Bloated and swollen: When I had my 2nd back... - Pain Concern

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Bloated and swollen


When I had my 2nd back surgery in 2008, my surgeon said the thinner I was, the safer the operation would be. So I went in to surgery weighing a little under 7 stone (I'm only 5ft 1"). 6 weeks after surgery my husband and I watched as my legs started swelling up before our eyes. Within 48 hours I was a blimp. I'm now officially morbidly obese. I've never been overweight in my life. In fact I've wrestled with anorexia and bulimia most of my adult life. I eat one apple and one pear a day. I spend most of my time being sick. I have stomach ulcers and I'm not sure if it's really a problem or a phsycosymatic issue (ie. frightened to eat). Not one doctor believes I barely eat. My GP wanted me to have a gastric band! Hubby went ballistic as he's so worried. Any ideas? Has anyone else become swollen following surgery. I won't have my photo taken or look in a mirror. I'm a pig in make up.

13 Replies

has your doctor checked to see if you are retaining fluid? checked your kidney function? checked your heart with an ECG? If your doctor doesn't believe you don't eat much, then you could kind of call their bluff and ask to be referred to a dietician, then follow the dietician instructions and see what happens. It might then prove that it isn't diet to blame. There is also a possibility that the previous anorexia has mucked up your metabolism somehow, and you might need to get an endocrinology assessment to see if your hormones and endocrine function is normal.

If you are eating only an apple and a pear a day you are seriously malnourished and not getting sufficient vitamins, minerals, proteins etc. Your doctor needs to take this seriously. Do you mind saying what your weight is now?

I fluctuate between 11 and 11 and a half stone. 100 calories a day is my limit. I eat the apples and pears that you buy for kids lunch boxes so they are tiny. My doctor prescribes me vitamin D and calcium.

Yes, all those have been checked. I take thyroid medication as I have a tumour on my pituitary gland. But it doesn't help. I have clothes is 3 different sizes, depending on how swollen I am that day and shoes in 3 different sizes for the same reason. But even my endocrinologist doesn't believe me. I am having another endoscopy on Friday for my constant vomiting. I see the dentist once a month to have a treatment on my teeth to prevent them from eroding. You'd think after 5 years of me protesting they would listen, but its easier to believe I'm eating to much than investigate. Even my own mother didn't believe me until she stayed here after an operation to recover and was shocked at how little I eat. I never allow myself more than 100 calories a day. It's bad enough being permanently disabled, having a brain tumour and a horrible skin condition called Hidradenitis (painful boils under the skin, which cause the skin to turn black and leathery, but being fat as well, for someone with my history of eating disorders is, (& I know it's pathetic), the worst punishment.

Jane, I don't think its possible to survive on 100 calories a day. Take some one who knows you to your doctor and insist on straight answers to your questions.

I tried that, my husband came with me. The GP insisted he could smell by my breath that I eat regularly. I sit in my endocrinologist's office and cry and cry and cry. It's been 5 years now and I haven't sat down for a meal with my family in all that time. I won't eat in front of other people. We refuse every invitation for dinner so gradually all our friends have fallen away. If, for some reason, I have to eat something, then I'm straight in the loo and sticking a fork/knife/toothbrush down my throat to throw it up. Not that I really need to now, my stomach churns with revulsion whenever it feels food.

I have looked at the rest of the replies. You are going to face facts of how the world works. It is no good claiming things that do not make sense to other people's experience of the world without having some means to provide evidence that you are a member of the world that has a different experience.

You need to make a food and drink diary. You are also going to need an activity diary. You are going to have to eat in front of a webcam every time you eat. You are going to need to eat in front of people. They are witnesses to what is happening and can provide evidence to the medical authorities.

You have a medical history which is recorded in your medical notes. How accurate are your medical notes? Have you seen your medical notes?

You have not provided any information on how you present yourself to the medical practitioner. It can easy sometimes to tell the whole truth and yet you are considered not to be telling the truth because you have an edge to your voice that gives the listener the wrong impression. Many innocent people have served time in Jail because the jury did not believe them.

I can think of a few things that can cause bloating problems, but the medical practitioner has to see the evidence for that.

Hope this helps.

Janepepper in reply to johnsmith

I've done the food diary. GP didn't believe it. I also know that my mum phoned him and begged him to help me as I don't eat and all he would do is say he couldn't discuss my case. So I tried a different GP at the practice and she recommended the gastric band! I thought my husband was going to explode. I can't see a way out. Even when my gastroenterologist did an endoscopy and said my stomach was empty but was red raw as was my gullet, my GP decided that I'd done it to fool the gastroenterologist! I have to find a way out or I'm worried what my crazy brain will push me to do next. Once I slit open both my thighs to let the fat out and my GP just laughed

Not eating enough ie 1800 - 2000 calories for a woman makes you just as obese as someone who stuffs themselves. Because you are taking in so little food, your body makes fat to fuel the vital organs. They need about 1500 calories to work efficiently.

Your heart may be struggling, your kidneys may be struggling too, causing fluid retention as well. Its a downward spiral.

It's a serious health risk not eating enough.

Maybe see a dietician to get the correct info on what you should be eating and address your eating disorder. Then your weight will reduce again.

It's not something that can be fixed by a pill or op, you yourself will have to work hard.

Hi and thanks. I'll work as hard as possible to lose this weight. My husband says it's not weight. He thinks I swell and that's why I can end up wearing 2 different size shoes on the same day, depending on the swelling. I know generally people say that you have to eat enough to lose weight. But when I was anorexic, I ate 1 apple, 1 Carr's water cracker and I got down to under 6 stone. I was happy then

Wow so sorry to hear about yr probs. A lot of Dr's think they are the best thing since sliced bread. Huh we know better, take him a timed list of what you eat and dont leave until he believes you, or change Dr's......take care

That is very sad, you must feel so fed up and worried too. You do not say what operation you had, but whatever it was it should not end with you in such a state.

You have had some good advice from other Health unlocked members and there is not a lot that I can add. Your eating certainly sounds dysfunctional and you should take dietetics advice. You also need to be checked out for fluid retention. I am very surprised that your GP has not taken this seriously. If it does have a psychological element then that needs checking to relieve your distress. The hospital team should be approached too, to see what they have to say.

My surgery was spinal fusion at L5-S1 and new prosthetic discs at L4 & 3. The first operation was a discectomy (not sure how to spell that?). Within 48 hours knew it hadn't worked but it took me a year to recover. Then I had the 2nd surgery with the fusion and replacement discs. I had this operation done through my abdomen. I have a huge scar from my belly button across to my left side. As I had my children by c-section I have a huge bikini line scar. They then opened that scar up again, 3 years after my 2nd back surgery, to perform a total hysterectomy. When they finally got through all the scar tissue, they also cut through the main artery as it had got stuck to the scar tissue. My obs/gyny surgeon had to keep a clamp on the artery and it took 5 hours for the vascular surgeon to arrive! I have no feeling for a good 2 inches around that scar and no feeling for a few inches around the scar from my back surgery. I have tried to exercise but I think they have cut through my muscles so many times that it won't make any difference. I'm having the endoscopy on Friday, maybe I can persuade the gastroenterologist to do a tummy tuck and join the two scars together!