When things don’t seem right …..

The main reason I started my blog was to get some experiential information out there about exactly what it’s like to go through and live with a gastric bypass. I have had a pretty good ride through this whole thing and haven’t had any complications or major bumps in the road. This means I have had a very positive experience and can’t recommend it highly enough.

I really enjoy talking to other bariatric patients because through hearing their experiences I learn more about the process and what it’s like for other people. I appreciate when other people share with me what they are finding tough about it or any complicating things they have had happen because it gives me a much more rounded view of the process and what an experience it can be. Sharing this stuff with each other is helpful and I really encourage anyone who has had bariatric surgery to find other people who have so you can have that support from someone who knows what you’re talking about and can relate.

Hopefully your bariatric surgery team will educate you as much as possible before your surgery about what to expect afterwards and what the different stages of nutrition are that you will need to work through. The nutrition is especially important. You should be given information for each stage showing you what kinds of things are appropriate to eat, what kind of volume you can expect to be able to eat and a few different meal ideas.

Much as you try and take all of this information in beforehand it won’t all stick so refer back to those sheets if you are at all unsure or need some ideas. For the first 6-9 months after my surgery my nutrition sheets sat on my kitchen bench in a prominent place so I could refer to them at a whim and I referred to them constantly. This helped me stay completely aware of what I could and couldn’t eat and what sort of portions I should be eating.

Finding your way with food after any bariatric surgery is a very personal journey but it is something that we will all have to traverse as we get back to our new normal. You may be like me and be super cautious abot what you eat, how much you eat and always be lagging behind slightly in expected portion sizes or you could be totally different. However you get through, as long as you are looking after yourself and building new healthy habits, will be the right way for you.

If you’re having trouble with food or something seems like it’s not right and it isn’t something that you vaguely remember being mentioned by your team at one time then it might not be. Only able to eat in a certain position? Suspect. Dumping every time you eat? That’s not right. Not able to easily eat ANY high protein foods? Uh oh. Please, please, please if things are much harder than they should be, or not at all what you expected please talk to your team about it.

You are not expected to soldier on by yourself without any help. Your team are there to help you and will not judge you for asking questions or needing a bit more guidance on where you should be at a certain point. Post-op bariatric surgery is different to life before, of course but it’s not meant to be a huge daily battle. Bounce your feelings and experiences off your friends to see if what you’re experiencing is normal or is a bit outside of what’s expected. Then go and talk to your team and see how they can help.

Support is really important to your success after bariatric surgery and you need to take it where you find it. I didn’t know anyone who had had bariatric surgery before I had it so searched for information online. Since having my surgery I have met heaps of people who have and it’s fantastic to know people who just get it.

Did you have a relatively good ride through bariatrics without complications or did you have a tough time? What unexpected issues did your team help you with after surgery?

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There are 5 comments for this article
  1. Melissa at 10:00 pm

    I’m having a heck of a time. 15 months out and I’m well below my goal weight. Started at 122.4 and am now 61.7 – just half a kilo from being literally half the person I was before. I am still losing weight, despite trying not to. I just can’t eat much solid food, and even mushy foods can make Princess Thimbelina (my pouch) very unhappy. I have been in pain for three days now. Waiting for an endoscopy which could be months away. So I live on protein meal replacement shakes and protein bars, with a smudge of whatever real food I can get down.

    My surgeon knows, he thinks he’ll probably have to go in and make a change or two. I’m not looking forward to that.

    Still, I wouldn’t trade my WLS for the world.

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 10:30 pm

      Oh buddy that’s hard stuff to have to live with. I really hope you’re not in pain for too much longer and that you manage to get your endoscopy soon. I’m glad to hear you still wouldn’t trade it though. Once you get sorted things will turn around for you. Good on you for going to your team for help though, there’s no way what you’re experiencing is a normal side effect of surgery and you shouldn’t have to live with it.

  2. Gemma at 10:21 pm

    I have more to say here than is probably appropriate and don’t want to ‘spill my guts’ all over your blog but yep I’m having an experience at one end of the scale (feeling somewhat under restricted) while anyone I’ve talked to about it so far has had the opposite, or mentions a friend who ‘lost the weight too fast and starved and got really unhealthy and had to have extra surgery to be able to eat at all’ although of course they have no regrets because they’re skinny and the social – I know there are physical ones too – rewards outweigh (pun not intended) their suffering. I get the sense that your experience has been somewhere in the middle.
    I came into surgery extremely well-informed and with a precise understanding of how to eat afterwards but suppose I thought I’d magically turn into someone who could follow instructions and do what I’m told. Unfortunately I’m the same old Gemma who likes to push boundaries, break rules and wants to find out where the limits lie. Problem is that they’re further out than I expected. I can eat pretty much anything at less than 3 months and I’m a bit bummed about that – sort of hoped it might not be possible but…..it’s too easy! I’m sure I’ll get there in time and I think there’s a lot to be said for just following your 10 Golden Rules (that’s my plan – just do it) but it’s a confusing old time!

    • Melissa Peaks Author at 11:04 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a tough time so soon after your surgery Gemma. It took a while for me to get the feeling back in my tummy completely so I didn’t start feeling an actual full feeling for a few months I don’t think. I was very cautious after my surgery for about the first nine months and then, like you have, I started to test my limits and see what I could get away with. I think it’s a natural part of the process, please don’t beat yourself up over it. Anecdotal stories are just that, stories. While we all travel a similar path it’s a different road for each and every one of us so try not to compare your experience too closely to other peoples. Following my 10 Golden Rules is a really great place to start. You need to make the most of the first 12 months after surgery to try and set some good new and healthy habits. I also think if you’re having trouble in terms of eating things you shouldn’t its best to make a small change, see some progress and then make another until you’re back on track. Also it’s important to know that you’re worth the effort, you deserve this and while the change can be weird and mind-blowing you will get used to it. This is an insane change to get your head around but you will get there, I know it!

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