This post follows on from last weeks Pre-op edition so…
One thing I keep seeing mentioned from recent post-op bariatric patients is a worry that they are not feeling full after eating soon after surgery. I had the same worry after my surgery for a while but it’s not until I saw other people talking about it that I remembered that I did worry about it. Since it’s something that keeps coming up I wanted to talk about it and don’t worry, your tummy is not broken there is a really simple explanation for this.
During your bariatric surgery, whichever one you have, your stomach will be cut and things will be changed up a bit. In this process the nerves are affected, literally sliced through, and it seems to be quite common that it can take up to a few months after surgery for you to get the feeling back in that area. I guess the nerves need to become friends again and once they are communicating again things start to feel normal again.
Following your surgery you will be just on liquids, then on the puree diet, then on a soft foods diet. After you have progressed through all of these phases you will move towards your new normal and that looks a little differently for all of us. As I went through all of these stages the way my body responded changed and evolved and while at some point I got the feeling back in my tummy it did change over time.
Straight after my surgery I couldn’t really feel much and this, in part, is why it’s so important to measure out everything you eat. I never felt full but went by the suggested serving size and if I started to lose interest in the food or if I had eaten my portion then that was it. When I was in the soft foods stage I started to get a tight feeling at the top of my tummy which I came to recognise as my new full feeling. It was almost like a heavyness in my chest and certainly wasn’t like any full feeling I had had before. Then as time has gone on and I have regained more feeling back I have more normal feelings and cues that I’m feeling full.
There are a couple of weird ones that I have heard other patients experience a bit further out from surgery too. If I start sneezing or my nose starts running I now take that as a full sign. It seems our tummies and sinuses are linked and they influence each other. The main thing is, no matter how weird, you figure out what your signals are and listen to them.
If you are recently post-op and are worrying that you never feel full please don’t freak out. Your tummy isn’t broken, your pouch has been made small enough and the feeling will come back. There really is a process of relearning your body after surgery and it’s complicated by the fact that things change as time goes on but you will get used to it.
One thing I really enjoy after my surgery is how much more in tune I am with my body in general and how great it is to be able to pick things up far quicker than I ever would have before. I think a big thing that contributed to my obesity was a lessening of awareness of the cues my body was sending which then in turn skewed my perceptions on portion sizes and how much food I really needed. Now I know when I need to stop and that inner voice telling me to stop is very loud and I listen to it!
My main take away point from this is to take the time to get to know your body and relearn those cues as you go along. Your surgery did work and your tummy is small enough! Did you have the same loss of feeling after your bariatric surgery? Comment below and let me know.