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Post-Gastric Bypass Surgery, Get Restaurant Discounts

Post-Gastric Bypass Surgery, Get Restaurant Discounts


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Even buffets are offering cheaper options (i.e. smaller portions) for people who have had the surgery

Thinkstock/iStockphoto

In a weirdly backwards move, more and more restaurants are providing discounts for gastric bypass patients, since they will eat smaller portions.

NPR reports that surgeons are issuing Weight Loss Surgery (WLS) cards for patients with reduced stomach volumes, asking restaurants to allow them to order smaller portions at a discounted price.

Apparently, these WLS cards have been around since the 1990s, but nowadays Cracker Barrel restaurants, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and even Golden Corral "all-you-can-eat" buffets are accepting the card.

But while the surgery and the cards are becoming more popular, surgeons want to remind patients that weight loss is dependent on changing habits, and dining out might not be a good idea.

"I definitely discourage patients from going to buffet-style restaurants — it's a danger for everybody," Ann Rogers, director at Penn State Surgical Weight Loss Program, told NPR.

Rogers notes that stomach surgery is not a permanent weight loss cure, so changing eating habits is the long-term solution. "The [hunger] hormones go down and stay down for a year or two. But, slowly, the hunger starts to come back," Rogers says.


Life After Gastric Bypass: The Surprising Real Story

3 sisters, 3 very different results. Here's what can go right&mdashand wrong.

Three sisters sit at a table in a sleepy, intimate restaurant outside Allentown, PA. They study the menu with intensity, as if a test is coming. In a way, it is: What can they choose that won't make them sick, that will be easy to chew and swallow, that won't give them heart palpitations or sudden sweats? An insignificant error for anyone else-swallowing an overlarge piece of food, say-can incur a 2-hour penalty of gut-busting pain for these women.

The sisters look strikingly healthy &mdash partly because they are now roughly half their former sizes. Lee Ann McAndrew (on the left in the photo above), is the youngest at 48. She's tiny, with a flat stomach, a broad smile, and sparkling eyes. Pam Marks (right), 49, is rangy, lanky in a way that fits her former life on a sheep farm. Cindy Ratzlaff (in the middle), 52, is introspective, thoughtful, and the most talkative. Though she "felt like crap" when she was fat, she also always felt beautiful inside&mdashlike Susan Lucci. She's lovely now, with squared-back shoulders and a soft figure in feminine, bright clothes. "For 20 years, I wore black," she says. "It was like trying to hide an elephant."

In the world of dieting and slimming down, their transformation was sudden and extreme. It has provoked some bizarre reactions. When one overweight friend saw Lee Ann, she said: "Oh my God, you skinny bitch." Another called Pam an "anorexic whore."

The menu pages flip back and forth as the sisters discuss their new lack of interest in food. Hunger, says Lee Ann, is more like a small tap on the shoulder. Explains Cindy, "Now we're just eating like everyone else." But they don't eat like everyone else. Not really. If Cindy eats more than two chocolate malt balls &mdash which she still craves&mdashshe gets heart palpitations, a symptom known as "dumping." Pam couldn't drink coffee for 6 months after she began losing the weight&mdashthe taste and smell made her sick. "And noodles make me feel like someone's hit me in the stomach," she says. "All I want is a good greasy piece of garlic bread, but I know that afterward I'd have to lie down and throw up."

What has created this miraculous yet nightmarish existence for the sisters? Gastric bypass surgery &mdash a 40-year-old operation with a surging new popularity. That the technique is in demand is no surprise: Of the 6 million Americans who are morbidly obese (more than 100 pounds overweight), nearly all are candidates, and more than 200,000 have already had the procedure. The benefits are substantial, but so are the dangers it poses and the compromises it forces. As the sisters have discovered, the surgery has radically changed not only the way they eat&mdashand even think about eating&mdashbut every aspect of their lives, from their health to their relationships.

"For 20 years, I wore black," Cindy says. "It was like trying to hide an elephant."

Then again, weight has always been front and center in the sisters' lives. By the time Cindy was 15, she was 5-foot-2 and weighed 145 pounds. "What filled everybody else didn't fill me," says the former vice president and associate publisher of Rodale Trade Books in Emmaus, PA. (Rodale publishes Prevention.) Her doctor put her on diet pills, the first of many regimens she tried, including fasting, purging, Overeaters Anonymous, macrobiotics, exercise, drugs such as Fen-Phen and Redux, and&mdashas her sister Pam says&mdash"every diet known to man." Any weight she lost would simply pile back on, and Cindy would reach a new high. By age 50, she tipped the scale at 267.

Her sisters soon caught up. Both gained weight in their 20s during pregnancies, and every year they got heavier. At 255 pounds, 5-foot-4 Pam&mdashwho lives 5 minutes away from Cindy in Allentown&mdashdreaded walking by the close-set tables at Saturday-night auctions, her wide body knocking things to the floor as she passed.

Lee Ann, the last to really pile on the pounds, could see in her two sisters the fate that would soon be hers. Her free-falling self-regard worsened the problem. "I absolutely used food emotionally," says the 5-foot-2 former Federal Emergency Management Agency employee in Phoenix. "I ate when I was lonely or bored. I ate all the time. Food was my buddy." And like her sisters, she tried anything and everything to get thin&mdashephedra, Metabolife, Fen-Phen. But each time she quit a diet, she gained back more than she had lost, until she reached her high of 230 pounds.

Before the surgery (from left): Pam, Cindy, and Lee Ann

Although she had considered stomach stapling (an early form of gastric bypass) as long ago as 1984, she dismissed it as too dangerous. But then, in 1996, a friend had gastric bypass, and her success stung Lee Ann, who by this time feared for her life. She had high blood pressure, borderline diabetes, thyroid problems, heartburn so painful she had to sleep in a recliner, and gastroparesis, a stomach disorder that made her nauseated, gassy, and bloated. By 2001, when Lee Ann finally had insurance coverage for the operation, her decision was firm: She would sign up for gastric bypass.

The operation involves isolating a portion of the stomach with staples and sometimes bands. This thumb-size pouch becomes the new stomach usually, surgeons then attach the small intestine to it, thereby skipping most of the football-size stomach and some of the small intestine (see below).

Gastric bypass isn't a surefire cure for obesity. Within the first 2 years of surgery, patients typically lose 75% of the extra weight they were carrying. Five years out, 85% of patients have regained about half of the weight they've lost. The other 15% have gained back even more.

For her last full meal before the surgery in April 2002, Lee Ann's husband, Patrick, made her favorites&mdashsteak, potatoes, mushrooms, salad, and ice cream&mdasha sizable meal she knew she would likely never have again. But if Lee Ann was ready, Patrick, a substitute teacher, wasn't: "I was afraid for her. And I didn't want to raise our young son by myself." Lee Ann's qualms hit as she was being wheeled into surgery. "I thought, Why couldn't I do this myself? Why do I have to do something this extreme?"

Those are questions that bariatric researchers would like to answer. Ninety percent of people who nonsurgically lose more than 5% of their body weight regain it within 5 years. "When you diet, every signal in your body says eat," says David R. Flum, MD, MPH, a gastrointestinal surgeon at the University of Washington who investigates the outcomes of bariatric surgery. "When you exercise, every signal says eat. And a lot of genetic determinants allow some people to pack on weight. Their calories burn more slowly and turn into fat more quickly. Those are Stone Age genes in a modern society. That doesn't mean that fat people are powerless, but their bodies do handle calories differently than the bodies of thin people do."

Lee Ann came through the operation beautifully, remaining in the hospital for 3 days. On day 1, a nurse wheeled in Lee Ann's dinner under a silver dome. She picked up the dome and there, sitting on a doily, was a 2-ounce cup of hot cereal. The nurse handed her a baby spoon and said, "Don't take bites bigger than this, and eat slowly." Lee Ann thought, You have got to be kidding me.

But then she began to eat. "I would take a bite, and it felt like a little bubble popped in my stomach, like a signal to stop eating." Some foods also repulsed her. "Before surgery, I could drink two big glasses of milk. But afterward, just the thought of milk&mdashand sugar, too&mdashmade me sick. If someone walked by me with a doughnut, I wanted to gag." The operation enforces lifestyle changes that dieting alone cannot, short of being locked in a cell. The new pouch can hold only 1 ounce of food at a time, stretching later to hold up to 4 ounces. Eat too much and you throw up&mdashsort of like surgically induced bulimia.

"Some meals will never be acceptable&mdashsuch as dense sugary milkshakes&mdashand meat may never taste the same," says Flum. Palatability shifts, researchers think, because of hormonal changes that take place when much of the stomach is out of play. "And patients have to learn to eat small pieces, to chew food better and more slowly, to separate liquids and solids. It's behavior modification," Flum says. "Patients have to reset eating patterns that have become abnormal." Lee Ann now prefers soft foods like beans to a good steak. "I immediately lost my desire for any beef," she says. "That lasted a year. I'll eat it now and it tastes okay, but I would much rather have chicken, seafood, or tofu."

The nurse handed her a baby spoon. Lee Ann stared at her 2-ounce cup of hot cereal and thought, You have got to be kidding me .

And on such a meager diet, the weight began to disappear. "That first month, I got on the scale every day, and I had lost 2 or 3 pounds," Lee Ann says. Of course, she was ingesting only a cup of food a day, 2 ounces at a time, of foods such as cottage cheese or yogurt.

"Feeling full was not at all the same," she says. As she discovered, patients lose their once raging appetites, sometimes forgetting to eat. Hunger is driven in part by ghrelin, a hormone produced by cells in the stomach. As it turns out, those cells need the regular stimulation of food to flip the ghrelin switch off and on. Because more than two-thirds of the stomach never sees food in people who've had the surgery, ghrelin levels plummet, and so does appetite. The sisters understand this shift. Cindy wants a T-shirt that says ghrelin with a slash through it.

When the sisters saw Lee Ann's success, they, too, began to consider the operation. Cindy called her sister and begged to hear the downsides. She was embarrassed by the idea of having surgery to control her weight. Just considering it meant finally admitting that she was morbidly obese. She also had read about people who died from the operation&mdasha danger that's very real.

According to a University of Minnesota review of research on 22,000 patients, 1 out of every 200 dies within 30 days of the surgery. And 2 to 3% will suffer a life-threatening complication such as a leak in the intestines, a blood clot, or internal bleeding.

But Lee Ann's joy overcame all reservations. "When Lee Ann had the operation, she sealed our fate," says Cindy.

They still cook, but the sisters can eat just a fraction of what they once did.

Cindy had her surgery in March 2003. As it had for her sister, the operation went smoothly. By evening, she was walking through the hospital corridors, wheeling her IV pole alongside her. The next day she went home and weeded her garden. Within 2 weeks she'd lost 20 pounds. "After years of struggling to lose anything, you see the weight melt off," she says.

Nine months later, Pam followed suit. "I just got tired of having fat run my life," she says. But this time, things went badly. For 3 days, Pam couldn't fully wake from the anesthesia. (Her first thought when she did was, Well, I didn't die.) Then complications set in: an infected incision, scar tissue blocking the new pouch, and gallstones so severe that she threw up 14 times a day. More surgery followed&mdashto ream out the scar and remove her gallbladder. Finally, 4 months after the initial surgery, she began to remember what a day without vomiting felt like.

There are downsides for all three.
One is what the sisters call "old woman skin." "As fat women we all had perfect skin," says Cindy. "But there was a lot of skin over all those pounds." (One of her neighbors now refers to her as a "flying squirrel.")

A year after her surgery, Lee Ann had a tummy tuck because, as she puts it, "When I put on pants, I didn't know where to put the hanging skin." This surgery took longer to recover from than the gastric bypass and left her scarred from hip to hip and from breast to pubic bone. The price tag&mdashnearly $10,000&mdashwas covered by Lee Ann's insurance because she complained of itchiness and discomfort. Generally, unless there are medical complications, cosmetic surgery to solve such problems isn't covered. Cindy would love to have the same procedure done but her insurance won't pay. So instead, she's hitting the gym three times a week, hoping to tone up. The prospect is unlikely: Obesity can permanently damage skin and connective tissue.

Bariatric surgery has also left the women vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies. In the early months, Cindy's hair thinned out from lack of protein. They work at eating enough of it&mdashat least 60 g per day, the amount in 2 cups of cottage cheese, 2 cups of soybeans, or about ½ pound of ground beef. All three take liquid or dissolvable supplements&mdashC, B12, a multivitamin, and calcium.

The families' adjustments have also turned out to be tougher than the sisters anticipated, at least for Cindy and Lee Ann. Lee Ann's then-obese husband, Patrick, was the cook and grocery shopper in the family, and his inability to adjust portion size and seasonings after Lee Ann's surgery often brought her to tears. "One night he cooked six steaks, and I cried, 'Why would you cook that much?' I would be sitting there with a teaspoon of this and that, and he would sit with a plate mounded with food. It seemed obscene." Patrick had the surgery himself last summer and now understands his wife's aversions. And they can share meals again&mdashthey split half a pork chop.

Cindy's 14-year-old daughter, Kathleen, had a tough time with her mother's new image. "You took the easy way out," the girl told her. She worried that her mom would be thinner than she is. "I was jealous," says Kathleen, who is not fat but worries about her weight. "I thought she was escaping a problem I had, that she just got to take care of it, and I couldn't. But I see she's healthier and that she and my aunts feel a lot better about themselves. And now we can share clothes."

There's nothing easy about this surgery, says Pam. "I didn't just wake up one day and say, 'I'm fat, I think I'll have surgery.'"

The trio bristles at suggestions that they've taken the easy way out. "Some of my friends act like I 'cheated' to get thin," says Pam. "But there's nothing easy about this surgery. I didn't just wake up one day and say, 'I'm fat and I think I'll have surgery.' I spent 30 years and hundreds of dollars to try to get thin. I had the surgery, but I also knew I had to change the way I ate if I wanted to live."

"The operation is just a tool," adds Cindy. "You still have to change years of bad habits." More to the point: The sisters had little chance of losing the weight by dieting. "My doctor said my health would only continue to go downhill," says Cindy. "'You have a 2% chance of reversing obesity through diet,' he told me."

Their health problems have melted away with the fat. Gone are the heartburn, the high blood pressure, the incipient diabetes, the incontinence. As Lee Ann puts it, "Now I can sneeze freely." A 2004 McGill University study underscores the health benefits: Of almost 7,000 obese patients, those who had weight loss surgery reduced their risk of death by 89%, compared with obese people who didn't have surgery. In the University of Minnesota review, the surgery alleviated diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and high cholesterol in 70 to 80% of the 22,000 patients. "That's powerful," says lead author Henry Buchwald, MD, PhD, a professor of surgery at the university. "With one operation, you get rid of the primary disease, obesity, and these four other diseases, and you stop the progress toward heart attacks and death."

Gastric bypass isn't a free pass: Pam, Cindy, and Lee Ann exercise regularly.

Although the sisters would never lightly recommend the surgery, they agree that the upsides far outweigh the downsides. The first time Cindy fit into a pair of size-12 jeans (down from a size 22), she sat in the dressing room and cried. She now wears a petite size 8 and weighs 136, having plummeted from 267. "I lost a 5-foot-2 woman," she says. Lee Ann dropped to 115, shedding 115 pounds. Pam weighs 134, a 121-pound weight loss&mdashand wears a petite size 6.

Most astonishing is the newfound energy. "People think I'm on drugs because I buzz around so much," says Pam, who used to sleep until noon and get back in bed by 6. "No one should have this much energy." She has returned to school to become a pastry chef. Lee Ann goes in-line skating with her son, and she's been riding along on a UPS truck as a driver's helper. "I love hopping on and off the truck delivering boxes. I don't have to go to the gym." Cindy has time and energy&mdasheating stole a lot of both&mdashfor exercise, scrapbooking, even housecleaning, a job she used to leave to her husband. "It's not like all the problems of life go away," she says. "It's all just as complicated as it was before. But I'm not hungry."

As if to prove the point, she pushes away her potato-leek soup and salad, both half eaten. Her sisters take their leftovers, disguised as foil swans, home to Pam's husband. Overeating is no longer something they fear. And despite the statistics suggesting that they're likely to gain back as much as 50% of their excess weight, they don't worry. "I've weighed 115 for 3 years, so I don't think I'll gain much back," says Lee Ann. "I know what I can comfortably eat, and I just don't want to eat more than that." Pam states it more baldly: "We went through too much for this not to work."


Get Gastric Bypass Surgery, Get 50% Smorgasbord Discount

The Shady Maple Smorgasbord, located in Pennsylvania's Lancaster County and run by the Weaver family, can seat 1,200 people at any one time—often with waits of up to an hour—and is closed on Sundays. Their prices range from $9.41 for adult breakfasts on weekdays to $22.25 for adult dinners on Tuesdays (incidentally, seafood night). And discounts abound! Diners 60 and up get 10% off their meals unless they're above the age of 90, and then they receive a 50% discount. The same break is extended to regulars who have recently had gastric bypass surgery, with a Gastric Bypass Card.

Note this isn't a tongue-in-cheek VIP pass—it's an actual discount card for regulars who've had gastric bypass surgery in the last two years, who then receive a 50% discount their first year after surgery and 10% off the second year. You have to provide your date of surgery and the signature of your doctor.

So why the Gastric Bypass Card? Gastric bypass surgery makes you lose weight by making it impossible to eat anywhere near the same amounts of food you did before—which makes going to a smorgasbord a pretty bad deal financially. Fortunately for Pennsylvanians, over one out of four of whom are clinically obese, the Weaver family patriarch believes that you "give the customer quality food and service and you will have a customer for life." Note that while his customer service acumen is sharp as a tack, he's no sucker: you're required to display photo ID every single time you use your Gastric Bypass Card discount.


Dining Out Tips

Summer is here, and for many this is the season when a lot of time will be spent dining out. However, this can be challenging after weight-loss surgery and many people avoid going to restaurants to prevent overeating or eating the wrong foods.

But since dining out is a normal part of life for many, we recommend that you not avoid eating out but instead educate yourself and choose your foods wisely. The following strategies will assist you in making the healthiest food decisions so you can leave the restaurant feeling light and satisfied rather than heavy and guilty.

  • Check the calories of every meal. Most restaurants can provide you with the calorie content of every dish they serve.
  • Ask that bread and butter not be served at your table.
  • Choose a dish with lean protein such as fish, chicken or turkey.
  • Choose a side of complex carbohydrate such as yams or whole wheat pasta, with a side green salad or steamed or grilled vegetables.
  • Ask how the food is prepared and avoid items that are fried, pan-fried or breaded.
  • Choose foods that are baked, broiled, grilled or roasted.
  • Share your main course or request a to-go container with your food and, before you begin eating, portion out your food to approximately: 3 oz protein, ¼ cup complex carbohydrate and ½ cup vegetables. If this portion is too much, eat until you feel satisfied and add the leftovers to your to-go container.
  • Eat slowly and chew your food to a liquid consistency. To help you accomplish this, it is best to set your utensils down between bites.
  • Don't drink with your meals since liquids may push food down and allow you to fit more food in your pouch. It is best to avoid liquids 15 minutes before and 30 minutes after a meal.
  • Prior to choosing the restaurant it is always a good idea to look up the menu and nutrition facts on-line.

I hope that you find these strategies helpful and that you enjoy your next dining-out experience. And remember, it is best to do everything in moderation. Have a great summer!


Subway Bariatric Friendly Salads

  • Veggie Delite Salad – Lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers and olives.
  • Turkey Breast Salad – Turkey breast on lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers and olives.
  • Turkey Breast and Ham Salad – Turkey Breast and ham on lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers and olives.
  • Black Forest Ham Salad – Black forest ham on lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers and olives.
  • Oven Roasted Chicken Salad – Oven roasted chicken on lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers and olives.
  • Subway Club Salad – Turkey breast, roast beef and ham on lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers and olives.
  • Roast Beef Salad – Roast beef on lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers and olives.
  • Carved Turkey Salad – Carved turkey on lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers and olives.
  • BLT Salad – Bacon on lettuce, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers and olives.
  • Steak and Cheese Salad – Steak and pepper jack cheese on lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers and olives.
  • Double Chicken Salad – Extra chicken on a bed of lettuce spinach, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, cucumbers and olives.


Gastric Bypass Surgery: Gastric Bypass Problems Years Later

It’s been years since my gastric bypass surgery, I have had to deal with many gastric bypass complications years later. I’ve had to deal with gatric bypass side effects years later. Check out one of my stories:

As I sat in Pod 3, waiting for my 6th round of intravenous iron, a commercial popped up on the television. It was Carnie Wilson promoting her new Wilson Phillips reality show. She was talking to one of the Wilson’s or Phillip’s ( I can never remember who is which ) about having weight loss surgery for a second time. The nurse assisting a patient receiving chemotherapy next to me made the comment “She is getting that surgery again? Well, it sure doesn’t seem like it worked for her the first time.” She continued to talk about it as she walked over to insert my IV, “Do you think it will work out for her this time?” I reply, “Maybe, pretty brave of her though.” I guess that response was unexpected… she says, “Oh?” I know, I opened myself up for this but her condescending tone on a subject she seemed to know so little about bothered me. “Well, if I would have known then, what I know now… I might not have been brave enough to go through weight loss surgery the first time, much less a second time. (a quiet pause) It is why I am sitting here today, after all.” Ironic.

For those of you who are not familiar with my weight loss journey, you can see some before and after photos and read more about it here. It’s been almost 10 years since I had gastric bypass surgery. I had a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. This entailed the cutting of my stomach to make a smaller stomach pouch about the size of an egg. The new smaller pouch was then directly attached to the middle part of my intestines, “bypassing” the larger portion of my stomach and upper part of my intestines. This is done to decrease the amount of food one can take in and also to decrease the amount of sugars and fat that can be absorbed into the body. I know this seems drastic but this is usually done on severely obese patients that are on the road to an early grave. I believe I was. I believe it saved my life. But with any surgery and manipulation of the body comes complications.

The first complication began immediately after the surgery. For some reason, I was vomiting everything I ingested… even water. Doctors had never seen such a case. Of course, I had to be one of those “weird cases.” Story of my life. After an additional week in the hospital and extensive tests, doctors concluded I had a “swelling in the portion of the stomach that led to the intestines.” This swelling caused a blockage. The swelling finally subsided and everything was “good”… for awhile.

It wasn’t until about 4 or 5 years later when more complications arose. I began having excruciating pain in the upper part of my abdomen. The pain was debilitating. I often could not catch my breath and wondered if “this is it, I’m coming Elizabeth.” ( Props to whoever got the Sanford and Son reference, I know my hubby did ) This led me to a Gastroenterologist. Turns out, with having a much smaller stomach pouch, one is more at risk to develop stomach ulcers. I did. Good news is… they can be prevented by taking Nexium, the little purple pill. Bad news is… I have to take it daily for the rest of my life. And believe me taking it daily is crucial for warding off the ulcers. There have been times when I had forgotten to take my pills or ran out without reordering them in sufficient time… I paid the price. So, if this is what I have to do… so be it. Things can always be worse.

Things seemed to be stable again… for while.

I look back now and see there were many of signs of anemia. Fatigue, dizziness, being cold ALL THE TIME, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath… but it wasn’t until I started getting illness after illness when my doctor suspected something was off. After having pink eye and strep throat twice… doctors ran blood test suspecting I had mononucleosis. Mono test came back negative. But my blood and iron counts were extremely low. Apparently, my iron levels were under a 4. Apparently, individuals with iron levels under a 4 are usually passed out. Apparently, the multivitamin and iron supplement I take daily was not being absorbed. I was sent to a Hematologist.

The Hematologist gave me two options, an iron infusion or an iron infusion. I was given the choice between two forms of iron I would had administered. The first is called “Infed.” It is administered over a period of 6 hours, this is because a “test dose” is first administered… what are they testing for? Allergic reactions. The allergic side effects from this form of iron is very common and cases of death have even been reported. “I will take what is behind curtain number two… Zonk!” ( Who guessed Let’s Make a Deal? ) The second option was a 2 hour treatment of a form of iron called “Venofer.” These treatments are done three times over a three week period. The good news is… patients being administered Venofer have a much lower risk of developing an allergic reaction. The bad news is… I developed an allergic reaction.

It wasn’t until about 4 hours after receiving the Venofer when I started to get a head ache and just feel “blah.” Then… the fever hit and chills. I was under a heating blanket and shivering. I started to have pain in the arm I received my infusion and it started to swell. I first thought this might be normal but after suffering for an hour or so, I did what I usually do when I am feeling bad. I called my mommy. She is a nurse so she does have some insight on the situation. She thought I was having an allergic reaction and gave me prompt orders to take some Benedryl. I did. Sure enough… about 30 minutes later, I started to feel better.

I called my Hematologist first thing Monday morning. I was scheduled for my second round of iron on Friday and I did NOT want to go through that again. She ordered a steroid to be administered before and after each iron treatment. This seemed to do the trick. My next two treatments ran smoothly. I was feeling much better, I had so much more energy… I was cured!

A month later I had a follow up appointment to check my blood count and iron levels. It was not up to the level it should have been. I had to schedule another round of iron infusions. Another three weeks of infusions. I was also told that this will now be my “norm.” I am to come in periodically to have my levels checked. If they are too low, I am to have iron infusions. My body does not absorb iron like it should due to having gastric bypass surgery. I guess… I had not thought of it this way before. I was disheartened. And on top of that, since I am still menstruating, I have to watch it even more closely due to losing blood/iron every month. This led to the discussion about having an Endometrial ablation…

An Endometrial ablation is a procedure that destroys the uterine lining. Basically, a patient is under anesthetic and boiling water is inserted into the uterus to destroy the lining. The endometrium heals by scarring, which usually reduces or prevents uterine bleeding. Thus, reducing my loss of blood/iron every month. I am scheduled for a uterine biopsy on Monday. Hopefully, I am a good candidate for the procedure.

I also just completed my 2nd round (6th treatment) of receiving Venofer. All went smoothly once again with the help of the steroid. I HOPE I do not have to get another round of iron any time soon. I will just have to wait and see what my counts are in a month or so.

But as I sat there receiving my last treatment. I glanced around the room called “Pod 3.” Next to me stood the “Carnie Wilson nurse” assisting a patient, another woman (which seemed to be in her early 40’s) surrounded by worried family members and a few other patients lying in hospital beds. All were receiving chemotherapy treatment. All were fighters. All were brave. And the only thing I could think about was… how blessed I am for my health.


Nutrition Facts English Muffin Snackin Bacon Waffle Breaded Chicken Tenders Everything Bagel Multigrain Bagel
Calories 140 190 290 340 350
Cal Fat 5 108 130 25 60
Fat 1 12 15 3 7
Carbs 30 10 19 67 63
Fiber 6 0 0 5 8
Sugar 1 9 2 7 8
Protein 4 10 19 12 15
Phase Approval 5 5 5 5 5
Nutrition Facts Egg and Cheese Wake-Up Wrap Egg White Veggie Wake-Up Wrap Ham, Egg And Cheese Wake-Up Wrap Bacon, Egg and Cheese Wake-Up Wrap Steak Snack and Go Wrap Veg. Bacon/ Veg. Sausage Wake-Up Wrap Beyond Sausage Wake-Up Wrap Turkey Sausage Wake-Up Wrap
Calories 180 190 200 210 210 240 250 280
Cal Fat 100 100 100 120 100 120 135 160
Fat 11 11 11 13 11 13 15 18
Carbs 13 14 14 14 15 17 15 13
Fiber 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1
Sugar 1 1 1 1 3 1 1 0
Protein 8 11 10 10 12 12 12 15
Phase Approval 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5

How to Reignite Weight Loss After Gastric Bypass

If your weight loss has plateaued or you’re gaining weight, there are many proven ways to get back on track. Remember, gastric bypass surgery is just a tool. Take a look at your lifestyle and see if there are some areas you can tighten up to promote weight loss.

Back to the Basics With Diet

Rather than returning to the post-op diet, focus on the weight loss surgery diet principles.

  • Fluids - Don’t drink 15 minutes before meals, and limit drinking for 30 minutes after meals. Liquid moves food out of your pouch more quickly, which may make you hungry sooner.
  • Eat slowly - Chew thoroughly and pace yourself at meals to prevent overeating and increase satiety.
  • Protein - Include high-quality protein with each meal. Also, decide if you are still benefiting from protein shakes. You may not need them if they no longer keep you full, and you get enough protein from food.
  • Limit foods high in fat and sugar - These foods are high in calories and low in nutrients. Furthermore, these foods are likely to cause uncomfortable symptoms of dumping syndrome.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol - alcohol is high in calories, especially in mixed drinks.

Keep Moving With Exercise

It’s easy to get off track when it comes to exercise. If you’re struggling to exercise consistently, start small to get back to your goals. Set a step goal for yourself or set a goal to talk 3 short walks per day. Build onto your small goals once you get back into the habit of exercising. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of activity each day.

Once you have a steady foundation for exercise, build onto your goals with a variety of exercise, or by incorporating weights into your routine. Of course, talk to your doctor before beginning any new exercise.


Choosing Gastric Bypass Appropriate Foods

In general, you’ll want to choose foods that are high to moderate in protein, low in carbohydrates and moderate in good fats.

Foods with good (healthy) fats include:

  • avocados
  • salmon
  • nuts
  • sardines
  • nut butters
  • coconut oil

General guidelines include:

  • Choose lean meats.
  • Canned tuna and salmon.
  • Avoid greasy and spicy foods.
  • Avoid whole milk.
  • Eat nutrient dense foods (whole fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs).
  • Plan your meals.
  • Involve your family in healthy eating decisions.
  • Shop for healthy foods.
  • Limit or eliminate desserts.
  • Don’t tempt yourself with a pantry full of junk foods.
  • Eliminate fast food.
  • Eat out only on occasion.
  • Take quality nutritional supplements/vitamins.
  • Separate your water and food by at least 30 minutes.
  • Introduce new foods slowly.
  • Each meal should be no larger than your fist.

10 Snack Foods to Eat After Gastric Bypass Surgery

After having gastric bypass surgery, it’s vital that you follow a strict diet in order to heal properly and to ensure that you lose weight and keep it off. You have the opportunity to turn your life around and continue improving your health by eating good, nutritious foods.

You’ll need to avoid sugary snacks such as cookies, cakes, pies and candy along with foods containing high fat content. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a snack between meals once you’ve reached that

stage in your diet plan, provided you choose healthy snacks.

Here are ten snack food ideas to eat following gastric bypass surgery:

10. Low fat cottage cheese

Choosing healthy snacks is vital to your success. You don’t want to fall right back into the habit of eating the unhealthy foods that made the bypass surgery necessary in the first place. Eating healthy can be challenging.

There are so many unhealthy foods readily available that it’s often difficult to choose the healthy snacks instead of chips and chocolate bars but you can do it. Remind yourself of all the benefits that making the right choices provide.

Changing your eating habits is imperative to your success. Don’t allow temptation to hold you back. Good snack foods are the ones that contain protein and that are low in sugar and carbohydrates.

Make the right choice and choose to eat healthy snacks that will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. You’ll feel better, look better and have more energy than you dreamed possible.


Watch the video: Ανεβάζουν ρολά αύριο εστιατόρια, ταβέρνες και καφετέριες


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