It’s like being born again – or at least that’s what I equate it to. I had bariatric surgery in July, the gastric sleeve to be specific. So instead of my stomach being a normal shape, it’s now the shape and size of a banana.
Being overweight is something that has plagued me for my entire life – literally. At birth, I was 11 pounds and 23 3/4 inches – basically the size of a 3-month-old.
Recently I found out that I have a few different medical conditions that make it difficult for me to lose and maintain a “healthy” weight.
Many people who get this surgery aren’t young adults — most of them are middle-aged — so when I tell people about my surgery, I feel awkward, like I didn’t have a reason to get the surgery or like I took “the easy way out.”
In reality, there was nothing easy about this surgery. Beforehand, you have to spend at least six months going to doctor’s visits to record your weight, learn how to change your eating habits and get a slew of tests done.
The real test is after you get the surgery. I remember waking up in the hospital, thinking “what have I done?” I can handle pain, but when it’s in your abdomen, everyday tasks become problematic.
I had to relearn how to eat, when to eat, what to eat, what it feels like when I’m hungry and how to differentiate it from when I’m nauseated.
I haven’t had it easy so far and it didn’t help when my gallbladder decided to become inflamed this past week – which apparently is a common thing after weight-loss surgery.
I had a weekend from hell before I landed myself in the hospital after a six-hour emergency room visit. Three days and one less gallbladder later, I finally got back home and had to start the whole recovery process over again.
One of the harder things for me to overcome is losing certain foods. I know it sounds like a typical fat person thing to say, but I really miss food.
One of the main points they try to indoctrinate into you before surgery is that you have to eat protein first and it has to be most of your meal. I pretty much had to say goodbye to pizza, bread, pasta, candy – anything that’s good, really.
Now my diet consists mainly of chicken, yogurt, fruit and lunchmeat – which aren’t bad, but sometimes I really just want a doughnut.
The thing I have to keep telling myself is that things can only get better for me – I’m young and I have my whole life ahead of me.
It’s been two months and so far I’ve lost 50 pounds, even though I don’t really see or feel a difference. Sometimes I still feel ashamed for being fat, but then I remember that it doesn’t really matter what people think of me – it’s what I think that counts.