Recovering After WLS

Weight loss surgery is a major surgery and it is important to understand what your body goes through during the recovery process. Everyone has a different healing experience, but knowing what to expect can help you as you are preparing for life after the procedure. There are a few things that really helped me in my recovery process that I wanted to share with you today. 

The first thing to remember is that everyone has a different pain tolerance. Some people think it is extremely painful to recover from bariatric surgery while others think it is a breeze. For me personally, I definitely had pain, but it was bearable. Thinking back to my original gastric sleeve surgery and then my revision to gastric bypass surgery, I would have to say I was in more pain with gastric bypass. There could be multiple reasons why this was the case. It could be because it was a more intense surgery, or because I was older when I had the second procedure. There are many factors that play a part in the level of pain you experience. Overall, I think in both of my experiences the hospital staff handled my pain appropriately. It was never so extreme that I could not handle it. One thing to keep in mind is that some people have a drain put in after surgery. This depends on the type of surgery and even the surgeon’s preference. I did not have a drain with gastric sleeve but I did with gastric bypass. Most of my discomfort was coming from where the drain was, so once it was removed, I felt so much better. I was a little surprised that I had a drain, so I would recommend that you ask your surgeon ahead of time so you know what to expect. 

Gas is something you will feel right after waking up from surgery and you will more than likely feel it in your chest and going into your shoulders. This only lasts for a day or so and the best thing you can do to get it moving out of your body faster is to get up and walk. Walking is the biggest piece of advice I can give you. It is so important that you do not just lay in bed after surgery. You must get up to prevent blood clots and to get your body moving after the procedure. You will more than likely be in the hospital for 2-3 days depending on the type of procedure you had, so it also helps with passing the time if you get up and walk around. 

Throughout the first couple days after surgery, you are really going to struggle to get enough fluids in. It is hard. You will feel full very easily and it could even be a little uncomfortable if you push too much. However, it is critical that you continuously take baby sips throughout the day to ensure you are not getting dehydrated. Good news is that while you are in the hospital, you will be on an IV so that will make sure you are staying hydrated, but it is important that you start these behaviors now for when you get home from the hospital. 

Personally, I enjoy being at the hospital as I know I am in good hands and safe as I am recovering from surgery. It was really comforting with both of my procedures knowing that I was being taken care of. The hard part for me was when I got home because then it truly is up to you to do things right. At the hospital, they are really good with helping you with your fluids and pain control and making sure you get up and walk. Once you are home, you are on your own. This is why it is so important to utilize the resources you have available directly after surgery to ensure you are on the right path. Stay connected with your surgeon’s office and call them if you have questions. Your body might do strange things as you are recovering and you do not need to be embarrassed to ask for help. Find people that had the surgery around the same time as you so you have a good support system and that will help you feel more at ease during the early days of your recovery. Remember, this is only temporary and you are on the path towards healing and a healthy lifestyle. Hang in there!

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