Five Weeks Down – The Rest of My Life To Go

Anyone who says that gastric-bypass is the ‘easy way out’ has never actually known anyone who went through it. It’s been tough, especially the first three weeks between the liquid-only diet, hardest thing I have ever done hands down, and the oral thrush I caught and dealt with, I was all sorts of miserable.

The incision pain was, thanks be to God, very brief. I had surgery on Wednesday and was off pain meds by Sunday, but I would liken it to having done a hundred sit ups in 10 minutes without having ever done sit ups before in your life. I would have to have my husband literally lift me up out of chairs by my hands because I couldn’t make my stomach muscles engage my core enough to do it on my own.

Probably, the worst, most traumatizing experience came three days post-op. I had tried to switch from the liquid percoset to liquid children’s tylenol without knowing that they throw a whole lot of sugar into that crap to make it palatable for ill three-year-olds. It was too much sugar and I, having never experienced dumping syndrome in first hand, didn’t realize it. Very quickly afterward I was  uncontrollably and violently dry-heaving, having not even the faintest idea why, and in excruciating pain from my incisions with every heave. It was painful and I attempted to combat it with a dose of the percoset. Finally the dry-heaving subsided only to leave me drugged out and asleep for the messy aftermath of phase-two dumping syndrome. I won’t get into fine, and gory, detail but it left me in a very slimy and unpleasant situation.

*Sigh*, yes I went there. I wasn’t sure if I should but I want this to be a very up front discussion of what people face after this surgery.

I have been very lucky though, and very, very diligent about chewing my food to a pasty consistency, in that I have not – yet – dealt with any vomiting at all. I would truly say that this is because I am extremely careful about chewing and taking small bites. If you are thinking about this surgery, this is something that is so huge and important.

I have, however, encountered the pain of eating too much/too quickly. I would liken it to someone punching you in the diaphragm from the inside and then also pinching you in the intestine. It is unpleasant to say the least.

And due to my severe PTSD-like anxiety after that one dumping episode, I have eaten very little by way of sweets, and when I do eat sweets I take the tiniest of bites. People- there are 6 boxes of my favorite girl scout cookies sitting in the closet behind me and I haven’t opened a single one. A SINGLE ONE. That’s how terrified I am of dumping again. Aversion therapy, it works.

But the pluses are worth it. I feel so good. The last weight I took was 30 pounds lost since surgery. I believe that it has been more, as I haven’t weighed myself for a week or two, but it’s amazing. My body feels light and fluid, My energy- despite the tiny amount of food I take in every day – is high, and I already have lost a significant amount of the back and knee pain I was dealing with before the surgery. Alhumdulillah.

I made the mistake of getting over excited and trying to kneel down on the floor for prayer – omg ow – it’s still a little too early for that apparently. Felt like someone was nailing my kneecap to the carpet. But at least I didn’t feel like I was putting my back out getting up again so, you know, baby steps.

My clothes hang on me. Obviously this is a good thing, from a hijab standpoint and from a weight-loss standpoint, but it’s not such a good thing when I’m walking and my long skirt falls down enough for me to step on it and faceplant. Have I ever mentioned how graceful I am?

This soon after surgery I have stuck very closely to guidelines and not tried to get too far out into the food categories. It has been mostly basic proteins and some veggies for me. Tater tots didn’t go down so well, but at least they stayed down. Refried beans – vegetarian and healthy version of course – have been my friends, hamburger has oddly not – even though I have eaten a lot of it, it being a very easy protein to cook with. When you have to chew food as thoroughly as post-gastric patients do, you find quickly that hamburger is less meat and more un-chewable tendon than you previously had realized. And you begin to consider buying your own meat grinder in order to make sure that your meat is consumable even though you work a lot and come home very exhausted and having to grind your own meat would take forever it’s just that you’re tired of chewing for hours and having to still spit bits out like a cowboy with his spittoon. Y’know what I mean?

But, I spend a lot less money on food now. I can buy a lunch at work and have enough for two more days of lunch at work. It’s the little things.

My next few culinary adventures will probably involve trying hummus and fo’ul again. Beans are good protein, ya’ll.

If you guys have any questions about my experience so far, please ask me in the comments. I am going to set them up as needing moderation before they post publicly so if you feel your question is too personal for me to post it, let me know in the comment and give me your email and I will try to answer you directly.

Please be patient with me. We’ve had a lot of medical ordeals in our household recently, and along with work and daily life, I don’t find as much time for responding to emails and writing blogposts as I used to.

Now I’m going to get back to finishing my liter of water (flavored with Mio orange tangerine- it’s like Fanta without the natural sugar and fizz!). You’d be surprised at how freaking hard it is to drink 2 liters a day when you can’t chug.

I miss chugging- possibly more than girl scout cookies. I probably need counseling.

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3 responses to “Five Weeks Down – The Rest of My Life To Go

  1. mashallah! i am so proud of you. i have seen first-hand the affects of gastric-bypass surgery. my mother had elected this procedure, but she didn’t follow any of the rules. and i mean she did not follow any of the rules, and has suffered greatly for it. she did not exercise at all and got her doctor to allow her to have solids long before she should have. she did not change her diet whatsoever and developed many more medical problems than she would have had she stayed overweight. she also elected to have her procedure while i was having my first child, meaning she was there for my first child to be born, but the next day she was in surgery and was not there for me at all at any time during my child’s first months, rather, she needed me to be there for her during her recovery. it’s a painful procedure and with a long recovery and very life-changing. alhamdillah you are doing a wonderful job.

  2. To be able to go through a tough surgery like that, and having to adjust afterwards, shows how incredibly strong you are mashaAllah. I pray you recover completely and can pray on your knees again, there’s nothing like that feeling of sujood.:)

  3. To go through a tough surgery like that, and deal with the repercussions post-op, shows what an incredibly strong woman you are mashaAllah. I pray that you recover completely, and can pray on your knees again- there’s nothing like the feeling of sujood.:)

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