Tag: <span>Work</span>

Going into hospital for any procedure during the COVID-19 pandemic is pretty strange.

There’s all the additional safety protocols to worry about, like having to wear a face mask, and not being allowed any visitors. And for some, there’s the concern that they might even catch COVID in hospital!

However, there’s definitely some advantages of going through weight loss during a lock down:

  1. Not working in the office – I’m lucky because I’ve been able to carry on working during COVID, and in the weeks immediately after surgery I felt able to return to work more quickly than perhaps during ‘normal’ times. I didn’t need to worry about how I’d do my commute by bicycle when my surgical wounds are still healing. And because working from home often comes with more flexible working hours, I could perhaps take a long lunch break to have a lie down if I wasn’t feeling well.
  2. Not eating in the office – As I’m no longer having lunch with my colleagues each day, I don’t need to worry about questions related to my restricted post-surgery diet. I was able to recover and get used to my new way of eating in private. And because I’m cooking for myself, and not trying to pick the most suitable thing from a menu, I can have exactly what I want.
  3. Fewer social occasions – When eating out in restaurants and cafes – as well as at friends’ homes – it can be difficult finding something suitable to eat – either because the food it too rich, or the portions are too large! I don’t need to field well-intentioned questions from friends or waiting staff about why I didn’t finish my meal. And I don’t need to explain to anyone why I’m not drinking.

Did you, like me, have your surgery during the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you planning your surgery in the next few months? I’d love to hear your perspective on bariatric surgery during the global pandemic!

My Story Surgery

It’s exactly 4 weeks today since I had my gastric bypass operation, and I thought I’d give a bit of an update of how I’m doing.

I’m still on the soft food diet, and am eating anywhere between 600 and 1000 calories a day. I find it useful to track everything I eat using the myfitnesspal.com app, so that I can track calories, but also the amount of protein I’m getting in my diet. I believe I’m meant to aim for at least 60 grams of protein a day, and most days I manage that.

I find that I’m often eating the same kind of things every day, so I think I need to be a bit more imaginative about what I eat, because it’s getting a bit boring. But I guess there are some foods (chicken breast meat for example) that I find it hard to tolerate, so I tend to shy away from them.

I’ve had a few episodes over the few week where I’ve got blocked, and it’s ultimately meant that I’ve had to vomit the food back up. But in every case I can attribute that to not chewing the food carefully enough.

At the moment my main struggle is about portion sizes. Often it’s literally a case of my eyes being bigger that my stomach. I put too much food on the plate, and then either don’t finish it, or instead I eat too fast and too much and end up feeling uncomfortably full.

One strategy to limit portions is to weigh out ingredients before cooking – but I can’t do that when someone else is cooking for me. So I try to stick with small bowls or side plates for my food – but even then I sometimes get it wrong.

The good news is that I’ve managed to lose 10.4 kg since surgery – about 23 lbs – which is fantastic.

I’ve already noticed that clothes feel a bit looser, and that it’s easier to do things like put on my socks and shoes in the morning. Also the pain that I used to feel when walking has also reduced significantly.

I’m still waiting for the energy boost that people talk about. It hasn’t happened to me yet. In fact I often feel quite drained, and don’t really have the energy to be as active as I used to be. But hopefully that will come in time.

I’m also back at work for a week now. I work from home doing an ‘office’ job so it’s not too taxing. My lack of energy means that I sometimes can’t concentrate 100%, but I’m lucky that I can just take a nap at lunchtime if I need it.

My Story Surgery

The amount of time off work needed after bariatric surgery seems to vary quite a lot. Some people take only a week off work, and others take 3-4 weeks, and some as long as 6-7 weeks!

It probably depends a lot upon the type of work that a person does. Those with sedentary desk jobs – and particularly those that are currently working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic – may only need a short time. Whereas those that have physically demanding jobs may need significantly longer before they are strong enough to return to work.

The recovery time in terms of pain can be quite quick. I was off the pain medication within 4 days, and able to sit quite comfortably. So in theory I could have been back within a week.

However the post-surgery recovery is not just about the pain from the surgery. It’s about the body trying to adapt to its new much-smaller stomach. The post-operative diets are pretty restrictive, and lots of people struggle to get to grips with their new way of eating. As such many people suffer from:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal bowel habits
  • Flatulence

It can take time to get used to some of these things, and to feel physically strong enough to work again.

It’s also important not to forget about also the psychological and emotional side of what’s happened. Having surgery is a big event in people’s lives, and it can have a profound effect of their recovery. There may be all kinds of repressed feelings that will need to be worked through. And that’s just as important a part of the healing process as any physical symptoms.

Originally I planned to take 4 weeks off work after surgery, and my employer was being very good at supporting this time off. However I found that I was ready to go back to work after only 3 weeks. I could have even gone back sooner, but I think it was important to take the time to rest and recharge.

Sickness Surgery