Karla's Journey: Two Months Post-Op
I had planned on writing about my weight-loss journey monthly after surgery, but the time has gone by so fast. I was back to work and my regular life so quickly that the two-month mark has come and gone.
It has not been easy, but as the weeks have unfolded, it has been worth it. I can honestly say that I am adjusting well to life with the lap band. I consider my 20-pound weight loss to be very successful, and just a beginning. I am especially pleased with my physical strength, energy, and how my clothes fit (or I should say don’t fit!!)
Let me tell you about surgery first. The bowel prep is truly awful, as I expected. The morning of surgery was terrific. From the time I arrived at NCMC until I left, I had excellent care and I felt very good about everyone who helped take care of me that day. I woke up from surgery with very little pain and was quickly off to the second stage of recovery and swallowing clear liquids.
The idea of six weeks of a liquid diet sounds awful, but it is such an easy and gradual progression and in the first few weeks, it really is not so bad. It was true that I got hungry about the fourth to fifth week before my first adjustment. This is because the swelling from surgery has passed, and the band is not as restrictive, so it was tempting to eat more solids at this point. However, going to the Eating Essentials class really helped get me to the first band fill.
Filling the band seems like a scary thing, considering there is a needle going into your skin, but it actually does not hurt and is pretty quick. I did not notice a big difference after my first fill, but the second was actually too much and by the third time, I had to have some saline taken out as I was not tolerating even soft food for about a week. That quickly resolved and I am expecting to get another fill next week.
So how do I feel? I know for a fact that last year, two weeks before my birthday, I was again in tears as I gradually edged closer to the 280-pound mark. Now I am gradually edging closer to 230 pounds! What is more important is I know that each 10 pounds is something I can handle and keep off. I do not feel hungry, and do not feel like I am missing out! It is truly my choice what I eat, but the band is motivating me to make better choices as I know that I won’t be hungry again in 30 minutes.
It also feels amazing to have so many people realize my efforts. I have definitely changed my shape, as I am wearing pants that are at least two sizes smaller and some even three! I actually bought a sweatshirt that was just a large, and poof, it fit. Amazing!
I completed the swim leg of a triathlon, and felt strong and confident, even amongst swimmers much younger and with obviously better bodies. I have also walked a 5K race for meningitis awareness. My team honors my sister each year, so I took it slow and actually felt just fine.
I went to Mexico on vacation, and never felt like I had to hide out or skip the pool. I did fine eating while traveling; I just had to plan ahead a bit. I came home from a week’s vacation and didn’t gain even one pound!! I cannot remember a time that has ever happened. I am also enjoying the comments at work and amongst friends, as it is good to be called the “Shrinking Woman” and to hear people say how good I look in my clothes.
My husband and kids are being incredibly supportive and they are proud of my success. A lot of people are asking what I am doing, and I am honest. I tell peers and patients that I had the lap band surgery. But I never forget that I also have done the work before the surgery and have a lot of work left to do in order to be successful. There is no magic in this! I have been incredibly amazed that no one who knows me or works with me has had a negative reaction to my choice to have surgery. They are all supportive and know that my health is what is truly important.