Gastric Bypass – The First Month
I know as you get older time passes a whole lot faster but yikes! A month has gone by since I had my surgery and I can remember waking up from it like it was yesterday.
Rather than just write a summary of my week, I thought I would use a couple of emails I’ve received this week to give you a bit more information on what bariatric surgery, or rather post bariatric surgery. is like.
A friend asked me a few questions this week – he’s asking for a friend who is considering it – and I thought the last question he asked me might make a pretty good One Month Post.
She says she can’t enjoy life as much as she wants to currently (like you she’s FULL of energy for the world). Her friend had it done a few years ago and says she wishes she did it years earlier. You had the bypass not the sleeve? Are there any pros and cons vs the sleeve? And how have you found the whole experience so far? Update in your Health Journal please!
So why a bypass and not a sleeve? I was pretty set on a bypass because of the amount of weight I needed to lose to be even close to healthy. You may have seen the figures on earlier posts and I still have over 50kgs to go. I basically need to lose half my body weight. Yup, an entire healthy person – not a bloody supermodel, more like an athlete. Shit a brick.
And then during my consultation, my surgeon looked at my notes and he agreed, yes, let’s do a bypass. In terms of pros and cons, a very weird pro for me of the bypass is that if I eat too much fat or sugar, it will make me sick (hence the title of my blog and Instagram – Allergic to Sugar).
The whole experience has been quite overwhelming, its been humbling and its been a wake up to the rest of my life as well.
I count myself very very lucky to have an extremely supportive family – both my Mom and Dad have been here and came to the hospital after surgery (neither of them live closer than 3 hours) and my partner does everything I need … and some of the stuff that I don’t! All three of them told me off any time I tried to reach for something in the first week, they gave me the rest I needed and a chance to heal. And so I did, quite quickly. And that let me focus on all the other stuff that I needed to do (sip water, walk a bit, eat food, try and poop). I stopped taking painkillers after about 5 days and once my patches came off my incisions and started to dry out, I could have almost believed that my new racing stripes were merely cat scratches.
Mom made up a couple of dishes – soup and casserole so the freezer is full. Thinking about what to eat hasn’t been a problem but actually getting to the eating is. I have alarms set on my phone for breakfast, lunch and dinner however an hour can pass after they go off and then I tell myself “You really have to eat now” – otherwise I can affect my metabolism, and we want that shit to rise, not to fall.
It’s easy to forget that you need to stop drinking 15-20 mins before a meal so when I decide to eat, I usually have to wait 10 mins or so. I’ve only been out for a meal with a friend once so far and I ordered a tea with my food. Bloody stuff went cold before I got to drink it!
The last couple of weeks I have been able to add in new textures – mince and eggs and a few vegetables. I’m enjoying the preparing of meals a lot, probably too much as the fridge has all manner of leftovers! Today I made one of my favourite ever meals … an perfect little round egg fried in 1/2 tsp coconut oil with a tablespoon of my homemade tomato ketchup and a generous sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Oh yum!
But there is so much more to this than the physical event of surgery.
Much much much more. And the mental stuff is the really hard stuff. The biggest thing for me is overthinking EVERYTHING. To the point I feel I’m being obsessive. And changing my relationship with food, even though I am not hungry, I think about eating things. Or rather I remember eating things – like when I am bored, or when I am supermarket shopping. My brain tells me there’s no point though as that stuff I used to eat would just make me sick now. But I know this is just a short term thing and as my new lifestyle becomes more habit than management, things will get better.
I got an email from my dietician Georgie last night – checking in on how the month has gone.
What are you currently eating?
Breakfast: Depending on my day, either a Protein Shake (trim milk, Celebrate chocolate, Collective runny yoghurt) or a 1 egg omelette or smashed egg with either ham, avocado or feta cheese.
Lunch: Slice of chicken with 2 tsp cottage cheese or hummus and cottage cheese mixed or 4 tsp tuna
Dinner: Made the Beef Casserole and Chicken and Vege soup from the folder. Made a Black Bean Burrito mix with lean mince and capsicums and zucchini, also a Mince Tomato Sauce with onions, zucchini and carrot slow cooked and a Tex Mex Chicken with chicken thighs in the slow cooker.
Are you starting to increase the variety of foods in your diet and trying different textures? Very slowly. I have zero interest in food so I look at what I have had for the day and just throw something together or heat up something that I’ve already made (my freezer is full!)
Are there any foods you have found you struggled with in particular? Cruskits.
How long do you generally take to eat a meal? Around 20-30 minutes
Are you remembering the 20/20/20 rule? Yes! I’m petrified of something getting stuck!
Is you hunger/appetite switched off? Yes. I have three alarms set on my phone as I just get stuck into my day and forget about eating.
Are you snacking during the day or just sticking to three structured meals? Three meals – only once or twice have I added a snack when I know my calories/protein has been very low for the day.
Have you tried any of the following carbohydrate foods – potato/kumara/pumpkin/corn, bread, pasta, couscous, rice, chips, scones, or continuing to stay clear of these? I went to a wedding and they made me a special meal – there was some pureed potato and I had a teaspoon of that. Today I ate out for the first time today and I chose a vegetable frittata. I ate 3-4 pieces of pumpkin and dipped into my bag for my emergency stash when they weren’t looking.
Have you been eating any sweet foods or fruit? No.
Are you drinking plenty of fluids (2L/d)? What type of drinks are you going for? Getting very close to every day now. Mostly water – sometimes I add OVi as a bit of a flavour.
Have you tried any alcohol? No.
Supplements: Are you taking your multivitamin and B12 daily and ensuring that you B12 dissolves under the tongue? Yes.
How are your energy levels? Do you need berocca to help with this? Energy is very low in the morning. So yes – every few days I have a Berocca.
Have any foods caused you to experience diarrhea, nausea, hot flushes, extreme tiredness, or dizzy spells? No – I’ve been very careful with my food labels and I try and avoid packet/processed foods.
Have any foods got stuck that have resulted in pain or vomiting? If so what were these foods and do you think it was related to the speed of eating, not chewing enough, or for other reasons like stress, tiredness, or anxiety? No.
There was another question about bowel movements and poop – but we might skip that and just put it straight in to the Too Much Information bucket!
I’m now really looking forward to the next month.
To spending time with family and friends, to summer finally showing up, to road trips and photographs – and new foods.
So to answer the question – how have I found the whole experience so far?