Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Diet and recovery following appendectomy

Hey Readers,

As you've come to learn, I'm slightly glued to my recent appendectomy. Well, today, a reader, Cecilia, posted this comment here, and I thought I'd share it with you all:

Hi Cass, I came out of hospital recently after three blind dates as my appendix ruptured, too bad the surgeons were ugly, obnoxious and married.

I had a dementia patient opposite me and a couple of antiques in my ward, it was a colourful 16 days to say nonetheless!

Could you tell me a little bit more about your diet and how its going? I'm having to do a bit of research on it myself and frankly do not know what to eat!

Rest well and don't do anything stupid! From the expert herself, Cecilia

Thanks Cecilia, I'm so sorry to hear that your appendix ruptured and that your doctors were not able to catch it in time. I hope this doesn't delay your travel plans too much (she's traveling around the world in 80 days! How cool is that? Will you take me with you, Cecilia??)

Anyhow, for me, this is what happened following my appendectomy:

I woke up from the surgery shaking like a cold dog in a winter storm. I also had spiked a fever of 105F! My gut still hurt just like it did prior to the surgery, but I hoped that would pass.

I slept pretty bad the whole night, but wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. Since I was determined not to pee in a bedpan, I made myself get out of bed, just hours after the surgery to use the toilet. I remember asking a nurse to help me out at about midnight and she thought I was crazy. Despite massive pain and absolutely no strength I made it up and to the potty.

The next day, I kept getting out of bed as often as I could until I could go home in the afternoon. I felt like hell and soooo bloated, but I wanted to recover fast. I ate first thing that morning, and had lunch that afternoon.

When I got home, all I wanted to do was do a #2, but nothing was happening. My gut looked so bloated, but nothing would come out. It stayed like all the way into late the next day. I took laxatives and everything else I could think of (magnesium), but nothing would move. I then had to resort to enemas, which was no fun.

This bloating and constipation lasted for three days, and then things started to move. I still stayed distended, but at least things were coming out.

Apparently bloating after surgery like this is common due to the retention of water in a previously inflamed area. It took a week to finally go away, but now I'm normal. So, if following your surgery, you look two months pregnant, don't be surprised.

For diet: I ate pretty normal right away. But, as I mentioned before, I started to follow a blood type diet plan. For me, this meant no red meat, tomatoes, cow's milk, oranges, vinegar, but plenty of poultry, fish, grains, pineapple, grapefruit, and vegetables. You can read more about that here: http://www.drlam.com/blood_type_diet/
The only thing I don't do is eat soy and nuts, which are supposed to be good for Type As. I'm allergic, so I eat the foods that I can tolerate and have been doing good.

I spoke with my homeopath after my surgery and he recommended tomato juice and soaked flax seeds to get things moving. Both actually did work initially, until I decided to avoid tomatoes and then just stuck with the flax.

Other dietary things I've done are to limit my whey protein intake as it's from a cow's product. Instead, I found goat's milk protein, which has almost the same protein content and use that to make smoothies with berries, hemp seeds and flax oil. I also take 6grams or more of fish oil per day and use glutamine to help the healing process (either drink it straight or in a smoothie)

For exercise: I was going crazy after the surgery and was actually in the gym by Tuesday morning (the surgery was Friday night). I did things such as pull-throughs, front squats, hip-pops, and some overhead pressing. I couldn't hold a plank or do bench press for the life of me, and even the front squats were a bit brutal. I was also quite sore when I got home. My PT friend Jonathan Fass was pretty mad at me for doing all this, but I'm a stubborn woman, and had to give it a go. Even still to this day, I'm weak in the core, and have issues doing lower flexion abdominal work. I also have little exercise tolerance. But, I've been working out as hard as I can about 4 days a week in the gym for about 45 mins to an hour each.

The best thing I've been doing is to do a lot of long walks with my dogs outside in the snow. It's a great workout and then I come home and do whatever core work my body will allow. This also helps me stay home so I can write my dissertation.

Anyhow, each person is going to be different. The best foods for me might not be the best for you. Listen to your body. If something gives you gas, makes you bloated, or makes you tired, it probably isn't the right thing for you. Try to stick to the most natural form of a food possible. The least amount of added ingredients, the better.

Drink lots of water and sugar-free fluids. If you're really "stuck" in the gut, try soaking 2 Tbsps of whole flaxseeds in water over night and drink it in the morning. It'll have you moving in a few hours :)

Hope this helps.


Mary said...

Hi Cass,
I just listened to the fitcast this morning on the gym and enjoyed having you on it again. Glad to hear you are healing up. Quick question--do you grind the flaxseed and then soak, or soak them whole? Does the water they soak in get all gluey? I seem to be continuously searching for the best way to keep things moving...


Cassandra Forsythe said...

Hi Mary!

The flaxseeds must be whole seeds. Yes, they turn a bit slimy, but that's what makes them work as a natural laxative. It's great!

LizN said...

Cass, you poor thing.

I've had my appendix out too and it is painful and will take a bit to get over.
Best healing wishes from Australia~
Liz N

Roland said...

Glad to see you're doing okay after that.

I can't believe you trained four days later. Good/bad girl! ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about your appendectomy and the digestive problems following it. Glad your spirits seem high.

You training a week after surgery and your PT getting upset sounds familiar - I was the same way after I broke my collarbone in a bike accident and had to have surgery for it. I was doing single leg deadlifts with my arm in a sling two weeks later :p.

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