Stomach surgery: consent and a freak out

I had my appointment with Doctor Mosse yesterday morning, to get consent and go over a few finer details.

He told me that the results of my gastroscopy a few years back had shown a hernia, a small hole in my diaphragm that causes food to slosh back up and results in reflux. At the time I had been told that there was a small hole, but the specialist and my Doctor both said it was nothing to worry about, that I could just stay on my reflux tablets and be fine. And I have been. As long as I take my omeprazole, my stomach is fine – one day without it and I want to vomit. Dr Mosse advised me that the existence of this hernia means the reflux after my surgery will likely be worse, even thought they would stitch up some of the hole when they are inside during my surgery. He said that I would have to have regular endoscopies to keep an eye on the tissue around the hole, to ensure it doesn’t become cancerous. Not unexpected, but still scary.

I signed my consent, without much more discussion and he walked me back in to the waiting room confused and a bit overwhelmed. Thankfully the lovely ladies behind the counter, the receptionist Sue and the on-site nurse, Anne (I think???) told me what I had to do for my surgery – including filling out the Calvary admission forms online and how and when to pay Canberra Bariatric. Anne then took me in to her office and asked me some questions about my shake diet, how it was going etc. I told her I’d changed my shake brand, and Jason came in to advise me to add more protein to the shakes – but otherwise, everything was good.

I went back to work and did my pre-admission for Calvary online – lots of questions about my healthcare, current health status etc. I got the feeling that it was aimed at old people, because I didn’t know what half the conditions were. The whole process took about 20 minutes, and not an hour later I had a call from a lady from the hospital confirming with me that I knew I was not covered very much by my healthcare fund – yes, I was aware. She said she’d get me a quote within the next day or two.

After that was all taken care of, I had a minor freak out/panic attack at work: the realisation that the surgery is finally here, it’s happening! But that realisation has bought up some issues…

I’ve been fat for as long as I can remember – half of my life. I don’t remember my life as a skinny, energetic person – I know only bloat and uncomfort.

So here I am, a week away from my gastric sleeve surgery and I’m starting to freak out. As much as I am looking forward to it and my life afterwards, there’s also a deep fear. I’m afraid of not knowing who I am any more. I know it sounds weird, and I know I’ll readjust and re-determine who I am, but right now all I feel is uncertainty. Who will I see in the mirror? My whole identity revolves around my weight.

But more importantly, who am I without this layer of protection?

In my hypnotherapy sessions, I was presented with the realisation that I wear my fat like a suit of armour. I hide behind it. I use it as an excuse to avoid circumstances and situations – like relationships. It’s easy for me to tell people I don’t have a boyfriend because I’m fat and no one wants me, but the truth is much deeper than that. The truth is that I am terrified of relationships, romantic and not, and for various reasons. I am sure that I’ll still have those issues after the weight’s gone – I just won’t have the fat to fall back on, and might have to actually confront those issues. It’s a scary prospect.

But I’d rather be healthy physically and messed up mentally, than unhealthy and messed up!


One thought on “Stomach surgery: consent and a freak out

  1. I completely identify with this! I think my biggest obstacle, even beyond having to change my eating and start exercising, will be the mental/psychological parts. I’m planning on going to therapy throughout this process so that isn’t something that will trip me up down the road. There’s definitely more of an issue than I just like food too much – I protect myself with my fat too, I medicate with food, etc. Good luck with everything!

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