As patients, we all bring different medical, psychological,
and emotional issues/conditions with us prior to surgery.
Sometimes, these issues/conditions influence how quickly
we recover from major abdominal surgery. It is
impossible to predict what events I will encounter postoperatively;
hopefully this information will address some of the
more common occurrences.
Some patients enter into surgery with unrealistic postoperative
expectations. Even if expectations are realistic
it is normal for people to "hope for the best outcome"
when entering surgery. Gastric bypass is major
abdominal surgery. Just because I chose to have
surgery, or because it is "less invasive"
doesn't change the fact that my body will require time
to adjust. I will have nausea and pain, experience
some fatigue and depression may occur. These occurrences
are generally short-lived and are frequently seen.
These adjustments take time.
As I mentioned above, expectations for "the time
to heal" may be distorted. It is true that
with the laparoscopic approach, physical healing time
may be faster than with the open technique (two to four
weeks instead of four to six weeks). Forming a
scab however does not constitute complete healing.
I might feel fatigue, experience nausea and even vomit
frequently for the first 2 to 12 weeks following the
operation. It is important that I do not expect
to go back to work at full speed right away. I
might be able to go back to work as early as two to
four weeks, but I may need longer. I have contingency
plans in place.
My new stomach is irritable for the first several weeks
following surgery. I will start on clear liquids
(water broth and Jell-O) for a week, then advanced to
soft proteins and eventually to all varieties of food.
The stomach's healing process is similar to the new
baby learning to eat. Some babies spit up a lot,
and some new bypass babies, vomit a lot in the beginning.
Some new babies are colicky with abdominal cramping;
the same may be true for some new bypass babies.
Gastric surgery may cause me to experience a heightened
sense of smell. Food, perfume and cigarette smoke
may be offensive and cause nausea. If nausea or
complete lack of appetite occurs in the early postoperative
phase, it will generally resolve in 4-6 weeks.
I will have to be patient with my new anatomy.
By three to four months nearly everyone is able to tolerate
most food well.
I might feel frustrated, weepy and even depressed after
surgery. This is a common occurrence, and a normal
part of the physical and emotional healing process.
For a very long-time I have been focused on having this
life altering procedure. I may feel an emotional
let down as my energy reserves are drained. Hopefully,
this too will pass, and in a few weeks to months my
energy and positive attitude will return. Psychological
support, counselling and/or medications may be helpful
If I am one of the patients that feel more pain than
I expected, or experience nausea or depression, I must
remember this can be normal. What I eat today
may stay down and the exact same meal tomorrow may not.