I got my date for surgery!

Last updated on Wed, 14th Sep 2022

I had a phone call from by bariatric surgeon’s secretary a few days ago, offering me a date for my gastric bypass in about a month’s time.

I’ll be honest with you, when I got the call it came as a total shock! I wasn’t expecting to hear about about the surgery for ages. All elective surgery has been cancelled during the COVID-19 lockdown for the last 5 months, and the private hospitals here in Ireland have only just restarted scheduling elective surgeries.

So the call to say my surgery has been scheduled was very unexpected.

An emotional rollercoaster

After the initial shock came a whole bag of different emotions – some of which are hard to even put into words. I’ve had a couple of days to digest the information, but I’m still an emotional mess.

I’m both excited and scared in both equal measure. Excited because this has the potential to make my life so much better; to improve my health and quality of life. And scared because this is a huge change. Massive.

Food has played such a big part of my life. It’s at the centre of every celebration, party, and social occasion. It’s a reward to myself when things go well, and also a consolation when things go bad. It’s the thing I share with family and friends, and also the thing that I binge on in private.

And the bypass surgery is going to change all of that. It’s going to fundamentally change my relationship with food. And that’s scary as hell!

There’s no escape route from it. In the past if I was dieting, I could always stop if I didn’t like it. But with surgical changes, I can’t suddenly decide the week after that I don’t like it anymore, because somewhat irreversible changes will have been made to my stomach!

Of course it doesn’t change my resolve about going ahead with the surgery – because I know in the non-emotional part of my brain that it has to happen, for my health and wellbeing – but it still totally freaks me out.

Telling people

I’ve found that telling people about my upcoming surgery has been a challenge in itself. Partly because by telling others it makes it a bit more ‘real’, if that makes sense. But also, up until now I’ve not told a lot of people that I’m having bariatric surgery.

I guess I’ve felt a bit ashamed of going down the surgical route – like it’s an ‘easy’ way or a ‘cheat’ way to lose weight. I worry about people judging me for not having the moral fibre or determination to just be able to eat healthily on my own.

And so, even now, when I have to tell people, I’m still very nervous to do so. However I can’t keep this a secret forever. This is actually happening, and people need to know.

Talking to family was difficult, because they are naturally afraid of the surgery, which is understandable because every surgery carries a risk of complications. However, I think it’s hard for them to understand that it’s not the surgery that I’m worried about; it’s the life after surgery. And that’s the bit that I think it’s hard for them to empathise with.

Luckily my boss has been really good about things. I haven’t told him what type of surgery I’m having, and he says he doesn’t want to know. He’s really good that way when it comes to respecting people’s privacy. All he wanted to know was what the date of the surgery was, how long I’d be off work afterwards, and also how dangerous the procedure was. And then he said: “Don’t worry about work. We’ll sort it out. Just concentrate on your health, and don’t come back until you’re 100%”.

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