It was – as usual – a LONG trip! Funny how routine it’s become – of course, this is my 12th trip to Alcoy, so I guess it should!
We met Ann on Wednesday evening – she drove from out of state to join us for travel. We had to be at the airport at 4:00 am. Our a little *ahem* over-eager airport transport dude showed up about 30 minutes earlier than scheduled so there was some mad scrambling to get out the door. MJ met us at the airport to join us for travel.
Honestly – everything went exceedingly smoothly. Flights arrived on time, taxi cabs were appropriated with ease, transfer to the Charmatin Train station went flawlessly. Quick plug for buying Renfe tickets from Paul the wonder travel agent BEFORE heading to Spain!. It goes so smoothly just walking into the train station and finding a seat and watching for your train’s gate to be announced. No lines to wait in for purchasing tickets – and with that, no wondering if they’ve sold out due to some holiday the rest of us were unaware of!
As we were waiting for the train I got a call from Dr. Baltasar on my cell phone wanting to know if MJ would like to move her surgery up to – THAT DAY! After a moment’s contemplation she decided that yes, she would. (She’d originally been scheduled for Saturday.) So the plan was made for John and MJ to get off of the train at Villena and be met by one of Dr. B’s taxi driver friends where they would be whisked off to the Sanatorio. Ann and I would then proceed on to Alicante where we’d pick up our rental car.
The plan went completely smoothly. By the time Ann and I made it to Alcoy MJ was indeed in surgery. We stayed at the Clinica until Dr. B came out of surgery to report on MJ – he said, “PERFECT surgery! Excellent!”
After doing rounds checking on other patients, Dr. B came back and talked with John and I about surgical options for me. He and I have been going through a flurry of emails over the past few weeks over what to do – if anything. John and I came to Spain fully prepared to not know for sure what the plan would be until we got here.
“I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see… Because this broken road prepares your will for me… I’m broken, yet I still see your face… You’ve been so faithful for all of these years… Your grace covers all I do.” Words from the song “Walk by Faith” by Jeremy Camp. Just came on as I was typing. Funny how timely God is, huh?
Anyway – couldn’t ignore that! 🙂
So – Dr. B felt that doing a quick Upper GI was the best course of action – so off we went to do just that. It’s amazing how quickly things can happen with private health care in Spain. The doctor says – “hey, let’s do an Upper GI” and down you go and do just that. No red tape, no weeks of waiting for scheduled appointments or results. We had results in about 15 minutes and had a little conference about the finding.
Bottom line: my stomach has “dilated” (that’s the official term) considerably since the time of my original DS. Back then – 6 years 4 months ago – stomachs were not made as small as they are nowadays if you’re a Baltasar patient. At the time of my surgery my sleeve (that’s the shortcut term for sleeve gastrectomy – a procedure that removes the excess portion of the stomach, leaving a tube shaped remaining stomach) was probably at the 2 to 3 oz capacity. Today patients are given a 50 cc capacity sleeve (that’s 1.69 oz to you and me!) The thing is, the excess material (along the greater curvature) that is removed is very stretchy stuff. So the more narrow the sleeve, the less stretch later on.
So, after seeing the films, Dr. B asked if we couldn’t have Ann have surgery on Saturday (the next morning, that was my original day) so that he could have time to confer with his surgical team and look at my films, etc. I said sure thing, no problem. John and I wanted time to talk through the options as well.
So the next morning Ann and I got to the Clinica about an hour before her surgery so she could go through surgical prep. I got to check in on MJ – who was doing FABULOUSLY! Seriously, Dr B keeps saying, “Perfect!” and she is! Once Ann was safely off to surgery I returned to the hotel and met John for lovely breakfast at the Hotel AC’s breakfast buffet. We talked through a lot of stuff – to do surgery or not, if yes, then what the pros and cons of the different surgical options were. We left there without saying for sure one way or the other what the decision would be. John – as always – offering his incredibly caring support!
At the conclusion of Ann’s surgery Dr. Baltasar came to report. Everything went beautifully. Excellent surgery, excellent outcomes anticipated. Then we sat and talked about what my plan would be. During the course of the morning – well, the the many weeks previous to this point in time – I’d been praying, asking God for His wisdom on this, whether I should go forward or not, asking that He’d give me clear direction. And at that moment, I knew great peace with what my decision would be.