"My story is to tell you how important it is to follow the program. My big brother has just passed away - he was 6 months post RNY.

I loved my brother more than he could ever guess but he was not a good candidate for bariatric surgery. We were having the surgery six months apart with different surgeons, at different hospitals, yet together so we could share the journey.

They gave him very little education and the psychologist should have picked up on how non compliant he would be. I tried to talk him out of it but he was determined.

Please take care of yourself if you are going to do this. Completely understand all the requirements and if they do not explain so everything is crystal clear, have them go over it again and again until it is.

I will be going through with my RNY on the 11th with my brother in my heart. He was looking so forward to seeing his little sister back to health."

Now the lesson.

If we can reach just one of you, some light can come from tragedy. Too many treat bariatric surgery as if it is simply a diet and turn their head to the intensity of the operation. A smart friend quipped that if we woke up with a giant bolt going through our leg we would get it, but since there are Band-Aids on our belly, we think it's nothing. Your internal surgical wounds must heal - this is no time to go to the mall, out to dinner, visiting friends and on vacation.

Sew what?

In terms of food, you must stick to your surgeons program for post op food stages. You need time to allow the tiny pouch cut and sewn from the fabric of your giant floppy stomach to heal itself closed. We have all glued something only to have the seams pop open. The liquid>>>soft food stages are to avoid stressing pouch seams and give your stomach a break from the process of digestion.

Is ice cream a puree?

If you need more info as to how to eat right after surgery, we have Food Stage lists for you. Sirloin steak is not a soft food. Ice cream is NOT a puree. You can't eat popcorn, raw carrots or celery ten days after surgery. People ask if we think they could have a pork chop, we say 'no', they eat it anyhow, then tell us 'they didn't have a problem'. No alcohol for a year... non negotiable... but people push back saying their surgeon said five weeks was okay. Folks... we know better and we are trying to help you.

General Tso? NOT your friend

The post op dietary stages are not a suggestion, they are a requirement for you own safety. You cannot eat Chinese food the week after surgery because you 'chew it well'. A 'craving' for Orange Chicken landed one support group member in the hospital! It's a very bad idea to push. Being 'released' to 'regular food' does not mean what you think it does, but you already know that. How long until you can have pizza again? "Pizza is not a food for someone having obesity surgery." (that's a quote from Dr. N on My 600 lb Life) Every single week in our support group, these actions land new post ops in the hospital.

sip sip sip sip sip...

If you had a back injury, you would not tile your kitchen floor the same week. Yet, people think nothing of making a trip to a theme park when they should be at home resting and taking in fluids. People ask us 'Do you think I would be able to go on a cruise two weeks after my sleeve?' (Nooooo!) As high as 30% of post ops are dehydrated enough to land back in the hospital with a fluid IV. Not drinking enough water after surgery can cause heart damage. Dehydration is the most common bariatric complication, yet it's largely avoidable. Stay home and heal... drink hot water, cold water, broth, Diet Snapple, herbal tea, eat sf ice pops and jello.

What's eating you?

If eating is a compulsion that you cannot control, ask your surgeon to suggest someone for you to talk to. A therapist can help you come to conclusions about your life - you talk, they listen and even after one chat you'll often have a clearer truth of why you use eating as comfort. Knowing what drives you can help you deal with your eating issues to better work with your surgery.

Vitamins are critical.

It is impossible for you to have your stomach surgically removed or reconfigured and take in the nutrients needed to run your body. While your surgeons group has mentioned Flintstones, that is so you will possibly take something instead of being one of the 67% of post ops who take nothing. They are not optimal and wont prevent long term problems like broken bones from simple falls and losing teeth, but may keep you from dying in the short term. The idea behind supplements is to prevent issues from grabbing you in twenty years when it's too late to change the path. Take them.

Protein from food? What a novel idea!

Yes yes yes, we'd all like to get our protein from food and that's what you want to hear. However, if you are unable to take in 70 grams of protein per day, you can either weaken and lose your hair or you can figure out another way until you are able to learn and eat the right foods. Protein drinks make up the difference between what you can eat and what you need. They are not simply a tasty beverage for your enjoyment for you to be all picky and ridiculous over. They are the antidote for your disease of morbid obesity. Morbid means death and obesity surgery only slows and reverses the disease if you follow your plan.

Please wake up get very serious about what you have done to your body. There are obvious rewards to losing 150 pounds, but it does not need take place at the expense of your life. Peace.

June 21, 2019
Bariatric Recipes Advice, Rants & Support Podcast: Real Talk