This is what gastric sleeve surgery is like 3 months later

By on September 14, 2017


This is what gastric sleeve surgery is like 3 months later

This is what gastric sleeve surgery is like 3 months later

Melanie Tait bodyandsoul.com.au

This woman lost an extraordinary amount of weight after having 85 per cent of her stomach removed. But the reality is much harder than it sounds. 

Photos: Instagram @mellietinyeats

This article initially appeared on news.com.au and has been republished here with permission.

It's been three months and 10 days since I had 85 per cent of my stomach removed with a vertical sleeve gastrectomy to stop me eating so much.

I guess you’ll want me to start with the stats? My weight has been reduced by 24kg, or as I like to say, FIFTY TWO POUNDS, because it sounds like a lot more.

June 1 was the big day. After I’d been left alone, prepped for surgery, I cried like a baby. So scared. Would I wake up? Was I doing a stupid thing? What if there was a complication?

My doctor kept me in the hospital for five days, as opposed to the standard two or three, because of the risk of complication. Luckily, there weren’t any complications, unlike a friend who had the procedure at the same time and spent the next two months in hospital.

The expectation is that having 85 per cent of your stomach cut out would cause an enormous amount of pain, and I tried to prepare myself for this. I’m allergic to Endone, so I had a bunch of breathing exercises at the ready, which again, with luck, I didn’t need.

The only pain I had was slight discomfort in my shoulder when I slept one or two nights (stomach pain can delay in the shoulder).

I pretty much couldn’t eat anything or had the desire to eat or drink much in the first month, and in that first month I lost about 14kg. It was difficult to have the desire to do anything but lie around. My brother walked my dogs. I missed my best friend’s important theatre performance. My mother made me soups. For that first month I lived in a permanent state of dizziness.

The expectation was that it would take a week to feel better and be able to start doing hour-long walks to kick start the weight loss. Not so. My dad and I started by walking a house away, then two houses, then the block. It’s not until the last month or so I’ve had the energy to go beyond this.

The dysfunctional relationship I have with food is still there, but it’s definitely improving. Sometimes I don’t know when I’ve eaten too much, and I’m sick. I hate being sick, so I’ve been learning to slow things down. I’ve pushed things from time to time when I’ve felt emotions that would usually be eaten away. I haven’t been perfect.

I’ve weirdly discovered this love for cooking that was never there before, and cooking from scratch. Cooking all sorts of things from lamb shank stews to banana muffins. I want to have the full food experience now, in the limited amount of time and space I have. I still can’t figure out if this is eating-disordered behaviour, or what normal people do.

Foods that are easy: chia seeds, eggs, vegetables, yoghurt, porridge, fruits.

Foods that make me uncomfortable: bread and meats.

Foods that make me sick: anything with too much sugar.

Every now and then, I wonder whether I did the right thing having this operation. Whether I let the fat team down, and should I have worked harder to be happy with myself as a fat woman. To fly the flag for happy fat living.

The truth is — it’s only been three months and already my life is better.

I went bushwalking with a friend up Mount Wellington last week, a friend I’d never do such a thing with previously as I’d be embarrassed about the puffing.

On an aeroplane flight recently, I didn’t need to ask for a seat-belt extender. I tucked my blouse into a skirt the other day. I’ve been letting my friends post photos of me doing things on Facebook. I’m flying to Sydney next week to be at a party of a friend’s I wouldn’t have had the confidence to go to before.

I don’t know what the future holds with this new life with a smaller stomach. Some people gain weight back after three or four years, as your smaller stomach stretches again and can fit more food.

What I know is for me, three months in, I feel better out there in the world and so it’s been worth it.

For more from Melanie Tait, follow her on Instagram.

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