Since the moment I started toying with the idea of having gastric sleeve surgery, I’ve haunted the forums at verticalsleeveforums.com There is a plethora of information out there if you have the stomach (pun intended) to work your way through the drama.
I’ve lost count of the number of posts I’ve seen from patients asking “So how bad is it really if I cheat on my pre-op liquid diet? I’m going to a BBQ today.” I usually don’t reply to these because I feel like I’m being judgy, but if a friend of mine was asking that shit I’d be all “Um…if you can’t make it through your pre-op diet without cheating, what makes you think you’ll be able to handle the change that’s coming your way?”
I’m not at all trying to be catty or snarky, I promise, peeps. Being morbidly obese sucks donkey balls. I’m not gonna judge my fellow butt battlers. But some comments on these forums send up a big ol’ warning flag for me and then I think to myself…am I doing that? Am I thinking that way? I keep checking myself.
When it comes down to it, I’m concerned about my 7 days on liquids before surgery. I know it’ll be hard. In fact, I’m expecting it to be harder than I can possibly imagine. Because of this, I plan to make that week as peaceful and stress free as possible. I’ve already unliked the Food Network on Facebook so I don’t see their updates. I’ve already unsubscribed from the two food blogs I used to read. (Sorry, Pioneer Woman!) But I’ll also be enacting a set of rules around the Hot Mess Household that HMH has gladly agreed to. They are:
No munchies in the house of any kind
No Food Network or other similar shows on tv – or I reserve the right to go into my office at home, shut the door, and listen to music
No grilling or baking
No bathroom scale
You might be raising your eyebrows on that last one. Honestly, reading the gastric sleeve forums are making me aware of so many potential pitfalls. Time after time, I see people obsessing over the scale during their pre-op liquid diet. “I’ve been on this thing 3 days and haven’t cheated once…why is the scale not moving! What am I doing wrong!!” Dear God…
Let me just step into my judgy shoes for a minute and say that I wonder if these folks are ready for this change. If you’re spending that much energy having an online hissy fit because your scale didn’t move in 3 days, then maybe you need to check yourself a bit. Focus on what you need to do for yourself instead of wasting so much energy. You just had 85% of your stomach removed. The weight is going to come off.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
1. People who ask questions about cheating and how far they can push their diet scare the bejesus out of me and make me grateful that I’m not at all obsessed with cheating – nor am I even worried about it. I’m fully prepared to toe the line on the pre-op liquid diet. I know it’s going to suck, but it’s only 7 days. I know I can muscle through it, it’s just not going to be 100% pretty. There may be crying involved. In fact, I often envision myself crouched naked in the shower and screaming…kind of like a scene from Silkwood. I’ll get through it. Eyes on the bigger prize.
2. Some women are getting two periods a month after surgery. WHAT. THE. FUCK. I’ve got my gyno on speed dial just in case. I will totally lose my shit, y’all!
3. Protein, protein, protein. Hair loss is almost guaranteed after this surgery. It’s a temporary thing, but can be quite jarring – especially for those who have thin hair already. Fortunately, I’m quite a hairy bitch…but I’m not taking any chances. I will be following my doc’s instructions to the letter about protein, taking my vitamins, and using special shampoos to ensure that I lose as little as possible.
4. Beware the Pity Party. People get weepy and depressed going through this process. It’s normal. It goes away. I have a multi-pronged plan of attack for this one:
– Hot Mess Hubby hugs
– Reaching out to the girlfriends
– Blogging about it to y’all, my bloggy girlfriends (and boyfriends…hi guys!)
– Walk it off or get on the elliptical
– Grabbing a piece of needlework and being a stitchy bitch
5. Watch out for the 3 week/3month stall. Sometimes it hits patients at 3 weeks and sometimes not till 3 months, but there seems to be a stall in weight loss that happens and discourages the shit out of people. It’s heartbreaking to read on the forums. You can imagine, after a lifetime of food and weight issues, how devastating it can be to feel like you finally have the tool you need and then poof…it’s not working. I’ve learned to expect it. My plan of action? Head down, nose to the grindstone, use the multi-pronged attack on #4 above for back-up.
6. I’m so grateful to have a good doctor. I’m constantly amazed at the people asking online what vitamins they should be taking, what they should be eating, when they should be exercising. They’re obviously not getting this information from their doctor. I feel like my doctor has me training for boot camp to get battle ready before surgery and these poor souls are already out of surgery with no clue as to how to live their new lives.
I continue to read the comments of people in sleeve groups on Facebook and forums on the internet. Reading their experiences is helping me to anticipate possible road blocks and prepare for them if they come along. I know I’m ready for this. If they called me right now and told me to get to the hospital tomorrow morning, I would be a happy girl.
Still on my “to do” list before surgery:
Experiment with broth. I hate all broth and would like to find something I can stand.
Also experimenting with chicken thigh meat, as it digests easier than other parts of the chicken.
Get household projects done that I won’t be able to do after surgery. Mainly, cleaning and organizing our spare “catch all” room.
Create a calendar of all my “to do’s” once I have my surgery date so that I know exactly when I need to be doing what.
Find a bathrobe that fits.
Get my hands on one of these Gastric Sleeve Plushy dolls. Seriously. Adorable. I totally want one. LOL.
Check ’em out here.
Is there something I haven’t talked about that you want more information on? Ask away…I’m happy to help.