Interview with the Mister

I’m usually the speaking voice of this blog, but I’ve asked Eddie to answer a few questions tonight about his experience with his Vertical Gastric Sleeve procedure. The following are his answers!

What has been the biggest adjustment after surgery?
-The biggest adjustment after surgery is fighting the temptation to eat the food that you used to like, used to eat all the time, and learning how to eat just small amounts of the proper food.

What has been the hardest part of your recovery?
-Not seeing the change in myself. Meaning, I had the surgery, obviously I’m losing the weight, but I just don’t see it myself. I see the results by the number on the scale, smaller clothes, etc. But in my eyes, I’m still big, I’m still me.  Also, your bowels change quite a bit… they tell me it’s normal, but it’s quite a shock!

What about the surgery has surprised you the most?
-I didn’t expect that my medicines would change so drastically and that my blood surgars would be completely under control.

How have they changed?
-I used to take 50 units of Lantus (long-lasting insulin), 500 mg of Metformin, and Novolog (fast-acting insulin) on a sliding scale.

When was the last time you took any of that?
-February 4 for Lantus/Metformin. Haven’t had to take Novolog since starting the 2 week presurgery diet.

Is it hard to have other people eat “normal” food around you?
-Yes and no. Yes because it’s things I used to like to eat, but no because if I did eat it, it would put me back in the situation I was in. It would ruin the surgery. In order to stay on track, I have to realize that I can’t eat “normal” food like before, but if I do it has to be in moderation and controlled on my own. I have limitations on what I can eat.

So what is a typical day like, food-wise, 1 month post-op?
-Thypical day is wake up, have a tums and flintstones vitamin, along with other morning meds. Something small for breakfast like yogurt–3 ounces around 7:30-8:00am. An atkins shake for a snack around 9:30-10. Then I eat lunch around 12:30, which is usually tuna or chicken salad or leftovers from the night before–2.5-3 ounces.  Take vitamin D & tums with lunch. Then usually around 2:30 I will have another shake, then at about 5:30 I try to eat dinner, usually similar to what I had for lunch.  Flintstones & Tum with dinner too. I may have a little bit more for dinner, at most 3.5 ounces. I will also have 2-3 sugar free popsicles throughout the day as snacks. Then I also have another protein shake in the evening. Lately it’s been harder to not have a snack before bed. You’ll get a little bit of a craving for something small like a couple bites of something.

How long does it take you to eat a typical meal?
-About 20 minutes.

What about the shakes?
-About a half hour

What, besides the amount, is most different about eating now than before surgery?
-You can’t have caffiene or pop (I haven’t had pop since November!), you have to eat slower, have to pace yourself. You went so long in life eating a certain way, and once you realize you have to make your food stretch and settle, you constantly look at the clock to make sure you’re taking long enough to eat. It’s kind of like you time the way you eat so that your brain and your body can adjust to the intake of food that you’re getting.

Can you drink with meals?
No. You can drink up to 10 minutes before a meal, but after meals you have to wait 20-30 minutes. It’s so that it doesn’t flush your food through you. It gives your body time to absorb what you’ve taken in.

What’s your activity level been like before and after surgery?
-Before surgery I really didn’t want to do too much. Kinda sat around all the time, was grumpy & in a lot of pain. I would sweat doing nothing. Now I try to walk every day, at least a mile, if not more. I also feel like I’ve had a boost in my testosterone… if you know what I mean! Overall I have more energy. Before I didn’t care if I sat around all day, but now I get cabin fever and I want to get out and do something, even if it’s just going to the store or running errands.

What would you say to someone considering the surgery?
-If someone’s interested in the surgery but not sure if they need it. I’d tell them that it’s a life-changing event.  I did it for so long (waited), thinking that I could do it on my own, and you think about all of the “what-ifs”, what could go wrong, I don’t know if I can do this, the liquid diet, pre-op diet, purees, etc. It all sounds terrifying and horrible, but you just take it one day at a time. Some days are rougher than others, but it’s life-changing, and I would support anyone who was thinking about getting it. I’m obviously living proof of a good surgery experience. Yes, there are some horror stories, but I’m living prooof that there can be good outcomes.

So would you do it again?
-Definately. My knees are shot, and this is the first time in 5 years that my knees haven’t hurt non-stop. They get a little sore because of walking a lot, but before surgery there were times I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t walk, couldn’t stand, because my knees hurt so bad. Now I feel like I can do so much more. I am walking at least a mile a day now!

Anything else?
-I recommend people that are considering it do their research. There are several differnet surgery options, and not every surgery is right for every person. Go to a seminar, go to a support group, talk to people who have had surgery. Don’t just get one person’s opinion… weigh your pros & cons and make the decision that is right for you.