Good Morning, Guinea Pig

Photo Credit: Albert Vuvu Konde via Compfight cc

One of the negatives of getting up as early as I do is the lack of distractions. Don’t get me wrong, the lack of distraction makes a perfect environment in which to concentrate on writing, but it also means that negative thoughts can get stuck in the brain, whirling around and around like a ride at the State Fair – the one that makes you throw up and leaves you with a headache for a week. And this morning’s whirling ride is this: I can’t seem to find any evidence, anywhere online, of a person who has epilepsy and a Vagus Nerve Stimulator having any kind of weight loss surgery.

Finding folks just with epilepsy who have had the surgery is tough enough. I found a very poignant forum post on an Australian message board from 2008: “Surely I can’t be the only morbidly obese person with seizures in the whole country!” Apparently he was – not a single person responded to his post. A very small number of folks report developing seizures out of the blue after having a gastric sleeve or gastric bypass, but those that chose to report back after evaluation almost always reported some kind of vitamin or mineral deficiency as being the cause of their seizures. I’ve only ever found two people who reported successful treatment of both their seizures and their obesity. I may not be the first to cross the Sahara, but there sure aren’t any paths or footprints to follow here.

When you consider that I also have a Vagus Nerve Stimulator installed in my chest (very similar to a pacemaker in size and location of placement), the Internet goes totally dark. There is just no information at all out there about the effect of WSL on someone with this device implanted. Heck, during my surgical consult I had to show my surgeon the location of the implant on my body and briefly discuss what it does – he had never heard of it. He waved off the importance of it after determining that it would not interfere with the laparoscopic incisions required for the Sleeve, but now I am beginning to wonder – are there risk factors here that no one has considered because no one in my position has ever done this before?

Ten years ago when I enquired about Weight Loss Surgery, my doctor gave me a flat “No” – it was not appropriate for someone in my condition. I have since learned that the issue there was the concern for malabsorption due to the way the Gastric Bypass operates, but still – we’ve only got a few years of reliable history on the Sleeve at this point. Who is ultimately right, my current surgeon, who says the whole thing is no big deal, or my neurologist from a decade ago who insisted that the whole procedure should never be considered by someone like me? These are some frightening points to be considering at 5 AM, spinning around on the Hurricane of Doubt.

My father has made the suggestion that I should present the whole thing to my surgeon as an opportunity for him to publish a paper in the Journal of American Medicine or some similar publication. The more I think about it, the more I think he might be right – it may be a very good idea to give my surgeon some other motivation to do some extra research for my procedure. He can be the one who boldly goes where no surgeon has gone before. All I want is to come out of this process healthier than I went into it.

Spinning Rides Make Me Dizzy,

– Hawkwind

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