Cynrey

Stressed!

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Hello everyone, I am in desperate need of some advice. My friend and I decided to have VSG surgery around the same time so we could support each other on our journeys. She had a lap band prior so hers would be a revision to the sleeve. I haven't had any prior WLS. Her insurance approved hers before mine so she had her surgery on October 16, 2017. My surgery is scheduled for December 6, 2017 (different surgeon/hospital) To my horror, she has had MAJOR complications and is STILL in the hospital (ICU right now) they aren't sure if she will recover, and if so, to what degree. She had a bowel perforation, esophageal perforation, 4 different leaks, 2 failed stents, sepsis, fluid and blood in the lungs, and now she has ICU delirium. She's had 4 additional surgeries to fix things and is in a bad way. Needless to say, watching this has me terrified to proceed with my surgery. One day I think I'm going ahead and then the next day I think "he'll no". I'm so confused and honestly I am making myself sick trying to figure it out. I know surgery has risks, but damn, this has really hit me hard. Any words of wisdom? Thanks so much

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Hi Cynrey, how awful. I don't know what the right answer is; this happens. Three of us had surgery on the same day and had the same hospital room. I had no problems. Roommate two had no problems. Roommate three had two more surgeries before she was able to start recovering. No one can make this decision for you, but most surgeries go well.

I wish you luck with your decision and I'll be thinking of you and your friend. I hope she begins to recover soon!

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If this surgery is something you still believe you want to go ahead with, I'd be taking the time to have a very frank discussion with your surgeon. Ask about his complication rates and tell him about your friend. He might have an explanation as to how the kind of issues your friend is giving might have occurred, along with what he does to prevent them happening to his patients. Unfortunately different surgeon's have varying levels of experience and skill when it comes to bariatric surgery and this can show in their complication rates. 

For what it is worth, my surgeon told me that revisional surgery carries 20x the risk of post surgical leaks. It was by far his biggest concern heading into mine. Existing scar tissue is problematic for sealing well after stapling. Anatomically you are different to your friend, your surgeons likely have different skill levels, and the hospitals you're using may also have differing levels of aftercare. Only you can decide what's best for you right now. Even if you choose not to go ahead with the surgery right now, you can still have it a later time should you feel more confident then. All too often we really don't see the potential complications of surgery until we watch someone we know suffer them. I hope everything turns around for your friend quickly.

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I don't have any experience, but from my understanding revisions have a higher complication rate than first time WLS. Not that that provides much comfort when you're watching your friend go through it all. What calmed my mind pre-op was that I was relatively low risk going into surgery (as it looks like you are) and, the healthier you go into surgery, the less likely you are to have complications after. 

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2 hours ago, athenarose said:

I don't have any experience, but from my understanding revisions have a higher complication rate than first time WLS.

Agreed, some of the things @Cynrey listed sound very much like issues caused by the band, especially the esophageal perforation. 

 @Cynrey: If you've not done good research on the hospital and your surgeon, start doing so, now. I think anyone would have hesitation after witnessing what you have. Cases like this certainly are the minority though.

In the end, look at the list of reasons why you need and want this procedure. There's nothing wrong with reevaluating your decision and see where it lands you.

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4 hours ago, athenarose said:

I don't have any experience, but from my understanding revisions have a higher complication rate than first time WLS

They absolutely carry far more risk of complications than first time WLS. Many surgeons will also only perform revisions via open abdominal surgery which also increases some risk factors over the usual first time around laproscopic procedures. From memory there is some information posted in the Ask the Dr section here that covers he extra risks for revisions. I remember reading it before my revision. Unfortunately many people heading into revisional surgeries don't realise just how much extra risk there is as their original surgeries were so low risk and usually went off without a hitch.

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I really don't have any words of wisdom for you. I agree with the others that revisions are more risky than original surgery is. As with any surgery or medical procedure, I always thoroughly check out the hospital, Dr and the anesthesiologist. If they all have excellent track records things should go smoothly for you.

Most things in life carry at least some risk. You have to decide if the risk is worth it to you. I do empathize with you and your situation though. Any kind of surgery is a little scary. Having an experience like yours has to make your decision very hard.

Good luck and do keep us posted.

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Thank you all for responding, the kind words, and the information. I really appreciate it. I'm so glad I found this site! My pre-op appointment is Nov 30th and I'm going to discuss these issues with my surgeon.  I'll be in touch. Thanks again!

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2 minutes ago, Cynrey said:

Thank you all for responding, the kind words, and the information. I really appreciate it. I'm so glad I found this site! My pre-op appointment is Nov 30th and I'm going to discuss these issues with my surgeon.  I'll be in touch. Thanks again!

Remember that we are here to support you. 

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I'm so sorry about your friend. I was going to suggested talking to your dr and I see you are going to do that. I would also look up the stats on complications with surgery. I took comfort in knowing the math was on my side and it was highly unlikely I would have any issues. 

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how awful for you and especially for your friend.  sounds terrifying.  i am sending healing energy her way.  

i can't add any more good advice to what you have above. every person is different.  you can have two people who seem exactly the same on paper, but one will do fine and the other will have complications.  you can mitigate your risk by changing what you can, research your surgeon and the hospital, and make sure you're in the best possible condition before the surgery.  keep us posted and good luck to you.  

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On 11/20/2017 at 3:29 PM, Cynrey said:

Hello everyone, I am in desperate need of some advice. My friend and I decided to have VSG surgery around the same time so we could support each other on our journeys. She had a lap band prior so hers would be a revision to the sleeve. I haven't had any prior WLS. Her insurance approved hers before mine so she had her surgery on October 16, 2017. My surgery is scheduled for December 6, 2017 (different surgeon/hospital) To my horror, she has had MAJOR complications and is STILL in the hospital (ICU right now) they aren't sure if she will recover, and if so, to what degree. She had a bowel perforation, esophageal perforation, 4 different leaks, 2 failed stents, sepsis, fluid and blood in the lungs, and now she has ICU delirium. She's had 4 additional surgeries to fix things and is in a bad way. Needless to say, watching this has me terrified to proceed with my surgery. One day I think I'm going ahead and then the next day I think "he'll no". I'm so confused and honestly I am making myself sick trying to figure it out. I know surgery has risks, but damn, this has really hit me hard. Any words of wisdom? Thanks so much

Ooof. This would deflate any balloon. Your reasons / needs / imperatives for surgery remain the same though. 

- Talk to your surgeon as others have suggested and talk through what has happened to your friend. Be sure your surgeon is experienced, and ask for his/her complication statistics. There are studies showing that your risk declines as your surgeon gets more experience through their 400th case --- I chose my surgeon in large part because she has 20+ years of experience and at this juncture few if any complications. 

- Your friend's bad luck does not influence your operation. It is like they are both independent tosses of two different coins. Easy to say of course but this is when your head should run things, not your emotions. 

- You can reduce your own personal risks by losing weight before surgery if needed to get your liver smaller; being sure to use the decontaminating soaps they ask you to use so your skin has fewer bacteria; taking your blood pressure, diabetes, and other medicines so those are all under control; and probably by even some modest exercise before surgery (to tone up your stomach muscles) and probably by using a probiotic (to reduce the risk of C difficile diarrhea after surgery). The last two have not been studied specifically in WLS patients but they have been studied in the larger group of surgical patients. 

Sympathy to your friend and hoping you can stay on an even keel with all this happening....

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You all are amazing! Thank you from the bottom of my heart ❤️ 

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@Cynrey so sorry your friend is having so many problems. I will pray for her full recovery. You have been given some great advice and seem to have a good game plan moving forward. Keep us posted.

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Sorry about your friend and  prayers on the way.  Please keep us  posted on her progress.  I checked out my surgeon and hospital before my surgery. You may want to do same thing.

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Keep a list of your questions and concerns.  Make sure you are satisfied with his answers.  Good luck and I hope you can get piece of mind..

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@Cynrey How are things going? Did you decide to proceed? Let us know how we can support you. 

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12 hours ago, NerdyLady said:

@Cynrey How are things going? Did you decide to proceed? Let us know how we can support you. 

Yes, I had my surgery yesterday. Minimal pain with the painkillers. Some gas pain, but I’m walking it off. It hasn’t been too bad. I’m officially on the Losers Bench !!

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Just now, Cynrey said:

Yes, I had my surgery yesterday. Minimal pain with the painkillers. Some gas pain, but I’m walking it off. It hasn’t been too bad. I’m officially on the Losers Bench !!

Great news and welcome to the losers bench! :)

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2 hours ago, Cynrey said:

Yes, I had my surgery yesterday. Minimal pain with the painkillers. Some gas pain, but I’m walking it off. It hasn’t been too bad. I’m officially on the Losers Bench !!

Hooray!!! Welcome to the Losers Bench! 

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Congratulations to you and welcome to the losers bench!! :)

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Congrats !!

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So glad it's over and you're healing well, @Cynrey.

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9 hours ago, Cynrey said:

Yes, I had my surgery yesterday. Minimal pain with the painkillers. Some gas pain, but I’m walking it off. It hasn’t been too bad. I’m officially on the Losers Bench !!

Woohoo!!! I knew that you could do it. So glad to hear from you and that things went well.

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