4 Weeks Post Op Gastric Sleeve Surgery- The Good, The Bad, The Beautiful

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4 weeks post op gastric sleeve surgery
THE GOOD

I’m 4 weeks post op from gastric sleeve surgery. Physically I am feeling great as far as the surgery is concerned. The recovery was a lot easier than I had thought. I was in pain the first few days but it wasn’t intolerable. Once I was released from the hospital 2 days post op, I only needed the pain meds to sleep the first 2 nights home and that was it. My incision sites were tender for the first 3 weeks but I’m amazed how well I’ve healed. My incisions look great and I’m sure with time they’ll fade even more and be hardly noticeable.

My daughter had a field trip with school to Walt Disney World last week and I wanted to chaperone but didn’t think I would have been up to all that walking. Now I wish I had signed up to go because I totally would have been fine going aside from having to figure out what foods in the park I would have been able to eat. I’ll get more into my eating struggles in a bit. Let’s keep this part the positive section.

I am eating between 500 and 800 calories per day. That includes between 60 and 80 grams of protein and between 5 and 25 carbs. My meals are 2-3 oz and are mostly protein. I’m eating things like eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, salmon, tuna, chicken, ground beef, and steak strips. I was cleared to eat soft, low starch veggies but I’m not really getting to eat the veggies because I’m trying to eat enough protein first.

I have been losing inches all over my body and my clothes are starting to get looser. My jean shorts can be pulled on and off without buttoning them and I had to buy a belt yesterday to keep them up until I buy new clothes. I’m starting to see changes in the mirror and other people are starting to notice, too.

I began to obsess over my weight loss, how many pounds I was losing, etc. so I stopped weighing myself daily and made myself a promise to only weigh myself once a week. I didn’t want to get rid of my scale altogether as I wanted to make sure that what I was eating was keeping me on track. So I’m happy to report that I hit 2 important goals this week. As of today I am down 25 pounds (that is from the preop diet and also the sleeve surgery). With losing 25 pounds I reached the coveted “Onederland”. For those of you who have never been over 200 pounds, “Onederland” is when you get below 200 pounds and in the one hundreds. I am now at 197 pounds. YAY!!!

I am trying to walk 4-5 times a week. I still don’t love it. It’s not a habit yet. I’m not addicted to working out yet. I’m hoping that with time I will enjoy it more. I did great last week and even walked over 4 miles one day. Another good benefit of me walking more is that my daughter has been walking with me and it is helping her be more active and get fit because she is also overweight. But this week my daughter has been home sick and I’ve been tired and achy from my fibromyalgia so we haven’t walked much. Next week will be better.

And the best news…….My endocrinologist had me test my blood sugar a few weeks ago now that I had the surgery and I haven’t had any diabetes meds since before my surgery. I am happy to report that ALL of my blood sugar readings have been in the normal range!!! I am hoping that when I see my endocrinologist next month he will say that I no longer have diabetes. Fingers crossed.

THE BAD

Most people who have gastric sleeve surgery are no longer hungery post op. With so much of the stomach removed much of the hunger hormones are also removed. Unfortunately for me I am still hungry….ALL THE FREAKING TIME! The nutritionist said I’m just “one of the lucky ones”. SIGH! It’s frustrating to say the least.

I am getting in my required 64+ oz of water daily but it’s a slow process. I’m not allowed to drink with a straw ever again (it will cause me to swallow too much air) nor am I allowed carbonated beverages ever again because it can make my sleeve get bigger. Water tastes gross to me now as do many flavors of drink mix so I am still working on finding flavors I can tolerate. But I can only drink 4-5 swallows of any beverage at a time or I get nauseous. So drinking 64 oz is a full time job and I need to make sure I’m drinking all day. I us a free app called Drink Water Reminder that reminds me all day to drink my water and it really helps me stay on track and make sure I get all my fluids in.

I am allowed decaf tea and decaf coffee- I love coffee and tea so I was excited to hear this. BUT post op my tastes have changed (which I have heard is common) and now coffee tastes sour to me. I was a BIG iced coffee drinker preop so it makes me incredibly sad that I no longer enjoy iced coffee. Drinking iced coffee was almost part of my identity so this is a big change to me. I am hoping that my tastes will change back and I will once again be able to enjoy a cup of iced coffee but only time will tell.

Coffee isn’t the only thing that no longer tastes good to me. I used to really enjoy sushi. I can’t have the rice anymore but I can have the fish. I ordered seared ahi tuna last week while out to lunch and it was just blah. No longer enjoying some of my favorite foods because my tastes have changed is another thing I need to get used to. I’m hoping that as time goes by I will be able to enjoy my old favorites or at least find new ones. I want to get to a point where food isn’t ruling my life but I can still enjoy it. I’m not there yet.

I’m follow the doctor’s orders and only taking tiny pinky nail sized bites, chewing 30 seconds per bite, and then putting down my fork for a minute in between each bite. But everything is still getting stuck by the 3rd or 4th bite. It is really frustrating because then I have to wait a few minutes in between each bite to wait for things to go down. It hurts right below my throat near my breastbone. After speaking with my surgeon last night at a support group meeting he is sending me to do a swallow test to make sure everything is ok. He said that I could just be swollen still and things could still be tight but better safe than sorry. Even with my external scars almost healed it still takes 3-6 months for the internal scars to heal so I have a long way to go with that.

I could deal with everything above but what is frustrating me the most is the slow weight loss. Most people with the gastric sleeve lose weight faster than I am. I know in my head that slow weight loss will probably make me more likely to keep the weight off and more likely for my skin to shrink, too, as I lose weight but it’s still frustrating. I have only lost 15 pounds the first month post op since the first 10 were on the preop diet. Many people lose 15 pounds the first WEEK or two so losing it in a month is frustrating. I know that any weight loss is great and I am moving in the right direction but I’m being honest here. I wish I was losing faster. It would make all the other problems “worth it” in a way.

So far my energy is still low from my fibromyalgia. I was hoping that with the surgery, diet change, etc. I would get more energy and less brain fog but that hasn’t happened YET. I’m hopeful that as I lose weight I will eventually get some more energy.

THE BEAUTIFUL

Overall I don’t regret my choice to have gastric sleeve surgery. Even with slower weight loss I keep reminding myself that with the 25 pound weight loss I am more than 25% towards my goal. I would like to get down to 150 at least but ideally 135. That means to get to 135 I needed to lose 87 pounds total. Since I’ve gone from 222 to 197 and lost 25 pounds that means I’ve lost 29% of my goal. I have 62 more pounds to lose so even if I only lose 2 pounds per week I should reach my 135 pound goal in the next 8 months. I got this!

PhotoGrid_1464311451327What a difference a month makes! I wasn’t sure how noticeable my weight loss is until I took 1 month post op pictures in the same shirt that I took my preop pictures in. My stomach is so much smaller and I can see that my face is slimmer, too. I am looking forward to the future and excited to share my journey with you. If anyone has any questions, comments, or just wants to leave me some encouraging words below I would really appreciate it.

Read more about my Gastric Sleeve Weight Loss Surgery Journey.

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Comments

  1. Hang in there! two of my family members had gastric bypass and feel great now. It just took a long time!

    trisha
    momdot

  2. Tracers says:

    So proud of you girly! Step by step and you’ll get there.

  3. Karen R says:

    You are doing great! I don’t know how you can function on that few calories. I could never give up Diet Coke. Wishing you continued success.

    • Thanks so much! Yeah when your stomach only holds a few ounces it makes it easier to only eat so few calories. LOL I do miss Diet Coke, well Coke Zero, but if I can get healthy it will be worth it. Some days are certainly easier than others though!

  4. Im hoping to have the sleeve this summer. I started cutting my calories in late march and i was so hungry and cranky all the time till like yesterday. I think im finally getting used to it.

    • It will get easier with the sleeve because you can only put in just so much because your new tummy will be so small. Good luck to you. Let me know if you have any questions. Feel free to message me. 🙂

  5. I can see a difference. Its baby steps you’ll get there

  6. Cori, hi! I’m happy I found your site! I just completed my psych eval and am looking to have the sleeve surgery in the next few months. I’m 37 and have wanted this since I was 18. But my mom had always been scared of the possibility of death. I haven’t told her yet. Not sure how. I will continue to follow your story for inspiration. You look GREAT! Thank you for sharing!

    • Awww, thanks so much. Congrats on getting the psych eval done. You’re one step closer! Do you have a date scheduled? Feel free to ask me any questions. Maybe the psych can help give you ideas on how to tell your mom.