MsGrace

Surgery is March 19th and I have a million questions!

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Hi, everyone.  I've been "trolling" this forum for a while but was too nervous to join until I finally decided to dive right in.  I don't know anyone else that has had gastric bypass so I don't have anyone to ask the million questions that have popped into my mind when I looked at the date and realized that the liver shrink diet is less than a week away and the surgery is less than 3 weeks!  EEEKKK!  I guess I was in denial that I was actually going to do this until it snuck up on me.  Can anyone give me some advice about the following:

- Vitamins No. 1: Does anyone use a vitamin service that may or may not be covered by insurance?  My doctor's office gave me a form that I filled out and gave back to them for a company called Nutrition Direct.  I don't know if this is a great idea or a rip off.  They have been calling and texting me constantly and I haven't responded to them.  If it's a great idea, then I want to go ahead and get it in place.  If it's a rip off, I need to start figuring out what I need to have on hand when I get out of the hospital.

-Vitamins No. 2: Any advice on timing of taking the vitamins in a way that would be easy to remember?  I'm currently on medications that I take in the morning and at night so that routine would not be hard to continue.  However, I don't know enough about the vitamins to know if that timing would work.

Chicken Broth: Any advice on chicken broth?  The brands carried in stores seem to only have 2 grams of protein per cup.  This doesn't seem like a significant protein source after surgery when you are trying to get in 60-80 grams of protein.

Protein Shakes: My plan is to mainly survive on bottled protein shakes to get my protein in while on the liquid diet after surgery.  Right now, I drink a glucose control shake every morning in order to take my pills and I like and are used to them.  They have 16 grams of protein.  Is that enough?  Any recommendations for ones that might taste good and have more protein?

Like I said I have a million questions and this is just a few.  I don't want to be obnoxious and ask too many at once!  I am also open to any other lessons learned the hard way. :)

Thank you for any advice anyone can give me!

 

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57 minutes ago, MsGrace said:

Like I said I have a million questions and this is just a few.

Welcome to the forum, and congrats on your decision for WLS!

Regarding the vitamins, ultimately it will be up to you but pretty much everything you will be taking can be had for very reasonable prices at your local drugstore or Sam's Club/ Costco. You'll almost certainly be on a multivitamin, calcium, possibly some iron, and possibly vitamin B12 and a B complex, and Vitamin D. Your mileage may vary of course. I personally believe that the vitamin programs like the ones you mentioned are kind of scam-ish, where the vitamin company will hit your insurance company for exorbitant rates for regular vitamins, and the Dr's office gets a kickback for every patient that uses the program. Just my personal opinion. But my own surgeon's office "signed me up" ahead of time with Celebrate Vitamins, who are definitely reputable folks, but I didn't like that fact that I got an email form them due to the surgeon's office signing me up. I'm positive there's a kickback in there somewhere for the surgeon if I buy stuff.

Premier Protein makes a "clear" protein drink with 20 g protein. From the day I left the hospital I was able to make protein and liquid goals, by drinking three of those a day (60 g protein total AND it counted toward 51 oz of my liquid goal), so then all I needed was a couple cups of broth and I was good to go. So you will need a protein drink early out to meet protein goals, no way you will be able to do it with only broth.

That being said: very early out, you are swollen and inflamed and sore. You may not be able to get hardly any protein in, and that's fine for a little while. Focus strongly on liquid goals though, as we say here when you newly become post-op--  walk walk walk, sip sip sip. You do not want to become dehydrated and this is super easy to do immediately post-op. 

Back to vitamins, the timing of taking them will probably be largely up to you. Iron and calcium have to have at least 2 hours apart, so I take my iron in the morning first thing with my multivitamins, and I eat my calcium chews later in the day after lunch. In the evening I take my B's and a D. That's it. 

57 minutes ago, MsGrace said:

Protein Shakes: My plan is to mainly survive on bottled protein shakes to get my protein in while on the liquid diet after surgery.  Right now, I drink a glucose control shake every morning in order to take my pills and I like and are used to them.  They have 16 grams of protein.  Is that enough?  Any recommendations for ones that might taste good and have more protein?

I strongly encourage you to start looking at the overall picture of carbs, calories, sugars, and protein. The Premiere Protein shakes are well known here because they are very low carb, low sugar, low fat, and reasonable calories, while providing a whopping 30 G protein.  I myself was Type 2 diabetic until two days after surgery. When I was discharged from the hospital, my surgeon said "congrats, you're off all your diabetes meds".  So I know a lot about the "glucose control" and specialty diabetes type foods, and often they are really no friend to diabetics. I don't know what brand you are using and it may an awesome brand :-)  But much of that stuff is not compatible with the long term weight loss goals of the WLS lifestyle.  Post here the brand or nutrition info so I can disect it for you lol....

Ask all your questions, that's why we're all here!

Edited by Michael_A

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@MsGrace hi and welcome to thinner times you will find an awesome group of people on the forum.  For your first question i personally do not use a vitamin service so i do not really know if its a good idea or rip off. And my surgeon doesn't allow us to start taking vitamins until our 1 month post op check. If you don't decide to do the vitamin service then you will definitely need a multivitamin b12 calcium and iron. I would also check with your specific surgeon to make sure there is nothing else they require. I use Celebrate brand. (also if you search vitamins on here there are lots of threads with other brands advice etc). As for timing i take my b12 and one of my multivits with my morning meds then when i do my midmorning snack i take my iron pill. I was told you need to wait 2 hours before taking calcium after the iron. So i take one of my calcium chews with lunch and then the other with my afternoon snack. I take my other multivit with my night time meds. Chicken broth is more of just a way to get liquids in. You could always do bone broth it has more protein than regular broth. You could also add unflavored protein powder to the broth. As for protein shakes i really like the premier protein ready to drink and they also have 30g of protein. I like the chocolate and vanilla flavors but they have several others(strawberries and cream, banana and cream, caramel, and i do believe they now have a peach cream flavor). Also when you are early out of surgery you will likely not hit all your protein goals right away and that is okay because they are just that goals. I am now 4 weeks out from a revision to bypass and there are still days i struggle to get my protein in. Also make sure you keep up with your fluids and try to get at least 64 oz dehydration can happen very quickly. Look forward to getting to know you better.

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Welcome MsGrace!  I take multi and iron in the morning (5:30) a calcium at 10, 4 and 10.  I take B12 mon, wed and fri.  ( my b12 runs off the charts so I don’t take every day.  I take a D and b complex at bedtime.  I do not use a vitamin service.  Early out you will want chewable celebrate makes good ones.  

Broth isn’t high in protein but is liquid a little variety.  I was discharged from the hospital it thick liquids (strained cream soups, thinned Greek yogurt) don’t stock up on it.  I bought a box of several different flavors and they go a long way when you can only get 2 oz at time in.  

premiere makes a good protein shake, 30 grams protein.  If ordering on line Syntrax is a good brand.  As Michael says, compare calorie, carbs and protein- keep carbs low (under 50 per day unless dr says otherwise).  

Ask away!  You will get many different answers..

Edited by Cheesehead

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Welcome to the forum! I have not yet had surgery ( 1 week after you) but, one piece of advice I will give you. Before you start stocking up on anything be sure that it will be something that your Dr and nutritionist approve of.

I waited and am so glad that I did. I love the Premier Protein Shakes but found out that they are not on my list of approved protein supplements post op. Most likely you will get a list from your nutritionist of supplements and vitamins to choose from. Most of these Drs seem to vary widely on what they want their patients to use.

Good luck to you and be sure to enter your surgery date on the calendar.

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You guys are great!  I think I have received so much information In so many different ways from my doctor’s office that I have just been overwhelmed. You all have cleared up so much for me in just a few hours and I feel so much better!

I checked and Premier protein shakes are on the list the doctor gave me so I am going to try out their different flavors while on the liver shrink diet so I will know what I like and be prepared after the surgery.  

Also I think I’m going to pass on the vitamin service company because it just seems sketchy to me and I do think they probably charge my insurance company an outrageous amount for it.  I will meet my maximum out-of-pocket on my insurance from the surgery so it would be free for me the rest of the year but I just don’t like the idea of the massive overcharging.

You all also simplified the vitamins for me. Seems like it will be simple enough. 

I am so glad I found this forum.   I have a feeling it’s going to be a wealth of information and support for me! 

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I caution on stocking up on shakes or anything else before surgery as tastes can and do chance.  Some people have an aversion to anything sweet.  You may like something post surgery you don’t care for now..

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39 minutes ago, Cheesehead said:

I caution on stocking up on shakes or anything else before surgery as tastes can and do chance.  Some people have an aversion to anything sweet.  You may like something post surgery you don’t care for now..

Welcome @MsGrace and congrats on taking your first steps! :) Very exciting. 

Cheesehead makes a great point here - many people's tastes change after surgery (ex: before surgery, I could only stand chocolate Syntrax, after surgery, it's the one flavor I couldn't make myself choke down). It's probably a good idea to buy some small amounts or sample packs. 

@Michael_A and @ktallon had some great vitamin and protein advice and info. I take a multi (just GNC brand, I've also used Costco brand) morning and evening with calcium at the same time. With the morning round, I take biotin (to promote hair growth in the awful hair falling out phase) and B12. Before bed, I take an iron. 

In the early days, just focus on fluids - that's quite a bit of work. If you can get in a shake or two on top of the water (or warm/hot herbal tea, depending on how your system responds to different temps), you're pretty golden in the first couple of weeks. At that point, you can start worrying about making sure you get the protein goals every day. Premier and Syntrax seem to be the popular protein drinks around these parts, and both have a lot of protein (20-30g) and not much in the way of carbs (1g I think). There are all kinds of things that advertise themselves as protein drinks, but some have like 10g of protein, and up to 50g of carbs! It's good to keep an eye on both of those things. 

Best of luck :) 

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Welcome! You are getting some great advice! Premier shakes are my favorite and I agree with not stocking up on anything. I thought I loved the chicken soup protein powder pre-op. Post-op I hated it and ended up giving about $50 of it away to someone here. 

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15 minutes ago, Stephtay said:

Post-op I hated it and ended up giving about $50 of it away to someone here. 

Ouch.

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15 minutes ago, Stephtay said:

Welcome! You are getting some great advice! Premier shakes are my favorite and I agree with not stocking up on anything. I thought I loved the chicken soup protein powder pre-op. Post-op I hated it and ended up giving about $50 of it away to someone here. 

I ended up throwing mine out entirely!  It sounded so great - I was dying for something savory by the middle of week one of my post-op liquids phase, since all the protein shakes are so sweet.  But I tried it once at midday and the taste was still with me when I went to bed.  It wasn't bad - but it wasn't good, either - and the lingering aftertaste was more than I could handle.

@MsGrace, you may also find that your tolerance for certain things post-surgery will vary.  For instance, I was fine with Premier Protein shakes for about two months... then for about 3 months I couldn't get them to stay down at all.  This wasn't a taste aversion, just something about the consistency of them didn't work for me and they would not go any further down than the pouch, every time I tried one I had to throw it up again.  (Bleah).  Now, at almost 7 months post-op, I'm tolerating them easily again.  So I wouldn't stock up too much on any one thing even after surgery!  (But if you do, and it stops working for you, you should definitely give it a month or so and then try it again.)

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As far as a good, savory flavor during any kind of liquid phase, I used Better Than Bouilon roast beef flavor, and made a nice hot 8 oz cup at a time. Oh MAN it was so good. Very rich and satisfying flavor in an otherwise bleak time as far as flavors go. I had two or three a day for the first 2 weeks post op.

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Still buying and using Premier Protein vanilla shakes... had one this morning on the way in to work. 

re: chicken broth - not a big source of protein but a great base for other things. I still whip an egg up into a cup of chicken broth with a drop of vinegar to help the egg flocculate. 

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Thank you all for all the advice that has come from your experiences.  Now my plan is to have small amounts of different things for after my surgery so I can figure out what I like and can tolerate.  My plan had been to just stock up so you guys probably saved me a lot of money!

I had never heard of Better than Bouillon before but I checked them out and will definitely give some of those a try.

Yesterday I felt overwhelmed but today I feel like I have a much better handle on this and am feeling optimistic and excited!

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Search on the net for sample packs of Syntrax.  Some places let you pick which ones you want to try.  They have a bunch of different flavors.  My tastes still change.  Last summer I was drinking root beer water flavor packets, they were hard to find so I stocked up when I found them.  I have at least 12 boxes.  Got burned out on flavor drop (mio) but that taste is coming back.  

Hated coffee before surgery, but drink it all the time now.  You never know when your likes are going to all of a sudden change.

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Thanks for the tip, Cheesehead.  I just ordered the Syntrax sample packs from Amazon.  I am feeling much better sbout the protein situation.

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One thing to add re: protein and chicken broth. Bone broth can be a great option as it has much more protein. The taste can be a little meh, so I would recommend combining it with some chicken broth - I can't remember who it was, but someone gave that advice to me on this forum and it was very helpful. Pacific has some interesting bone broth flavors if you're wanting something a little more complex - there is a turkey rosemary one which is what I had for Thanksgiving (my surgery was 11/15), and there is also a chicken lemongrass one and a chicken ginger one (that was the best in my opinion). 

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I am having surgery that day also! And I've been lurking around trying to imagine all that stuff too!  

I was given some samples on Unjury chicken broth and liked it. I have a hot water tap on my water cooler and am practicing with wisks and shaker bottles. I ordered Isopure unflavored powder through Wal-Mart to try to add to beef bullion. A little plain unflavored geek yogurt gives broth a  bit of oriental sour flavor.

Dollar General was a good source for  small food storage containers, some new measuring cups.

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Some protein powders get nasty textures if adding hot wat (135 degrees, I think). 

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I very much agree with everyone here about not stocking up too much ahead of time. It is hard not to do as we want to be prepared but, the good quality stuff that we need post op can be quite pricey. I don't want to have to toss anything out if I can help it.

 

For anyone that is able/ allowed to use the Premier Protein, it is on sale at Sams Warehouse for $12.66 per carton (12 pack). I was there yesterday and stocked up. My husband is doing the pre op diet with me and uses the Premier.

I bought the 17 flavor pack of syntrax for about $20.00 shipped a few months back. Every single flavor was very good IMHO.

Edited by Readytobeme

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