Life After Gastric Bypass  Surgery

   My husband, our 5 grandchildren and myself living a healthier, happier life after gastric bypass.

Today as I write this it has been a little over 3 years since my Laparoscopic Roux en y Gastric Bypass Surgery.  Life after gastric bypass has been a journey.  That journey began in the fall of 2010. 


As I have noted before the first thing I noticed about my life after gastric bypass surgery was the amount of pain I was in.  After having   2  c- sections and a complete hysterectomy I thought Laparoscopic Gastric Bypass would be a breeze!  But it was not!  I was in quite a lot of pain for a few days afterwards and still more pain then anticipated for a couple of weeks. At first I thought it was because I had this gastric bypass when I was older (55 years old) but then when I stopped to think about it I realized that a lot went on inside of me that I just wasn’t thinking about because I didn’t have a major incision, only a few tiny ones. So from the outside it didn’t look like any big deal. But on the inside it was. ….cutting and cauterizing and repositioning …… Really a major surgery. 


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The next thing is , a big thing,  you quickly realize about your new life after gastric bypass is how little you are able to consume. After my gastric bypass the first thing I remember drinking  was diluted apple juice. I was afraid to try it at first but it tasted good to me. I probably only got down a couple of tablespoons, but over the next couple of weeks and in fact over the next couple of months  after gastric bypass surgery  I gradually began to drink more and in fact began to eat tiny amounts of  food . First pureed and soft foods finally leading up to regular foods. Trying only a couple of bites at a time to see how my body would react.  It is a very long process. Its like learning to eat all over again.  It’s scary. You never know what might make you sick . Or just how much is too much.

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Life after gastric bypass usually also means at some point you're going to experience the dreaded dumping syndrome!  I have experienced the dumping syndrome a few times. It’s an awful experience. It can be brought on by eating something too sweet or too fatty or even just eating too much or too quickly can give you a similar experience.  I first start  feeling nauseous. Then kind of sweaty. My heart beats faster. And this bad feeling just comes over me. I  want to lay down and be left alone. It generally lasts about an hour or two.  Sometimes less  sometimes quite a bit longer. Occasionally it will just subside on its own if I lay down and rest but most of the time it doesn’t subside until I have vomited a couple of times.  One thing to keep in mind about the dumping syndrome is that everyone is different and reacts differently to different foods.  I was surprised to learn that tomato products can be a trigger for me. You don’t normally think of ketchup as a sweet but start to look closely at food labels. There is often times more sugar in a product then you would think. And that varies from one brand to the next as well. 

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Life after gastric bypass  and after most  bariatric weight loss surgeries requires you to continue taking at least some of your medications, perhaps only for awhile   Because I was afraid of trying to swallow anything too big (for fear it would be too big for my stoma)  I decided to crush a couple of my larger pills.  That should not be done without first consulting  your doctor. I was taking a time released medication and by taking it after it was crushed I was getting all of it at one time. Luckily I only had terrible headaches for a few days until I realized the mistake I was making.  This could have been much worse. A dangerous scenario you need to be aware of !


As time passed I slowly learned to understand  my new body . In your life after gastric bypass  you need to learn to pick up on the signals your body will give you.  Become more aware of how your body feels.

 

I learned if I was feeling exceptionally tired or even a little dizzy  I may be getting dehydrated and I needed to get some more fluids in. 


After loosing quite a bit of weight I also came to realize my blood pressure was low sometimes. This was usually helped by laying down and drinking fluids. However this is something you need to speak to your doctor about. I bought a blood pressure monitor to keep an eye on mine.

 

When I was eating if I started to feel discomfort in my upper abdomen under my breast bone it probably meant I was either eating too fast or I was full. ….. Slow down or stop eating. 


In my life after gastric bypass I also started having  problems with constipation.  I found I had less problems after I started taking  probiotics. I tried a couple of different brands but found I felt the best using  Align Probiotics.  I also found taking stool softeners daily help a lot.


In your life after gastric bypass  hair loss can become a problem .  I noticed my hair was getting thinner.  I started taking biotin and that helped some.  Sometimes zinc can help with hair loss as well. My hair has always been on the  thin side and to this point nothing I have tried has a made a dramatic difference.


Another very important factor I deal with every day is after gastric bypass vitamins and nutritonal needs. I now take a variety of  supplemental vitamins and minerals and nutrionally need to be aware of my after gastric bypass  protein needs 


Another new aspect of my life after my surgery is exercise !  The gastic bypass itself is an excellent tool to help you loose weight but that's not enough. Besides eating less and eating healthier. Your lifestyle needs to change as well. for me that meant exercise. After gastric bypass or with any weight loss procedure you must become physically active. I started a walking routine even before my surgery as a way to get into my new lifestyle as well as a way to become physically healthier for the surgery itself. I came to enjoy walking around the neighborhood and also got a bicycle as well. Later I saw an exercise device on TV called the Cardio Twister. It's not too big (stays in my family room to use when watching TV) and is very easy to use. It's also low impact so easy on your joints. It is just right for me. I also got some resistance bands and occasionally use some of my husbands smaller weights as a way to build muscle. 


After gastric bypass or any other dramatic weight loss you may have . There's a good chance you are going to have excess skin to deal with. I do have some. I don't like it and I use the resistance bands and weights to try to build muscle in the worse areas to make the skin look better. They have helped some. I'm still not happy about it but it's not bad enough that my insurance would pay for plastic surgery. My problem areas are my upper arms (small bat wings), my thighs, and some on my abdomen. All in all it is not that bad. I can deal with it. I imagine if I were younger it would probably me bother me a lot more but at age 59 I've just accepted it and am thankful I am in so much better shape then i was before. I'm also happily married and my husband thinks I look great just the way I am. (at least that's what he tells me. LOL )

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Like I said it has now been a little over 3 years since my Laparoscopic roux en y gastric bypass surgery. 


I have had no major problems and if I had the option of doing it over again I definitely would. I would have had it done much sooner though. So I could have enjoyed  a better quality of  life at a younger age. Perhaps I would have felt better and had more energy to enjoy life with my family! 


Before my gastric bypass my highest weight was 221 lbs.  After my gastric bypass my lowest weight was 117 lbs. I currently weigh 121 lbs. It’s hard to believe I lost that much weight. 


I lost a lot of weight quickly after my surgery. Within the first year I lost nearly 80 lbs.  Since then I continued to loose for another few months and bottomed out at 117lbs.  I have been very fortunate!  I’ve gone from a size 20 to a size 6!  All within about 21 months and I have stayed at my current weight of between 118 and 122 for over a year. 


I feel so much better not only physically but mentally as well. I no longer have or take medication for the co-morbidities I had before surgery. Such as medication for diabetes,  high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tachycardia,  depression,  and sleep apnea.  I not only feel great but I’m able to spend the money I’m saving on those prescriptions on things I want …. like new smaller clothes!  LOL 



Life after Gastric Bypass has been GOOD for me! I know I’m very fortunate that my insurance covered the procedure and I was very lucky and found a wonderful, highly qualified surgeon to perform that surgery.  I also have been blessed with a terrific family who has supported me every step of the way!  I’m extremley grateful for all those things.                                                   I count my blessings everyday and thank God for it all. 



I’m now living a much Healthier, Happier Life !!!