Knowing what will happen in the weeks after your gastric bypass surgery is one of the most important ways to insure your success. Many people think they'll have the surgery and the weight will magically disappear with no effort on their part; this attitude is a sure way to be disappointed!
After your Surgery
After your surgery and release from the recovery room you will get out of bed and walk a bit. Every day of your hospital stay, you'll walk a little further and more often. This is standard procedure with any surgical patient and prevents a number of complications that can come from staying in bed.
You may find some weakness in your knees when you climb stairs but don't be alarmed. Your body at this point isn't getting as much protein as it used to and your muscles are acting accordingly. As your food intake improves, this will go away.
Getting Used to Food Again
In about three days you'll be able to go home, but will be reminded not to lift anything over 20 pounds for the first six weeks if you've had an open procedure. You'll have to be sure to follow your nutritionist's instructions because you won't be eating like you used to. In fact, you'll be on a liquid diet for the first week consisting of diluted juice, broth and sugar-free gelatin. This is to allow your “new" stomach to adjust itself to digestion. Be sure to take your acid reducer, probably Tagamet, every day to protect your stomach from acids. After a month you'll be able to quit taking it.
After the first week, you'll be able to eat pureed foods and after that, soft foods. Finally, when your stomach has adjusted to its new size and gotten the hang of digesting, you'll be eating normal foods. By now you'll have noticed significant weight loss! Be sure to keep choosing low fat and low sugar foods. It's particularly important to learn how to chew carefully and completely, not only for the sake of your digestion but to take the time to enjoy your food. You'll be eating five small meals a day and eventually exercising up to an hour each day.
You'll see your doctor about ten days after discharge to have your skin staples removed and to get a prescription for an iron and B12 supplement, which you'll need the rest of your life. In another four weeks you'll return for a check up and get a prescription for Actigall. This medication prevents gallstones from forming due to the rapid weight loss you'll be experiencing. You'll have another appointment four weeks later, then four months later and finally your one year checkup arrives! Your checkups will be yearly from then on, for routine blood work and to refill the prescription for your supplements.
And now you're on your way to a new, comfortable and active life! It's not an easy out; you'll have to work hard to break bad habits and replace them with good ones but it's a change that's well worth it.
Make an Informed Decision!
Bariatric surgery is not to be taken lightly, however. Do some research and talk to people who have had the procedure done to be sure that it's right for you. Find out about all four different types of surgery and talk to your primary care physician before you make your decision. If you do decide to have the surgery your physician can probably refer you to several good surgeons that you can interview before choosing who you want to do your surgery.