One Month After Gastric Bypass: Buyers Remorse

At some point in the first month after gastric bypass surgery, nearly everyone has at least one moment of “oh, my God what have I DONE?”

 

Of course, at this point it’s too late. The deed is done and you just have to live with the consequences.

 

I’ve heard many people say, “If I had known it would be like this I would have thought longer and harder about having this surgery.”

 

Unfortunately, you just don’t hear a lot about this aspect of the gastric bypass experience. Sure, they try to warn you with statistics about complications and tell you it’s not easy. They try and point out that it’s a huge life change, yada yada yada.

 

But most of us really only look at the end result: I will be thin if I have this operation. And we’re so desperate for that outcome that it’s really hard to get this side of the story to sink in.

 

Well, it’s GOT to sink in. Not just to be sure you’re making an informed decision, but so you’ll be prepared and the hard parts won’t hit you in the teeth like a sledgehammer.

 

Listen to me: THERE WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT DAYS AHEAD. Do you understand? There will be times you will look to the sky and beg God to go back in time and tell you not to do this to yourself.

 

And no, you will NOT be the exception.

 

Nobody – absolutely NOBODY – breezes through this experience with nary a regret or tear shed. Aspects of this surgery and the ensuing life change are extremely unpleasant.

 

The question you have to answer for yourself is whether or not the unpleasantness is worth the end result. Is what you will go through and how you will end up better or worse than doing nothing and possibly always being overweight?

 

Nobody can answer that for you. But you need all the facts if you’re going to answer it for yourself.

 

With that in mind, here are some of the experiences I had, and have heard about from friends and acquaintances following gastric bypass surgery:

 

I Can’t Stop Crying

 

The first days and weeks after surgery were the worst emotional roller coaster I think I’ve ever been on.

 

Suddenly, I was an outsider in my own home. In a family that has always made sitting around the dinner table together a priority, I no longer fit in. I was excluded from something that had always been a bonding moment.

 

I felt so alone and desolate. I can’t describe how much it hurt.

 

A friend of mine had extended family in to help with recovery. As a way of saying thank you, her husband cooked them a big, nice dinner the day before they were leaving. His intentions were nothing but good, to show appreciation for the help they had gotten. My friend saw the food and the togetherness and spent the next hour having an emotional meltdown.

 

The upheaval after this surgery is just as big as bringing your first baby home from the hospital. Parents will understand what I mean. It is an intense, trial-by-fire kind of thing and absolutely nothing in your life is ever the same again.

 

Mood swings are incredible. One moment you’re full of hope, the next you’re in the depths of despair. Many people say they spend hours just crying. Your body hurts, you can’t stand up straight, and one of your principal comforts in life has just been taken away from you.

 

It’s little wonder that so many experience such deep bouts of depression at this time.

 

My Former Best Friend Has Become My Enemy

 

Food. We’ve relied on it for so long. Turned to it for comfort, used it to bond or even just for something to do when we were bored. Suddenly, it’s just not there.

 

But you still have to watch everyone around you eat. And you still have to endure all those late-night commercials. I had never noticed how many restaurants advertise after 9:00 or 10:00 at night until after my surgery. And never in my life have I wanted a bucket of Extra Crispy and some mashed potatoes so bad!!

 

Yet all you can have for the first couple of weeks or more are liquids. After that, as you get bumped up to soft foods the fun really begins.

 

I’ll never forget my first egg. I was sooo excited to eat it. Then I was sooo sick and threw it up. Reintroducing every single food back into your diet is a roll of the dice. Will it hurt miserably going down? Will it spark dumping syndrome and make me wish I was dead?

 

Let me describe dumping syndrome to you: You eat. You chew the crap out of it, eat it slowly and all that. Then around the time you finish, it starts: You break out in a sweat. You’re overwhelmingly nauseas and your pulse begins to pound. Some people have pain, others feel dizzy. Everyone is absolutely miserable.

 

It can make you afraid to eat anything, and that only adds to your emotional distress.

 

But even worse than dumping is the pain that can come from eating something your pouch just doesn’t like. It can feel like you’re literally ripping your stomach in half – and that’s in addition to the pain you still have from surgery.

 

You have to quickly come to terms with the fact that you are no longer in charge of your eating decisions. That control has been supplanted by an alien life form also known as your pouch. And you have just become it’s slave.

 

The alien known as your pouch is under no obligation whatsoever to accommodate your mental cravings or desires. Neither is it at all bound by rules of consistency. It may love something today, and throw a hissy fit when you eat the same thing tomorrow. There sometimes is no detectable rhyme or reason behind it’s actions, yet you must appease it’s whims and desires with every tidbit that passes your lips. If you don’t, rest assured you WILL be sorry.

 

I Can’t Eat, Yet I’m Constantly Shoving Something In My Mouth

 

I’ve mentioned this elsewhere, but it bears repeating. You will be amazed at how much thought and effort you are now putting into consuming 64oz of water, 60+ grams of protein, plus daily calcium, multivitamin and iron supplements.

 

You are constantly keeping track of these things, counting ounces and grams and time to take supplements. It can quickly consume your entire day.

 

And, horror of horrors, many people find themselves suddenly unable to tolerate these things they need so desperately to stay healthy.

 

What do you do when drinking water hurts your pouch? Of if you cannot tolerate the taste of any protein supplement? Of if the calcium tablets you have to chew are so chalky they make you gag?

 

You have to force yourself. You have to keep trying until you find a way to make it work. Maybe there’s yet another protein supplement out there you haven’t tried. Maybe adding a squirt of lemon or some Crystal Light to your water will help.

 

If you don’t force yourself, you get sick as a dog stinking quick. You’ll have no energy, you’ll be dizzy and crabby (well, crabbier) and what’s worse, it will contribute to your inevitable first plateau.

 

WHAT?!? All This Trauma And I’m STILL Not Losing Weight?

 

About one month out is usually when we get the biggest, most painful kick in the teeth gastric bypass will ever throw at us:

 

Suddenly, the scale just stops moving. Worse, on occasion it can even move a few pounds back UP!

 

The screams of utter panic and frustration are usually heard throughout your entire neighborhood. Children and small animals run for cover. HOW can this BE? Did my surgeon trick me? Did they just cut me open and sew me back together for laughs?

 

Am I going to be the only human being in the history of medicine that has had this surgery and not lost any weight?

 

And don’t forget the fact that everyone you know, who also knows you had surgery, will be pressing you for constant updates on your progress. Just imagine how much worse it will feel when you’re devastated by the fact that you’ve been stuck for a week or more, and have to repeat that fact at least 3 times a day to people you aren’t really that close to to begin with.

 

Yeah. It sucks.

 

This plateau is only the first of many you will experience. But being the first, it’s also the hardest.

 

“Doggone it,” you may say, “I went through hell in order to lose weight. I can handle hell if only I also have the reward of seeing this fat melt away. But if the fat isn’t melting then I’m going through hell for NOTHING!!”

 

Again, at this point, children and small animals should seek some form of cover for their own safety.

 

It can last anywhere from a week to a month or more. Yes, it will eventually end and you’ll start losing again. But the frustration and pain you endure in the meantime is mind blowing.

 

You can make this plateau a little easier to bear in a couple of different ways: First, don’t weigh every day. (Nobody I know is able to pull that one off, but hey, it would probably help if you could. Maybe you can. I still can’t.) Second, measure yourself. Because even when you’re not losing pounds you can be losing inches. And knowing that can help. Somewhat.

 

How Did I Ever Become Friends With So Many Obnoxious People?

 

Get ready. For some reason, weight loss surgery is an intensely emotional topic for a whole lot of people. Even ones who’ve never had weight problems (who I think should just keep quiet, but of course they think just the opposite.)

 

In addition to the constant, “SO, how much weight have you lost?” refrain, you’ll hear things like:

  • “I could NEVER live like that! How could you do that to your body?”
  • “I’m losing weight the hard way. You took the easy way out.” (This one is particularly galling after going through everything on this page. Even harder is mustering up the smile and the hopefully-sincere congratulations you are then obligated to offer.)
  • “So-and-so had that. She did great for a while, but now she’s gained it all back and then some. In fact, such-and-such had it, too. She lost a slew of weight, left her husband and shacked up with Whats-his-face. Now she’s piling the weight back on, too. Oh, and then there’s Whatsername, you know, her grandma’s sister-in-law’s cousin is in my Sunday school class. She up and died 6 weeks after her surgery. But I’m sure you’ll do fine.”
  • “How much can you eat? OMG that’s so small!”
  • “Why can’t you just not eat and save yourself all this trouble?”
  • “Well, you did this to yourself, you’ll just have to live with it.”
  • “Oh, we’re going out to eat. Maybe next time we’ll think of something you can do, too.”

You’ll also hear lots of support and encouragement from the truly wonderful people in your life. Cling to it. It will be your salvation.

 

Now You Know – Did It Sink In?

 

Everyone is different. Some have an easier time than others. But the above is a fairly accurate representation of the first month or two for most of us.

 

If you’ve already had surgery, I hope you found the trip down memory lane amusing at least. I’d love for you to add your comments below.

 

But if you’re still on the other side of the knife, I hope this has opened your eyes. Gastric bypass surgery is NOT the easy way out. It’s NOT all sunshine and roses. It’s an incredibly huge life change, and it can be downright traumatic.

 

This trauma doesn’t last forever. And lots of good things come in the days and months ahead. But you have to get through the tough part first.

 

Whether the trauma is worth it is the decision you have to make.

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62 Responses to One Month After Gastric Bypass: Buyers Remorse

  1. I had my surgery on feb 16th, 2011. After surgery for the first 3 days was great.Then on the fourth day I was in pain toward my left side i thought i had pulled a musle but i hadnt. It was a blood clot under the skin that would absorb on its on.which is feeling better now. Now being out 3 weeks i find myself feeling hungry all the time and im drinking water all day long.Im looking forward to the outcome of all of this and just keep trucking on and doing what im supposed to do to have the outcome be positive. THANK YOU FOR POSTING TILE IT SAYS IT ALL.

  2. I have had my surgery on the 9th of february 2011 I will make a month on wednesday I was On puree for the first 2-weeks couldent eat puree so yea even though its hard to force your self to eat you have to because you wont know what your body can take so I eat shredded chicken ham tuna and able to eat ground meat I even by the weight watchers meals and u get full I went from 324 to 296 in 3 in a half weeks.. my only regret is the after affect of the surgery you cant walk the gas ect. but if u dont force your self you wont ever know so im glad I did it and I will live a healthier life..

  3. I just had my surgery on Feb 8th 2011. I am 3 weeks out of surgery and I have already lost 26 lbs. I weighed in at 446lbs and I am 37 years old. The first 2 weeks were rough. I think the worse part had to be the severe pain in my lower belly on the left side of my navel. I actually cried a couple of times and i don’t cry. The DR said it happens to almost everyone and they don’t know what even causes it. Dr’s have probed and probed to find the reason for it and no one knows why. Now in my 3rd week the pains are gone. I can sleep on either side and I have so much energy. I can walk around my local Wal-Mart super center at a fast pace without getting tired. I know wired….. I also do not like water but I found that Wal-Mart carries Great Value drink mixes that come in a box with 10 packets inside. You pour one in a bottle of water and shake and drink. No sugar and they taste great. I really like the fruit punch, cherry, grape and sunrise orange. I am still trying to get used to really chewing my foods up. I hate the feeling when I get a blockage and have to throw it up. I did buy a mini chopper at Wal-Mart for chopping my foods better for me. I am glad I did this and with the support and love from my girlfriend/fiancée I know I will succeed.

  4. I’m 4 days post op. Came home yesterday. Stopped pain meds by choice – no pain at all. Today I was bored so I went to the grocery store – bought apple juice and beef broth for me – food for hubby. Food doesn’t bother me. I’ve been to restaurants with friends and family since I started the liquid diet. I don’t seem to crave anything. I’d like to have certain things but saying no doesn’t seem to be an issue. So far, so good….liquid until next Tuesday but no problems with the items I’m allowed to have so far. Thanks for this blog. It is helpful.

  5. Dont worry I am 11 Months post op and would do it again in heartbeat.

  6. Dr Jawad, in Ocala, Florida is ranked the #1 doctor in Florida for bariatric surgerys. he is very caring and I was even postponed my first time due to a low platelet count. I had to have a blood work up to inclue a bone marrow aspiration (ouch) but went through it and got the clearance needed to have the surgery. I wrote my results and such above. Just wanted to put in a plug for Dr Jawad and what a wonderful wonderful doctor he is. If you are someone who has not had the surgery yet and you live in florida, certainly check him out, you will not be sorry. :)

  7. Hi, I just had the full gastric bypass on Valentines Day, (a week ago). I have been fine so far, no set backs. Did find out I have cirrohsis of the liver and I am not even a drinker. Also, may have crohns disease so while I got one thing done, I was hit with another. So far (knock on wood) I have not had any issues with any of the staples or the G-tube that the doctor leaves in the old stomach for over a month. I live in Florida and used the #1 doctor here and believe his numbers are so high because of the G-tube. I saves a lot of pain from what I understand. I do remember at the hospital that I sort of got depressed but mostly due to the fact that I was getting prodded and poked less than hourly for one reason or another and because of the liver disease I was made aware of. I have no regrets so far with the surgery except that I think of some of my favorites restaurants and the food I love at those places and know that, yes, I can have it again, one day, but not for quite some time and on top of that, an extremely small portion of what i was eating prior to the surgery. When I left the hospital, was in for 2 days, the 2nd for observation on my other issue, i hadnt lost any weight. thought ok, it has been a total of 3 days since i ate any food and on the 4th day and still not even dropped a lb. i have been weighing daily which i know i shouldnt do but have been losing a lb or more a day since i left the hospital. i already had the dumping syndrome before the surgery (hence my possible crohns) so even though I seem to not have lost THAT, it has to be aiding in my losing weight. I have been dying for a scrambled egg but now after reading about the egg consumed above, lol, I am thinking twice about rushing it. I just want some kind of consistency in my mouth other than liquid. I do not like yogurt or cottage cheese. I have protein shakes daily and sugar free jello and apple sauce. that is about it for me other than water and an occassional broth or hot tea. all in all, i am excited about the journey ahead, I have also not smoked since the night of the 13th, day before the surgery. Craving cigs allllll the time, especially because i cannot replace the craving with food any longer. please wish me well and if you have any info or suggestions, please fee free to let me know :)

  8. I had my surgery Jan 17 2011. I woke up thinking this isn’t as bad as l thought it was going to be. I expected discomfort and l had it, but l would get up and do alot of walking. I was in the hospital one night and went home. I followed my doctor’s instructions on eating and had no problems. My second week l thought this wasn’t so bad. l was out every day shopping or doing something with my daughter. That Saturday afternnoon l started to get sick. I ate and felt very blowded, some pain and threw up that nite with a temp. Sunday l felt better but hurt when l would breath and in front lower stomach hurt. Monday l called my Doctor office and they told me to go into the emergencey room to have the on call doctor check me out. I found out l had a leak. This caused an affection and absece. I spent the next 11 days in the hospital being fed my food and water through iv’s. l have been home a week now and feel better. My stomach rummbles sometimes… but other than that l feel pretty good. I was sent home with a picc line and give myself antiabotics though it. I go back to the doctor Monday so hopefully will have the picc line removed. I have a hard time eating everything and l don’t get all my liquids in but l am trying. I just keep telling myself in a month or two l will look back and laugh about how good l feel. I weighed 267 lbs…. now l weigh 222. I did lose 20 lbs two weeks before surgery.

    I came on here before surgery and after what l read was scared half to death. l went ahead with surgery and don’t feel l have had it as back as some of you with my complications… no surgery is easy……..

  9. How do people change? What happened?

  10. Its true, everyone has buyers remorse. I had it for several months. However, it passes. I felt I had mad the worst decision of my life, and I cried… I hated Thanksgiving (talk about tears), and Christmas, holidays in general… It gets better. Its so far from being the easy way out, that its ridiculous. Every day from there on out you battle with food… but it gets easier. Your quality of life improves 10 fold. There will be bumps, and some of those bumps are bigger than others. I have to admit, for those few months when I had buyers remorse– I would of given anything under the sun to take back my decision. Looking back… it saved my life, improved my life…and I am eternally grateful.

    I feel it is important to note that when they warn you that people around you will change, that its important to take that serious. Your family, significant other, friends…. they change how they are around you and its not always for the better. It can be more painful than all the adverse side affects of the surgery. The psychologist stressed that to me before I had mine and I thought it was rubbish. I was wrong. Just something to keep in mind.

  11. Denise — I know what you mean on that full feeling — or rather NOT having it. I am 11 days out. I stopped pain meds on day 3 post-op. I felt really depressed the first few days I was home and I miss food alot. My sense of smell seems to be really high as I smell food accross the room. I have had no nauseua no dumping etc, but I have not eaten anthing past the pureed phase except cottage cheese. I put my food in those little 3 ounce cups — 2/3 full so it is 2 ounces. Havent tried to eat more as this seems to be comfortable. I do however get hungy at times. I am avoiding the scale so dont know what I have lost — hopefully I have! Good luck everyone! And thank you for this site — it really helps!

  12. hi

    i had my sugery on jan 4th i am really suffering with the pain after i eat anything!!! am suffering from blockages after blockage i have lost alot of weight though nearly 6 stone (two during the pre-op diet) am finding it really hard to keep up with the daily amounts of food and water any advice would be great. Thanks for posting the above i know exactly what you are talking about
    mica x

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