Friday, December 26, 2014

Published 8:30 AM by with 0 comment

My Holiday Struggle with Food

My holiday struggle with food | Yes, We Rise

Many people like me struggle with one thing at the holidays...who are people like me you ask? People who have had weight loss surgery. It has been 7 years since I had gastric bypass surgery.

According to

Gastric bypass is surgery that helps you lose weight by changing how your stomach and small intestine handle the food you eat. After the surgery, your stomach will be smaller. You will feel full with less food. The food you eat will no longer go into some parts of your stomach and small intestine that break down food. Because of this, your body will not absorb all of the calories from the food you eat. The surgeon disconnects the new, small stomach pouch from the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum), and then connects it to a part of the small intestine slightly farther down (the jejunum). This surgical technique is called a "Roux-en-Y." After a Roux-en-Y, food passes directly from the stomach into the jejunum, bypassing the duodenum. This curbs your absorption of calories and nutrients. This weight loss method is called "malabsorptive." Stomach stapling and Roux-en-Y are typically done during the same surgery and together are called a "Roux-en-Y gastric bypass." Usually, surgeons do both laparoscopically (using tools inserted through small cuts in the belly). When laparoscopy isn’t possible, surgeons may do a laparotomy (involving a large cut in the middle of the belly).
After gastric bypass surgery, people typically stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days and return to normal activity within 2 to 3 weeks. About 10% of people have complications, which are usually minor and include:

  • Wound infections 
  • Digestive problems
  • Ulcers 
  • Bleeding 

Nearly 1% to 5% of people have serious or life-threatening complications, such as:

  • Blood clot (pulmonary embolism)
  • Heart attack
  • Leak in the surgical connections with the intestines
  • Serious infection or bleeding 

The risk of complications is lower at centers that do more than 100 weight loss surgeries per year. Deaths in the month following gastric bypass surgery are very rare (about 0.2% to 0.5%, or less than one in 200 people) when the procedure is done by a highly experienced surgeon.
Read: WebMD - Weight loss surgery/gastric bypass


Other health problems can also happen as a result of the surgery. For example, not absorbing as much of nutrients like iron and calcium can cause anemia and osteoporosis. But taking nutritional supplements and getting blood tests can make that less likely.

I am one of the patients that did have some complications from the surgery. From the first week, my body would not accept food. I could not even drink water and ended up having to be readmitted to the hospital the second week out because I could hold nothing down. I have been diagnosed with blood clots twice in my legs and in my lungs and I am now on a permanent blood thinner because they cannot find the root cause of the clots. I have none of the risk factors. I also have severe anemia and have to takes iron supplements because my iron levels keep dropping. It is an everyday struggle that I have learned to adjust to daily and for the rest of my life. 

The struggle

Years after my surgery, I still struggle with what foods to eat and how to continue to enjoy the holidays without overeating. It is a struggle every time because I want to indulge in all the foods that I see but I also want to maintain the goals I've set. Weight loss surgery goals vary depending on where you are in the process. It could be to maintain your weight loss or to lose more weight. 

The holidays are the time of year where people bake, cook an over abundance of food and make plenty of excuses to overeat. As a person who has had weight loss surgery overindulging in food is not a reality for me. I do not regret my decision to have the surgery for anything in the world because I am healthier for it. But sometimes... I just wish I could eat, drink, and be merry without the worry of an upset stomach or being miserable. 

If you overeat after gastric bypass surgery, you may end up wishing that you never ate a bite. Side effects are real. The pains are severe and the gas is unbearable. 

I am very happy I took the steps long ago to change my lifestyle, but as the holidays near every year I wonder how it would be to be just as everyone else is; eating until they are full and satisfied, rather than wondering if I do eat will it harm me? 

Is weight loss surgery for you? 

If you have had this surgery or are considering it, know that making the decision will be the best day of your life. It will help you on the road to a healthier, better you. But also consider all that comes with it because it is a lifestyle change. 

Have a Happy Holiday because I sure will.

Until the Next



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