It’s been exactly five months since I had the vertical sleeve weight loss surgery. The first few months were easy peasy. The weight was coming off at the rate it should be, I had far more energy due to the amounts of protein I was consuming, and my slimming body made working out and attending boxing classes way more fun and productive.
The only issue I’ve been having since surgery is my inability to poop more than once a week at best. When I had traveler’s diarrhea in Ghana it was the best and I am currently researching “how to give yourself diarrhea” to increase my quality of life. Even combining stool softener, Miralax, Milk of Magnesia (which I immediately chase with a popsicle), etc doesn’t move things along. This is common and gets easier over time, supposedly, but this was my only real post-surgical problem and I could manage it.
Over the past month I’ve been vomiting fairly frequently. It comes on immediately, usually after I’ve eaten or in the middle of eating. I have thrown up fish, eggs, chicken, ice cream, protein shakes, and, after being put back on a liquid diet a few days ago, water. No specific food or beverage seems to trigger it. I assumed that this was part of the healing process or a sign I need to eat slower. I ate slowly and the vomiting became more frequent. My surgeon is concerned I’ve damaged my stomach, especially given how much I’ve thrown up. I foolishly thought that I’d be fine since I had been doing so well before. I ignored the advice of family, friends, and WebMD. I’m seeing my surgeon today and will hopefully get answers and not a hospital stay.
When I was put back on liquids this week I was upset and frustrated that I couldn’t eat anything and that I had to start from scratch. I just want the ease of eating a cheeseburger, which is now the hardest thing for me eat due to the carbs in bread and inability to digest red meat (usually takes three months after surgery). Going out with friends is already challenging enough given my eating and drinking restrictions. I’ll be in Chicago for a conference this weekend and wanted to eat actual food, but what do I do now? I can’t bring popsicles to a professional conference. They’ll melt.
Eating was difficult in Ghana. Most meals contain carbs and all chicken and fish are served with bones (which is gross) and I ended up losing 12lbs as a result. I figured that once I was home and eating my usual diet most of those pounds would come back, but I kept throwing up and kept losing weight. As of this morning I’ve now lost 16lbs this month and weigh 174lbs, a weight I have never seen, and the weight loss center’s projection for the amount I would lose over the next 10-12 months. This number is always much lower than the actual expectation, but I’m only five months in.
Even though I’ve lost 76lbs I’m dealing with body dysmorphia. I don’t think I look any different despite what photos, family, and friends tell me. When I put on clothes that are too big I think “Wow! My clothes got bigger!” When I couldn’t put my phone in my pants pocket at the airport because it made my pants fall down I thought “Wow! This phone is really heavy!” Getting dressed in the morning is a chore because I have no idea what fits me and I’ve been too tired to try anything on.
Boohoo, right? Well, I did this surgery to be healthier and I’m not feeling all that healthy right now. I’m losing weight way too fast now, have zero energy, can’t poop, but I can vomit!
I feel like this is some Disney movie where I swap my ability to digest foods for a size 14. I should be celebrating this accomplishment. I’m 12lbs away from having lost 100lbs at my highest weight, but I want to accomplish that as a healthy individual who has worked hard, changed her way of thinking, eating and approach to self-care.