In this post, I mentioned that I’d been to my one-year follow up appointment with my gastric bypass surgeon, and that he’d briefly read off my vitamin level results and pronounced everything fine.
Well, I started thinking that I’d like to have those test results so perhaps I could write a post about them, or maybe do a page on what all is tested and how to read the results. So I asked to have my results sent to me, and they arrived today.
And everything is NOT fine.
My hematocrit levels are low. Not dangerously low (yet!), but below the range considered “normal.” (Normal range is 38.0 – 47.0, mine was 37.4) The nurse who copied my results and sent them to me wrote on the paper to “make sure you are taking a multivitamin with iron 2x a day. Do not take at same time as calcium.”
I’ll also refer you to this post, where studies show that regular multivitamins aren’t enough to keep gastric bypass patients from having deficiencies.
Low hematocrit levels are an indication of anemia. I’ve had anemia before and it ain’t no joke. I do NOT wanna go back there again!
But had I not just gotten curious and asked to see my results, I would never have known that I had this problem. When my surgeon looked at them he pronounced everything “fine” despite the big “L” beside my HCT score. So I would not have known to change the vitamins I’m taking. And this problem would continue to get worse for the next YEAR until I’m tested again.
By that time, I could have a serious problem on my hands.
So please, please, please take my advice: If you’ve had gastric bypass, do NOT count on your doctor to tell you if all of your vitamin levels are good. Get your own copy of each and every report whenever you are tested, and learn to read it.
By the way, I’m going to add a page to this website explaining how to do just that.
Vitamin deficiencies can make us extremely sick, and can even be lethal. It is life-or-death serious that we keep up with this stuff and take our vitamins after surgery.
We just cannot rely on anyone else. It’s up to you and I to take charge of our health and make sure we’re getting the supplementation we need!