My StomaphyX Surgery was a success. All that was promised had been delivered, and I was both satisfied and happy. I was out and about, enjoying life and friends. I was energized at work. I was attending classes in the evening to improve myself mentally and exercising regularly to improve myself physically. I was attending Bible classes weekly and growing spiritually. I was doing volunteer work. And then, that was that. Done. My energy level flat-lined overnight. I mean this in near literal terms. The transition from Energizer Rabbit to doormat was shockingly fast, like punching a gaping hole in a tire and hearing the air rush out.
I was disappointed to say the least. I would wait it out because I was sure it was a passing condition or phase. I waited a week, then two weeks. Then three. The disappointment grew into something larger, and the activities starting to diminish. I would not qualify myself as depressed but the aw-shucks-this-is-disappointing period was done. It was like getting grey hair. First one or two, then streaks and patches, then one day catching yourself in a hall mirror and wondering what exactly had happened. After about two months of depleted energy and an empty agenda where activity used to be, I was wondering what exactly had happened.
I went to my endocrinologist thinking my diabetes had gone on a rampage. Comprehensive blood testing was done but nothing was discovered that could fully explain my crash and burn. A vitamin D deficiency was found, and it was recommended I begin taking it to help increase my energy level. I was also told that many people have this deficiency. I did as directed and felt a small relief. That was it though. Fortunately, I am always doing my post-surgery homework.
I came across an aftercare program that seemed quite a bit more comprehensive than the standard program. I decided to investigate further and arranged a consultation. While I was there I would bring up my depleted energy and hear what she had to say. My expectations were a bit elevated because logic dictated that a person who specializes in meeting the needs of a specific population might be better equipped than the average caregiver or medical professional to provide useful information to that population. Well, go logic. She explained to me the importance of vitamin B12 to bariatric patients.
The Importance of Vit. B12
Vitamin B12 is one of the more common deficiencies that present following bariatric surgery. Mucous membranes in the mouth absorb the vitamin which then binds to intrinsic factor secreted by the stomach. That part of the stomach is bypassed after surgery; the amount of vitamin B12 absorbed after surgery is then less.
B12 is needed for cell metabolism as well
as the correct operating of the brain and nervous system. A vitamin B12 deficiency can also cause pernicious anemia. The immune system can be effected to such degree that the possibility for infection increases. Additional conditions include nervousness, inadequate blood clotting, menstrual problems and tiredness.
When asked if I had been taking B12, I had to admit that I had not. I had stopped because I felt "normal." I was instructed to begin taking the B12 sublingually where it would be absorbed through the mucous membrane under the tongue. This method is endorsed because the part of the intestine that normally absorbs B12 has been bypassed. I did as directed, and soon enough my energy level returned. Given my personal wake up call, I cannot stress enough the need to adhere to the suggested aftercare program.
The University of Washington Medical Center recommends 1000 micrograms (mcg) of vitamin B12 daily for those who have had bariatric surgery.
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You can read about my decision to have weight loss surgery back in 2003 and my journey to maintain a lifetime of obesity disease management since that time. My wish is to help you on your own journey of lifetime obesity disease management with shareposts along the way to help you navigate that journey successfully.