Gastric Bypass- A cautionary tale

  In September of 2010 I underwent Gastric Bypass surgery. The big one that left me with a 1 ounce pouch for my stomach.

Let me be clear, I have no regrets getting the surgery. My reasons were many and varied. Some good, some bad but nevertheless I’m glad I did it.

A very good friend of mine had it done the year prior and it motivated me to do the same thing. I was pretty healthy but I was afraid I was going to end up like a close family member and I DID NOT want to travel down the road that she had.

My doctors were awesome. The program was fantastic and if you’re smart you’ll go the support classes, there you will be with others like you and who understand everything you’re going through physically and mentally.

And trust me, anyone who has never gone through it are completely clueless about what happens to a person.

The good things are obvious.  Aches and pains do go away. You’re health eventually gets better. And with the right nutrition, vitamins and support it can be life changing.

After my battery of tests and a medical and pych work-up I was ready to go and it went off without a hitch.

I was given a thick binder full of every possibility that might happen to me and my life in the hundreds of pages. You are warned ahead of time about things that you really think won’t happen. But they do, not in every instance but somewhere along the way you will encounter some hiccups that you may not be equipped to deal with or never expected.

1. Not following the book- My biggest mistake. I didn’t attend the support groups to talk about what I was feeling.

2. Losing 150 lbs did not help my self-esteem issues. In fact it made it worse. The smaller I became the more critical I was of myself. Every time I looked into the mirror, I saw that I was still as big as before- Body Dismorphia. Oh what a fun thing that is. It didn’t matter that I was wearing a size 9, I saw the woman who had worn a 24 looking back at me.

3. Vitamins, vitamins, vitamins. They are so fucking important. Think about it, you’ve just had a pretty traumatic surgery ( I mean they do alter your anatomy) I can tell you how important it is to take the fucking vitamins. I was not doing that and I paid a heavy price.

4. Because I didn’t take my vitamins and stuff, I had a lot of shitty things go wrong. I was often faint ( face planted a few times) I was always dehydrated ( try to function when you’re not getting enough fluid. I took several trips to the hospital for some I.V fluids to pump me back up) I was and still am to this day very anemic.

5.I stopped having my period for almost a year. Sounds good right? Not if you think you might haven gotten yourself knocked-up. I was a complete basket case over that one.

6. If you’re an emotional eater you will find some other crutch to go to. You trade one addiction for another. Until you find a better way. This is where emotional support is so damn important.

7. Some people will walk out of your life for many different reasons. The way you look, jealousy, there are a ton of reasons and you may never understand them. Let this serve as a warning, you let them go on their way. Trying to hold onto people who can’t handle the change will make your recovery and acceptance of the new you that much harder.

8.Be prepared to gain some weight back. It’s not as scary as it sounds. I lost all that weight and my doctor hit the roof. I was too thin, my skin was pale, my eyes sunken. I walked stooped over because my center of gravity had changed. I felt like shit. I pushed everyone away and I lashed out at friends and family. I couldn’t understand they were only trying to help me. But whenever they talked to me, all I heard was how weak, tired and too skinny I was. Imagine after being told I was too fat my entire life, I was now told I was too thin and it showed.

9. I was so worried about what everyone thought, if they loved me, liked me , why they were hurting me. I had never felt more alone in my world.

10. I started school. Not because I really wanted to go but because I needed something to fill me up. Some of my friendships were slowing dying and I knew it deep down but to avoid dealing with them, I delved into school for a year. Neglecting myself in the process. For 2 years after my bypass and due to my self-neglect, I suffered a breakdown. A really, really, wouldn’t want my enemies to suffer kind of deal.

11. Even with my family around, I’d never felt so alone in my life. In fact I’d never experienced such loneliness. Drowning myself in homework was the only way I coped and that didn’t turn out to well.

12. As with any addiction-yes including food, you CAN NOT make impulsive, life-changing decisions. The kind that change your entire life, and I made some doozy’s that I still regret to this day.

 My point is…if you’re going to have the surgery make sure you are doing it for yourself and for no other reason. Losing a ton of weight won’t make someone love you, you might not get that career you’ve always wanted etc…

FOLLOW THE DOCTOR’S ORDERS…LET ME SAY THIS AGAIN-FOLLOW THE DOCTORS ORDERS…

Expect that there will be people in your life that won’t be able to deal with the new you. They will come and go and you have to let them.

In the end, this is about you and your health. As long as you keep that one thought in your mind, I’m positive you’ll succeed.

It took me 4 years post-op to finally get back to me. Back to who I really am. I’m thankful that I had to go through this journey the way I had. It showed me how strong I was and that I’m worthy of great things that come my way.

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