Journal entry: March 18, 2014

I’m alone in the hospital (at the moment), it’s 9:30pm, and in about 15 hours I’ll be having my entire stomach removed. MY ENTIRE STOMACH REMOVED! REMOVED!! GONE! OUT OF MY BODY! I’ll no longer be able to say “Man, my stomach hurts” or “I have an upset stomach” or “Oh, a stomach? Yeah I have one of those”.  I just saw Dr. Selzer a little bit ago, he came and actually sat down beside me and we had a real conversation, which was pretty nice. I told him that I was still trying to think of a way out of this, that there had to be some other option. He did not agree. I asked him to explain to me again how and why we have arrived at this point; he told me that he wondered the same thing. What?! I’m not a damn doctor, I don’t know. He said he can tell me that, medically, I have a stomach that produces too much acid and even though my duodenum was dissected during my gastric bypass in 2006 it also is still producing bile and acid and was most likely poorly rerouted during said bariatric surgery. The tests they performed to check motility and digestion revealed that there is none of the above actually, which was surprising. He said that the use of Aspirin-related products after my gastric bypass was what caused the ulcers, but that the acid production problem was most likely there all along and would have most likely been an issue whether I had the bariatric surgery or not. He explained the size of the ulcers and the presentation of them, that they were “angry” and he asked if was a drinker, a smoker or a drug user…..I told him I’ve been all of those at one point or another and we briefly discussed the reasons why. He asked why I had bariatric surgery if I wasn’t going to follow after-surgery recommendations…..Touche, doc. And with the three words that everyone says when they’re about to say something offensive, he said “No offense, but…” I had caused this. He explained to me that the human body will make any attempt to combat what we put into ourselves, so while I was drinking, smoking or using drugs my body was like “Uh, hey Cori, I’m sure you’re having fun, but I’m kinda dyin’ in here”…He explained to me that tomorrow he will have to cut my abdomen open, starting at the diaphragm and ending at or directly below my belly button. Yesterday he said it would be done all via a scope and small incisions, but after he consulted with the thoracic surgeon they mapped out a new plan. Dr. Selzer will be the one to cut and remove all of the damaged portions of my stomach and small intestine. He will then remove the “old” parts of my stomach that have since died after being cut away during the original bariatric surgery. At that point the thoracic surgeon will have to remove the piece that sits at the end of the esophagus, he said the name but I don’t remember, and with that piece being removed I’ll no longer to be able to lay on my back while sleeping. Ever. I have to keep a pillow behind me anytime I want to sleep on my back, to keep me propped up so that food and fluids don’t come back up my throat and choke me while I’m sleeping. Sounds pleasant. All in all it should be around 3-5 hours depending how things go, but he told me not to worry about that part since I’ll be in snooze-land. He told me to relax and that he’s sending in the chaplain to meet with me shortly…..isn’t that what they do when you’re dying? He advised that I get some sleep tonight because it will be pretty miserable after I wake up from surgery. He seems at ease and confident so I’m not too nervous about the actual procedure, but this is only his second time performing this surgery. I asked him if I could give him a letter to deliver to my family in the event that something terrible happens and he said he would, but that I shouldn’t be in that frame of mind. Regardless, he said he would take the letter and return it to me when he sees me after surgery. So, that’s that. Cori out.

This photo was taken minutes before I was wheeled into surgery…
March 19, 2014 
Weight: 114 pounds
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5 thoughts on “A new chapter

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. You sound like a very brave young lady and your story, and you, are important! I also had gastrectomy, 2/3 removal, a year ago due to severe peptic ulcer disease of no known etiology. It has been quite a year and I’m glad to connect with someone who can relate. I celebrate each day as a gift from God!

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    1. It is hard to be grateful some days, but I’m glad you know how miserable PUD is. Most of the people are cancer survivors and I feel terrible for complaining, but I’ve realized it’s all the same battle.

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