I think one of the first things we have to…
You might be thinking hang on, didn’t you pass the three-year post gastric bypass mark back in February Melissa? Why yes I did, observant reader! A combination of my appointment being a bit later than expected and my blog schedule means I’m posting this quite a while after I passed the three-year mark. If you want to read my three year surgiversary post you can find it here. Even though it’s late I thought I would post about my three year check-up with my team as well!
The appointments with my surgical team used to be anxiety inducing. Especially when I was going through the process in the lead up to surgery. There was always a worry that I wouldn’t have done what they needed me to and I would be denied surgery. I tended to use this kind of anxiety to motivate me and it helped me make sure I did what I needed to. Now that I’m maintaining well and am happy with where I’m at I don’t worry about my appointments with the surgical team at all. I went and did my duty and had my blood tests done 10 days before my appointment. I was lucky that my GP had been sent a copy and she forwarded them to me. I was able to take a peek and see how I was going before my appointment. All of my levels were within the normal ranges so that was reassuring. Now all that was left to do was see the team.
I had my gastric bypass done through the public system under the Waitemata District Health Board in Auckland. The process and what happens at each appointment varies between private clinics and the public system but also within the district health boards in the public system. For all of my post-op check-ups I’ve filled in a questionnaire before I see someone from the team. This is reviewed and discussed during your check-up.
The post-op questionnaire covers things like do I feel I still have enough restriction, how many fluids I get each day, am I experiencing hunger and how often that is, what medications I’m on, how many meals I have a day, how often I snack and asks if I’m having any issues with food. It’s really important to be honest and answer for how you are going at that point in time. There’s no point answering it how you think you should answer it to keep the team happy. They can’t help you if they don’t know what things you are struggling with.
The only points of note on mine were that I do sometimes feel hungry. My specialist nurse pointed out that often it’s because our fluids have dropped and we’re misinterpreting our body wanting fluid for hunger. I have learnt that my body, since my bypass, quite likes carbs and if too many carbs or sugar (which is a simple carbohydrate) sneak into my diet I start to feel hungry sometimes when I usually don’t. Once I reduce the levels of carbs in my diet the hunger goes away again.
The only other thing my nurse pointed out was that my reflux is not being helped by my coffee consumption. I am very aware of the interaction these two things have and that’s why I limit myself to two coffees a day maximum. Caffeine promotes the production of acid in your stomach. If you suffer from reflux like I do drinking coffee isn’t helpful in managing it and can even exacerbate it. I love my coffee and since my reflux is well managed with medication at this time it’s something I’m going to continue. I do know that if my reflux ever gets to be more of a problem in the future I might have to look at giving up coffee. I pray this day never comes.
Your check-ups with your surgical team long-term are really important. Even if things are not going how you would like and you’re scared to face your team make sure you go to your appointments. They want to help you, sometimes we get a bit lost in life and everything else we have going on. Your team are there to help ground you and help you make tweaks to get back on track if you need to. I always welcome their advice and support no matter what my perception of success is for myself at any given point in time.
I really enjoyed catching up with my specialist nurse and it was a great chance to ask some questions I had rolling around up in this noggin of mine. Do you look forward to your post-op appointments? What’s the most valuable thing you get out of them to help you with on your journey?