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Mental Readiness Prior to Surgery?



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Hello everyone! My pace is moving really fast. I had my consult on April 21st, had my EKG, lab work, gallbladder ultrasound, and psych evaluation all done by April 28th, got my letter of medical necessity on Monday the 3rd, and today will have my final appt, the nutrition evaluation. That's a span of exactly two weeks to the day! There's always a chance that the nutritionist requires another course with me, but my insurance doesn't (I have Cigna.) So, realistically, by the end of today, I could have my insurance claim submitted and will know the result within two weeks. Everything's been moving quite fast, and though I've researched WLS for a decade now, I have only been working towards it in earnest for the past two weeks.

My psych recommended me for surgery and it really helps that my sister just had bypass on April 7th so I've seen her journey and her eating requirements. For those who have had surgery or are about to, what are some mental preparedness tips to be mindful of? I think it's safe to say that many people with weight issues have an odd relationship to food. Just last night, I felt sad knowing I won't be eating rice the way I do currently (as an entire meal, very typical for my culture.) What should I be ready for? Major surgery + major changes in such a short span is sort of making me nervous! TIA.

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It’s such an individual thing, the mental side of it, it’s pretty hard to say what you need to do to “be ready.” I went from not even thinking about surgery, to one night the wife asked me if I would consider it.. after a frantic google session I called a doctor in Mexico the next day and had my appointment set for two weeks later. Had my surgery and haven’t had any issues at all, physically or mentally. A big plus in my favor is I don’t think I’m an emotional eater. I can’t think of a time in my life where something went wrong and I thought “oh I need ice cream.” I just had zero Portion Control. I would tell my doctor “I don’t eat much” and it felt like I didn’t… the real truth was didn’t eat OFTEN but holy hell could I fill up with a lot of food… so for me this has been ridiculously easy… I still don’t eat often but I can only take in maybe 8% of what I used to (I use hotdog counts to make this estimate (one vs a dozen in a sitting (yeah a dozen…. (I like nested parentheticals)))). I had one day of panic where I tried to scare myself with phrases like “change forever” and “body mutilation” but countered it with “busted up knees” and “broken patio furniture” and just sort of closed my eyes and went for it. As many others say, “I wish I did this years ago.” It has been life changing since surgery almost 11 months ago, life changing in every positive way imaginable. Being self aware of why you’re where you’re at is critical, so my advice and experience may actually be harmful to your success. I would say if you feel like you eat emotionally, make sure you keep seeing a therapist post surgery to keep yourself in check and make sure you don’t transfer that behavior from food to something else even worse. But again, it’s self awareness that will tell you if this is needed, not me. Just know that you’re not chiseled from stone, what you were yesterday does not have to be what you will be tomorrow. It may not be easy but it’s doable. Stay on top of your feelings and thoughts and adapt to the situation as best as possible and know that we’re all here to help when we can. Oh and I can eat rice. Love it. Just much much less.

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I know what you mean about rice in certain cultures. It will take some getting used to. My semi-ex-boyfriend (I know, right?) is Colombian, and even though he is skinny as a rail, he doesn't like to eat a lot of carbs (maybe that's why he's skinny as a rail?), and he got his parents to start eating cauliflower rice for a lot of their meals, maybe try it! I usually don't like rice, but I feel like I need it with curry. I made curry this week and used cauliflower rice. Definitely not the same thing, but it's tolerable. And you can try wild rice, brown rice, quinoa, etc, just use less (and maybe not right after surgery!).

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