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One week post-op bypass revision surgery with Vicki Mooney

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Last week we introduced Vicki Mooney, the former plus-size model who came to us for bypass revision surgery. Over the past week, Vicki has been keeping a diary of how the recovery has been going since the procedure, it’s raw, honest and empowering. 

Day 1

16 years after my Roux en Y gastric bypass, here I am having revision work carried out and I’m blessed to have one heck of a team behind me with Healthier Weight, but couldn’t have come this far without Matt.
While I turned into a bowl of jelly with anxiety yesterday, he turned into a rock of support.
Although I work in the obesity field with the most knowledgeable of scientists, researchers and clinicians on Obesity my mind flooded with questions last night… I’m not a worrier as such, but by God, I didn’t sleep with thoughts and concerns
So I did what I learned to calm my anxiety and went through my affirmations and what I know for sure…

Vicki's 7 affirmations

Day 2

Yesterday was tough all day. No matter how much you are mentally prepared for the internal pain after an operation, nothing can prepare you for the low mood, energy, and tiredness.
Admittedly there were some tears as in Covid times as many know, no visitors are allowed. Matt is 0.4 miles away from my hospital room and it feels like he’s 4000 miles away… I miss the constant ‘Mom’ questions from the kids but, I know they’re enjoying their break from me!
I’m healthy, healing well, vitals are excellent and I’m insanely grateful to be on day 3 of this new chapter.
This morning I can sip a cup of beef broth… And I can tell you after days of sipping water, this is like the most delicious beef stew. Yes, it’s watery and has no bite, but stick with me here folks.
So for those who hit that low and the psychology hunger kicks in, there are better mornings ahead.

Day 3 & 4

Having briefly mentioned how emotionally and physically tough yesterday was, I feel it’s important for people to realise why.

There’s a number of factors at play here I felt I was prepared for but still knocked me and sipping water only was one of them. Here’s the thing, I feel ‘full’ and in fact struggle to get 100mls of water in an hour, however, I’m sat watching the Olympics in my hospital bed, and I see an ad with some eating. My mouth is suddenly watering for a poached egg on sourdough bread with butter. My stomach is gurgling and full and clearly saying ‘ABSOLUTELY NOT’ but my eyes and mouth are begging me.

It’s not an uncommon thing, we hear ‘our eyes are bigger than our belly’ frequently. In this case, this is something that I will have to manage going forward. A little wave of frustration and then sadness passed over me as I fought back the mental images of the yoke of the egg oozing onto the butter on the bread in my mind as I realised this is going to be a daily challenge.

Bread is not my friend, nor is butter. But in a few weeks eggs will be. However, hospital catering arrived along with the dietician and after a good conversation, a hit cup of beef broth was sat In front of me… And although it was only 100mls of beef broth, it tasted as delicious and satisfying as a beef dinner.

Pain. Although it’s to be expected, the discomfort after surgery, I feel, can vary from person to person. I was in quite a bit of pain. Perhaps because this was a revision of my origin Roux en Y from 16 years previous, but either way, abdominal pain is quite uncomfortable. Thankfully the nurses were all over it and the pain relief took the edge off.

Tiredness. My better half Matt would say ‘Vicki could fall asleep on a clothesline, and he’s correct. Since my original surgery I’ve struggled with anaemia, nap most days and I now self inject my vitamin B12 3 monthly, but I still struggle with tiredness. Post-surgery this was a whole new ball game as I felt shattered tired. Naturally, general anaesthesia played a huge role, but my advice would be to nap when you can in the hospital bed.

Loneliness. I’m not a lonely person, I’m an introverted extrovert (it’s a thing, Google it). Covid times have really done a number on hospital stays, unfortunately. ‘No visitors’ signs and reminders are everywhere, so despite wanting my other half Matt to sit beside me and hold my hand, I sat by myself most of the day. I’m a talker and as we all know, talking on the phone  Isn’t the same however,  one positive I took from this was the constant update from my visiting surgeon and team who practically counted me down to my release from the hospital. My surgeon actually came by an hour early to give me the all-clear to be discharged which meant I was out by 11 am!

This brings me to the later part of day 3 and into day 4. Discharged and home with Matt I was relieved. All my vitals were good, my surgeon was happy, I felt much better but I was hungry (mentally…again).

Matt had done some shopping for me so I made a vegetable broth and a chicken broth. The smell was outstanding and after a few hours of them simmering away, I scooped off 100mls of the clear broth from the top of the pot and sipped. Part of my reasoning for this was the awareness of the lack of nutrients my body was receiving on the liquid diet whilst internally I recover from my surgeon’s excellent work. Bone broth is a great source of nutrients, it’s also known to be good for digestion and have anti-inflammatory effects, and let’s face it, when you’re on a liquid diet you need flavour! Naturally, Matt had the chunky part of the broth with the chicken, celery, carrot, leek etc. I was just content with my sips of broth that went down a treat.

Day 5

If I’m honest I slept most of the rest of day 4. Being out of the hospital bed was nice and I caught up on sleep in-between having broth, Bovril, water and medication. In total managing, just over 2 litres of liquids is easier than I would have thought so soon after the revision.

I feel today is the best day so far. My head is clearer and I have a little more energy. I’m moving around the apartment better and my overall mood is good. I’m still fighting with the visuals of yummy food on TV, in advertisements, salivating a little over Matt’s Curry LOL. But I know I’m closing in on the 1st week of liquids over and I can start preparing for the pureed stage.

Heather my dietician has pointed me in the direction of the Healthier Weight App for recipes and suggestions as I prepare.

Day 6 & 7

A protein banana shake is now my breakfast, and it’s DELICIOUS! A third of a frozen banana, 100mls semi-skimmed milk, a small scoop of whey protein, a quarter teaspoon of honey and ice cubes blended up and sipped! It’s not something I’ve ever had before, but I’m loving it!!

My movement is much more improved today as is my mood. I put that down to breakfast and the satisfaction of having ‘real food’ as such. Plus the effects of the general anaesthesia is wearing away now, the brain fog (I didn’t mention that but it’s very real, I was thanking the nurses in the hospital in Spanish rather than English LOL). Brain fog is wearing away, I’m excited to be home with my family and children.

Overall, after just 1 week I’m quite surprised with my recovery. One of my main reasons for this surgery was the challenges I had with satiety and my bowel movements, besides my weight.

The fullness is a relief. Having a small cup of homemade blended soup for lunch and feeling full and satisfied is such a good feeling. I don’t have the bowel cramps I had daily prior to surgery. I’m recovering nicely and my team have kept in touch virtually as I’m now home in Lanzarote.

Here’s to week 2 and working on more nutrients, increased physical activity, weight loss and a healthier me.

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