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Old 12-10-2007, 10:00 PM   #1
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Question 25 iron infusions this year. Anyone here Gastric-by patient?

Hello. I found this website tonight. I was getting some pre-op blood work done in June, and I got a call from the MD's office basically, letting me know that I had an extremely low ferritin count (1), and the story goes that what red blood cells I did have were, "puny." I had gastric bypass in Oct. 2001. Despite very regular bloodwork (previous bloodwork in 12/06, and all was fine), this was the first I was informed of the anemia. I was brought in immediately for a blood transfusion. And then, I was sent to a hematologist who started my IV iron. I had approx. 12 weeks of iron infusions. My ferritin jumped to a level of 198. I stopped the IV iron in early Sept. 2007. I went back for routine hema labs in mid-Nov. and my ferritin count, in roughly 5-6 weeks dropped back down 13. So, I was put back on the infusion treatment (this is my 4th week back on). I had all the tests one could think of this summer, and basically it just comes down to the fact that I don't have a duodenum at my disposal. The bypass, did just that... bypassed my ability to absorb iron. Of course, they told me about malabsorbtion... no one ever said anything about no absorbtion. I have had approx. 25 infusions this year (some weeks I have had two). There is not internal bleeding, and I have been taking suppliments since my surgery in 2001. I have more questions that you will ever know. But, I guess these are my most pressing questions: 1) Has anyone had this many infusions? 2) Any gasric bypass patients with similar problems? 3) Can my veins handle this for the rest of my life? I don't know that I have any other choice. To get IVs to work is a struggle. The iron has been rough on them. But, I have no other way of getting the iron that I need. Now, they don't even draw blood, they take it from my finger (to draw blood uses a dearly needed vein). I trying to get my life back! And this is the beginning of that journey. merci

 
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Old 12-28-2007, 12:03 PM   #2
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Re: 25 iron infusions this year. Anyone here Gastric-by patient?

Hi! I also had Gastric Bypass in 2001 and now have anemia and low Vitamin B12 levels. I am scheduled to start Infed infusions next week and don't know if it will help. I religiously take my vitamins and supplements since the surgery, but don't seem to be absorbing anything I take as all of my levels are out of whack. I can totally sympathize with you and hope that the infusions work for me (as well as for you) sometime soon...

 
Old 01-22-2008, 09:27 AM   #3
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Re: 25 iron infusions this year. Anyone here Gastric-by patient?

I feel your pain! I too had gastric bypass in Oct., 2002 not 2001, so I am one year less than you. My ferritin is 6 and I am scheduled to go back to my hematologist 2/1/08 to discuss starting the iron infusions. I am worried, especially after reading your account.
I have bad veins to start with, so years or a lifetime of this is scary. Also what if I am allergic to the iron? Then what's the alternative? I have so many questions. Would love to talk to you.

 
Old 01-24-2008, 03:16 AM   #4
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Re: 25 iron infusions this year. Anyone here Gastric-by patient?

*waves hi* 8 years post RNY (distal) gastric bypass here! I haven't had as many infusions as you, but I did have some in 2005/2006. Since then, my iron stores had been a little better...until my 8/07 physical. The MD said "Hmm...this looks low, come back in two weeks and we'll recheck." I did, and was told to re-test in six months. I got a call last week that the numbers were very low and that I needed to see a hematologist to discuss infusions again. I got the results letter in the mail (which she always does)...the ferrtin is at 2, and the iron level is at 7.

One thing that can prove frustrating when talking to other folks about this is that most people (unless they've researched the population) don't really get the level of conflicting information and lack of available long-range information. Most MDs I encounter really don't know how to handle a patient who is 5+ years post WLS. I literally have had one MD tell me not to take supplements because I should be getting it all from food, one who told me I should only get iron through infusions and not to take supplements, and one who told me I really shouldn't have needed infusions in the first place. (Luckily, my current PCP's opinion is that I should follow what the hematologist says and she will heed his recommendations!) Lay people really don't have a clue, even those who have had anemia issues before. Sorry for sounding so frustrated!

Last edited by terry102276; 01-24-2008 at 03:35 AM.

 
Old 01-24-2008, 11:59 AM   #5
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Smile Re: 25 iron infusions this year. Anyone here Gastric-by patient?

Hi!

I was in the process of getting my bypass approved when my bloodwork came back with a hemoglobin of 8 and a ferritin of 4. I have since cancelled the bypass and feel like another diet failure, but it wasn't a risk I was willing to take. I saw a hemotologist who immediately started me on IV infusions. The infusions work to get my counts up for about 6 months. I will be starting my 3rd set of infusions next week. My doctor does not want my ferritin dropping below 20. I have bloodwork done every 2 months and see the doctor there after. This last bloodwork showed my ferritin had dropped from 96 to 35. I do not know why I have this problem, all GI studies were fine. I just like I go in for an oil change every six months. So when I am finished this last round I will have had 15 infusions. No one seems to concerned by that, so I guess it is okay and I feel okay. Good luck.

Phyllis

 
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