Nuts and Bolts

They replace your stomach with nuts and bolts. End of post!

Not really. So here’s what the entire process entails.

Lead Up

It started with an informational seminar. They explained a lot of this to me during the afternoon seminar. They have them all the time, so I just had to call in to talk to a weight loss counselor and get on their schedule for the next available class.

I had to go to more seminars explaining the surgery, diet, and exercise I’ll have to do. At the same time I had to go to pointless monthly diet and exercise counseling sessions with my doctor. It’s just an insurance hoop to jump through.

For the final two weeks leading up to the operation I have a 1400 calorie/day liquid diet. I eat mostly broth, tomato soup, protein shakes, sugar-free jello, and sugar-free pudding. The worst part of it is that about 80% of the things allowed are sweet. Maybe most people who need the surgery constantly eat candy? I try to alternate between sweet stuff and broth, under the theory that salt cancels out sweet. (please nobody correct me — I need this)

The night before the surgery I have to down an entire bottle of magnesium citrate. Magnesium citrate is a laxative the same way that  20 kilotons of TNT is a firecracker. My instructions are to take it once I get home from work. Not at work. Not in the car. And then to spend the rest of the night in the bathroom with a water bottle so I don’t die of dehydration. According to Wikipedia, “Magnesium citrate solutions generally produce bowel movement in one half to six hours. Rectal bleeding or failure to have a bowel movement after use could be signs of a serious condition.” (emphasis mine).

So I have that to look forward to.

The Surgery

Okay, so the surgery. It’s done laparoscopically, so no giant gnarly scars to impress chicks.

Let’s get our bearings first. Here’s a diagram of a human stomach for all of my non-cannibal readers who have never seen the inside of a person:

Human stomach
I will eat and digest you all with my system of mighty organs! Behold!

Just so we’re clear: food goes in the top, magic happens, then stuff comes out the bottom.

The doctor will take my stomach and cut off about 75% of it. Believe me, that part wasn’t doing me any good anyhow.

Stomach with line showing the portion removed (the right side) and portion staying (left side)
If the portion of my stomach to the right of the line is California, then that line represents Nevada, and the surgeon represents Lex Luthor and ah fuck it, this caption is already way too long.

According to the lore, what remains of my stomach will be the size and shape of a banana. Really.

NOTE TO SURGEON: Please do not leave the banana in my chest cavity. Just take the picture and get it out.
NOTE TO SURGEON: Please do not leave the banana in my abdominal cavity.

After Surgery

After the plumbing is done I will be a pretty unhappy camper for a while.

The first week I get to eat only water, broth, and sugar-free jello. According to my sister, I probably won’t feel like eating even that much.

After that my diet will get progressively more relaxed week-by-week. In a couple months I’ll be cleared to eat pretty much whatever I want, within reason.

The goal here is to allow the type of omnivorous diet that we are accustomed to, but to not allow the overeating that got me into the problem in the first place. So I could eat a bite of steak, a nacho (note the singular), or whatever. But not at the same time, of course.

After a few spoonfuls (of anything) I will be full. That creates a new challenge. Given that I would very much like to not die of malnutrition, I must make sure that those few spoonfuls give me all the vitamins, minerals, protein, etc. that I need.

Now for the downsides

  • Never mind on the whole eating enough vitamins and minerals thing. Just isn’t going to happen. I’ll have to take a multivitamin every day for the rest of my life.
  • Paradoxically, I will have to eat often. A bunch of small meals spread throughout the day are required to give me enough nutrition. If I only tried eating 3 square meals per day I’d starve.
  • No more carbonation. It will simply fill me up too much.
  • No more caffeine. Since it is a stimulant it will mess with my new tiny stomach and digestion.
  • In fact, no more drinking with a meal at all! Water does two things which suck. First, it takes up room I need for food. Second, it moves the contents of the stomach along quicker. I need it to move slowly so I feel full longer and so I can absorb my prey’s mythical powers.
  • If that weren’t hard enough, I have to drink 64oz of water every day. Except I can’t drink during or 30 minutes before or after a meal, and I have to eat all the time. Being hospitalized for dehydration is a very real threat.
  • No candy. “No shit!” I hear you all shout in unison. In addition to the stupidity of eating candy after a surgery like this, there’s something else. Sugary or fatty foods can cause something called dumping syndrome. No need to follow that link; you already know everything just from the name.
  • Many people report becoming intolerant of dairy after surgery. I guess I will have to cancel my daily Ben & Jerry’s habit. (I kid, I kid (Mostly))
  • I can expect weird food reactions. For instance, my sister can’t stand eating lettuce now because she can feel it “floating” in her stomach.
  • I have to maintain my eating discipline for the rest of my life. With enough fuck-upery I can manage to stretch my tiny new stomach back out to the size it was, undoing all of this.

The Upsides

  • I probably won’t die as soon.

That’s good enough for me, and good enough for this post. Thanks for reading.

  • Tim B.

    If I can ask, what made you decide to do this method instead of the lap band?

  • ktwombley

    I’m working on a post to address just this question. I had a medium-length reply ready to go here, but logging in to my comments seems to have eaten it.

    So in short, the lap band involves sewing a live vulture into your stomach, so that’s why.

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