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Preparing for sleeve gastrectomy: Practical advice from those who have gone before you!

I get asked all the time what the biggest things are to do/think about when preparing for sleeve gastrectomy surgery. So, I asked the lovely members of our LWAS Community and we’ve come up with a list of things they think are the most important to consider before surgery. Think of these as friendly bits of advice from those who have been before you!

 

On head space….

There were lots of posts on headspace, and this first post was agreed with by many:

“Be prepared for the mental/emotional battle after. Im now 16 weeks post op and the biggest challenge isn’t always what to eat or if it will sit right. While that’s a concern, it’s been that I feel like I’ve lost me and who I am. I’m not the “fat girl” anymore but inside I still feel that way. Make sure you have a great support network around you. If your family isn’t supportive find a great GP and a Psychologist. Join small Facebook groups as you can get lost in the big ones. Still be a part of the big ones as they offer so much information. But also don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help or just to talk to someone afterwards.”

“Get your head right! See the Psychologist waaaaaay before you have your op!”

“Plan enough time off. Have things in place in case you need extra time.”

On the decision making process…

Lots said research research research!

“Research good and bad stories (I like to know both sides) really think about it hard as not reversible.”

 

Practical hints

Before surgery:

“Before surgery do food prep and freeze so you can have lots of rest.”

“Start preparing and freezing some meals, mainly soups and pureés first. Cook up a VARIETY as you will get bored of having the same thing every day. Make sure you freeze the meals in very small (200ml max) portions….which can be quite hard to get your head around if you’re currently used to normal to large meal portion sizes.”

“Buy some small plates and bowls so you don’t over serve yourself.”

“Stick to the special fluid diet leading up to the surgery. I made the same mistake I’m sure other overweight people have made too of having that last hoorah! Eating those high carb sugary treats just one last time before my surgery…..  It was hell after surgery as I was severely constipated for about 4 days. Even though I tried, it’s very hard to drink enough fluid straight after surgery let alone getting any fibre. So that was my most painful regret, having that last binge eat and not getting enough fluid and fibre into me straight away.”

 

After surgery:

“Follow YOUR surgeons instructions.”

“Don’t compare your weight loss to others. Take a before picture from all four sides and do your measurements.”

“Be prepared to be in pain. Learn what you can and can’t tolerate food wise. Take your time eating!”

“Take a good 2 weeks off work ideally. You are going to be exhausted for that time but the worst was around the first 1-2 months trying to stay hydrated particularly on work days feels impossible at times.”

 

Finally…

…A few general words from the wise that sums up the attitude you need to have to be resilient and cope well with this surgery:

“Realise that everyone can have a totally different experience (before and after) so whatever anyone tells you (as in the above) may or may not happen/apply to you. I didn’t pre-prepare, experience much pain and could have easily gone back to work 5 days after (had 1.5 weeks off). Also no fatigue, dehydration issues, or major constipation issues either. Agree about following pre and post diet carefully though which I have done/am doing. Getting your head prepared for change is important whether or not you need to see someone will vary.”

“Just go with the process. Accept it is going to suck at times, I allowed myself a couple of toddler tantrums when I ignored food requirements for 6 hours because I was so irritated but after that allowed time I then told myself to get back to the program. Accept it is going to be frustrating but focus on the fact that in the end it will be worth it.”

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