Bariatric Surgery: Post-Op Thoughts

I did it! I had the bariatric surgery on the 25th of June! I travelled to Turkey, Istanbul because it was cheaper than other places. The hospital itself was a private hospital and it was an excellent facility. I was admitted the day before the actual surgery where lots of tests were done, including an endoscopy. The next morning was the day of the surgery. It was a little scary because you just don’t know what the outcome will be, but it went smoothly, and it was a success. I have never seen an operating theatre before, so that was a strange experience in itself. I thought I would feel a lot more emotionally just before I had the surgery, but I was surprisingly quite calm, and my brain really was not thinking much. I think I just wanted it over and done with. I remember seeing them inject the anaesthesia and within thirty seconds I was out. After waking up from the surgery I was in complete agony. I could feel where I had been operated on. My vision was very blurred, but I remember seeing that I was being given morphine through a drip after crying out in pain. Thank whoever invented morphine! I stayed in the hospital for four days in total which was an adequate time to recover a little. I say a little because bariatric surgery is a surgery that needs a few weeks to recover properly in my humble opinion, but this is best done at home as you start to resume daily life. I slept a lot after the surgery and each passing day, the pain lessened a little. I started a liquid diet one day after and personally, I loathe liquid diets. However, it is a necessity for two weeks post-surgery. This is definitely the worst part for me. I am on a liquid diet until the 15th of July where I will then be able to start the puree stage. The puree stage lasts for two weeks and then it is solid foods, but still with some restrictions. I am okay with this as this is only the beginning of the journey. I know this part is temporary and eventually, I will be able to cook flavoursome food. 

I did this alone and I am glad I did because this journey is mine and mine only. I wanted it to start off with just me and I am very independent as it is. I travelled to Turkey, had one day of sightseeing and eating delicious Turkish food (their breakfast is divine) and then it was time to go to the hospital. Despite doing this alone and being content with that decision, it has been tough at times. It is the little things you need someone to help with, like helping you get up so there is no pulling near the incision sites, or someone to lift your suitcase at the airport. However, I managed all of that and I am now back in my own little space which I am grateful for. There is no place like home after all. I have been back a few days and have managed to rest a lot so already, I am feeling a better. I am also doing normal things such as driving, walking, doing household chores and so forth. The only things I am struggling with are not being able to bend over to pick things up, so I must bend down by squatting and just do things very slowly in general, like getting in and out of the car. I can sleep but only on my back whilst being turned to the side a little, just so there is no pulling near my incisions. The most difficult thing is getting out of bed because it adds pressure in my stomach, and this is the most painful part. I remember in the hotel one day I got out of bed and cried out in agony because of the physical pain. Since then, I have been taking it much easier, but it takes me a solid five to ten minutes to get myself out of bed. I have low levels of energy, but I am putting that down to the lack of nutrients with only being on a liquid diet. 

This is no walk in the park. The part I struggling with is that I am still feeling hunger and because my brain thinks like a fat person, I think that I can still eat the same as I used to. Deep down though, I know my stomach will not allow this and I am glad. This is the part that proves just how challenging this is because I must constantly have a conversation with myself to remind myself that I do not need a lot of food to be content and that I must listen to my hunger cues, not my brain hunger cues. This is so much more than just having an operation to help you reduce hunger. It is the psychological work that goes into it to help prevent you from getting into the same situation as before. The hunger I was feeling was intense after surgery. I wondered what the difference was because immediately, I did not feel any difference. However, this is down to the fact that the hunger hormone ghrelin has not reduced completely yet. As time progresses, this hormone reduces, thus, not feeling as hungry. I have noticed now, nearly two weeks post-op, that the hunger is reducing and my protein shakes, water, fresh juice (selected fruits) and broth do keep me satisfied. I am interested to see how much I will be able to eat once I do start the other stages and will be able to eat actual food. 

Despite some of the challenges I am currently facing, I don’t regret doing this. After having the surgery, it has become even more clear that this was the absolute best decision for me. I have no regrets and I would highly recommend this to anyone that has had several failed attempts at trying to lose weight. It is not just about losing weight, but it is also about the healthy lifestyle you gain when your entire being is not focused on food. I have already started noticing small differences such as my face looking a little smaller, sleeping more restfully through the night, not to mention a 4kg reduction on the ‘glorious’ scales thus far. There is so much to look forward to but the thing I am looking forward to most is being satisfied with less food that is nutritious, building that healthy lifestyle I have always wanted to achieve. This is a progressive journey where I am learning each day. I am excited to see how my life will be as I continue this lifestyle change. I will document this journey with honesty because I know it is not going to be smooth sailing. It’s going to be one hell of a rollercoaster, but I am in for the thrill! 

Until next time, 

Yours, 

The Unveiled Reflector x 

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