Monday, March 24, 2014

WLS decision made, sleeping after surgery

I'm a planner and always have been.  I don't like to leave too much open to chance when it comes to big decisions.  When I decided to buy my house, I did an incredible amount of research so that I wasn't make horrible choices that I would regret.  I talked with different lenders, looked at how interest rates would affect my bottom line every month and really looked at pros and cons before throwing my hat into the ring.  I have no problem being spontaneous about some things, but major life decisions for me are pretty serious.  So, when I decided that I was going to have weight loss surgery, it was something that I gave incredibly serious consideration.

After weighing pros and cons, doing a ton of research and talking to a lot of people who have already had the various surgeries, I have decided that I will definitely be pursuing the vertical sleeve and not the gastric bypass.  While I am keeping an open mind, it is just my preference at this point.  My body has been through a lot in it's 42 years, particularly in the last several.  Let me see if I can remember it all:

  • Cancer that required surgery for two separate sites on my body
  • Lost 192 pounds with Optifast and then gained a lot of it back
  • Chronic pain syndrome with my legs
  • Back pain
  • Osteoarthritis in both my knees
  • Tendinitis and carpel tunnel issues that required surgery in my right wrist, with continuing problems in both wrists
  • Intestinal and digestive issues
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sleep apnea
  • High cholesterol
Anyhoo, I'm sure I'm not remembering everything but suffice it to say it's a lot.  While I don't want to put my body through more, I feel that weight loss surgery is necessary for me to have a good quality life.  My attempts in other ways so far have been unsuccessful.  Given my choice between the two surgeries, I want to go with the less invasive one, especially when having to potentially deal with malabsorption issues.  If my surgeon told me he would not support the vertical sleeve and would only perform the gastric bypass on me, then of course I will reconsider.  However, given everything I have seen so far from my insurance company, the choice is really up to me (insurance covers either of these two surgeries). 

There is a certain sense of relief in having made the decision because I at least know what direction I will be going in.  One of the things that has been on my mind a lot lately is the sleeping issues I have.  I have shared a lot on this blog before about my issues with sleeping and the CPAP.  While it's a hit or miss for me right now, I'm continuing to use it.  When I can fall asleep with it, I have a wonderful state of feeling like Sleeping Beauty.  Yet, no matter what I do, I cannot sleep on my back or side with it.  I try and then my body wakes up.  I think it's from the obstruction of my airway in those positions.  I keep trying, though.  My sleep doctor has told me that my pressure is exactly where it should be based on the data from the machine, so he's not sure why I can't sleep in those positions.  

Instead of continuing to stress endlessly about whether or not my inability to sleep on my back or side will prevent me somehow from having the surgery, I decided to pose the question to the Facebook group I'm in for people who have had or are going to have the vertical sleeve.  I have asked the question before to gastric bypass group I was in (with not many responses), so I thought I'd try with sleevers since that is the surgery I will be doing and this particular group seems to be a lot more active.  Here's the feedback I received.

My original post:  I'm in the pre-op classes right now, but I have a question about the surgery.  I'm a tummy sleeper, cannot sleep on my back or side no matter how hard I try.  I do have a CPAP machine and even that is not helping.  So, if you have already had the surgery and sleep on your tummy, how did you manage with the surgery since the incisions are on the stomach?  I won't be able to see my surgeon until after I'm done with the classes so I'd just like to hear from others with the same experiences.  Thanks.

Responses (trying to keep the respondents confidential) ...
  • I was sleeping on my stomach the first night.
  • Had surgery 3/10 and sleep on my stomach.  The first week was rough but I am fine now.
  • It took me about a month.  You will find yourself on your stomach one morning and not even know you did it.
  • You just have to.  It sucks.  The first few nights you'll pretty much be out of it so it won't bother you.  But it is hard.  I slept in a recliner for part of the night for nights four and five.
  • I had a friend that slept on her tummy in the hospital right after surgery.
  • You'll be able to sleep.  I slept on my stomach from week out.
  • I am having an easy time on my left side hugging a pillow.  I informed my husband today that we need to go buy me a body pillow.
  • I waited about 2 weeks then went back to sleeping on my stomach.
  • It took me a week.  I kinda leaned on my stomach.
  • I slept in a recliner for the first two weeks, then I eased onto the bed.  I think a lot of it depends on how big you are/were when you have the surgery.  Also, where the doc puts the incisions  and how many you have.
  • I slept just fine on my back.  I was really surprised that I could do it.
  • I slept in a recliner for a couple of weeks.
  • So far adjusting with pillows on my back or side are working for me  I also use a CPAP.
  • It was only a week I couldn't sleep on my tummy.
  • I also slept in a recliner.
  • I slept in a recliner too.
  • I didn't sleep in a recliner.  I slept in my bed and after a week or two was back to sleeping on my tummy.
  • Slept on my side and hugged a pillow.
  • I used a lot of pillows in the bed or slept some in the recliner ... after about a week I could sleep on my side and at about 2 weeks I could sleep on my stomach again ... didn't sleep very well until I could sleep on my stomach again.
  • I slept in a recliner with pillow over my belly.
  • I was outpatient.  I was home 2 hours after my surgery and slept on my stomach when I got home.  You will be fine.  Don't confine yourself to a chair ... give your bed a shot and try sleeping on your stomach.  It may not bother you ... it didn't bother me.  You will want your bed.  Trust me.
  • I'm 4 weeks out and have been able to sleep on my stomach since week 2 ... for the first week it was on my back ... then I went side ... and then I used pillows to help me sleep on my stomach kinda ... and then advanced to my stomach.
  • I had surgery wed and am side sleeping already.
  • I sleep on my tummy, the first few nights after surgery I slept upright in a recliner though.
  • Tried turning myself in recovery to side.  Once in room, turned on side and slept on side/tummy.  Way I normally sleep.  I cannot sleep in a recliner.  Too uncomfortable on back.
  • I too am a tummy sleeper but I was SO MUCH more comfortable on my back ... the meds do that to you!  It becomes a challenge of trying to get comfy so I can assure you it will be easy just to sit back with extra pillows in bed and sleep!
I was incredibly grateful to receive such amazing responses.  It made me feel 100 percent better and immediately removed the worry I was having inside about how I would possibly sleep after surgery.  So now I continue to move forward on this.  I'm reading a really huge book that one of my fellow classmates in the Kaiser program lended to me on the sleeve surgery.  It's such a great source of information and helpful tips in how to be successful so I'm taking notes on it.  I'm feeling really good about my decision right now and am staying positive.  I've still got months and months to go before I can have any surgery, but it's good to know where I'm headed.

Day 62 of Water Challenge:  Drank 180 of 180 ounces


Tamzin said...

Yeah - you will be fine, he pain meds help with back sleeping big time. You will be fine. :)

Meighan said...

Proud of you! Having my gastric bypass surgery was the best thing I ever did for myself. You can get through it girl. :)

Beth Ann said...

I'm a planner too. You are going to be great!

Kathy said...

Thanks for the support! I'm excited to continue moving forward.

Post a Comment