I shared before that I was planning on getting bariatric (weight loss) surgery and my reasons for it. I am happy to report that I am now six months out and wanted to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of this surgery for me so far!
I like to end things on a positive note, so I would like to start with the not so great things about this surgery and recovery so far.
I feel as if I am going through puberty again. With the rapid weight loss (note, mostly fat) comes the release of estrogen that has been stored in my fat for a long time. Due to this, my cycles are completely wonky and I have the skin of a fourteen-year-old girl. I don’t ever recall really having PMS type symptoms as an adult, but these new cycles have brought forth some crazy hormones. I have mood swings, headaches, migraines, and cramps galore–not to mention some pretty impressive zits. I’ve been told that this can be common, especially for someone with PCOS like me, as my hormones are starting to act as they were always meant to. I can only hope that once my weight loss begins to slow and stabilize that this will mellow out.
I am also losing a lot of hair.
And I mean a lot. Like a fist full per shower. My hair was already thinning due to my PCOS, but now it’s being caused by the rapid weight loss. It’s to the point where I am meeting with a dermatologist to explore my options and may soon be in the market for a wig to hold me over until this part passes and my hair begins to grow back.
The first six to eight weeks after weight loss surgery was challenging. You are recuperating from having 85% of your stomach removed and during this time you are also learning a brand new way of eating. It’s a battle because, during those early days, you can only have liquids and very soft food, and can usually only handle 1 to 2 ounces of that at a time. Yet, you are supposed to somehow still get in enough fluids to not be dehydrated. I failed miserably at this in the beginning, but I am happy to say that once I got about 2 months out, I was able to do much, much better, especially once I could separate food from drinking liquids. It’s really hard to do that when everything is the same consistency.
Another hard part is the clothing. During these six months, I have dropped 5 pants sizes (a 22 to a 14) and 4 shirt sizes (XXL to M). That means that I was quickly losing too much weight to continue wearing clothes for that long. This can actually be pretty pricy and frustrating if you aren’t prepared for it. I was lucky and had a friend who sold me clothes as I went down in sizes, so I highly suggest going for secondhand clothing during this time since there is a chance you won’t be in it long.
And finally, the Good:
I know everyone is probably expecting me to say the weight loss itself, which, yes, is a very good thing. But for me, it was never about the number on the scale- it was about how I felt and my overall health. So focusing on that instead, let me tell you the best things about losing these 60 pounds so far:
- I can cross my legs with ease
- I can squat without my knees killing me
- I am no longer pre-diabetic or insulin-resistant
- My blood pressure is completely normal
- I can climb stairs without being completely out of breath and without my legs burning
- I can wear normal width calf-length boots
- I can run after my children without getting tired.
Those were the reasons that I did this surgery, and also why, despite the bad and the ugly that has come with it, I do not regret it in the least.
If you are considering getting a weight loss surgery like mine, I highly suggest doing a lot of research on the different programs near you and joining some online groups or boards. Reading other people’s experiences not only helped me know what to expect, but it gave me a place following surgery to ask questions from people who had been there.
Best of luck in your personal journey to better health!
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