Well, after reading Brother Adam’s piece on simplicity (and ashes, and how he had chosen to look at the ashes of his own losses, rather than the rebirth that was happening out of the ashes), I’m hesitant to write (yet again) about my gastric bypass experiences.  And I need to acknowledge up front that, on balance, this remains a resurrection experience for me.  I continue to lose weight at a brisk pace (almost 50 pounds since February 8), I continue to reduce my medications (though not officially with the last reduction) and new life possibilities are opening up (not all of them having to do with my health).  So the bottom line is still good news here.  I went out with a friend Monday (I’m on vacation this week) and took a lot of photographs in the Sausalito area.  Life is, mostly, good.

But I’ve been blogging about this mainly so that others who are considering such a surgery (there are other surgical options) or someone going through this can get a sense of what this has been like (is like) for me — and (remembering that every experience is completely individual), just possibly what it might be like for them.  And probably the biggest learning is that it is an ongoing process (and likely to remain so for a long time).  I keep wanting to be completely “healed.”  But it doesn’t look like it’s going to work out that way in any near future.  I’m going to have to live with this and adapt to this for some time to come.  Maybe a year or two from what I can gather.  And even then I expect life to be very different from life pre surgery.

In short, there is no straight line progress.  I’m still not eating regular food — though I’m continuing to get closer.  And it could be another month before I might expect to have started the process.  I’ve had two more episodes of throwing up (lasting over 4 and over 6  hours respectively) — eating food (in lesser quantities) that I’d been eating for days with no problems on both occasions.  I have a friend who’s had the surgery who tells me she thinks I’ve been having dumping syndrome.  And she could be right!  But I don’t think so.  In 2 out of the 3 occasions where this has happened, there was no fat or sugar involved at all.  And, although it’s been very unpleasant, I have not felt at all like I wished I were dead.  It was just unpleasant.

The frustration is that I’m not sure why this has happened when it has happened.  As I said, it’s been caused by lesser quantities of food I’d been eating without any problems on all 3 occasions.  It just feels like food gets clogged up somewhere between my “new stomach” and my intestines — painfully so (but not ALL that painfully so).  The first time was scariest, because I wasn’t sure if I might tear stitches or something trying to throw up.  Not scary since — just uncomfortable (and frustrating).

It was particularly frustrating the day of our Easter Vigil.  Knowing that I’d had some unpredictable discomfort (and had thrown up once over a couple of hours), I planned for this.  I had a snack (smallish) at about 3, so that if I had any discomfort, it would be over before 6 (when I planned, at the latest, to arrive at church and prepare for the Vigil at 7).  No dinner (until after the Vigil, if I were hungry then).

I ended up throwing up until about 7:15, missing the Vigil completely, and having to have other people cover for me.  (I’ve been at St. George’s over 15 years, and that’s happened once before — missing a service because I was running a fever of 102.)  In my mind, as the service created to celebrate Easter, the Vigil is the main service of the whole year.  And I missed it.  Definitely frustrating.  Definitely part of what I have to live with.  It’s a process.

I still don’t know why this is happening.  My best guess?  Eating just a little too quickly.  But I’m not confident of that guess.  Next guess?  Maybe chewing just a little bit less thoroughly.  But I’m thinking not.  Final guess?  It’s just part of the process of my body adapting to new circumstances.  The only thing I am sure of is that (while being as careful as I can) I need to plan to live with this kind of stuff as my body and I adapt.

So, as I said to start this, it’s a process.  And it looks to be continuing …