Diabetes and operations?

I just had a hernia repair for a strangulated hernia, which was quite drastic, and so am unable to exercise. I am on the diet and exercise loop.

Just after the operation I was unable to eat properly either, because I was allergic to the painkillers and so throwing up all the time. So I ate digestive biscuits (10 grams carbs, 7 grams sugar) instead. To my suprise my levels were low those first few days, and so I drank and ate stuff that I have only dreamed of for a year, but now the levels are consistently higher even though I am eating “normally” (for diabetes anyway) again - not completely horrendous, just higher. I think the highest number is 135, whereas usually I am in the 85s at the highest.

Does anyone know how much this is due to the three day binge I had (seven days ago now) how much to the anesthetic (if any) and how much to the lack of ANY exercise, since I am pretty much still confined to the sofa. I am not quite sure if I can make any more changes to my diet without being hungry all the time.



The anesthetics and pain killers they give you stop your digestion completely for a few days after the surgery. So the food you were eating probably just sat in your stomach and did not digest.

Then when the digestive system started to wake up, it hit.

The very best diet you can eat after surgery if you have diabetes is lots of lean protein, dark green vegetables and accent bits of colorful vegetables like red and yellow peppers.

I had surgery a few months ago, and to my amazement my surgeon told me to eat very low carb. I did and had a spectacularly fast healing. In fact, it was faster than she is used to seeing.

For the couple weeks after surgery when someone else was cooking for me I ate eggs and cheese for breakfast. Meat and salad for lunch. Meat salad and green veg for dinner. Fresh berries for dessert. That was it. I kept taking my basal insulin but with such a low carb input I did not need the fast acting. I lost a couple pounds too.

Hi Mary-Anne
Jenny is right. Pain meds really slow digestion. And the proteins will speed healing. The lower our protein intake following surgery the longer it takes for us to be able to recuperate. The diet she said is your best bet. And often the pain or the pain meds themselves can raise our blood sugars. It works this way for me too.

Oops! I did it all the wrong way then. I was just worried about the low blood sugar. I will just have to eat normally until it levels out then - I generally keep myself to between 12 - 25 grams of carbs per day anyway, and don’t think I could go lower without being hungry.

Thanks for the replies!


Mary-Anne you didn’t do anything wrong. Each of us does what we can to bring our lows up. And throwing up all the time doesn’t give us anything to work with. Your goals are excellent . Things will work out.

85’s! If I get that low I feel jittery, light headed and in need of a snack. I try to keep my levels at a constant under 140. Am I wrong in my thinking? Newly diagnosed and still learning.

The only real thing I have learned is that everybody is different! I feel my best at around 85, any higher, and I start getting sluggish. After an op though, it is difficult to know what is normal sluggish, and what is pain killer meds induced sluggish!

Thanks Saundra! I tend to beat myself up, so I am glad you stopped me before I started!

Hi Rob,
It depends on which one of us you are talking to. Each person has their own goals. I try to keep me 100 and under. I feel best at those levels. I am frequently at 70 to 88 and it works very well for me. I had to learn about how I actually felt and not be scared of a 70. And i don’t treat a reading unless i have problems like heavy sweating or shaking or someone tells me I am sounding funny. If I was just out of surgery like Mary-Anne, I would not let a 70 sit. I would treat it. When you treat, it doesn’t mean you have to take in much, just enough to pull you up a little. Quick acting things are best. But, and here is the biggest thing, experience is the best teacher. All of us learn by trial and error. Down the road in a few months you will get your next A1C. You and your doctor will decide then where it is best to keep your levels. Until then, do what you can do. My best to you.