This coming month I shall be 7 years post-op and when I go along to support groups or just chat to other WLS patients generally they often ask what my experience has been like. I always give frank answers and ensure everyone is aware that it isn’t a walk in the park!
I am however aware that my journey has been a very good one to date and that many others experience things quite differently. Some have a difficult time due to surgical complications and many also realise that the food demons don’t go away with the flick of a surgeon’s knife.
It’s hard to sometimes find a ‘middle of the road’ story or approach which is why I was pleased to see the Guest Post feature below. I think this lady’s experience of gastric surgery and life thereafter is fairly typical (if there is such a thing). She answers candidly or makes observations on all the questions we might like to ask about what life is like as a post-bypass patient – I know that I recognise some of them.
In sharing with you these observations through experience maybe as a ‘newbie’ you might understand better what is in store and as a longer-term ‘oldie’ post-op you’re not alone in your experiences of surgery and by no means unique with your trials and tribulations …..
GUEST POST: You go to Pre-Op classes. You read, you research. People try to warn you about what it will really be like after you have gastric bypass surgery.
But somehow, the things you hear may not quite crystallise in your mind until you experience them. With that in mind, Here is a list of things I personally wish I could have grasped beforehand, along with some of the things I’ve heard others say.
WHAT I WISH I HAD KNOWN
- I wish I had realised that my life would still revolve around food – or at least, what I ingest. Instead of being able to forget all about eating, my day consists of counting fluid ounces, protein grams and supplements.
- I wish I had known how difficult it would be to get all of the required fluids, proteins, and supplements in every day.
- I wish I had realised that gastric bypass surgery – and the ensuing weight loss – will not make all my problems go away. That I would still face issues even though I weighed less.
- I wish I had realised how this weight loss would change the relationships in my life – for better and for worse.
- I wish I had understood how incredibly traumatic it is to follow the liquid diet immediately after surgery, to see others eat and how I would feel excluded from things like family dinners.
- I wish I could have understood how it’s both liberating and frightening to be smaller.
- I really wish I could have seen how the sagging skin and remaining fat would look, and how self-conscious it would make me continue to feel.
- I wish someone could have gotten it through my head that I would still have to work at weight loss.
- I wish I would have known that my weight loss would make others feel uncomfortable and self conscious about their own weight and therefore they’d want to lash out at me.
- I wish I had realised that complications can happen to me and that those complications can be very unpleasant.
- I wish I had known how my attitudes toward food would change, and how unpleasant it would become to watch others shovel too much food in.
- I wish I had known how my attitudes toward overweight people would change, and how strange it would feel to not be “part of the club” around them.
- I wish I had known how easy it is to become obsessed with how I look, and how I would have to watch myself to make sure all my conversations didn’t revolve around me, my weight loss or my wrinkled skin.
- I wish I had known how invasive well-meaning people can be with their questions and how uncomfortable it would make me.
- I wish I had known that after 6-9 months the old demons of cravings and head hunger would rear their ugly heads and that eating right would not be easy or automatic.
- I wish I had known how horrible dumping really is, and how often it would happen to me after also having my gall bladder out.
- I wish I had known how frustrating it would be when I suddenly had loads of energy but my family didn’t, and how depressing it would be that all they wanted to do was watch tv.
- I wish I had known how sweet and understanding my husband would be and how difficult watching me lose weight while he didn’t would be for him. And I wish I had paid more attention to that during the first year, and thanked him more.
- I wish I had known what a relief it would be to interact with strangers and not feel they were judging me for being fat.
- Most of all, I wish I had realised that I’d still be “me” 100 pounds lighter.
None of the above would have been enough to change my mind. At least I don’t think so. I don’t regret my decision. But knowing them sure would have made the journey easier!
I hope it does that for you.