QuietMissB

Traveling Post-Op

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I have a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark scheduled for January, which will likely be about 2mo post-op VSG for me.

Does anyone have tips for prepping to travel post-op? I have traveled extensively before, and Denmark isn't new to me. I am assuming I will not be able to pack until the week before due to rapid weight loss,  but I am not sure what to expect with surgery that recent.

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I will be traveling to Thailand in January approximately 2-3 mos post op RNY for me. The folks here have been great in giving travel tips for being so close out of surgery.  They suggested I bring my own protein items just to make sure I'm hitting my protein goals every day.  So I plan to pack a bunch of whey protein packets and pre-packaged nuts & healthy snack bars with a small backpack to keep with me at all times so I don't forget to eat. I'm always lost in sightseeing and not paying attention to time unless my stomach is growling so I want to be prepared for that and make sure I'm not getting dehydrated and forgetting to eat. 

And I'm the type of person who will pack a month before I go, so I'm struggling with that thought.  I figure since I'm going somewhere warm in January, I'll pack just a couple of things and buy clothing over there. Not sure if that's an option for you.

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On 8/30/2018 at 8:56 PM, QuietMissB said:

I have a trip to Copenhagen, Denmark scheduled for January, which will likely be about 2mo post-op VSG for me.

Does anyone have tips for prepping to travel post-op? I have traveled extensively before, and Denmark isn't new to me. I am assuming I will not be able to pack until the week before due to rapid weight loss,  but I am not sure what to expect with surgery that recent.

 

On 8/31/2018 at 12:37 PM, Brattykid said:

I will be traveling to Thailand in January approximately 2-3 mos post op RNY for me. The folks here have been great in giving travel tips for being so close out of surgery.  They suggested I bring my own protein items just to make sure I'm hitting my protein goals every day.  ... and make sure I'm not getting dehydrated and forgetting to eat. 

And I'm the type of person who will pack a month before I go, so I'm struggling with that thought.  I figure since I'm going somewhere warm in January, I'll pack just a couple of things and buy clothing over there. Not sure if that's an option for you.

QuietMissB and Brattykid, you may be on soft solids 2-3 months after your surgeries; would bring protein bars, and if you can eat beef jerky, perhaps a few bags of that too. Some people get constipated with travel and so recommend protein bars with 15 grams of fiber, which is about half the amount of daily fiber suggested for adults. I was in East Africa about 6 months after my surgery, where the diet is very starchy, and having the options provided by my protein bars and jerky was very helpful. Let me second Brattykid's idea of bringing nuts - was recently in Vietnam and in Indonesia, and it was very hard to find almonds or walnuts or similar. I eventually did find some at an airport but it was quite expensive. I find in northern Europe that a lot of meals are bread based, or bread heavy, so having the bars & jerky as backup is useful. In some hotels they will have sliced meats, cheeses and fish as part of the breakfast, as well as pastries bread jam etc that you should be avoiding, so you should be okay in Denmark. Lots of yogurt too!

Brattykid, after your RNY, you no longer have the protection that stomach acid offers you. The acid of the stomach is a barrier to getting infectious diarrhea, since it kills most things. Should you eat food contaminated by bacteria or viruses, they will be funneled right into your intestines without going through the acid bath of the stomach. Having a RNY is a risk factor for getting traveller's diarrhea, and so you may find it prudent to be really scrupulous about only eating hot prepared-for-you foods. Eating from a buffet (even if it is hot) is about four times as risky as eating food that has been prepared for you. Putting lime or lemon juice on your food also cuts your risk of an infection, since citrus juice is acidic. I love the street food in SE Asia but I will only eat food that is cooked over a grill in my eyesight, and will not let anyone dunk the food into some Mystery Sauce that may be contaminated. QuietMissB still has some stomach acid production after her VSG but I don't know if there is any additional risk (I had a VSG too). I was in India back in January and did get diarrhea there, but had been taking a probiotic that has been shown to ameliorate diarrhea and reduce the risks (it contains Lactobacillus GG) - so it wasn't too bad. I started the probiotic when I left the US and took it twice a day. Had no problems in Vietnam or Indonesia but that may have just been good luck. 

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@BurgundyBoy has offered some world-class travel advice! I suppose as such a seasoned traveler, it should not come as a surprise :) I always used to think of myself as a person with an iron stomach when it comes to travel eating, so this has been a big change for me.

I'd second the idea of bringing a bunch of nuts if your stomach can handle that so soon after surgery. Packets of shake powder (preferably the kind you can mix with water OR milk so you don't have to spend your vacation hunting down milk and ways to refrigerate it) were invaluable on my first post-op travel experience, and are still useful now. 

@Brattykid, I'd be careful counting on finding clothing options in SE Asia. People are pretty teensy there on average, and most of the tourist-oriented clothing shops will not cater to people who need larger sizes, either. A good strategy might be to pack things that are intended to be baggy (drawstring pants, elastic waist skirts, flowy dresses - Old Navy can usually be counted on for a variety of those kinds of things) and not count on finding things there. That depends on what your size is upon arrival, of course, but packing a few mix and match items that you know you can count on would be a smart way to do it. If you find something you like there, you can always offload things that are starting to be too big.

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@Jen581791 and @BurgundyBoy Thank you so much for your advice on this! It is excellent and exactly what I needed. I scheduled surgery today, and will be at exactly 3 months post-op the day I leave for Scandinavia, so hopefully I will be able to stomach some things like jerky and nuts. I have always been a big traveler, but this throws in a new twist. The good thing is that I will be staying in an amazing hostel with a great kitchen facility, so prepping some of my own meals will not be a problem!

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Hi, @QuietMissB, just another thought: two months is not long after surgery. You will likely still be getting tired sooner than you'd like. You might want to go light on the scheduling as far as activities go, so you can really enjoy your trip. You can always add activities if you feel up to them. 

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I travel with protein powder, nuts weighed out to 1 ounce, string cheese, protein bars, jerky, I have traveled with my greek yogurt to the Caribbean without it spoiling.  When we go to Bonaire their grocery has preseasoned meats that we cook in room.  Hubby gets rice and veggies to go with the meat.  

In Cayman I always get questioned as to what my string cheese is, lol!  I actually prefer my string cheese room temp.  

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On 9/3/2018 at 12:13 PM, BurgundyBoy said:

 

QuietMissB and Brattykid, you may be on soft solids 2-3 months after your surgeries; would bring protein bars, and if you can eat beef jerky, perhaps a few bags of that too. Some people get constipated with travel and so recommend protein bars with 15 grams of fiber, which is about half the amount of daily fiber suggested for adults. I was in East Africa about 6 months after my surgery, where the diet is very starchy, and having the options provided by my protein bars and jerky was very helpful. Let me second Brattykid's idea of bringing nuts - was recently in Vietnam and in Indonesia, and it was very hard to find almonds or walnuts or similar. I eventually did find some at an airport but it was quite expensive. I find in northern Europe that a lot of meals are bread based, or bread heavy, so having the bars & jerky as backup is useful. In some hotels they will have sliced meats, cheeses and fish as part of the breakfast, as well as pastries bread jam etc that you should be avoiding, so you should be okay in Denmark. Lots of yogurt too!

Brattykid, after your RNY, you no longer have the protection that stomach acid offers you. The acid of the stomach is a barrier to getting infectious diarrhea, since it kills most things. Should you eat food contaminated by bacteria or viruses, they will be funneled right into your intestines without going through the acid bath of the stomach. Having a RNY is a risk factor for getting traveller's diarrhea, and so you may find it prudent to be really scrupulous about only eating hot prepared-for-you foods. Eating from a buffet (even if it is hot) is about four times as risky as eating food that has been prepared for you. Putting lime or lemon juice on your food also cuts your risk of an infection, since citrus juice is acidic. I love the street food in SE Asia but I will only eat food that is cooked over a grill in my eyesight, and will not let anyone dunk the food into some Mystery Sauce that may be contaminated. QuietMissB still has some stomach acid production after her VSG but I don't know if there is any additional risk (I had a VSG too). I was in India back in January and did get diarrhea there, but had been taking a probiotic that has been shown to ameliorate diarrhea and reduce the risks (it contains Lactobacillus GG) - so it wasn't too bad. I started the probiotic when I left the US and took it twice a day. Had no problems in Vietnam or Indonesia but that may have just been good luck. 

I knew about the issues finding protein—I’ve toted cases of protein bars around the world—but was unaware that we are more vulnerable to travelers diarrhea. I’ve been lucky so far and will be super careful in the future. 

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18 hours ago, Adventureland said:

I knew about the issues finding protein—I’ve toted cases of protein bars around the world—but was unaware that we are more vulnerable to travelers diarrhea. I’ve been lucky so far and will be super careful in the future. 

My guess is this is true only for people with a bypass, not a gastric sleeve, as outlined above; but of course if you are taking something to block stomach acid production then that turns off this protective barrier too. People taking any of the common acid blockers have higher risks for traveler's diarrhea. 

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