The Painful Truth About Gastric Bypass Surgery

What is is really like after Bariatric Surgery? The Painful Truth About Gastric Bypass Surgery. Let me tell you. It’s been a whole month since I had my Gastric Bypass and boy has it been a rough ride. I wanted to write regular about my weight loss experiences and vlog on YouTube but I’ve simply been too unwell up until now and so here I am 4 weeks out catching up and sharing more of my Gastric Bypass Experience.

Today I am going to talk about some of the difficult things after surgery which I experienced.

Gastric Bypass Surgery

The Painful Truth About Gastric Bypass Surgery

The first two weeks were tough. When I woke up in the hospital the pain was unbearable. I could not move, I could not walk. I struggled to cope with the pain.

I was loaded with IV drips and my bladder was so so full. I needed to wee but I could not walk. The nurse got a bed pan however I still could not go. I had no ability to push the muscles and so I laid for an hour in pain trying to pee. I just could not do it.

My bladder became more and more full and it hurt so much. Eventually the nurses came and helped me out of bed. They held onto either side of me and walked me to the toilet. I tired again but nothing would come out.

I had to call the nurses and try around five times before my body finally managed to relieve my bladder. My wee was orange. It had ketones. I was dehydrated and every time I went to the toilet the nurse had to measure how much wee I had produced.

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The hardest part for me was the Gas pain in my body. During Surgery the body is filled with gas to allow the surgeon to have plenty of space. The gas then takes a few weeks to dissipate and leave the body. The gas pain is painful.

Not only did I have gas pain and the pain coming from my laparoscopic cuts and the surgery but I had a tube stuck down my throat. I had not expected that and it hurt a lot. The tube was huge and make me feel like I was choking. My throat felt raw in the way it feels when you have a strep throat or tonsillitis. I just wanted the tube out. My mouth was so dry, my lips beginning to chap and I just needed to drink but was not allowed. It was really tough having a tube but it did come out after 12 very long hours.

gastric bypass

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Having the tube taken out eventually was another yucky experience. The nurse pulls it out from your nose and you feel it scraping against your throat. It is gross but has to be done.

I found the pain from the surgery very difficult. I literally felt like I’d been run over by a truck. It was much worse than my traumatic labour with my daughter almost eight years ago and something I had feared before the operation but knew I must go through to help me improve my health and ultimately my life.

Before my operation I was terrified about the pain if be in and rightly so. Some people have a high pain threshold but not me. I struggle to cope with pain and so for me the pain following my gastric bypass was difficult.

One of the hardest things after the operation is not being able to lay down. You have to sit up. The nurses made me sleep sitting up and I could not get the rest I needed. I was told laying down can cause chest infections. I believed it as well because my chest was really funny for the first 30 hours. I felt like I was coming down with an infection but I did what I could to stay sitting up and sleep sitting up.

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One of the hard parts is you really need to cough with a funny chest. During Surgery you have a tube down your throat and oxygen going in and out and it naturally results in needing to cough and clear your lungs a lot in the days flowing. I coughed and coughed and it hurt my stomach so much. The physiotherapist came and told me to hold a pillow against the wall of my stomach to try and help me be able to cough. It helped but really did hurt.

Night time was difficult. I remember sitting in bed in pain, unable to sleep and feeling a total wreck. I just wanted my husband but he had to be at home with our daughter and I kept telling myself, I can get through this. It will improve.

I also developed headaches after my operation. I learnt a lot about my operation before committing to it and I studied a lot however there were some things I did not focus on too much. I knew full well I would not be able to eat much but no one had said, nor had I read about an inability to drink much! I could barley drink. “Little sip’s” they tell you. Literally I could barely sip any water and so I became dehydrated and my head was banging.

Due to being dehydrated the doctors could not get blood from my veins. One doctor tried 3 times but another doctor tried for an hour and a half. She was determined and stick needles into me 17 times. She failed and eventually left at 7.30pm

The doctors came back on day two to try again but there was no wear to try and I was still wearing pressure stockings in my legs. (Which were uncomfortable) so I was jabbed again in my wrists, hands, arms and upper arms. I was then left again and on day three they sent the bariatric surgeon to have a try. He also failed.

On day three in the afternoon a doctor managed to get some blood. It was hardly any but he sent it off to the lab anyway and they managed to get the results they needed with this.

On day four, I was finally able to walk to the toilet and back on my own. I was able to wee and my wee was less orange and more yellow. My chest had improved and my major issues were the severe pain and the gas in my body.

I was deemed well enough to go home. My blood pressure was okay, my chest was okay and my vitals all normal. I could walk a little although I would not be able to get up the stairs at home. That has taken time. I am still struggling 4 weeks later.

I was assessed and given medications and then sent home on day four. At home I struggled. The pain was difficult and the day after being sent home I ended up going back into Hospital until day ten which is a story for another day.

This is the reality of post surgery. It is very difficult and something I would not wish on anyone, though for me it was something I had to go through so I can improve my health. They say it’s worth it in the end but at the time it feels dreadful.

That is the reality of gastric bypass and bariatric surgery. It is a painful process and a major surgery and one not to be walked into without serious consideration.

To read my Weight Loss Goals click on this link.

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45 Comments

  1. Gosh it doesn’t sound nice at all. Bless you. I can’t imagine what its like to have to go through that. The being dehydrated and having to sleep sitting up I would find hard too, let alone the pain. I really hope you recover soon. Sending virtual hugs. xx

    1. it was tough and I just want to be realistic about what to expect. Of course there are some who don’t feel pain the way I do and are much better at coping with these types of things but yes this was my experience.

  2. Aw hun 🙁 You know that you have my support anytime you like it but most of all you have all your readers wanting to make sure that you are ok. Just take your time hun and don’t overdo it and I hope that the surgery will give you a better quality of life!

    1. Very true. It should not be taken lightly. Never. This is major. People die on the operating table but sometimes the benefits outweigh the risks and the pain and i hope for me it is worth it all in the end!

  3. Hi Angela, Thanks for posting this. No matter how much things you could have read up on before having surgery the body will do what the body will do. Glad to see you managed to leave hospital – I look forward to reading the rest of your journey.

    1. I totally agree. There is a lot you don’t know or realise and for me the drinking never sunk in not being able to drink lots of water etc just little sips is mentally challenging plus many other things.

    1. It was hard but I’m not going to sugar coat it. I will share how it really is (or was for me) to help people see the realities of the procedure! 🙂 Glad I’m a month out now! 🙂

  4. Oh wow, this post is BRILLIANT.

    When you hear about gastric bypass surgery, it’s viewed as an easy way to lose weight. But nobody ever goes into the pain and how horrible the surgery is. I think this really highlights that it’s more than just a quick fix. I had no idea it was such a horrible procedure!

    Hope the surgery works for you.
    Corinne.

    1. it is portrayed as easy but i don’t think its easy at all. It is physically hard and mentally hard and life changing. I agree people need to see the truth behind the operation.

  5. Oh, that just sounds pure traumatic. I know it’s a reflection back for you and I hope that you are on the road to recovery from the surgery a month on. I’ve not read any of your back story or why you chose to go through with this. You must be a strong woman to have gone through with this. I wish you well on your journey forward.

    1. This sure is a reflection and a memory but i think people need to know that its not the easy way out. it’s hard and thats just the physical side. Mentally is very challenging too. I will write more next week.

  6. Angela, so glad you are feeling well enough to write a little now. I was wondering how you were doing. I still am not understanding how this op is going to make your life better as I must have missed the part of your blog where you covered that. I am diabetic and it is supposed to be good for us but, given that I am already not absorbing nutrients properly and the stress with the Addison’s might send me off to my maker more quickly I am looking into gastric banding or hoping to get a gift of great strength from God to eat low carb and anti inflammatory foods. This is only for my diabetes and weight, weight not in particular because without the illnesses I think weight isn’t a thing that is too bad most of the time for many people who are chubby and live long happy lives.
    Anyway, it sounds awful, you have been through the ringer. Why didn’t they IV you some fluids when you couldn’t drink? Dehydration is terrible poor you.
    Anyway onwards an upwards for you now and hope that it does everything that you hoped it would do as you have been so brave to have it knowing how painful it would be.
    God bless hon

    1. Sorry to hear you don’t understand how a gastric bypass can improve my life. Morbid obesity can cause many complications in life inlcuding heart disease, diabetes and fatigue. My steroid medication caused me to become obese and to become pre-diabteic. It was a matter of months before I was diagnosed with diabetes and I had to do something to stop gaining an additional illness. Obviously weight loss helps with fatigue and I had a diagnosis of pre-diabetes, Adrenal Insufficiency, Growth hormone deficiency, Pcos, Asthma, CFS and Fibromyalgia. Losing weight can really help with these conditions. If you have exhaustion then clearly getting to a healthy BMI will help reduce the amount of weight you have to carry around and help with energy levels. Most importantly…. a gastric bypass can help prevent or bring diabetes into remission… in my case, I am now out of the diabetes danger zone and I am glad about that. Also reducing my weight equals reducing medication doses, medications which have not so nice side effects. For example my steroid medication for AI. As you lose weight the dose of steroid you need reduces! Steroids can cause bone problems and again diabetes and many other issues so can growth hormone deficiency (affecting Insulin) and the bodies muscles. My case is complex and I was seen by specialists endocrine, rheumatoid. chronic fatigue and bariatric and they all agreed the operation would make a huge difference to my life. I hope this helps and to read more, your welcome to read my past posts which explain this. Also I was on IV drips for dehydration but I was still dehyrdated. That usually happens the first few days after the op. Angela x

      1. Hi hon, I am with you , you are younger than me and have all the same conditions as me but I have moved into the diabetes after my last hospital admission and am now on meds for it. Strange that we have all the same conditions and wondering if they are related to asthma. I went down hill slowly over the years to this but none of it was pleasant and it was, as you say, the steroids and inability to get around that made me morbidly obese too. I am following you with interest partially because of our similar conditions. I was looking at a video of the bypasses, various types and you are braver than me lady. I am so glad you lived through it. I don’t think, as you say people realize what is involved and how serious an op it really is. If I had been younger I might have considered it too.
        These people who do this sort of thing much have so much confidence in themselves it is scary lol.
        Get healed and slim and active soon ok?
        hugs

  7. Aww Angela I am sorry you had to go through all of this, it sound horrid 🙁 I know it will be worth it in the long run, but I I’m sure you’re not quite feeling it right now. Sending hugs xx

    1. It’s all part of it but I’m glad the tough part is over and now I can move on to the next chapter…learning to eat foods etc and trying to lose weight.

  8. Goodness me, you have been through it. I want to say a big ‘well done’ to you for being so brave and battling through. I know two people who have had successful outcomes from this surgery, so as I’m sure you know – you WILL get there, and this will all be worth it.
    Look after yourself, and don’t rush things too much.
    Anna xx

  9. It sounds like you have really been through the mill. I have seen a lot of surgery (in my former life as a nurse) and like you say in your post, it can have a far greater on impact than people realise. I hope the rest of your recovery goes well, and you are getting all the support that you need. I think its really great that you are blogging about this as it will be of help to so many other people x

  10. A very honest post. I think sadly some people only see a G-bypass as a “weight-loss program” – shame on them. Hope your recovery is improving and that you are able to see the light at the end of tunnel! xxx

    1. Oh yes..It is drastically life changing and even the tv shows only show the op part and then the transformation. They don’t show the struggle and how it can make life so hard in other ways. I’m slowly getting there although my weight stalled 3 weeks ago and i think due to my steroid medication but thats life..and I hope this can continue to head in the right direction.

  11. Hi Angela,

    Thanks for sharing your all difficulties and your journey with this operation. It sounds very awful. I hope you have recovered in a short time and live a happy and healthy life with your family.

    Wishing a great day:)

  12. I wish I had read this a month ago, I am on week 8 and I tell you, I was shocked how bad the gas pains were. Narcotics do not help with gas pains so taking them was pointless. I was able to go home my second day, thank goodness as you know the hospital sucks. Your writing is very good and I will suggest your blog to anyone I know who is thinking of this surgery as I don’t seem to have the words to describe it. I am glad I did it, I know it will save my life. I watched my mother die a slow painful death from the comorbidities of obesity and diabetes. I don’t want that to be me.

    1. Yes! It is so painful and people do not realise. It was the worst and yes I too needed to go through it but oh my goodness, this was worst than labour!

  13. I had gastric bypass 10 months ago. I had no Nason gastric tube, I was allowed to sleep lying down, no dehydration and no pain whatsoever , except when I failed to chew my food enough. I was up walking 2 hours after my surgery. I went home less than 24 hrs after my surgery and went on a 3 week vacation 13 days post surgery. To date I am down 70 pounds, my type 2 diabetes is gone, my hypertension is gone and my severe fatty liver disease has stopped progressing. I went thru a deep depression months 4-7, my life revolved around food, epically holidays and social gatherings. I am trying to learn to change my focus and feel I am making progress, I am finding it just takes time and perseverance. I hope this encourages people looking for help. I am a registered nurse and was lucky enough to live in the same town and have worked with the foremost barbaric surgeon in the world, he pioneered laproscopic barbaric surgery. Good luck to those of you who choose surgery as an option to become healthier. You have to work at it, it is not a cure all in itself, but an aid to help you achieve your goals.

  14. I am sorry to hear you had so many issues, I have had Gastric Bypass July 2017 and I did not have all the issues that unfortunately you did. I was up walking an hour after being back in my room. Yes the first 24 hours the pain is a bit rough but after that I found it all bearable and went home on day 2. Every one is different and every surgeon is different. I just don’t everyone who reads your experience to think that is normal. I attend group meetings at our hospital and there is a few that has had a more difficult experience but over all most of our group says they would do it again without thinking twice. I would tell anyone considering it that they should definitely do it, best decision I have ever made for myself! I wish you all the best and a smoother path going forward, yo u are going to love your new self!!

  15. I had started off with sleeve three years ago two months later had to manipulate my stomach didn’t work they try it again ended up going back in doing a root and why it failed ruptured so they took everything out left me with half ounce pouch been suffering ever since glad to hear you did good I went from 490 to 190 less than a year still dropping good luck hope you do well David

  16. Did the doctors say why they had the tube down your nose? There should have been an IV in you at all times with saline hooked up to the ready. The medical team knows you can’t drink much after this surgery, they should have been better prepared. Yes, having laproscopic surgery is painful. I had my gallbladder out that way. I am nervous about gastric surgery but like you i need the tool to reach my goal and not return anywhere near where it was. I’m glad you made it through well and are in a better road in life. Thank you for sharing, you gave me some more questions to ask my surgeon.

  17. I am interested in how bad the headaches were and for how long. I had a brain enuryism and surgery for that 8 years ago and had headaches for the whole 6 years after surgery.

  18. I had the gastric bypass surgery in 2015 and I totally agree. It is a serious thing that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Not only did I have to get my gall bladder removed, I am now suffering from bleeding ulcers in my stomach and have to take Prilosec everyday. I’m malnourished and my teeth are falling out, which cause me to basically have no appetite whatsoever. That’s why I’m reaching out to encourage people to think twice before taking such a huge step that could potentially effect your life forever. If I had it to do over again and could see what I would be going through today, I’d have avoided it like the plague. So please look before you leap and love the body God Blessed you with! There are natural ways of handling weight gain.

    Good Luck!

    Marci

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