July 2017

 

In order to have the bypass surgery, certain requirements have to be met. First of all, you have to have a BMI of 35 or more, classified as “morbidly obese” by the WHO. Then, you have to have had at least two years of nutritional advice from a nutri-tionist. Furthermore, after passing these requirements that a doctor will review, you will have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine your state of mind. Lastly, before the surgery, there will be a check of your lungs and heart to make sure that your body is fit for an operation like this. The gastric bypass surgery is then preformed in two steps. 

 

The first step makes your stomach smaller. The surgeon uses staples to divide your stomach into a small upper section and a larger bottom section. The top section of your stomach (called the pouch) is where the food you eat will go. The pouch is about the size of a walnut. It holds only about one ounce or 28 grams of food. Because of this you will eat less and lose weight. 

 

The second step is the bypass. The surgeon connects a small part of your small intestine (the jejunum) to a small hole in your pouch. The food you eat will now travel from the pouch into this new opening and into your small intestine. As a result, your body will absorb fewer calories.

December 2017

 

I was overwhelmed with pain when I woke up after the operation. My first thought was: „SHIT!! What did I do? I don’t want this...! I want to go back...“ 

 

Shortly after, I passed out. A seizure started. The nurses gave me some medicine to calm me down and when I woke up again, they asked me what they could do to comfort me. I told them to call my mum. The seizures returned and distracted me from the actual pain. I did not realize how much time passed, but at some point, my parents finally came. They stroked my head and held my hand. I calmed down, like an infant who needed nurturing. I never thought I would feel this way again aged 26.

January 2018

 

Doctor’s orders: in order to prevent a thrombosis, I have to inject myself every evening. To make it easier for the needle to penetrate it, I have to scrunch my skin together. It does not 

seem to get easier with each day and try. Most of my skin is co-vered with bruises from my failed attempts.

 

Furthermore, I was given pills to swallow for the rest of my life. My digestive system will not be able to absorb most vitamins anymore, which is the reason I need the supplement. The worst part of this is the sheer size of this pill. It almost resembles a small grape.

March 2018

 

The main reason for this surgery was the numbness of my

toe. I was working as a sales manager and standing more

than eight hours a day was killing my feet, knees and back.

One day I was not able to feel my big toe anymore, so I

went to the doctor but she could not find anything. Today,

I no longer have this problem. My feet and toes are fine, which means that the numbness was caused by my overweight.

 

Hair loss after a bariatric surgery is highly common and very stressful. The hair loss associated with weight loss surgery is called telogen effluvium and has to do with the normal hair growth cycle. It usually starts abruptly and rarely lasts longer than six months.

April 2018

 

I always had trouble portioning what I eat and deciding when I had enough. Often I found myself not being able to stop, and before I realized what was going on, I had eaten three meals in one go. It was like pouring water into an already full glass with-out realizing that you spilled it all over the table. The operation drastically changed my experience of repletion, and the need to overfill the glass completely vanished. Hunger did not exist anymore in the way I knew it, and I was starting to eat because my body told me I needed energy without the added craving to stuff my face like in the past. I was finally able to perceive every bite that travelled into my digestive system, being completely aware of my feeling of satiety. I connected to a part of my body that was unknown to me before.

2017

2018

October 2018

 

When I started my studies, I commuted from Zurich to Lucerne and had to deal with the train journey to university every day. While commuting, I always worried about not fitting into the scheme of today‘s society, nor into my train seat.

 

The seating on public transport determines how big my body is allowed to be in order to ensure a pleasant journey. My favorite place

in the IC 70, the train that runs from Zurich to Lucerne and vice

versa, is in the lower compartment in a four-seater group in the aisle closest to the door, next to the rack for storing suitcases. Since the seat is so close to the door, I don‘t have to walk far through the aisle of the train, pushing myself left and right past other people‘s arms - otherwise I have no place to walk through. 

 

I choose this place mainly because it is possible to fold up the left armrest. This enables me to sit in such a way that during rush hours, when the train is occupied up to the last seat, I don‘t crush my neighbors because of the size of my body.

 

 

 

Nowadays, when I use the train, I walk until I find a place that I like. I would never think of pushing myself against the window or sitting down so that I give my fellow passengers enough space. I spread out – because my thin body means that I have to take up more space and sit in a way that is comfortable for me. I would never have thought of that before; because my body was so big, I didn‘t want to attract any

attention and tried to take up as little space as possible.

 

I often think about the concept of body and space. The perception and behavior of large and thin bodies in public spaces are fundamentally different. I went through the transformation from thick to thin and vice versa several times, but never so extreme that my whole under-standing of selfimage, identity, body and space dissolved. I take this experience as an opportunity to relearn my perception of reality.

May 2019

 

I look in the mirror and I don‘t see myself; I know it is me when I think logically, but

as my body forms itself new, my brain can‘t adapt. Others don’t recognize me either,

which makes me feel like I lost my identity – who am I, when I stopped existing the way

I used to? 

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