The first month after surgery

The first week after surgery, I could only drink clear liquids. Then, I could eat soft mushy foods for about a week. Slowly, new foods were introduced. I was told not to eat anything dense such as meat for about 6 months, and I religiously followed the diet plan that was given to me. The amazing thing was that I wasn’t hungry, at all, ever. Eating soon became a task that I simply found it necessary to perform. The fact that I didn’t eat for the first week was shocking to everyone, but me. I didn’t want to eat, and didn’t care that I couldn’t. It was the most amazing and liberating feeling ever to look at junk food and be repulsed by the idea of eating it. Any time I drank or ate, I felt full. Eat or drink too much, and you feel sickly full, like you do after Thanksgiving. I was so happy!

Then, about 3 weeks after surgery, I experienced a sudden intense pain in my abdomen. The pain didn’t go away, and it got worse as the day progressed. I laid down for bedtime, and when I laid on my side, it felt slightly better. However, it still hurt so badly that I couldn’t fall asleep. My wife was concerned and urged me to go to the hospital. At midnight, I arrived to the ER. I told them about the surgery, and my pain, and they immediately admitted me to the hospital.

Me in the hospital the second time in March 2014. I weighed just over 290 pounds in this picture.

They quickly deduced that I had pancreatitis, which is the inflammation of the pancreas. The pancreas balloons in size, and causes intense pain, which is why I hurt so terribly. What they could not immediately deduce was the reason behind the pancreatitis. They informed Dr. Gandsas, and he and his associates visited me routinely until the issue was resolved. I couldn’t have gotten better care or attention than what I received.

The apparent treatment for pancreatitis is…wait for it…not eating until the pancreas shrinks back to normal size. Because of this, I would have to stay in the hospital for a few days while that happened and they monitored me. The doctors were also trying to eliminate the possibility that my stomach was leaking, which they soon confirmed to not be a possibility. The underlying reason behind the pancreatitis still eluded them. After a few days of watching 5 seasons of Supernatural on Netflix, eating or drinking absolutely nothing, and enjoying the best pain medicine health insurance has to offer, they took another look at my pancreas. It didn’t shrink, and they realized that something ongoing was causing the inflammation. After a few more tests and consulting other specialists, they finally reached the a-ha moment when they discovered I was suffering from an infection, likely caused by the surgery. This is apparently so rare that it did not surface as a possibility. They immediately put me on a powerful antibiotic, I watched another day of Netflix, and then I felt perfectly better and was discharged after they confirmed my pancreas shrunk to its normal size.

While this was the only negative experience to come from the surgery, I was happy with the care that I received, and it turned out to be a good thing because they otherwise confirmed the surgery was successful and I had no other complications or issues. It is also worth noting that when I was discharged one month after surgery, I weighed 289 pounds, which was a 36 pound decrease in 30 days!

Me in April 2014 with my new puppy, Zeus. I weighed about 270 pounds in this picture.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is based entirely upon my experiences and observations. I am not a medical professional and you must do your own research and consult your doctor before making any changes to your eating, fitness, medication, or supplements. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional.

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