who really know what they’re talking about, that seems to have changed. I have volunteered to take part in the “By-Band Study” – which intends to find out more about the differences between Band and Bypass – two different procedures with very similar long-term results. To ensure total impartiality volunteers are allocated operations at random.
I’m happy with the idea of both operations. Gastric Band seems less drastic, and is reversible. Weight loss doesn’t happen as quickly or as dramatically, but it’s less invasive surgery, quicker recovery and less time in hospital. It does involve extra appointments for checks and fills, but on the whole appears to be easy to live with. Gastric Bypass is a big operation, it’s riskier; but the weight loss is quick and dramatic. The hormonal reaction naturally curbs your appetite – although this effect fades after the first 18 months or so. Rehabilitation from Gastric Bypass is harder, and there’s a longer hospital stay. I can see pros and cons on each side and that’s why I’m happy to subject my final boss battle with obesity to a coin toss. I’m in great hands – Musgrove Park’s Bariatric Surgeons are experts and teach other surgeons throughout the country. They are one of only two teams outside of the USA to be recognised as an International Centre of Excellence.
While I wait for the all-important letter with my admission date, I’ve found some excellent blogs from post-op WLS patients in America:
All are great resources for pre and post operative WLS patients. Witty, no-nonsense, inspiring stuff. I hope that when I’m post-op, I can provide similar bloggy goodness for WLS patients here in the UK.
I shall leave you today with a song that’s got stuck in my head ever since I figured out my estimated operation date: