It’s Been A While
So you missed out on one of the biggest transitions of my life! Sucks to be you. Great to be me, however. I did it: I went through gastric bypass surgery and am loving it. I do not know why I hesitated so much (actually I do). It has been an incredible journey even during this short time. My procedure occured mid-September (17th) and I’m into my eighth week post-surgery. My wife, my own personal Bari-buddy (post-bariatric surgery peer who acts as a source of support and encouragement) has been helping me through this part of my life — as she does with every part of my life — and I doubt I’d have succeeded as well as I have without her.
The pain was unbearable! I remember waking up from the anesthesia for the first time with nurses at my side in the recovery room and an incredible pain which I quickly succumbed to. I then remember waking up in the hospital bed which I occupied for the rest of my hospitalization. I was in incredible pain, as expected, and I cried out such facts into what seemed at the time to be an uncaring void. My wife and her father were there along with the nurses who were working on hooking me up to a morphine pump but the pain was so great it felt like the pain was ignored intentionally. Suffer, Edwin. Suffer the pain! Then came the relief. Sort of. It still hurt like a Mac truck was sitting on my lower torso but it was lessened, like someone took the engine out of that truck — it finally stopped digging its wheels into my bloody wound.
It wasn’t so bad. Was it? Yes it was. I described exactly how I felt post-surgery but it was all worth it. The days after felt like they lasted forever. I didn’t get much sleep since the nurses had to wake me up every two hours to go for a walk. The food was definitely plentiful for a newborn cat but not for a 437 pound mound of muscle like me. Or so it seemed – I haven’t felt the pains of hunger ever since my official stomach was shrunk to the size of a walnut. I have craved much since the surgery but it’s all been in my head and tongue; my stomach hasn’t craved much of anything. As a matter of fact, my stomach has been silent except for the few gassy grumbles.
So I walked for at least thirty minutes at a time every two hours in the hospital. I had to or the nurses might have spanked me. In retrospect, I should have experimented to find out what would happen. They would probably have gotten some big muscle-bound male nurse to squeeze the fun out of it. It was all for my benefit, though: the more I walked, the more weight I would lose, the food I ate would go down easier (why does that remind me of how mice poop?) and it would minimize the chances of blood clots which commonly form at the lowest part of your body – your feet.
So I ate for at least twenty minutes, three times a day. I shouldn’t really say that I ate so much as I drank what food they let me have; I wasn’t allowed to have any solids at all. I drank uninteresting and, at times, disgusting flavored, sugar-free water, all other times of the day. I definitely needed it despite having an i.v. stuck in me supplying me with thirst non-quenching liquids. For my dry mouth, I had ice chips which couldn’t get stuffed into my mouth fast enough.
Once I finally got to go home I realized I definitely couldn’t sleep any way other than how I slept in the hospital – sitting upright. The fear of stretching my stapled wound (a silly fear) and feeling the pain of skin tearing open was part of it but it was mostly a psychological thing that kept me from sleeping any other way. It helped keep me from laying on my side to cuddle my beloved wife but I’m sure she wouldn’t have enjoyed the coarse staples digging into her back as I cuddled her anyway. I still used my home CPAP machine which has become a comforting aspect of sleeping. I no longer wake up with headaches due to increased levels of carbon dioxide in my blood from lack of breathing.
The protein was a monstrocity, though. It tasted disgusting, especially the strongly sweetened powders. It took forever for me to realize the unflavored protein powders are the way to go – they simply thicken what you drink instead of turning the flavor into a splash of sugar. A fat man finding the taste of sugar disgusting might sound strange but your taste buds change after surgery – especially after not having any sugary food/drinks after some time. After my six week mark, I started eating chicken, turkey and fish which meant I could get more protein from food instead of relying so heavily on protein powders as my primary source. Now I drink one or two self-made, fruity protein shakes from recipes found on The World According to Eggface blog. That site is a treasure trove of advice and recipes. I can hardly wait to try out some of her more advanced dishes. I have to wait, though, until my dietitian gives me the go ahead for more advanced foods.
The best part, saved for last, is the weight I’ve lost: 47 pounds in the first six weeks! I really couldn’t be more proud of my weight loss and I can’t thank my wife enough for the inspiration she has been and the support he has given me. My doctor predicts 30-40 more pounds lost in the second six weeks and 20 pounds more every month there-after. I do walk much easier and feel much less pain than I used to. Mobility and stretching is much, much easier and more feasible. I should exercise more than I do, however. If I do, I’ll lose more. I’ll be joining a gym very soon – as soon as we can afford it – so that will help.
Hopefully I’ll have lost another 5 pounds by the time I post another blog.