Stomach Surgery: The side effects

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my surgery, but a few things have happened over the last few months that I thought should be written about.

The first thing is that I have stopped losing weight. I stopped losing weight about 7 months ago. Thankfully I haven’t put weight back on, at least nothing worth worrying about (more on that in my gallbladder issues below), but I haven’t budged it either. I hit that “portion control can only do so much” limit. I got back in to bad habits, namely snacking. I have been studying, I’ve been exhausted, and I haven’t had time for exercise. I got lazy. I finish school in two weeks and I’m joining a gym. Hopefully I can get my butt back in to gear. I’m finding the #wls and #vsg tags on Instagram have been great for my motivation over the last few weeks and I’ve gotten to that point where I really want to kick start the weight loss again.

B12. In June this year I went to see my Doctor, concerned that my energy levels were pretty much non-existent. I was annoyed that I’d lost 30 kilos yet somehow I was more tired than before. After some blood tests it was revealed that I was B12 deficient. Essentially I had become anaemic. B12 is found in animal based products and supplements, so even though I’ve been eating a fair amount of meat to keep my protein up, I’m still not eating as much as I used to. B12 is also broken down in your stomach acid – of which I now have less, thanks to the surgery and my GORD inhibitor tablets. My doctor put me on B12 injections (yep, needles!) and I’ve started taking vitamins in between the shots (which I get every two months). I have noticed a slight increase in energy, which probably is being reflected in my motivation to start exercising again, but I still have a while to go before my levels are back to what they should be.

Gallbladder. Yarp. While I was in Japan in May of this year, pretty much one year to the day of my surgery, I got a chest pain. At first I thought I was having a heart attack, then I thought maybe I was dehydrated. But then it kept happening. Every few weeks to start, then eventually it became more and more frequent, until I was having around two attacks a week. The attacks have also increased in strength. The first ones started around 10-20 minutes, now they last up to four hours. I also now vomit when I get the pain, and one time I passed out. It is the worst pain I think I’ve ever been in in my life. However, being the non-hypochondriac that I am, I didn’t do anything about it. I thought “but I know it will eventually stop”. Eventually I did see my doctor and she originally thought my oesophagus was inflamed. I started taking my reflux tablets more frequently and that did…squat. The attacks kept coming and they got worse and worse. I spoke to a friend of mine who had her gallbladder out a few years back; I told her my symptoms, and she told me to start tracking what I was eating beforehand. Sure enough, whenever I’d eaten fatty foods – pork and dairy were the main culprits – I would have an attack. I booked back in to see my Doctor and demanded an ultrasound. And there on the ultrasound screen was my gallbladder full of stones. The stones are “mobile”, which means they float around and get stuck, causing me pain. My gallbladder is also inflamed and bigger than it should be, which accounts for my upper abdomen always feeling tender (and bloated). My blood tests also showed an increase in fatty liver, which is frustrating because my surgery cured my fatty liver disease and my naughty gallbladder is making it bad again. I have gained two kilos since the pain started to get really bad in August, despite eating better (thanks to my fear of fatty foods) and giving up alcohol. So now I am booked in to see a surgeon – the same one that did my gastric sleeve actually – and hopefully I’ll be able to get my gallbladder out soon. As bad as the pain is (and I’ve heard people say it’s akin to labour), it’s more the fear and waiting for it to return that has made me an anxiety ridden mess the last few months. I’d like that to stop, please.

(Edit: I had my gallbladder removed on November 10th. Cost me a few thousand dollars to get it done through a Private Hospital, but that meant I didn’t have to wait years. After the removal – which was keyhole and included a night in hospital – I still had a stone stuck in my bile duct and a week later I had to have another operation – which thankfully was free and quick and successful.)

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7 thoughts on “Stomach Surgery: The side effects

  1. Far out, you have been in the wars, so sorry to hear sweets. That sucks. 😦
    Sending you giant, truck loads of healing vibes. If you need a friend to join you on craving foods you cannot eat, I’m in. Look after you lady.

  2. I just found your blog one week after my own surgery – and I have to say it’s a GODSEND. I’m sitting here constantly thinking “is this normal? What if I do that? What if this? I’M SO BORED OF JUICE AND BABY YOGHURT!!”
    Thanks for sharing – I’m doing something similar on my blog too. It is good catharsis 🙂

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