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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Urgent Call for Help:
LAWLS Community Member Needs Our Support

Dear LivingAfterWLS Community:

Our community member, Anna Doubblestein is in trouble. She has spent most of December hospitalized and critically ill from complications directly related to her gastric bypass surgery almost 3 years ago.

As Christmas nears I am calling upon the compassion of our community members to let Anna know we care. She is not able to be online, so let’s rally together and send her holiday greetings the old-fashioned way and let her know we care. Please EMAIL me privately and I will send you her paper address so you can send her a Christmas Card by US Mail. Let’s let Anna know the LivingAfterWLS Community cares about her and her healthful recovery.

Anna’s Story:

I first met Anna in June this year. Like many of us, she was struggling with snacking and the invariable weight gain. She said, “I have to get back on track. In fact I am standing in a wedding in October and the dress I purchased for this wedding is very snug. I come from a large Italian family and dread what it would be like to see everyone with regained weight.”

Isn’t that familiar to all of us? We do not want anyone to see us when we have regained a bit of weight after WLS. Anna met her snacking face-on and wore her beautiful dress in the wedding. I was so happy for her.

Anna wrote to me December 1 to say she had been hospitalized for a stomach blockage but it had cleared and she would be seeing her bariatric surgeon that day. On December 4th I received a letter from her husband – Anna’s situation had become critical. Tim wrote, “The doctor took a look at the x-rays and determined that Anna had a kink in her intestine that was preventing anything from passing through. In addition he discovered a large number of lesions that had attached to the staples from her original surgery. She went in for surgery on Friday evening.”

Anna was discharged from the hospital on December 7th but returned to the emergency room on Sunday, December 11. Tim said, “She was transferred by ambulance early Sunday morning. Once the surgeon looked at her CT scan he informed us that her residual stomach (the part that she no longer uses) was enlarged and there was an additional back-up in her intestines. He also told us that he had only about a 12-hour window to get this taken care of before it became toxic in her body.

“Anna was on the table about 4 hours while the surgeon bypassed an additional 4 inches of small intestine and then checked the rest of the intestinal track to make sure there were no additional problems. At that point he discovered that her left ovary was also extremely enlarged. He came out of surgery to ask me what I thought Anna would want done. I told him to remove it. Anna had an additional hour and a half of surgery to remove her ovary and get her into recovery.

“The next 36 hours turned out to be some of the most desperate for her.
None of her fluid levels would normalize, she ran a temperature, and her heart rate soared even as cardiovascular pressure (different than blood pressure) was extremely low. She received several units of blood, had a central line (like an IV in the neck) put in so that she could receive nutrition, and the surgeon was so worried he stayed at the hospital overnight in case they had to go in again.”

Tim told me yesterday Anna is improving daily and he hopes to have her home for Christmas. He said, ’ Anna has been improving daily since my last post. She is now receiving some nutrition by G-tube and has been able to get up and do some walking. She had a touch of pneumonia but that seems to be clearing up. The biggest problem she currently has is pain management but the doctors are trying several different things to help. It's my hope and prayer that she will be able to come home sometime this next week so that she can be home for Christmas.”

Let’s do our best to show Anna we care – Please EMAIL me privately and I will send you her paper address so you can send her a Christmas Card by US Mail. Let’s let Anna know the LivingAfterWLS Community cares about her and her healthful recovery.

We are all in this together.



Kim S. said...

Holy Crimeny! This has my mouth hanging open...I'm stunned. I guess I didn't realize that complications can occur three years post-op. What are the statistics for this sort of thing? I will most definately send Anna a card with the biggest MERRY CHRISTMAS wishes.
Kim Stover

Hummingbird1964 said...

I'm with Kim. I'm sure most of us that are 2 yrs plus are freaking after reading about this. I had no idea that complications could happen that far down the line. Very scary.

She will be in my prayers.


Cyndie said...

Anne I am so glad to hear that you are doing better. This is very scary for those of us that have had this surgery. I have had two personal friends have blockages... The symptoms were pain and vomiting. They had ct scans right away and it showed up. Because I help lead a support group I am able to see the many potential problems we can have. I see a lot of pancreantititis (sp) Two ladies right after surgery had their old tummys fill with fluid and had to be hospitalized. We all just need to be aware so that when we see those symptoms we can get the help quickly. Cyndie