The following is part two of a two-part Question and Answer session with Comprehensive Obesity Management Program patient Jennifer D.
Was there anything that made you nervous about having surgery and what did you do to calm your fears?
"It's funny because it wasn't until about 24 hours before my actual surgery that it sunk in. I thought, 'Wow...I'm about to have surgery,' and that's when the anxiety started to kick in. I had never been through surgery before. I was nervous about going under general anesthesia. I had never been in an operating room, so other than seeing one on TV, I had no idea what to expect! Fortunately, the staff was very comforting. They walked me through what was going to happen and let me know that it was going to be OK."
What has been the hardest part for you post-surgery? How do you cope with that?
"Right after surgery, you go on a liquid diet for the first week. Because I had my surgery on May 3, that meant I couldn't eat on Mother's Day! Although I wasn't hungry, I'd see the food and think I was hungry. So, it was tough to be around all that food but not be able to eat it. Another big change for me was that I was an avid coffee drinker - I practically lived at Starbucks! I gave up coffee cold turkey and my body went through a bit of withdrawal. Those first two to three weeks were the hardest when my body was going through withdrawals from the sugar, unhealthy foods and caffeine."
Was anything post-surgery easier than you expected?
"I was surprised that the weight came off so quickly. I lost about 40 pounds within the first month! I even love going clothes shopping now - it's fun!"
What is one piece of advice you'd give to patients who have just had bariatric surgery?
"Learn how to adapt and don't stress out about things. Be patient because everyone is different so their results will differ. Another important thing is to surround yourself with positive people, attend support group meetings regularly, and listen to your doctor."
Last, but not least, what is your success so far?
"So far, I've lost 80 pounds. The energy I have now is astounding - I can run and do so many other things that were challenging because of my obesity. There used to be so many activities I couldn't do because of my weight. Having no limitations because of weight is just great! In fact, I'm going on a cruise vacation soon!"
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