Winter 2004 - Patient Newsletter


By Jody Abrams

Recently I had the opportunity to support a colleague and friend through Gastric Bypass Surgery.  I don’t know about you, but it has been my experience that most folks I’ve met along the way through the OCC are more than willing to give of their time.  I’ve always been able to ask for and receive support whether it’s from staff or from a fellow patient.  I’ve always wanted to make myself available to others as a result so that they can get from me what I have gotten from someone else and so on.

It’s been a little over two years since I had the procedure.  Sometimes I find myself struggling with the fact that the rapid weight loss I had enjoyed has now slowed down.  I am always afraid of regaining weight.  Sometimes my appetite is greater than at other times and when I am hungry I think, “Oh my God…I’ve stretched my pouch!”  I have to say that having had the experience of mentoring Portia though this process, I feel a sense of being grounded again. 

Portia is approximately six weeks out of surgery now.  I remember her saying, “I will just be grateful if I wake up.”  I think this is a developmental process we all go through.  I remember feeling the exact same way.  I just wanted to survive the process and then I promised myself I would take it one step at a time.  The next thing you know, the weight has dripped off of you and you find yourself preoccupied with “skin” whether or not to invest in new clothes.

I am of the opinion that it is normal to have a healthy fear and respect for the notion that we all can regain the weight if we don’t continue to learn and to maintain our new lifestyle in our new body.  I also think that it’s easy to forget about the sense of gratitude we’ve developed out of our experience with this process.  Mentoring a friend or even a stranger is a great way to be reminded about what is important.  Are you drinking the water?  Are you drinking the CIB?  Are you exercising?  Are you writing down what you’ve eaten?  Are you reading food labels?  Are you reaching out to others for support?  The answers to these questions are some of the small steps that keep us whole.

When Portia came home from the hospital, she asked me what I had been eating after surgery and how much, so I pulled out my first food diaries and read them to her over the phone.  She listened intently as if I were reading her some steamy novel.  One day she called me kind of panic stricken…”What do you put in your broth?”  “My broth?” I replied, “Yes…your broth.”   “I don’t put anything in my broth…  I just open the can.”  “Well, I don’t eat canned broth.  I make everything from scratch.  I don’t know what you are allowed to put in the broth.”  I remember swearing at Portia.  “Who makes their own broth?” I huffily inquired.  She said proudly, “I do.”  I’m thinking to myself, yeah right after surgery I had the mad desire to get up and cook over a hot stove….NOT!  Portia told me that it made her feel good to be able to do something good for herself.  We laughed about it.  I’m still laughing about it.

The experience of mentoring Portia through the surgery has been wonderful for me.  It has provided me with focus and has allowed me the ability to get back my sense of gratitude.  If you know someone just starting out in the program offer him or her a hand.  It will make you feel good.  It’s made me feel great.  Thanks, Portia.         


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