I have a surgery date

After several months of hard work and waiting, I now have a date for my procedure: Thursday, Aug. 17.

My pre-surgery diet begins tomorrow. That means I’ll be drinking four protein shakes a day, and snacking on things like Jell-O and yogurt. I am kinda dreading this, but I know it’s a necessary step to prepare my body for surgery.

My surgeon said this morning that everything went well with all my tests, so the possibility for complications is low. In addition, I will not need to have my gall bladder removed.

Weighty matters and a little bingeing

I saw the nutritionist yesterday, and I was shocked to step on her scale and find out that I’ve only lost one pound. On my scale at home, I have lost about six pounds. I’m puzzled to provide an explanation, except that the first time I went to the nutritionist is was in the morning, and this time was in the afternoon. Still, that doesn’t account for the differences between scales.

I’m inclined to believe my scale at home is right. It’s very advanced and supposed to be highly accurate, and it connects through Wi-Fi to my phone so I can track all my measurements in the Apple Health app. Nonetheless, the only scale that counts for my nutritionist is hers. Continue reading

Tastes like progress … and radiation

I passed two more hurdles on my way to weight-loss surgery this morning — my abdomen ultrasound and a barium-swallow test. Both went well, and took much less time than expected.

First on the agenda was my ultrasound. My surgeon wants to make sure that my gallbladder is functioning perfectly. When a person loses a lot of weight, there’s an increased risk for gallstones, which can be painful and cause significant problems. It’s very common to remove the gallbladder during weight-loss surgery for this reason. The surgeon also wants to see how my liver and pancreas are doing. The liver is an important organ to consider in weight-loss surgery, as it sits right next to the stomach. Before surgery, I’ll have to go on a special all-liquid diet to shrink the size of the liver so it doesn’t get in the way of the procedure. Continue reading

And the winner is …

I have selected a surgeon and a bariatric program: Doctor David Echevarria of BayCare Health Care System. This means I’ll have the surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital, which is near Camp David and across the street from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ training facility. Maybe I’ll see some practice games while I’m recuperating.

This was an important decision for me, and there were a lot of things to consider. A few things set Dr. Echevarria (Footnote 1) and the St. Joe’s program apart for me. Continue reading

Decision (pretty much) made [u]

Well, I think I have made my decision. I spoke with one of my former doctors, who has inside knowledge of both practices I am considering. He says both are excellent, and I can’t go wrong with either one of them.

My doctor is currently working with the surgeon at hospital ABC, and says he would recommend him without reservation to his own family members. He has worked in the past with the surgeons at hospital XYZ, and says they’re both exceptional as well. So, knowing that I can’t make a bad decision, I am opting for practice at hospital ABC, since the surgeon made the time to speak with me and all of my interactions there so far have been one-on-one (Footnote 1). Continue reading

I’m starting to lean the other way now

I have been doing a little research. The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery has accredited Hospital XYZ and the two surgeons there. In addition, the hospital is considered a center of excellence for bariatric surgery.

Hospital ABC and the surgeon there do not appear to be accredited. This could be a game changer.

I have reached out to the program director at Hospital ABC to ask if the surgeon and the hospital are indeed accredited. If not, I will definitely go with Hospital XYZ despite a poor first impression.