And so, it begins: I meet the first surgeon

I am considering two hospitals for weight-loss surgery. I’m not going to provide their actual names, as I don’t want to appear biased when I chose one over the other. So, for the sake of this post, let’s just say that I met a doctor today from Hospital ABC, and the meeting went well.

First, I met with the doctor himself. He had a matter-of-fact manner about him, and seemed a bit cold at times. He didn’t even ask who the strange man was sitting to my right. (The strange man, of course, was the Complementary Spouse.) I told him I wanted to know more about the Roux-en-Y procedure, which is the one where the surgeon makes a little stomach pouch and then bypasses part of the intestines.

The doctor explained that he had done many Roux-en-Y procedures (he literally said “hundreds and hundreds and hundreds” when I asked him how many surgeries he had done in his career) but he now much prefers the gastric sleeve procedure.

The gastric sleeve is relatively new, but as the doctor explained, it provides a sizable number of advantages over Roux-en-Y. I had heard on a discussion board that the Roux-en-Y helps people lose more weight than the sleeve. The doctor said that isn’t true, and results are comparable. In addition, he said, the sleeve is less invasive, has a quicker recovery time, and leads to fewer complications.

So, what is the sleeve? Instead of creating a small food pouch, the surgeon reduces the width of the stomach with a line of vertical staples. Since the excess stomach is no longer needed, it is removed. I asked if I could keep it as a souvenir. I cannot.

So, now I need to do some thinking. I am going to an information session tomorrow at Hospital XYZ, and I wonder if they also recommend the sleeve over the Roux-en-Y.

One thing that I liked learning about the sleeve procedure is that patients do not experience dumping syndrome, which is a possibility with Roux-en-Y. Dumping occurs when you eat too much food, or food that doesn’t agree with your stomach pouch. You feel flu symptoms for about half an hour, and there’s a good chance of vomiting — or worse, diarrhea. Dumping sounds like a lot of fun. I have done some research, and I’m happy to report that dumping has nothing to do with a cookbook I saw years ago called “Quick and Easy Dump Cakes.” I would never eat anything called a dump cake.

After meeting with the surgeon, I spoke to the hospital’s bariatric program advisor (I think her title might be different, but I’m too lazy to get up and walk over to the table to look at her business card). She told me about next steps, which include a number of medical tests. She also informed me that before the surgery, the doctor will want me to lose about 2.5 percent of my current body weight. That should not be a problem.

After the appointment, I talked things over with the Complementary Spouse and called my parents. We all agree that the sleeve should be strongly considered. We also agreed that these doctor’s visits are expensive, so maybe I should cut out all the Starbucks purchases.

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