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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Gastric bypass surgery: Things I didn’t know to expect

I had a laparoscopic roux en y gastric bypass two months ago. I have had surgery before and I went to a series of pre-op classes and group meetings, so I thought I knew what to expect. Well here are a few things that I didn’t anticipate that might be useful for someone else to know.
1.       This surgery is a gas, gas, gas! I was warned about the gas, but I had no idea that the gas pain was worse than the pain from the incision. That is probably because the pain meds help with the incisions. That goodness that cleared up after a few weeks.
2.       I didn’t want anything to do with food. I was told that I would not feel hungry post op. In my case, that was very true up until week four. I actually had an aversion to eating or drinking all together for the first two weeks. A big part of this was due to the discomfort and gas I experience whenever I ingested anything. After the second week, when I moved to soft foods, I became interested in exploring what food I could eat. I did notice that I do not feel hungry, especially if I am consistent about taking the acid reflux medicine, which I am suppose to take for the first six months.
3.       That doesn’t taste right! About a week after surgery I developed a weird taste in my mouth. I also have a metallic taste in my mouth, which makes drinking plan water awful. And I am water drinker. I did some research online and it is supposed to go away and it did after six weeks. Some foods and drinks that I liked don’t taste the same anymore. Hopefully it will pass. Things that are sweet, even it is an artificial sweetener, tastes and now smells disgusting. Believe me, I love some sugar. When I drink 100% juice, I water it down. I was surprised that I actually liked and could tolerate the candied yams.
4.       What do you mean I now have more medicine to take? Online, everyone talks about how they came off their medications. Well that wasn’t the case with me initially. Not only did I have to take all of my previous meds, but I have to add meds prescribed by my surgeon. On top of all of that, I had to add vitamins. After three weeks, my primary care physician took me off my prediabetes and high blood pressure meds. Hooray! Just note that until you are on regular foods, you will have to crush your medicine or open the capsule. That made me hurl. Yuck! Also, I had a hard time swallowing my pills up until about week 8. It felt like my medicine was getting stuck in my throat. You have to realize that you can’t drink as much water as you use to.
5.       It is so easy to overeat! Take serious the advice to eat slowly. You may not know that you are full if you eat too fast. By the time you know, you are experiencing stomach pain. What looks like a tiny amount of food still may be too much. Also, sometimes you can eat more or times you can eat less.