The last time we heard from Rachel was in June, 19 days after her gastric-bypass surgery. If you’re new to this blog, you will want to start with the three-part series that began right before my friend Rachel had the surgery. Now, an update:
How much have you lost since the surgery?
I have lost 39 pounds since May 19.
How are you feeling, physically? Any surgery-related complications?
Although I have had two episodes of dumping, I feel wonderful. I have more than my share of energy again, and am walking as fast as ever. I’ve just started a yoga and tai chi journey, and I’m loving it already. I’d wanted to do tai chi for years. [Folks: Dumping syndrome occurs in some patients, and is the result of food passing too quickly into the small intestine. It is typically induced when the patient eats certain foods, such as sweets or certain carbs. It can also occur as a result of eating too much at one time. – L.A.]
How are you adjusting, emotionally, to the “new you”?
I feel a little self-conscious at work because people are really noticing the weight loss and commenting favorably. Fortunately, I’m much too busy to think about it very much. I feel more confident overall, especially when I’m with my sweetheart, a man I’ve known since we were actually children – freshmen in college. I feel like a mature version of the person he first met, as if I never weighed as much as 250 pounds. He was always very much a true friend to me even in those days, and made me feel beautiful then. He was supportive of me when I dropped 50 pounds (I went from 238 to 185 in 2007-2008, and decided to go for the surgery when the weight started to creep back on), and he is truly happy for me now.
My children, who were initially extremely angry with me for opting to have this surgery, are so excited for and supportive of me, as they always have been.
I feel younger, and some tell me I look younger. That I can’t tell, but I do enjoy my thin face. I really look like my mother now, and that’s a good thing!
I’m sure you’ve had some interesting reactions. Was there anything unexpected?
A woman at my job, who is in a more senior role than I am, and who is morbidly obese, keeps looking me up and down. I don’t think she realizes what she is doing, but it is weird. Beyond that, I do notice I get more attention from men than I’m used to lately. A cousin of mine has yet to acknowledge the weight loss, other than to comment that a dress I wore last summer “looks different” this summer.
If you had to do it all over again . . .
I honestly wish I’d done this 10 years ago, when I started my climb into the 250-pound range. Despite the discomfort of the initial days after surgery and, as I mentioned earlier, the two dumping episodes, I feel great, and my health has improved already. My primary care physician told me on Monday that I no longer need to take the blood pressure meds I’d taken since 2006. He told me I would probably get light-headed if I were to continue to take the medication. Deciding to have this surgery was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Did you save me any clothes?
Since I’ve never been much of a shopper, you might not like the selection, but you are welcome to check them out.
Your body is the baggage you must carry through life. The more excess the baggage, the shorter the trip. ~ Arnold H. Glasgow
Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.