The Aftermath: My 3 Week Diary Following Weight Loss Surgery

Nothing can quite prepare you for the ups and downs that immediately follow weight loss surgery. I would have liked having a better idea of what to expect both physically and emotionally.

I intended to keep a diary for the whole first year. It lasted three weeks. For what it’s worth, I’ve reprinted it here. I hope it helps give a better idea of what to expect for anyone considering or preparing for surgery of their own.

July 23, 2007 (4 Days Post-op)

I felt very emotional the night before/ morning of surgery. Had some second thoughts. But DH asked me if I was sure when I made the decision to do this, back when I was objective. And of course I was, so that helped.

Waking up in recovery I found it very hard to breathe, which was very scary. First, I didn’t want to wake up. I was so sleepy. but as I would doze, I would hold my breath. It was as if there was pressure on my chest and inhaling was just too hard.

This got better, but it took a day or so. I had to wear oxygen almost until time to be discharged.

They made me get up and walk from the OR gurney in the hallway into my recovery room. I could not believe this! I told them it was too soon but of course they were the hospital staff and I was overruled. I needed a LOT of help, but I made it.

In general, I really didn’t want to get up and walk. I had a bad problem with nausea for the first day, but the hospital had good meds for it. Gagging was very painful.

I wanted to just lay around, but they kept saying I needed to get up and walk. When I finally did it did help. Walk as much as you can.

Gas is the #1 problem at home. Burping is such a blessing. But it seems I can only really burp standing up. Getting comfortable to rest is also hard. A recliner would be nice but I don’t have one.

I’m not getting enough liquids – not sure what to do. When I drink the protein shake or broth, I’m so stuffed it hurts. Then I want to lie down. Don’t have room for water. But my urine is very dark yellow, which can’t be good.

Vitamins – the chewables I got are too big. Going to wait 1-2 weeks on them. For now, either Flintstones or the liquid I got from Sam’s. Gotta remember to do this.

Pain today. Think I stood up too much yesterday.

Also yesterday, I burped up liquid right after taking pain meds. Thought I’d probably lost them, so took another one. BAD IDEA!!! Got stoned – It was NOT pleasant!

July 24, 2007 (5 Days Post-Op)

I was up too much today. My MIL stayed with me from 9-12, we watched some TV, it was nice. But then ___ came over unanounced & I hadn’t had my meds. I couldn’t take them in front of her {Note: this is a former friend who became addicted to prescription meds. While visiting, she was asking for mine, so I couldn’t take them in front of her}

I started hurting then, and when she finally left I took one, but when I tried to go to sleep the neighbor next door was working on his car with the radio blaring.  It was 2:00 in the afternoon, so normally wouldn’t have been a problem. But finally I put on a robe and asked him to turn it down.

Just as I got back in, K called. I hadn’t spoken to her in a while so we talked for over an hour. Much of which I stood up for to get better cellphone reception. So now I hurt.

Otherwise, I’ve felt really good today. Every day is a marked improvement. I can get out of bed by myself, and even had a teeny-tiny bowel movement.

Very bummed, tho. [Next section was all about a friend who I thought would come to see me but obviously wasn't going to. My feelings were hurt, but later I decided it wasn't a big deal.]

My backside is starting to hurt from sitting/ lying down so much. And a good part of my attention is focused on the best methods of crushing pills. DH bought me a pill crusher, but the best method I’ve found so far is using 2 teaspoons. Then I can put just a little water in the bottom one and take the meds without missing any.

July 25, 2007 (6 Days Post-Op)

Not feeling well at all. Tried to start weaning off the pain meds – took one before bed last night, just took another at 12:30 this afternoon.

Feeling very emotional. Big mood swings. Mostly frustrated about getting back to work. I’m starting to feel pressure of stuff backing up, but just don’t feel like starting on it. Did I really think I could be working by today?

Still in pain, getting very frustrated with the feeling of being hungry, then after a few sips of something being uncomfortably full.

And I’m not liking being alone. I want my husband.

And for some reason it surprises me that I’m still fat. I thougth so much about the end result of having a gastric bypass that I can’t believe it hasn’t happened yet. How fast do I want to lose 150 pounds? Seems like too fast will result in that hanging skin I’m so worried about.

I just can’t wait to be truly beautiful. Drop dead gorgeous. Then I hope I start running into people from high school.

I’ve also had a few “why did I do this?” moments. But all in all I still think it will be a good thing.

I”m very concerned about the number of people I see on the forums who say their appetite has returned, and that it’s becoming a battle again.

I think that everyone’s thinking that if the weight gets gone that’s the end of it. But what if it isn’t? What if it’s STILL a battle for the rest of my life?

I want it to be over. I want to not care about food anymore. To have 3 sensible meals a day because I have to, and not be a slave to cravings.

I’m hoping this surgery is my divorce from food.

Then again, good food is enjoyable. Food is a big thing. Can I really live a full, happy life without caring about it?

Is it possible to good food but not battle with it?

WEEK TWO

July 26, 2007 (7 Days Post-Op)

Discovery: Teeny-tiny sips will help you get much more liquid in before feeling full.

Spoke to ___ tonight to see if her son could spend the night with mine. She was both jealous and happy for me. But we got to talking about some others in our church (actually, I think it’s just one person) who has made snide comments to her on more than one occasion – wanting to act as though it should be easy for ___ to lose the weight she wants to lose, even though this person was much bigger than her for many years before having her gastric bypass.

Why do some people feel they can act snotty to those who haven’t had surgery? I’m a little scared about the possibility of such a personality change. Will I get that stuck up? God I hope not.

Tonight DH took me for a ride around the block – I’m really getting stir crazy. And I’m stressing about how much work will be waiting for me on Monday – only 3 more days :( . Although part of me is ready – I’m SO BORED!

All in all, I feel a lot better today in some ways, but still very run down. I drank much more, which is good. Had very minimal pain throughout the day – didn’t take any meds at all till right before bed, when it started to hurt.

Gas isn’t nearly as bad/ painful. I guess I feel like I’m healing. The incision sites are still an issue – they still hurt if I use my stomach muscles, and the stitches themselves are starting to itch.

But — BIG NEWS! I knew I’d lost weight, but it didn’t look like a whole lot to me. So my MIL sent my scales home (I’d left them in my previous home, which she now lives in because I never wanted to weigh) and guess what? 274 — 20 POUNDS GONE!! In just 2 weeks! Wow. I’m going to try not to over-do weighing, but WOW.

July 27, 2007 (8 Days Post-Op)

When am I gonna feel better? I’m still sleepy + woozy – it’s so frustrating! I thought I’d be back at work by now. but I can barely keep from sleeping all day. No way I’m going out anywhere. This sucks.

July 31, 2007 (12 Days Post-Op)

Still feeling very emotional. Went out today for a bit, to my favorite antique store, then to GNC. Wanted to go to the grocery store as well but didn’t make it.

I hope I’m not going to need depression meds. But right now I feel really whacked out.

Also, I’ve weighed for several days with no change. Almost no change since I brought the scale home. What’s up with that?

Getting NO work done. and we’re gonna need $ soon. Wondering if I’m really good at what I do anyway – maybe I should have stuck to writing brochures and stuff instead of getting into sales.

Anyway, I’m just depressed. Very tempted to take one of the pain pills just to feel better, but after all that happened with ___ there’s no way I’m going there. I’m afraid to medicate myself that way.

For now, I’m just going to go to sleep. Oh, got all my protein in today. Yay. Also my multi and iron vitamins. Tomorrow I’ll try to get the calcium in, too.

Able to use my stomach muscles now – only get pain if something bumps me or if I walk to fast or too long. And the incisions are itching like crazy!

August 1, 2007 (13 Days Post-Op)

Follow up appointment at 1:30. Feeling up and down today. Did a little work – made some progress on the Y project. Getting a good outline together.

Tried Isopure protein water this morning and loved it. Drank about 10oz. At first, I felt a boost. Then started feeling tired again a couple of hours later. Now I have diarrhea. Also having some pain today – pain isn’t the right word. More like discomfort. Just feels like my stomach is bloated and tender or something. Can’t walk fast. Feels weird.

Dr. Said everything looked great. Pulled the last stitch out – that hurt. But he said I looked great, 20 lbs. gone was good. Though I’m still ticked that it hasn’t budged in almost a week.

He bumped me up to mushy foods – anything soft, like eggs or tuna or cottage cheese. Naturally I went straight to the store on the way home. My first meal? 6 tiny scallops and about 1tsp. of cottage cheese.

Then after church I ate an egg with cheese – yum! It does seem to be a little heavy on my tummy, tho…

I seem to alternate between feeling really good and feeling really tired. And the littlest stress really upsets me. It’s like my life is in such upheaval that anything out of synch is just too much to handle.

But solid food really feels good.

11:00 PM — update: a whole egg was too much. I just burped about 1/4 of it back up. Feel a little better – had started feeling very uncomfortable about 1/2 hour after eating it.

WEEK THREE

August 3, 2007 (15 Days Post-Op)

Had a great day yesterday. Made a seafood soup with scallops and cream of shrimp soup. It was soo good.

Today, however, has been rough. DH is gone camping with A (our oldest son – he had just turned 12 and it was time for the “Preparing For Adolescence” talk) and I’m here alone with J (the youngest). So I’ve had to do more bending and lifting than normal.

We went to a movie at 3:30, and I’d eaten some cottage cheese + my iron vitamin. I had heartburn all through the movie and couldn’t drink anything. I started to get dehydrated. Finally at home I thought I was better – ate some of my soup – then it really got bad.

Don’t know if something was stuck, or what, but it hurt like I was too full + I couldn’t burp. Finally I paced around till I could burp up most of what I’d ate. Then I drank some chicken broth. But I kept hurting pretty bad till I took a pain pill.

After that, all was well, but I only have about 4 left. I wonder what I’m supposed to take after they’re gone?

I’m getting highly annoyed with all the people that barely say hello to me anymore without asking “How much weight have you lost?” They want a running total and think it’s OK to ask. Which makes me feel pressure, especially when I’m already frustrated cuz the scale isn’t moving.

But at least it seems to be, for now. This morning said 270. I could tell before weighing I’d lost some more.

But I really need to stop weighing every day.

It’s also interesting to explain all this to my 6-year-old. He feels sorry for me – wants me to be able to eat what he eats, and he wants to tell everyone he sees that I’m sick. He’s so sweet, but it’s embarassing.

August 7, 2007 (19 Days Post-Op)

Things are really coming together now. I’m learning how to tell when I’m full and STOP, so I don’t burp it back up. I’m getting my liquids and protein in, as well as most of my vitamins.

Stopped feeling woozy – even finally got some work done today. And – great news – the scale is finally moving again. Today was 268. 26 pounds gone forever!

Have been able to eat tuna with light mayo, and a bit of Chunky Vegetable Beef Soup. The key seems to be not over-filling the pouch. Gotta eat real slow and know when to quit. Better to throw 1-2 bites away than have that miserable burping it up thing.

August 8, 2007 (20 Days Post-op)

Well, just as soon as I said the above, I wake up today feeling like crap. Light headed, tired, short of breath real easy. What gives? I’ve been getting all my protein + liquids in. I don’t get it.

I saw an article that said depressed people lose less weight after weight loss surgery. I just hope that’s not the case for me.

August 10, 2007 (22 days Post-op)

Felt much better today. It really is getting better and better.

I’ve got to do a better job of getting all my vitamins in. Also today, I didn’t quite make my liquid goal. I was around 50 – better than 48 (barely) but nowhere near 64.

Went to Wal-Mart last night for groceries. Bought healthy for the whole family. Now if I could just get everyone up and active. Of course, it was 105 today, and that kind of heat will zap you. Today should be about the end of that kind of heat, tho.

Lost more weight – 265 this morning. 29 pounds! YAY!

Eating more solid foods. For lunch I had ricotta and italian blend cheeses mixed, seasoned and baked with a teaspoon or 2 of spaghetti sauce over it. It was awesome! But it sat in my pouch like a rock, and it was at least an hour before I could drink water without burping it right back up.

Walking for 10-20 minutes as soon as I eat seems to help alot. But this was why I didn’t get all my water in today. It’s tough!

Instead of a divorce from food, my entire day revolves around consuming enough liquid, vitamins and protein. It’s like a full time job.

The key seems to be eating slowly, small bites, not over doing it, and walking afterwards.

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Well, that’s when I stopped writing in my diary – I think I got a massive energy burst and just stopped being still long enough.

I hope this helps give you a better picture of what the first weeks following a gastric bypass are really like.

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8 Responses to The Aftermath: My 3 Week Diary Following Weight Loss Surgery

  1. I just had surgery about 2 weeks ago and i’ve felt amazing since day 3. I have not experienced any of the symptoms that you have but i’ve always been prepared to wake up one morning feeling crappy…. but not yet. I’m looking forward to phase 2 ” the mushy foods” …. I’ve really enjoyed your post though… very informative…

  2. My Grandson took a picture of me tonight. I looked like a slob on the couch. I yelled at him. Seems like he is always snapping candid photos. He promised not to show it to anyone. My husband told me he is against my having the surgery. He thinks I am fine like I am…but, I am not fine. My first appointment is January 5. I’ll meet the bariatric doctor, a nutritionist, and a nurse who will get my ins. info. I am moody and I am not even close to “hell week.” The thing that has helped me so much is reading this post…the diary of ‘hell week,’ and knowing I can do this.

  3. I wish I found your site before I had surgery Oct. 28th last month. I was not prepared for hell week. I was drooling like a starving dog watching TV, so many food commercials. Every week is drastically better. 1 Month out and down 30 lbs. I am glad I did it.

  4. Thank-you so much! I had surgery on November 12th and am so happy to know my story is so similar to yours. I am only Day 7, but I am praying it does get better, which it sounds like it does.

  5. How inspiring your whole website is! I’ve learned so much, & feel more empowered to take this journey than ever. My surgery date is Nov. 16, 2010. Thank you for taking/making time to do this.

  6. Thank-you so much for sharing your experience with me (us) it has been helpful I had gastric bypass on the 15th and it has been a roller coaster ride of just what you talked about. Thanks again.

  7. I would love to know how you are doing now! Thank you for sharing your story.

  8. i loved this account of your first weeks, i feel i’m not alone anymore and that i’m trying to rush things and that is just stressing me out, i feel better now, thank you so much for doing this.

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