So, my gastric band surgery went well. All things considered the whole process was pretty fantastic. I arrived at Slimband promptly at 2pm and was outta there by 6:30pm that evening. It was pretty amazing and an incredibly smooth process.
Shortly after I arrived at the incredibly posh Yorkville Prince Arthur Clinic that houses Slimband, I met my consultant Niki very briefly. She helped me through this process from the beginning so it was great to meet her in the flesh. She’s had this surgery before and it was pretty amazing to see how great she looked.
Then a lovely woman named Michelle took some pictures to go in my Slimband folder and mark this very special occasion. I opted for the clothes-on option instead of the top-off Biggest-Loser-style pics. I thought it was best for all of us.
When it was time to prep for surgery a nurse (the lovely Stephanie) came and took me inside to check my stats and to brief me about the process of the day. I met my anesthesiologist (Dr ….) and Dr Yau came to say hello and impart some of his wisdom upon me. After having completed 3500+ gastric band surgeries he’s certainly got information I want to hear!
He told me about the surgery and mentioned the possibility of having to repair a hiatus hernia. Apparently this is quite common for patients that suffer from GERD. It is often what makes GERD symptoms so severe in some patients. Having suffered from some pretty painful heartburn for most of my adult life, I had to wonder why previous doctors had never considered this before.
After our chat I was lead into the operating theatre where I hopped up on a pretty squishy table, got comfortable (they put massagers on my legs to help with circulation), Dr…got my IV in one try and he knocked me out. I’ve never been unconscious before so it was a pretty cool experience to be awake one minute then asleep the next.
I woke up in the recovery room and felt pretty good. Coming out of the anesthetic was such a nice feeling! It was kind of euphoric. I didn’t really feel much pain, just a bit of stiffness all over. Dr Yau was there and explained that I did indeed have a “medium sized hiatus hernia” and he’d repaired it. I was barely conscious but I was definitely grateful!
My recovery nurse was one of the sweetest nurses ever. I don’t remember her name but she was from Argentina and was just lovely. She stayed with me from the time I came out until the time I was allowed to leave about 1.5 hours after the surgery was over. She helped me right out to the car.
The whole process took about 4.5 hours but the surgery itself only took about 20-30 mins. Amazing what can be accomplished in that short timespan!
I felt okay for most of the evening. I still wasn’t allowed to eat but I could drink lots of water so I did. I’d been warned of ‘gas pain’ in my chest, neck and shoulders from the gas they used to fill up my abdominal cavity. I’d started to feel it a bit so had a demerol and enjoyed that for a couple hours before hitting the hay.
Had a rough first night. Woke up half way through in quite a bit of pain in my neck and abdomen and needed help to get up to take more drugs. Had a few tears from pain and frustration. Wasn’t pretty but I survived through the rest of the night.
I’m only allowed clear liquids like herbal tea, apple, grape or cranberry juice and any clear broths for the next 5 days. I’m still pretty weak from the pre-op diet and the surgery so I’m also drinking Pediatric Electrolyte to get my electrolytes up. I was ready to eat just about anything that would fit in my stomach when we travelled back to Ottawa Mom got me some Tim Horton’s chicken soup broth and it never tasted so good!
I took some more drugs and slept a little on the drive back to O-Town. Been resting in bed with a movie for the evening with the occasional Slow Melt Mighty Mini Popsicle. And here I am. Only had medium level gas pain so far.
When I met Dr Yau he spoke about the importance of having a strong support system of family, friends and fellow bandsters. Well, I certainly have that taken care of! I’ve had so many well wishes I’ve lost count (thanks guys!), I’ve got a fellow bandster in the family and I’m already a member of some super helpful forums, so I think I’m on the right track!
He also mentioned one thing that really struck a nerve with me. He said its important to realise that there are two organs involved with this procedure: the brain and the stomach. I think it’s crucial to one’s success to be aware of this when considering gastric band surgery because, as I said, it’s not a cure-all. It’s just another tool to help me along the way. I’ve still got a lot of work to do to get me where I want to be but I’ve got a pretty amazing support system so I’m sure it’ll be great!