There are many articles about how to cope with the post op recovery period after bariatric surgery, but comparatively few on ways to enjoy the experience.
Sound impossible? We beg to differ.
While the physical side effects of surgery take time to diminish, undergoing weight loss surgery is an empowering process and one of the first steps on your way to better health and soaring self-esteem. Once your procedure is complete, your job is to heal and feel increasingly better with each passing day.
What are some ways for you to enjoy this time of rebirth?
1. Get the help you need: Surgery will take your daily activities down a notch, or three. Not only is this okay, it is necessary for a proper recovery. Consider the week or two post-op your ask-for-help-for-free card, and be sure to line up several friends and family members who will drive you to and from your surgery appointment, as well as check in on you throughout your first few days back at home and help with any housework or care of children/pets so you can rest and recover. Relish the pampering and remember to say thank you.
2. Visit with friends: After the first couple of days, you may be up for spending more quality time with those same friends and family who are tending to your basic needs. Invite a few close pals over for a movie or other restful activity and enjoy their company. A little laughter and loving support will help you recover faster.
3. Do whatever “resting” means to you: Have a lot of stress or pressure in your life because of your job or relationships? Use this recovery time to take a mental and emotional break. Read a book you’ve been neglecting, or listen to it on CD. Catch up on episodes of your favorite TV show. Call loved ones that live far away. Most of all, get lots and lots of sleep. Stop and smell the roses while taking it easy and see how refreshed you feel, even as you heal from a surgical procedure.
4. Begin moving (slowly): As the days go by, you will feel more able to get up and move around your home, slowly transitioning into leaving the house, and after a few days, driving and considering a return to work. While you want to wait at least 4 weeks before starting a vigorous exercise routine, short, gentle walks are great for your mood and your circulation from the very first week post-op. For the first couple of days, begin to move around your home and use your shower. Over time, begin using the stairs.
If you underwent laparoscopic surgery, you will be able to return to most of your regular activities in 2-4 weeks. If you had open surgery, it may take up to 12 weeks to return to all of your pre-op activities. Be patient with yourself and if you feel any pain while performing an activity, stop. On the other hand, if you are enjoying an activity with your doctor’s approval and feeling great, all the better!
Your recovery time after bariatric surgery can be a restful and rejuvenating phase at the beginning of a long road to health and happiness. Take this time to stop and smell the roses so you can push full speed ahead with your new dreams and endeavors!