July 27, 2011 will mark my 7 year RNY gastric bypass post-op anniversary. I will not be celebrating.
Like most, I sailed through the actual surgical procedure without complications. I had no major issues or problems. I ignored my surgeon’s supplemental advice of 2 Flintstones chewables and Carnation Instant Breakfast as his recommended ‘supplemental’ advice; and began taking bariatric specific supplements as soon as I got home from the hospital.
Imagine my shock when 3 years later I had a mild heart attack due to severally low ferritin and iron levels. The form of iron I was taking, was not what I needed. I also learned that the portion of our small intestines that does the best job absorbing iron – I had removed as part of my bypass surgery.
Then, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis and severally low vitamin D and zinc. How could this be? I was taking my supplements.
Apparently taking supplements – even those designed for bariatric post-ops – is no guarantee you’re getting the nutrients you need. Deciphering blood work results is tricky, as not all is always as it appears at face value on test results either. You have to know what to look for, to know how deficient you are and in what nutrients.
Adjusting supplements is an art form. You take more, but how much more. You adjust your dose, wait 3, 4 or 6 months – test again, adjust again. Taking too much of some supplements can be dangerous, and even with malabsorption, apparently this can happen.
If you are one who is a gastric bypass post-op who had a malabsorptive procedure, it is urgent you do three things:
- Make an appointment with your doctor, or hematologist ASAP and get a full panel of testing done to check all of your nutrient levels, including thyroid
- Get a dexa bone scan to check your bone density
- Take your supplements, including your high quality protein shake, faithfully every single day. Note: you will have to take supplements more than just once per day. I’m currently taking supplements 4 times per day. Check your levels, supplement and then test again and adjust as needed for you.
If you are feeling tired, no energy, experiencing symptoms of depression, numbness, tingling, etc…. you need to get to your doctor now. Please. We had this surgery to get healthier, and that’s not always what happens for everyone.
Find a support system to help you, keep you on track with your diet, exercise and what you’re experiencing. This will help you.
To your health,
P.S. Reply below and let me know if you have experienced any gastric bypass complications since having your surgery. What issues are you having? What type of surgery did you have? How far post-op are you?