Low Fat? Low Carb? Not me!

I don’t do any low fat or low carb. I do avoid artificial sweeteners like crazy. In fact, I try to avoid chemicals in general. I’m kinda a granola girl! LOL! I embrace a whole foods lifestyle and avoid stuff like: Soy, high fructose corn syrup, MSG and the like. (Yes, I do have a subscription to Organic Gardening and read every issue from cover to cover! LOL!)

Whenever possible I use natural forms of fats. I have a degree as a professional baker and I LOVE to bake, but I love to cook more. (I was definitely in the wrong arm of the culinary school!)

I don’t count carbs. I don’t do any low fat – most low fat items are filled with additional sugars to make them taste more appealing. Plus – I’m a DS post-op! Hello! I have a ton of intestinal malabsorption going on! That being said, I’m also a staunch proponent of a healthy, balanced diet. I don’t believe in eliminating any whole food groups from my diet. (Well, I do have a boatload of food allergies, and I of course eliminate those items, but well – only makes sense, huh?!)

I’m 5 years 7 months post-op and have managed to lose a couple of hundred pounds. There are definitely some things I would have done differently as an early post-op. They include:

  1. Giving up soda for good before my surgery. I had only consumed regular sodas for gosh – years – because artificial sweeteners were giving me nightmarish migraines. Not so much for the sugar, though, but due to the fact that carbonation and high fructose corn syrup inhibit calcium absorption. Why go there? Why take boatloads of calcium and then shoot yourself down with a swig of soda to wash them down? (Yes, I am an addict. I can admit it. I am addicted to Coke. BUT, I haven’t had ANY soda sinceMay 29, 2007. Not bad if I do say so myself!)
  2. I would have incorporated even just mild toning exercises on a daily or every other day basis. I’m 44 and had my right hip replaced in August 2007. (I have had big time orthopedic issues for years prior to my DS, and spent acouple of years before my DS in a wheelchair.) The thing I’m finding now is that even though I’m exponentially more active and healthy now – some basic baseline strengthening would have served me well during my recovery from hip replacement. Just because I’m WAY thinner, doesn’t mean I’m way more toned!
  3. I would have been much more conscientious of the fact that there is a season as an early post-op life when your body is just gonna jettison pounds like crazy and I think I would like to have (in retrospect) taken more advantage of that. I’m pleased as punch with my weight loss and the fact that maintaining that loss is pretty stinking easy, but it just seems like when I was a baby post-op I didn’t know so much about this sort ofthing, and maybe it would have been wiser to have been mindful of it. (Maybe the info was out there and I didn’t want to know? Maybe I wasn’t told? Don’t know.)

I will say that I *do* use resources like http://www.fitday.com/ and http://www.sparkpeople.com/ to do checks on what type of quality food I’m getting in and to make sure I’m getting in sufficient protein, fiber, fat,and fluids. It’s easy to get lazy and not do the basics when you’re so busy living life. So I try to be mindful and choose wisely. [I should probably also interject here that my surgeon believes in a pretty aggressive DS – for which I will be eternally grateful! I started out with a small (incomparison to my peers, but not against current standards!) gastric sleeve, 185 cm alimentary limb, and 65 cm common channel. So I have significant malabsorption. If I did not, I certainly would be more mindful about certain dietary components.]

If you haven’t yet, take a few minutes to read Dr. Hess’ patient brochure on food and eating. It’s a keeper! Here’s the link: http://www.duodenalswitch.com/surgeons/hess_brochure/hess_brochure.html

And that’s my take in a nutshell.

Iron

I was horribly anemic before my DS. I know my numbers were always marginally low due to extremely heavy menstrual bleeding for – well – decades! But they went way south when William was born via emergency c-section – his head was so stuck in my pelvis they had a hard time getting the kid out, and I lost 9 units of blood in the process. For over 5 years before my DS I was *always* battling anemia. Tried all sorts of iron supplements, but my doctors didn’t feel like anything horrible was happening because of my anemia. So I accepted it for what my normal would be.

Had my DS. Started taking different iron, and lo and behold – my iron numbers finally came up in the normal ranges – and stayed that way for over 5 years!

The past year or so my H & H were kinda wacky, so when I went in for my hip replacement in August my surgeon felt strongly that I needed a 10-day course of Procrit injections to get me ready for my surgery. He went majorly to bat with my insurance company – finally talking them into covering the injections. (Which is good, because even with great insurance coverage, our co-pay was still over $500!) So – had the injections.

The day of my hip replacement surgery I remember waking up in recovery and seeing a bag of blood hung and being given to me. I asked the nurse about it and she told me that they’d harvested my own blood and were giving it back to me. (I’d been told beforehand that hip replacement is a very bloody surgery.)

So, I go on with recovery – nicely, I might add. Did notice some kind of different things going on over the past few months – some insomnia, some itchy skin, some little owies that took AGES to heal, and then this big need to consume sour stuff (was keeping Smartees in business!). Went in for my labs at the end of December and the next business day I got a call and letter – both – from my PCP notifying me that my ferritin level was 10! Good grief! It had been fine in August!
So, it was determined that I needed to see a hematologist and pursue iron infusions. Saw the hematologist on Monday of this week. His opinion was that the Procrit injections, combined with the hip replacement is what finally did my ferritin levels in. They scheduled me for an iron infusion – had it on Thursday, actually.

Had iron dextrose given – which can sometimes cause an allergic response, and being that I’m the queen of the allergic response, they proceeded cautiously. I was given 50 mg of Benadryl via IV and then given a test dose of the iron. No reaction – woo hoo! So, I got cozy in my comfy recliner, and slept through the 4 hour infusion!

I’m pretty amazed at the changes that I’ve noticed since the infusion:

I’ve slept through the night both nights – I’ve not slept through the night in over a year – before the hip replacement it was from hip pain, since then, from anemia!

I haven’t had a single sour candy – don’t want them, don’t care about them. Amazing!

I’m not as cold. It was taking four quilts and a heating pad on my side of the bed with me wearing flannel PJ’s and 45 minutes to get me warm enough to fall asleep. I love that I’m warmer!

I feel more satisfied with what I’ve eaten… I don’t know if that’s the right way to say it – but it seems that I’m not as hungry or something.

Just a few things. So far – only positives from the experience. I’m so thankful for a proactive PCP, a really educated hematologist, and the wonderful care I received during my infusion!