…and wake up where the pounds are far behind me
I should probably have started this blog before now so that I could have documented my journey from the very beginning. Although, I’m not entirely sure exactly where I would have started anyway.
Towards the end of 2009, after serious consideration, I started the ball rolling to get weight-loss surgery. Everything moved pretty quickly after first seeing my GP and I was soon seeing a specialist. He told me:
“You are an acceptable candidate for surgery.”
In the summer of 2010 I was required to attend a weight-loss class which gave more information about the surgery options, procedures for each option, what to expect before, during and after the surgery, etc. It was pretty daunting and I’ll make a more in-depth post about that later.
The surgery that I thought was most suited to me was the gastric band. This is where a band is put around your stomach and effectively makes it the size of a satsuma, limiting the amount that you can eat. Once in place the band will then gradually be filled with saline to fit individual needs.
After attending this class I was then sent for various tests – blood tests, an ECG, a gastroscopy and a sleep test to determine whether I had sleep apnea.
Blood Test: This came back all clear except that I was very low in Vitamin D. Apparently, most people in the UK have a deficienct in Vitamin D thanks to the lack of sunshine (!) but their levels are normally between 70-90. My level was 19! So I had to take some supplements for a while.
ECG: Came back normal. I think it said I have a slight narrowing of one ventrical or something like that but nothing to worry about.
Gastroscopy: This was the worst thing I’ve ever had to go through. I have a severely sensitive gag reflex and can’t stand anything in my mouth that’s not meant to be there (I throw up if I get a hair in my mouth and can’t get it out quick enough). This procedure isn’t as bad as it sounds but, for me personally, it was awful. You basically have a camera put down your throat so they can assess whether everything’s ‘normal’. It turns out I have a hernia so I was told this would be fixed the same time as my surgery.
Sleep Test: It’s a running joke that I can fall asleep anywhere, any time. I can be on a plane taxiing to the runway, fall asleep and wake up after take-off when they’re handing out drinks. Based on a brief questionnaire about sleeping habits I was sent for a sleep test for sleep apnea. This is where you stop breathing while you’re asleep. You don’t know that you’re doing it but it can mean that you don’t get a proper full night’s sleep so you’re always tired. The test meant I had to be wired up to check my pulse, my breathing and my heart rate. Despite the worst night’s sleep I’ve had in a long time and many disturbances through the night, I was told that my sleep is normal. Alrighty then.
The last test (the sleep one) was done in January 2011. After that I was told that it was just a waiting game for my local PCT to approve funding. As it was so late in the financial year it was likely I would have to wait until April.
April came and went. I had an appointment in July. Still nothing. I called the funding team to ask what was going on but I was told my PCT was notriously slow but hopefully something would happen soon. I had an appointment in October that was cancelled and rescheduled for December.
In December I saw a stand-in consultant. She looked through my notes and then actually asked me: “Have you already had your surgery?” Ahem. Do I LOOK like I’ve had my surgery? I explained that I was still waiting for funding. She told me to keep calling the funding team and get my GP to follow up on it as well.
I still heard nothing. A year after all the tests were completed. So I called up last Friday (20th January). At first I was told that my PCT were notoriously slow and can take up to 12 weeks to respond. I laughed and said I’d been waiting 12 months! The lady scrabbled around for a minute looking in files and what-not. Then she came back on the phone and said she’d found a letter and I’d been approved for funding.
I almost cried.
I am having the surgery.