After Surgery Reality Check 

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by Shelly, LAP RNY
(reprinted by permission of the author

When I first found out about WLS almost a year ago my first thought was "no thank you". There was no way I was going to go under the knife to lose weight. (I HATE needles) But as each "diet attempt" failed yet again I began to think about it a little more. I started doing my research and soon became intrigued, as I was with every "new" pill, diet, exercise equipment, promises, promises, promises...

The more I researched the more I started to see that this "might" very well be a possibility for me. But the only things I could find about the surgery was the good stuff, and I wanted to know about the bad side (because I know that life just ain't that rosy) and I was led here to Sue's group.

As I began seeing the 2 sides to this journey I chose to remain optimistic and believe that I was going to be one of the success stories. I had also reread a very good book recently called "The Power of Positive Thinking" by Norman Vincent Peale. Which is excellent reading and helps to put things into perspective for those who tend to be pessimistic. While I have been one of the "lucky Ones" though I have had a few ups and downs for the most part I am so far a success. My surgery went off without a hitch and I truly feel blessed. But one of the things that I really didn't think about pre-op and that now I am having to live with  is the life of an RNY patient.

Let me explain.

{Pre-op} I thought "wow, I won't be able to eat very much at all, that will be so cool because I have gorged myself far to many times, I am really looking forward to not gorging myself."

{REALITY} My stomach is now smaller and I CANNOT eat as much, but your eyes do not realize that and you LEARN the hard way.

{Pre-op} I am going to lose as fast as...

{Reality} Everyone loses at his or her own pace. While losing slower than others is frustrating because it wasn't in my plan (lol) I have come to terms that this is the way my body is going to handle things. Hey I am losing that's the important part.

{Pre-op} I'm not going to eat this or that after I have surgery because I don't want to fail.

{Reality} I still have cravings and this is where you have to learn that it is a tool and not a quick fix.

{Pre-op} Life will be so much easier after I have surgery.

{Reality} It's still the same life I had before. I still have bills to pay every month (more so now that the surgery bills are rolling in) I still have problems, they're not melting away with the fat. Life is getting easier though, at least the things that I was having problems with pertaining to my weight have gotten easier. I am able to walk up stairs without feeling like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. The clothes that I was wearing and that were stretched to their limits ( I'm not kidding ) are now baggy on me and now I have to keep pulling them up all day. I see a younger looking woman staring back at me in the mirror now, one that appears to be developing collar bones ( boy I couldn't wait for that one, lol) I have found myself working in our yard. I hate yard work but have actually been enjoying it. I even mowed the lawn (or at least part of it) for my husband the other day. I feel like I may actually be an asset to him in the yard this summer.

But, there is also another reality that I didn't think about when I was a pre-op and am having to live with now... VITAMINS, PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTS, WATER INTAKE... I knew that I would have to do these things after surgery but didn't really think about them that much. After all it didn't effect me then. But now, the vitamins are HUGE, I mean WOW, there HUGE, lol. And don't take this one with that or that one with this, so confusing at times.

And then there are the protein supplements... my god they taste absolutely awful. Haven't found one yet I am looking forward to drinking (yes I worry that I am not getting in enough ) and those bars, well that's another paragraph in it's self.

Water... I try to drink as much as I can but some days it really isn't that much. I just don't know how everyone does it. I use to have to hate counting calories when I was dieting and was so glad that I wouldn't have to do that again after surgery, but then there is so much other stuff to keep up with now. Did I take all of my vitamins today? Did I get in enough protein today? Did I drink all of my water today? If not I can't make up for it tomorrow Like I could my calories.

So is it all really worth it? That is a question everyone has to answer for themselves. I know that reading about it all here in black and white it is an awful lot to contend with, but YES, for me it is worth it. I am so thankful that I had this surgery and I am looking forward to the next 50 pounds coming off. This surgery is such a personal choice as it is you that have to live with the good or bad outcome. My advice to those considering surgery would be to never stop researching and follow your heart. And if you believe... trust in your God, or your Higher power. But remember life after WLS isn't just a walk in the park. Good luck to everyone whatever way you decide.

5'3 37yrs.