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Any wisdom I might have

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    I have been reminded by Andy (Buzz) that I should make an effort to support others that are going through the roller coaster that I was myself in the middle of only a year ago.

    Tonight I recieved an email from someone that is at the beginning of their journey and wanted to know a bit about my experiences in the currently not-so-sunny Aberdeenshire (actually have a foot of snow tonight).

    As I wrote more in my reply I thought that I should also share it on here as perhaps it might be of value to someone else. If not I apologise for clogging up you PC.

    Unlike many on here, I had my Gastric Bypass in Aberdeen.

    My response to being asked (what I went through, how I coped) is below

    Hello XXXX,

    Lovely to hear from you through Streamline, a nice bunch of people. I am happy to give any advice I can, obviously I only have my experience to go on but will do my best.

    I had my RNY with Duff Bruce on 8th October last year and my life is remarkably different 13 months on.

    How I coped with the change ?
    Where exactly do I start,

    Firstly, my experiences

    For sure life has been a roller coaster over the last year, some things expected, some not.

    For start off………… I do not regret it at all. OK to be more correct, I have zero regrets today, however I guarantee that everyone has serious regrets / questions in the first few weeks after surgery). I certainly went through a major “What the hell have I done” stage about a week after
    surgery. I think for the first few weeks it is essential that you can focus on whatever you main motivator is and keep looking at the big picture / end goal.
    For me I have a very young family and that is a huge motivator for me, even with all that I had some tough moments, as I am sure most do. I was lucky enough to have a text-book recovery but still had some struggling moments.

    Some of the main things that I wish I was aware of when going through it all include:
    Life will NOT be a life of liquids, slop, cr&ppy protein shakes etc ………. even if it feels like that for a while. That is temporary and your new “normal life” will soon feel totally second nature.
    I was (and expect this applies to others) surprised surprised by some of the things that I do not miss. Prior to the OP, I lived on diet coke…………… though I haven’t had one in nearly 15 months and don’t
    really miss it (honestly).
    Similarly my tastes are a little different, by inherently chewing food a lot, the textures of some of the things I used to eat are not so pleasant when eaten like that so you might also be surprised by liking and dis-liking some things you didn’t before and vice versa.
    What is noticeably different is my relationship with food and meal times generally. They are slightly less of a social affair and I tend to eat, finish and want to leave the table (the old me would sit there and graze). It is more a a re-fueling but of course still possible to enjoy with one’s partner either at home or in a restaurant etc.

    Other things that I was surprised by.
    I don’t see myself as smaller and an constantly surprised by it. (I am 10 Stone lighter than I was) Essentially my head struggles to keep with with my body.
    My tastes are different (different foods, different likes / dislikes)
    Old habits die hard and it is easy to start eating tactically, substituting foods I can eat to allow a degree of comfort eating.
    I could easily see turning to drinking (I never really drank before), I rarely drink now but had to make the conscious decision to not start.
    My moods swing more than before, I think a combination of a lack of comfort eating and change in nutrition.
    The muscle wastage post surgery was a shock, I have always been very strong and lost a lot of muscle mass / tone for a few months. It has since come back similar to what it was before.
    I am constantly cold now, partly caused by a loss of insulation and mostly
    by a loss of ready use (sugar) calories. Mainly shows as cold fingers / toes but basically no different from what most people live with.
    I experience some bouts of low blood pressure (after exercising hard, or if standing quickly after getting out of bed, on a plane etc) which causes some dizziness and I fainted once (yes felt very silly)…….. again, no big deal and what a lot of people live with anyway.
    My tolerance for sugar / dumping varies a lot and is fairly unpredictable. Sometimes I will feel fine with quite a bit, other times I feel instantly sick.
    I threw up a lot during the first few months, however it was not that unpleasant…….. sounds stupid but as there is no stomach acid it is not that horrid and it has now calmed down to a very rare occurrence.
    Other people constantly say “you must feel very different”………. err I feel / felt the same, I guess when the change is gradual for you but appears instant for people you see less regularly.

    My experiences (in brief)

    The surgery date felt like a total cliff face. Nothing existed beyond it and I was 100% focused upon it. Not terribly healthy but I really struggled with this. My wife who is a great optimist was great at both being supportive / distracting me.
    I kept myself very busy with work and in fact was in Finland until 1 day before surgery, was a little manic but for me it stopped me from dwelling on it too much.

    First few days
    Much discomfort and taking lots of pain meds and slept a lot.

    First week
    Deliriously happy with losing a stone in weight, suddenly felt all worth it and weight will be gone in no time. Spent a significant proportion of the day on online forums / support groups.

    Second week
    Much less weight loss and 100% fed up with liquid slop, feel miserable and was ecstatic as finally being able to eat mashed potato with gravy (woo hoo)

    Third week
    Back to work and reality. I didn’t tell anyone so was a little awkward (avoiding going for lunch and eating soup every day….. just appeared to be a regular diet to others actually)

    One Month out
    Bit of a low point. I spend months completely wracked with worry and guilt before the operation and it kind of left me flat and needing to start focusing on the future / rest of my life.

    Months 2-3
    Life was becoming it’s own “normal” and I was able to eat some normal foods. I started to focus on the regular weight loss week by week and actually started to enjoy it (in a weird way)

    Months 4-6
    I am struggling to remember, I think by this point I was just basically getting on with the rest of my life as the different diet was just something I did.

    Months 6-12
    weight loss eventually slowed when I was able to eat more and exercise more (this was extremely disappointing even though expected) . I built up muscle tone from exercise and was starting to feel much better overall. I was quite disappointed about not getting to a “normal” weight and didn’t achieve a BMI of 25. However I can now see that I look “normal” and I am enjoying lots of
    stuff I wouldn’t have done before (through lack of confidence etc).

    No idea what to put. It’s just “normal” isn’t it ??

    Shock Moments.
    Buying smaller clothes and occasionally buying my default sizes (whatever is the bigest they have) and it drowning me.
    My Mum walked straight past me, totally not recognising me when I met her on the railway station having not seen her for a few months.
    Realising that I am lighter than 1 or 2 of my friends, I could never have imagined that would be possible.

    And, How did I cope.
    Hmmmm, I am not sure. With a huge amount of support from my wife and as with any challenges in life, generally just getting on with it. it very quickly changes from something that has to be managed / dealt with to something fairly inconsequential.

    I am wondering what in particular is concerning you ? feel free to ask anything direct, I will answer / help if I can. I presume you are local to Aberdeen ? If you think it would be of benefit to meet / talk about my expereinces etc, I would be more than happy to.



    Right, that is the sum total of my wisdom…………. unless anyone wants to know anything about old VW camper vans, Landrovers, Quad bikes etc.


    Wow Jim what a fantastic review of your journey. I am 5 weeks post op and loved reading about your experiences. Next time I come up to Aberdeenshire I’ll give you a shout. (have family in Fettercairn).Take Care

    Irene xx


    informative and thoughtful post
    thanks Jim
    it was very interesting reading


    Hi Jimbo,
    Thank you for sharing your journey it is so helpful for the rest of us who are just starting on out journey. I have my initial appointments next week and I am hoping for good news.


    As it should be Jim, pretty uncomplicated and the change falling into place anturally…
    We need to remember you are a traveller with work, which has not really been a problem ( I assume ).

    You have had support from a loving wife and really turned you life around… i still can not picture you ever as a fatty lol…. That photo on your camera was not you……

    And you forget to mention the Scooby mobile? Whys that ha ah aha…… Scooby snacks…

    Loved your story and hope you find some comfort in parting with your knowledge… its stories like these that newies need to hear, without them the internet is a very very scarey place..

    I am chuffed for you Jim, really chuffed and inspire myself to do that little more to reach the same results ( muscle and toning for me are an issue), shame your not more local.. I would not be so embarressed about venturing into a swimming pool with another wrinkly….lol…

    Thanks for sharing…

    Wrap up warm buddy, after seeing Feburarys snow can imagine this next spell will be something similar…..

    Later Jim….the abonible scottish skinny snow man.



    Thanks All (inc Buzz)

    Any yes I didn’t mention the Mystery Machine (and no that is not a nick name, I actually have a scooby doo van). I don’t think my lack of sanity is directly connected to the OP and didn’t want to scare anyone :bounce:

    Yep travelling with work from about 4-5 weeks after surgery, not too much of a problem, just now forced to avoid the mini-bar temptations !!

    Actually, Probably the main / biggest thing that I didn’t write above and I didn’t realise was this.

    For me at least, embarking on this whole daunting / huge process was fundamentally about one thing…………. “Finally taking control of major parts of my life”. Like many others I am sure that avoidance of the main weight / health issue and generally focusing-on / valuing others over myself is something that I had allways done. Actually having the drive to take this step was a huge change in attitude / focus for me. I’m not sure whether it counts as selfishness (I don’t think it does,… well perhaps a little) but it meant that I was taking control of things and REALLY doing something for me / my family.

    For me this has been the most positve and pro-active thing I have ever done. I am definitely happier as well as healthier and I hope that I mange to retain that for the future. So to anyone else who is having doubts / questions, please try and view it as the act of taking control of your life and actually looking to the future (making sure you’ll be around AND enjoy it).

    Sooooo No questions about Camper Vans then ??…………. oh well, probably should post some more pics……. maybe one of the Mystery Machine ?!?!


    Ms Ellie

    I have a campervan……. my lovemobile???

    Jim a fabulous and encouraging story there mate well done and congratulations xxxx

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