Pre-surgery, you are probably pretty excited, and maybe a bit scared. Bariatric surgery is no joke. I have had two bariatric surgeries, a lap band in 2010 (removal 2013) and a sleeve in June of 2017. Each time, I struggled with nerves and anxiety throughout the process. I can honestly say that the second time was easier.
Why? I had some knowledge of the process and was more prepared mentally. However, the sleeve surgery was more permanent and more invasive. I found myself preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.
During the pre-surgery period, I used that time to begin to get acclimated to the bariatric life. I suggest you do the same.
What did I do?
- I cut out soda and all carbonated drinks. This was hard. I was addicted to soda for many years. I would try to get off it, only to return to the sweet stuff a few months later. I knew that a sleeved stomach couldn’t really handle soda so I quit. I did make the switch from regular soda to sugar free for a bit, but found I did not like the taste of sugar-free enough to stay with it for a while. I was also addicted to sparkling mineral water, particularly Topo Chico. I decided the best thing to do was switch to regular water and Diet Green Tea. I made the transition about six months pre-op and it was one of the better things I did for myself. This helped me significantly during the pre-surgery diet that my insurance plan wanted me to be on.
- I followed the pre-surgery diet. I just mentioned this briefly. My plan did not require me to lose weight, but it didn’t want me to gain. During the 3-month period where I worked with my personal nutritionist, I gained in the middle month. I was frightened that I would not be allowed to have the surgery. That final month, I buckled down. I ate smaller meals and exercised more. I only lost about 8 lbs. during that three month period but was so proud of that that I did a happy dance (or waddle) in the nutritionist’s office. Losing weight was damn near difficult for me, hence the main reason for my surgery.
- I kept my eyes on the prize. I went through every insurance hoop imaginable. They were pretty significant. I see some people complain about these ‘hoops’, but I realized that they were there to protect me and help make sure that the bariatric lifestyle was one that I wanted to and could follow. I went to all of my pre-op appointments. I saw a cardiologist and had a stress test to make sure my heart was healthy enough for surgery. I did a sleep study for my sleep apnea. I hate sleep studies, but I did it. I saw a psychologist to be mentally evaluated. As a bipolar woman with a history of bulimia, this caused me some stress, but I made it out okay. I also went faithfully to my nutritionist. I asked a lot of questions of all my professionals along the way to become better educated about the bariatric lifestyle and what it would mean to me.
- My friend bought me tiny plates and silverware. So that I could take smaller bites and eat less, my friend, Sarah, who had the surgery before I did, gave me some plates and silverware to use. It was baby silverware and very cute. I still use it to this day. I can’t imagine eating without it and when I go to a restaurant, I am shocked and in awe of how big the silverware and plates are. I feel like I’m Alice in Wonderland in a way. I am so grateful to have had a friend who went through the surgery before I did. She even recommended my sleeve surgeon to me.
- I didn’t give up. There were times when the process seemed ridiculous and unfair to me. I can honestly say it was. However, I did not give up and I did what was asked of me. I was a good patient and I followed instructions. I wanted this surgery and I prepared mentally, physically and emotionally for it with the help of my nutritionist, therapist and life coach. I knew the going would get tough, but I was tougher.
If I can do it, so can you. You can have a successful pre-surgery period. Take the time to get your mind right and you will be even more successful post-surgery. I was after the sleeve. It was much easier than life after the lap band for me. My attitude played a big role in my pre and post-surgery life. I find that the better your attitude and the more willing you are to do what needs to be done, the more likely you are to keep the weight off. Yes, many bariatric patients do regain at least some, if not all, of their weight. I am not concerned about that in my case. I know I’ve done the work and food is just food to me. I no longer have a relationship with it.
You can do it and I can help you get there just like my professionals got me there. Contact me today for a free consultation.