I just got back from Mexico, where Dr. Arturo Rodriguez performed the gastric sleeve surgery for me. (Warning… long post coming up!)Four years ago tomorrow, I had the Lap-Band surgery with Dr. Rodriguez.For a variety of reasons, the band didn’t work for me. I did manage to lose about 40 pounds with the Lap-Band surgery, so the surgery was not a failure, but I never did get good restriction. It seemed like I ran into roadblock after roadblock, and I had a heck of a time trying to get good follow up care in my community. My life changed over the past 4 years, making it impossible for me to travel and be away from home to do fills, so follow up care in Mexico wasn’t an option for me. I recently became a midwife, attending women at homebirths, so taking time away from my clients is not something I can do easily. Finally, a couple of months ago, I decided to have my band removed and have the gastric sleeve done.
My best friend and I traveled to Mexico together and, of course, received top quality service from Dr. Rodriguez and his staff. Once we got to the hotel, we had a quick meal and a few margaritas before I had to begin my pre-operative fast.
The next morning, the driver picked us up at the hotel and took us to Hospital San Pedro. I had been there before for my Lap-Band surgery and my port relocation surgery, so it was a familiar place for me. Shortly after I arrived, the nurses took me back for my IV, weight check, vitals, labs, etc. Oh, and by the way, since I work in the medical field, I took great note of their attention to cleanliness and clean technique — no worries there (in case anyone wonders about that). After the nurses were done, the anesthesiologist came to visit me, as did Dr. Rodriguez. Next, I was wheeled into the operating room.
I got on the operating table, and the anesthesiologist put a mask over me. The next thing I remember is waking up in recovery afterwards. I was SORE and groggy, and I thought, “what have I done???”
Dr. Rodriguez had to work really hard on me during my surgery. De-banding is not an easy task, and there were a lot of adhesions he had to remove. Also, since I was previously banded, Dr. Rodriguez was very careful to make sure I didn’t have any erosion, which could have caused life-threatening complications.
He also took extra care to be sure that the staple line in my stomach was reinforced by sutures, and shot blue dye through my stomach to be sure that there were no leaks. I am so thankful for Dr. Rodriguez’s skill as a surgeon.
I have trusted him with my life twice now, and I truly believe he is an outstanding doctor. I would recommend him to anyone considering gastric surgery.
HE IS THE BEST!!!
Dr. Rodriguez had arranged for my friend and me to stay at the big suite at San Pedro, which, by the way, happens to be a birthing room where they do water births — my kind of place! The room had two hospital beds, two sofas, several chairs, a kitchen, and a bathroom. It was extremely comfortable and lovely.
I am so thankful to Dr. Rodriguez for arranging for us to stay there!!!
OK, I’m being totally honest… the first day was hell. My throat was sore from the tube being in there during the surgery. I threw up several times, was in pain, and was really worried that I had made a bad decision. My back and arms hurt a lot from being on the surgical table. I could barely move. Every movement felt like torture. The pain meds gave me a horrible headache.
Second day was better, but it was still rough. I was throwing up less often and was drinking sips of water. Still very sore, but doing better. On the third day, Dr. Rodriguez was concerned about my difficulties with drinking, so he arranged for me to have a barium swallow to make sure there wasn’t an obstruction.
Everything checked out OK, so he sent me to the hotel to recuperate. Day 4 was spent just sipping water and Riopan, and there was no more throwing up. Late that day, Dr. Rodriguez met us at the hospital to have my drain removed. THAT was a really weird feeling! Once the drain was out, my soreness improved greatly.
One thing I found REALLY helpful in getting liquids down was I got some honey straws. I discovered by accident that these work really well. If you have trouble getting liquids down, it helps to just swallow, swallow, swallow until it moves down.
Well, with the honey straws, you have to work really hard to suck the honey out, and that action, combined with the swallowing of the little bits of honey, works really well in propelling the food downward. If you’re getting gastric sleeve surgery, I suggest picking up a box of these to take with you to Mexico. My friend found some at the plaza in Monterrey, but I’ve seen them at Target in the tea section here in the US.
Day 5, we left the hotel and headed home. My advice to anyone traveling after this procedure – GET A WHEELCHAIR! If you have a wheelchair, you will breeze through customs and security and life will be a whole lot easier for you.
I’ve been home now for three days and I feel much better. I am able to drink about 60 ounces of water a day now, which is about half of what I used to drink, but it is improving daily. I am not as sore as I was, but I’m still hurting a bit. My surgical wounds are healing nicely, and I’m starting to feel more “normal” again. I’ve lost 12 pounds in this first week, which is also pretty cool. I’ve been drinking Vitamin Water, chicken broth, and Italian ices. Dr. Rodriguez says I am to have clear liquids for 3 weeks, and then full liquids for 3 months. Most people would think that would be hard, but so far, I have absolutely no desire for food and do not feel hungry at all. I have to really force myself to drink enough to stay hydrated, so that’s my toughest work at the moment.
Anyway, I hope to hear more from people who have had the Gastric Sleeve.
I hope this post is helpful to any of you out there thinking about having it done.