Life After Weight Loss Surgery

As I have mentioned before I have had weight loss surgery. I had it in May, 2021. Between my Hashimoto’s, PCOS, and hidradenitis suppurativa, I can’t lose weight. I have tried for decades. I have tried all the diets, removing sugar from my diet, working out 3-4 times a week, hiring a nutritionist, and I don’t even know what else. Nothing would work long term. I would lose 10-20 pounds but then put it back on. 

Back in 2020, my doctor approved me for breast reduction surgery because my boobs tried to kill me again. My boobs have a history of pulling muscles in my neck and back to the point that I have needed physical therapy and electro-dry needling weekly for six weeks at time. When I called the plastics department to arrange a consult, I was told they wouldn’t even do a consult because I was overweight. I had to 190 pounds or less. At the time I was over 330 pounds. Upset, I called my doctor back and asked him to send in a referral for bariatric surgery which he did right away because he had been pushing me to get it since I started seeing him. 

It took a couple of months to start the process. I had my first appointment in December. It took about 6 months to complete the program. I had to show that I was willing to follow a meal plan and work out. I also had a bunch of testing I had to do to make sure that my body would be okay during the surgery. Some of those tests were heart tests, sleep studies, endoscopies, and meeting with a psychiatrist. None of it was particularly hard. Just time consuming. 

Me on my birthday in 2021 at my highest weight- 343.6

In April, I was finally approved for surgery which was schedule for May 11th. I was lucky enough to be able to celebrate my birthday before having to do the two liquid diet before the surgery. The surgery was fairly routine. I only had to stay one night because I wasn’t experiencing much pain and was able to walk around by myself. 

Jeremy took two weeks off to be with me while I recovered which I appreciated. Unfortunately, after a week, Jeremy had to go attend a graduation and a graduation party. I stayed home and decided to take a shower while he was gone. Everything was fine until I bent to pick up my towel. I guess I bent over wrong and pinched something. I instantly had muscle spasms in my stomach near where the anchor stitch was. (The anchor stitch is where they stitched the stomach to the muscle wall to hold it in place.) I tried to lay down to see if relaxing would help it go away. When Jeremy came home, I was still having pain and Jeremy could feel my stomach spasming. He made me go to the Emergency Room. After being there for the entire night, they discharged me after explaining that I had pinched my stomach wall just right to cause a fluid sac to form in the muscle wall of stomach. I had to take it easy and was put on orders to not lift more than 10 pounds or do any major exercising for 3 months. Exactly what I needed right when I was preparing to move cross country. ***le sigh***

The area in the circle is the fluid sac in my abdominal wall.

Since recovering, I have learned how to live with my new smaller stomach. It still surprises me how little I can eat. Don’t get me wrong, there are days that I can eat what feels like a lot (no where near where I use to be able to eat) and then there are days (like Saturday) where I get three bites into something before I feel full. It has been some trial and error with this. Before I explain that part I should explain real quick that I often refer to my tiny stomach as she, Polly, or Polly Pocket. Naming it and giving it its own identity has helped deal with a lot of the psychological stuff this makes you go through. Polly definitely has moods. Most days she is good and happy, enjoys most foods, can get enough protein and fluids in, and not cause me too many problems. Then there are days when she acts like a freaking toddler. Foods I enjoyed the day before she suddenly doesn’t like, or textures or spice level suddenly make her angry. There was a while where I couldn’t really eat left overs because the texture would change so much when reheating them that she would spasm or cause me to vomit to get rid of the food. Now a days I have a pretty good idea of what she likes but in the beginning there was a lot of food that she didn’t like. Even now I am working on getting a spice tolerance again. Before the surgery, I loved spicy food. Now most spicy food is just painful. Same with sour foods. I wasn’t really a fan of sour foods pre-surgery but after surgery, Polly really doesn’t tolerate it at all. 

My most recent full body picture. Taken on December 12th, 2021. Weighing 267.

I’m really proud of how far I have come so far. I am a little over 7 months out and down almost 80 pounds. I am 20 pounds smaller than I was when I first met Jeremy. I have gone from a 5x/6x in tops and dress and 30/32 in pants and skirts to 2x/3x in tops and 20/22 in pants. It was surreal to go through my clothing boxes while moving in and having to get rid of 90% of my clothes because they were too big. I did keep my sweaters and sweat shirts because I am sucker for oversize warm things. When I try on clothes, I forget my new sizes and grab the old sizes out of habit. It surprises me that I can wear smaller stuff. Like yesterday morning (Sunday) I grabbed one of Jeremy’s recruiting PT shirts out of the laundry basket to put on as a joke and we were both surprised to see I could actually pull it down because it was a large. It was skin tight but I could do it. I took it off but Jeremy was already up searching through his drawers for a different PT shirt. He found a long sleeved XL PT shirt and had me try it on. It was tight but not uncomfortable. I ended up wearing it for the rest of the morning while I worked on some stuff because it was kind of comfy. Another time I was trying to hurry up and get dressed so I can run some errands. I had grabbed a random sweatshirt from my closet and tossed it on. I couldn’t understand why it was tight. Not uncomfortable but all my sweatshirts and sweaters are at least a little bit baggy so I could layer them. I took it off and realized it was an XL that I had gotten 10 years ago and barely wore then because it was too small (I don’t know why I kept it). I didn’t wear it out but it made me happy that I could fit into it. 

There are some things I still struggle with but I will save that for another post. I mainly wanted to post this to start the conversation about my surgery and weight loss journey. There is really quite a bit about this topic that I could get into and I would prefer to break it up into different posts instead of having a 5,000 word post. Please let me know in the comments (or email me if you prefer to ask me in private) if you have any questions about life after weight loss surgery or what it was like. Also let me know if you’ve had the surgery as well and any tips or victories you’ve had.

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