Cruising into a difficult situation


As I write this, I’m on a family vacation. A cruise, to be exact.

Talk about a difficult situation and a learning experience at the same time. It’s not easy to be on a ship where delicious foods of all types are available 24 hours a day— and still maintain my post-operative lifestyle.

Six years out and I’m still learning.

This trip has been problematic for me, as I am far enough out after weight loss surgery to test the boundaries of what my post-surgery body can and cannot do.

As weight loss surgery patients, we work so hard to feel normal again, yet constantly discover we are not like everyone else. We chose to alter our bodies in the quest for health yet find our knowledge and will power tested in everyday situations.

Being armed with information prepared me for this trip, however, I would be lying if I told you I didn’t go against the post-surgery recommendations and the keto lifestyle I’ve grown accustomed to in the last six months.

I knowingly made poor food selections and am prepared to work to offset those choices. I also paid for every blunder, physically.

Every food choice came with the possibility of tummy revenge. This was more than the “once every eight days for relief.”

You have probably seen the character shirts with the phrase “I pooped today” and wondered what the fuss was about. Any high protein dieter or weight loss surgery patient knows exactly what that’s about.

When I make a poor food choice,, I personally take the risk and responsibility for it. I often research items if I am unsure of potential reactions. For example, I was ill every time I drank a “sugar-free” Starbucks matcha tea latte. After 45 minutes of research online I discovered their matcha mix is actually half sugar to save money. They were selling it to me as a sugar free option when, in fact, it was not sugar free.

While not my fault, it was my responsibility to figure out why my body reacted unfavorably. I also reported it to Starbucks.

As with any stage of your journey, this is a learning process. You learn the language your body speaks. You learn to be your own advocate. You learn to research. Ask questions of your doctor and friends, use support agencies, and websites, be proactive. Attempting to live life as you did before can lead to emergencies. Trust me, I almost died twice at home with my family. I wasn’t listening to my inner voice or being a self-health advocate.

That story is for another column.

My message to you at this point of your journey is to ask, learn, and be persistent. You are in control, even if you don’t always feel like it.

So be careful, don’t worry about “rocking the boat” and advocate for yourself.

Be proactive with your post-operative health journey. Only you can take such great care of yourself.

Patricia Miller is a WISFA chapter development officer and can be found on lnstagram at @worththeweightmedia