Ask the Nurse

I've had three surgeries this year: knee replacement in late April, in late June I had emergency surgery to remove part of my colon, and one month ago I had reverse ostomy surgery. This last surgery has kicked my butt! I feel like it's taken me so long to recover. I have no energy, no appetite and no memory. I go back for follow up with my surgeon on December 20. Is it just that my body has been through so much and it's going to take time to recover?

Having surgery can take a major toll on the body. Recovering from three surgeries in one year certainly takes endurance! Being in bed even for a few days after surgery can cause some degree of muscle loss, muscle weakening, fatigue as well as significant physical and cognitive debilitation. For these reasons, rehabilitation is recommended as soon as possible after a surgery.

It is important to stay as active as you can, but know your limitations.

  • Daily exercise, or at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week.
  • Eating a heart healthy diet like the Mediterranean diet can boost your energy and improve memory and sleep.
  • When you crave a boost of energy, try to avoid sugars and caffeine as these can give you a temporary boost, but are often followed by a crash.
  • Eat at least three meals a day or small frequent meals throughout the day. Healthy snacks with lean protein can help to sustain energy through the day as well.

There are several medical conditions that can contribute to low energy and fatigue apart from having recent surgery. These include:

Talk to your doctor to find out if any of these could be contributing to your symptoms.

All My Best,
Speaking of Women’s Health Nurse

December 11, 2018 at 11:17am