Stomach Surgery: Changes and Observations

– I’ve always been obsessed with tea, but how I drink my tea has changed post-surgery. Before I used to drink my tea with milk and one sugar, now I drink it with honey and lemon. I started drinking tea with honey and lemon pretty much straight away, and I stand by the fact that this is one of the reasons I healed so quickly and so well. Honey and lemon are awesome for you, and the heat helped to soothe my cut. I also went from having one to two cups a day to now wanting four to five. I try to drink mainly caffeine free tea because it is better for hydration, and I’ve started to ease up on the honey – one teaspoon per cup instead of a whole tablespoon. Honey is awesome, but it’s also quite high in fructose and sugar.

– I can’t drink water like I used to. I used to drink around two – three litres of water a day, no problems. Since my surgery, I have days where I know I need to drink and I’ll just stare at my drink bottle with no will to drink. It’s like when you get really ill and the thought of food makes you screw up your nose – only it’s water and its most days. I’m finding that, without my cups of tea, I’d be barely drinking at all. One thing I’ve found that helps is using a smaller glass, which makes it less daunting to drink in one go (and it’s a good excuse to get up and go for a walk to re-fill my glass).

– I’m staying up later, but having trouble getting up in the morning. I got out of my routine in the weeks after my surgery, when I was at home and not really doing anything. I’ve started taking more vitamin supplements, including Vitamin D to get some extra energy.

– I am no longer hot all the time. My hormones and insulin levels were crazy before I lost the weight, so I was always over heated – I didn’t own a jacket or coat and I wore thongs everywhere (even in minus five degrees). Within 8 weeks of my surgery I bought my first coat!

– I had dry skin and dandruff for three months after my surgery, and then one day it stopped and I went back to my old oily skin. I mentioned this to my hairdresser and she said it was my body’s reaction to the surgery and to the aesthetic.

– I haven’t dropped dress sizes like I was expecting to. I was expecting to lose 10-20 kilos and then go shopping, but because I lost mostly around my arms/shoulders and legs, and my middle stayed the same, I wore the same clothes well in to 25-30kilos lost. The bigger you are, the more weight between sizes – I once heard a lady say 5 kilos was one size, hahahaha! No.

– I’m actually okay with left overs now. Before my surgery I was very much a creature of cravings. I followed my cravings, and would eat what I wanted when I wanted – and I rarely felt like the same foods two days in a row. I’d go out to dinner and if by some miracle I didn’ finish what was on the plate, I’d take it home and it would sit in the fridge for a week before being thrown out. Now that I am not ruled by cravings, I am able to eat the same food four lunches in a row, without being sick of it. It’s definitely made things cheaper! When I go out for dinner now, I make sure that I have a Tupperware container in my bag with me, in case the restaurant doesn’t do doggy bags – if I’m going to pay for the meal, I want to make sure I get my monies worth.

– I’m choosing healthy food. Example: breakfast on Sunday morning, I had bread and eggs – but I couldn’t fit in both. I could have had a slice of vegemite toast, which is my favourite food in the world, but my brain registered the lack of nutritional value in the toast, and recognised the egg’s protein, omega-3s, vitamins and minerals. So I whisked up an egg and had it scrambled for breakfast with some herbs and some hot sauce (chilli is also good for you!).

– I’ve become very in tune with my body. After surgery, there are foods that I am not able to tolerate as well as before. I’ve learnt to listen to my body and really recognise the signs when food is not agreeing with me – my stomach will become tight, and I will get a slight uncomfortable feeling. Thankfully this hasn’t happened too many times, and when it has happened I’ve just laid off that particular food for a while and then reintroduced it at a later stage. I’ve been really lucky and have been able to tolerate pretty much everything I was told I might not be able to – spicy food, bread, grains, red meat etc have all gone down fine.

– I no longer have to take my reflux medication as often. I used take a reflux medication called Omeprazole every night, and if I didn’t I would feel ill and uncomfortable as soon as I woke up the next day – I couldn’t go more than a day without taking it. Since the surgery, where they fixed up my hernia as a bonus “while we’re in there” special, I still take my tablet but it’s only every 4 or 5 days… and even then it’s more out of habit (or because I ate Indian food with an orange juice chaser). If I get reflux now, I usually just drink a cup of tea with honey and that soothes it. It’s certainly making my prescription bills more manageable!

– I get really uncomfortable and guilty when people compliment me. I’m not used to be complimented and the few times it has happened, it’s always made me feel really awkward and weird. But now, every day someone will comment on my weight loss and tell me how well I’m doing and they’ll often say things like “I’m so proud of you”. Aside from the general “stop complimenting me, it’s weird” feeling I get, I also feel damned guilty because I don’t think I’ve really done much to achieve my weight loss. Honestly, I haven’t been doing much exercise and I’ve just been eating the same way I always ate (with the occasional healthier option) – I don’t feel I’ve earned the praise. I look at people who work their BUTTS off to lose the weight I have lost, and I feel like I haven’t achieved the same thing as them. I don’t feel like I should be proud of my hard work, cos I haven’t really put any in. And when I mention this to people they say stuff about how I went through pretty major surgery and how that’s a big deal… but to me it really wasn’t. I got lucky. My surgery went well, I healed well – so it was a pretty easy process for me, and within 6 weeks I was totally healed (which is much less time than someone who goes through diets and exercise regimes). So, the point of all this: If you know someone who had stomach surgery, and they’re experiencing obvious weight loss, maybe just say “you’re looking really well” – it’s a nice compliment to which they can say thank you and not feel too uncomfortable about. Well, if they’re weird like me that is.

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