Well, today has been quite the learning experience. After almost 13 years post-op, you would think I would have mastered my dietary needs by now, especially being as stats driven as I am. Today, I had my 3-week surgical follow-up after my hernia & bowel obstruction surgery. I have been severely fatigued for almost the entire 3 weeks of recovery and was beginning to question whether something else was wrong.
Nope! It seems recovery can take up to 3 months given what I had done. Just because I have 6 small laparoscopic holes and a 4-inch incision at my core, which are all healing beautifully, doesn’t mean that it’s not taking some crazy repair magic going on inside my body. There was a gaping hole that got repaired and my intestines were literally pulled out of my body, inspected and put back in. That’s a lot of healing to do within a very short window so far.
On the upside, I now realize that after flying by the seat of my pants for 13 years, it’s high time I get some expert input on my nutrition and macronutrients. When I had my Roux-en-Y Gastric bypass on 04/12/2007 there was not much in way of “support” for me, other than going to see my doctor every 3 months. And when I started competing, trying to find help with supplements and nutrition for a bariatric extreme athlete or ‘bari athlete’ was beyond frustrating. I could find regular nutritionists but very few were able to tell me what I needed to compete as a fighter and bariatric patient. So, I did the best I could on my own and just sort of figured out what worked for me, and after 13 years I have not really fluctuated. I’ve maintained my weight loss and by all intents and purposes, I am considered ‘a success story’ because I’ve kept the 250+ pounds off.
But now, there are entire surgical centers dedicated to various forms of bariatric surgery and the world of macro-nutrients has taken off. Hell, there’s an app for almost any type of nutrient counting I could need! But when my doctor asked me this morning how much protein I eat on a daily basis, I couldn’t tell her. I could list off all my supplements, I could tell her how much water I drink, what my caffeine level is, and even the time, shape and consistency of my last bowel movement…yet I was dumbfounded at how much protein I had eaten yesterday.
Now, if you follow me, you know I write down my food, but it’s more for allergic reactions and general nutrition that I track it. I don’t bother with portions or macronutrients, because what I have been doing has been working.
Evidently, I should be eating between 60-80 grams of protein daily while I am recovering. I had no idea. Also, I got asked about my bloodwork, which I proudly advised I have checked every 6 months! To which the doctor replied, “is not the full bariatric panel that SHOULD be checked” (insert dumbfounded look here). Thus, sometime in late December, I will go have a FULL bariatric panel done (16+ vials, which is why I am not doing it while I am recovering) and see where all my vitamin and mineral levels are. This is what I thought I was having done by requesting a ‘full panel of blood tests’ to be done but evidently, it’s not the norm.
Once I go back to the doctor on Jan 16, I will also begin the process like a new bariatric patient would, and get all the options available to me. Support groups, education, etc. All things I never had back in the day. I am yet again reminded how grateful I am that I work at the University and am now on the bariatric radar so to speak. According to my doctor, I could have asked to be seen by them without that whole emergency surgery thing, but I had absolutely no idea about it, and my regular doc never even mentioned it. So it’s definitely worth looking into for me, and for Greg as well.
Anyway, other than the fatigue and a cold starting to wreak havoc with my BPPV, I am recovering normally and having fatigue is as expected…for everyone but my brain lol. But, knowing there’s nothing wrong also sets me at ease and I can focus on recovery and like a friend has suggested “I can focus on other stats that will help me recover” so that’s what I will do and you bet your sweet ass the next time I get asked what my protein intake is, I will have a very specific answer!