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Bariatric Surgery: A Two Month Reflection

About two months out from bariatric surgery, and as promised here is an update on my progress. 

My surgery, which took place at WakeMed Cary Hospital on May 20 was performed by Dr. Brandon Roy and went very well.  Surgery went off without complications, and I was able to go home the next day and back to work after about two weeks. 

I had very little pain with surgery, and since it was completed using minimally invasive techniques, I have only four small incisions and one slightly larger incision.  The larger incision did have some soreness as it healed, but it no longer bothers me at all.

My biggest red flag for people considering bariatric surgery is the liquid diet you are required to follow for the first 10 to 14 days after surgery. I was surprised with my body’s reaction to the liquid diet, even thinking, “oh my, what have I done?” It does not feel natural to only drink liquids, and I became quite tired of protein shakes.  If you decide to have bariatric surgery, do not fret while in this stage of recovery.  It too passes, and you are slowly allowed to eat soft foods and eventually return to eating regular foods in smaller portions. 

Contrary to popular belief, you still have to follow a diet after bariatric surgery and you cannot eat whatever you want in reduced portions as many people think.  Bariatric surgery is not the easy way out.  My diet must now focus on protein and nutrient rich foods eaten at regular intervals in smaller portions.  For example, this year on the 4th of July I was more than satisfied with one half of a bunless hamburger.   I also eat my smaller meals on a bread and butter sized plate, to help me not feel deprived.

My biggest surprise after having bariatric surgery is that I feel pretty much the same as I did prior to surgery.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the changes are coming gradually in the forms of weight loss, decreased appetite and increased energy. I’m still exercising and eating many of the same foods I ate before surgery, slightly modified and in much smaller portions. 

Our family meals are the same today as they were a year ago, except a smaller quantity of food goes much further, especially since both my daughter and myself have had bariatric surgery.  If we eat too much, we will not feel well.  In fact, neither of us can eat more than one cup of food at a time.  And, I am having to retrain myself to cook smaller portions.

So, the bottom line is so far, so good.  I have lost 20 pounds, and have not had to shop for clothes just yet, but am looking forward to it in the near future.

Debra Dupree is a 30-year tenured nurse on WakeMed Raleigh Campus.  Debra’s daughter had bariatric surgery on December 29, 2010, and because of her daughter’s success, she had bariatric surgery on May 20, 2011. Read Debra’s previous posts about Getting Ready for Bariatric Surgery and her unique perspective as a nurse and a mother of bariatric surgery patient .

Dr. Brandon Roy, surgeon with Wake Specialty Physicians, has information sessions scheduled on Wednesday, August 3 at WakeMed North Healthplex and WakeMed Raleigh Campus.  Click here to register.  Interested in determining if you are a candidate for bariatric surgery, click here.