If you’re considering bariatric surgery, or if you’re on the other end of the spectrum where maybe you think it’s for losers and slobs who take “the easy way out” you need to know, first and foremost, that they don’t just wheel you into an ER and cut you up and then you get skinny and life is perfect and happy.
I was only three months post op at the time I started to write about it and I couldn’t even believe what I had gone through in the 6 months prior to the big day. I was still learning how to properly eat and drink in a way that didn’t make me sick, or miserable. Still monopolizing the cardio machines at my gym.
I had follow op appointments with almost every branch of the hospital already scheduled for the following 12 months.
Food is the last thing I think about but also the thing that I am forced to think about the most. It’s a full time job, and in all honesty, the “easy way out” would be to stay fat and lounge and eat and waste away.
Before I was even able to meet the surgeon who would potentially preform my procedure I had to have a mental health visit, three visits with a nutritionist and a full day orientation. Not to mention a battery of blood work, EKG and endoscopy. I am not complaining, I signed up for it. (I later learn through instagram and the internet that not everyone’s experience was as thorough)
They tell you in the initial visit, even the initial phone call what you can expect. After you meet with the surgeon, a goal weight is determined for pre-op and then you work on that with more nutritionist visits and food logs and standing on the practically wheel-chair accessible scale every single time you walk into any of the offices.
The last time I threw up was that year, in a hospital gown with no underwear on, sitting on the edge of a bed where yet another woman tells me I’m not going to.
I had just had a test to make sure my new sleeve was doing its job leak free. My reward for passing it is a barely cold carton of skim milk to pour into a packet of no sugar added vanilla flavored instant breakfast, and a cup of orange gelatin. Yay.
Before you get the “prize”, you are laid on a slanted machine that will basically x-ray your stomach and see if the liquid is making its way through properly.
What liquid, you ask? This god awful solution of chalk dissolved in flat lemon-lime soda that no matter how much you can choke down, it seems they still want you to “Take another big sip” I hadn’t had a thing to drink in days and there was nothing refreshing about this. I’m grateful to every god there is that they got what they needed and I didn’t have to take any more sips of Satan’s punch.
It was when I got back to my room that I am telling the nurse I’m going to throw up. “You barely have anything in your system, it will pass” She was right, it passed… right through my lips into the closest thing she could grab; a pressed cardboard bed pan. Black as old oil, it made my whole body convulse, fresh incisions and all. The breakfast reward seemed like a punishment now.
I’m not going to bullshit anyone and say it was great, it was a somewhat gross experience, second only to when my catheter had to be removed because it was so full I basically peed the bed. That being said, in the big picture, I knew it could only go up. And it did.