What Doctors Don't Warn You About Bariatric Surgery

What Doctors Don't Warn You About Bariatric Surgery

I have to live a bit more carefully than before but in the end, this surgery has helped me work harder to be a better version of myself.

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Bariatric surgery is "surgical procedures performed on the stomach or intestines to induce weight loss."

However, it isn't as drastic as it may seem. Before I recount my experience, I'd like to state that I do not regret my decision to undergo the surgery. Very simply, I am happier than before. In spite of all the troubles I've faced as a result of the surgery, I am a more confident person and that's something that I would never sacrifice.

Soon after the surgery, I came face to face with what was likely the hardest thing I've ever had to do: completely avoid eating any kind of food.

This is when I came to loathe Gatorade, it was the only drink I could have besides water. It was two weeks of this exhausting routine. Slowly, I began eating regular food with some restrictions such as no carbonated soda, no sugary drinks, etc. Other than that, I resumed a normal life.

It was only until about a year later where I began to feel different, and by different I mean weaker and more tired. It was very much the feeling I had when I was severely obese. I paid it no mind. Eventually, it got worse. I wasn't just feeling weak, I was getting dizzy randomly. I would have to stop, lay down, and wait for it to pass.

I'm not entirely sure when it was but one day after school in my senior year, I felt the same dizziness but with such intensity that I couldn't see momentarily. Again, I brushed it off because I had a crazy amount of assignments due the next day. After a couple hours, I stood up and walked towards my mom because I couldn't concentrate. I wasn't retaining anything, and it was scary.

As I was walking towards my mom, I stopped by the threshold of my kitchen and stared. She looked at me, at first with confusion and then concern, for I could only say "mom" before I felt myself disappear. I could only remember waking up feeling anxious and confused.

I saw my mother´s crying face above me, she was screaming to my other family members. I tried to sit up quickly, trying to assure her that I was okay.

I asked her what had happened, and as she blinked back her tears, she informed me that I had had a seizure. Frankly, that was a very scary moment in my life. I had no idea what to expect from that point forward. I had no idea what could have possibly ailed me.

I ended up seizing twice that night before my mom decided that it was something she couldn't handle and she took me to the hospital.

They were concerned but unaware of how they could help, so they referred me to a neurologist.

The very next day, I went to see the neurologist only to find out that there was no neurological problem. It was merely the lack of vitamins and proteins that was getting into my system. I was then put on a load of medication that I have to take for life. It's the sad truth about the surgery. I

I'm skinnier but I am constantly worried about the possibility that something like that could happen again. Even months later, I am worried when I feel the slightest weakness in my body or if I stand up too fast and I get dizzy.

I have to live a bit more carefully than before but in the end, this surgery has helped me work harder to be a better version of myself.

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Yes, I Had A Stroke And I'm Only 20

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.
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Recently, I read an article on Cosmo that was written by a woman that had a stroke at the ripe old age of 23. For those of you who don't know, that really doesn't happen. Young people don't have strokes. Some do, but it's so incredibly uncommon that it rarely crosses most people's minds. Her piece was really moving, and I related a lot -- because I had a stroke at 20.

It started as a simple headache. I didn't think much of it because I get headaches pretty often. At the time, I worked for my parents, and I texted my mom to tell her that I'd be late to work because of the pain. I had never experienced a headache like that, but I figured it still wasn't something to worry about. I went about my normal routine, and it steadily got worse. It got to the point that I literally threw up from the pain. My mom told me to take some Tylenol, but I couldn't get to our kitchen. I figured that since I was already in the bathroom, I would just take a shower and hope that the hot steam would relax my muscles, and get rid of my headache. So I turned the water on in the shower, and I waited for it to get hot.

At this point, I was sweating. I've never been that warm in my life. My head was still killing me. I was sitting on the floor of the bathroom, trying to at least cope with the pain. Finally, I decided that I needed to go to the hospital. I picked up my phone to call 911, but I couldn't see the screen. I couldn't read anything. I laid down on the floor and tried to swipe from the lock screen to the emergency call screen, but I couldn't even manage that. My fine motor skills were completely gone. My fingers wouldn't cooperate, even though I knew what buttons needed to be pressed. Instead of swiping to the emergency call screen, I threw my phone across the room. "Okay," I thought, "Large muscle groups are working. Small ones are not".

I tried getting up. That also wasn't happening. I was so unstable that I couldn't stay standing. I tried turning off the running water of the shower, but couldn't move the faucet. Eventually, I gave up on trying to move anywhere. "At what point do I just give up and lie on the floor until someone finds me?" That was the point. I ended up lying on the floor for two hours until my dad came home and found me.

During that two hours, I couldn't hear. My ears were roaring, not even ringing. I tried to yell, but I couldn't form a sentence. I was simply stuck, and couldn't do anything about it. I still had no idea what was going on.

When the ambulance finally got there, they put me on a stretcher and loaded me into the back. "Are you afraid of needles or anything?" asked one EMT. "Terrified," I responded, and she started an IV without hesitation. To this day, I don't know if that word actually came out of my mouth, but I'm so glad she started the IV. She started pumping pain medicine, but it didn't seem to be doing anything.

We got to the hospital, and the doctors there were going to treat me for a migraine and send me on my merry way. This was obviously not a migraine. When I could finally speak again, they kept asking if I was prone to migraines. "I've never had a migraine in my whole life," I would say. "Do you do any drugs?" they would ask. "No," I repeated over and over. At this point, I was fading in and out of consciousness, probably from the pain or the pain medicine.

At one point, I heard the doctors say that they couldn't handle whatever was wrong with me at our local hospital and that I would need to be flown somewhere. They decided on University of Maryland in Baltimore. My parents asked if I wanted them to wait with me or start driving, so I had them leave.

The helicopter arrived soon after, and I was loaded into it. 45 minutes later, I was in Baltimore. That was the last thing I remember. The next thing I remember was being in the hospital two weeks later. I had a drain in my head, a central port, and an IV. I honestly didn't know what had happened to me.

As it turns out, I was born with a blood vessel malformation called an AVM. Blood vessels and arteries are supposed to pass blood to one another smoothly, and mine simply weren't. I basically had a knot of blood vessels in my brain that had swelled and almost burst. There was fluid in my brain that wouldn't drain, which was why my head still hurt so bad. The doctors couldn't see through the blood and fluid to operate, so they were simply monitoring me at that point.

When they could finally see, they went in to embolize my aneurysm and try to kill the AVM. After a successful procedure, my headache was finally starting to subside. It had gone from a 10 on the pain scale (which I don't remember), to a 6 (which was when I had started to be conscious), and then down to a 2.

I went to rehab after I was discharged from the hospital, I went to rehab. There, I learned simple things like how to walk and balance, and we tested my fine motor skills to make sure that I could still play the flute. Rehab was both physically and emotionally difficult. I was constantly exhausted.

I still have a few lingering issues from the whole ordeal. I have a tremor in one hand, and I'm mostly deaf in one ear. I still get headaches sometimes, but that's just my brain getting used to regular blood flow. I sleep a lot and slur my words as I get tired. While I still have a few deficits, I'm lucky to even be alive.

Cover Image Credit: Neve McClymont

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Naps Are Incredibly Important For Survival, And Don't Let Anyone Tell You Otherwise

Everybody needs to make time for naps.

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As I get older, I start to question certain things more and more. Like why did I listen to that music or why did I dress like that when I was younger. The biggest thing is why I hated to take naps. Like seriously, I hated them.

I remember one time specifically when I was younger that I absolutely refused to take a nap. I had a total meltdown. (I'm not proud of it) I absolutely hated them. But each day, I am more and more thankful that sleeping through the day is acceptable.

Since getting to college, my naps per week have probably doubled from high school. Especially this year. Even my family knows if I do not respond for a longer period of time, there is an 85 percent chance that I am taking a nap. This year, I try and make time each day to take a nap and it helps me so much. Specifically, days that I have practice in the morning instead of the afternoon.

5:30 practice means getting up before 5 and going to bed, ideally, by 9 the night before. This idea however, is not always possible. Some nights I want to hang out with friends and then do homework. It's college. It's normal. So yeah, I do not get to bed some nights at a reasonable hour. But that's okay. That's why we have naps.

Naps make me less cranky. They make me feel more energized and they help me to have a positive outlook on life. I feel refreshed after waking up from a nap and I tend to be more productive as a result.

Naps certainly are not for everybody. Not everybody likes sleeping during the day. But naps are so beneficial to my well being and I do not know what I would do without them.

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