Thank you, Gail, for starting this post so a thread has developed.
I, too, have an issue with weight gain after experiencing thyroid cancer Mar , 2008 and two bouts of radiation abletion in Aug and Sept 2008.
As background on WLS - Had WLS (D/S in 2001) and 120 lbs to great wt of 165lbs. Did not have body contouring or Lipo done. Have always dealt with wt flux of 5-10 lbs either direction since. Exercise 5 days/wk (2 hrs inclusive of cardio and wt liftiing and stretching combos). Diet has been mostly protein with carbs low as I cannot tolerate high carb intake. Complications of WLS insued some 4 months after surgery with hormone imbalance (corrected), anemia (now chronic), hyperparathyroidism (began two yrs post-op;still unable to correct and am still trying to treat with good endo advice and meds) , osteopenia after 3 yrs due to hyperparathyroidism, GI problems with frequent diarrhea (12-16 x/day since surgery),peripheral neuropathy of feet and possible abdominal neuropathy x 3 yrs.
As background to thyroid issues: began to notice slowing of thyroid function 1/2007-lab results were "sub-clinical" so still in normative ranges but low. Wt began to redistribute to fat areas that had always held more wt (upper thighs and belly where loose skin was post WLS). Wt did not fluctuate very much but it became noticeably more difficult to lose lbs with same exercise routines and diet that had maintained levels. I began to feel tired most of the time, as well. Because I was 55, symptoms were chalked off to post menopausal. I stepped up my exercising to 6 days a week and immediately got stress fractures in both feet Dec, 2007. Stopped exercise routine and switched to no-impact exercises of swimming and recumbent biking. Fat began to accumulate in same areas of body as listed and my proportions began to change-wt showed on scale to be up to 178 lbs. Did scans to see if parathyroid glands had adenoma (common) that made them malfunction but discovered they were ok and a nodule was found on thyroid that was cancerous in feb,2008. After surgery for thyroid removal, it took awhile to regulate synthroid and eventually had to add cytomel as my energy was almost flatlined. The cytomel helped my tiredness a bit.
Because of thyroid cancer, my thyroid was removed and I began on synthroid at higher than normal dose (standard protocol for cancer treatment after surgery and rad. abletion)making the experience one akin to mild hyperthyroidism. Fatigue is an aftermath of cancer and radiation therapy as well as not having a good thyroid function. My weight is now hovering around 175lbs and varies about 10 lbs. Fat is accumulating around belly and upper thighs and arms in a more profound way, despite exercise- now back on wt lifting and cardio program with yoga added in 4 days a week.
Immediately after thyroid surgery for about three months, my hyperparathyroidism was corrected, but now it is appearing again with and rising to same lab values as it was before-Oy! The Endocrine MD and I are working fast and furiously to try to get this under control....
The long and short is that I am still gaining wt slowly but accumulating fat in places much more rapidly...My DS is still working so do not think it is in need of revision at present. The MDs are stumped, in part, because there is not good clinical understanding of the effects of WLS long term with hormones and as we age or with having to undergo devastating medical conditions like cancer. The data just isn't there. There are no good clinical trials in any of these areas that I know of-if anyone reading this does know of info, please post as this would be great to know and pass on to my docs and care team.
Also, when WLS was improved and became more standard of practice, no medical data was also available tracking what is significant post surgery and long-term that I was aware of. The medical
profession had no data out on how WLS affected the endo system as it underwent natural changes such as aging and also illness factors such as cancer and its various treatments-radiation, chemo, and surgery. I also wonder about if the sub-clinical lab values many of us have shown on lab tests over the years are of more significance than the norm that has been based on healthy population lab values that really are not relevant with the WLS population. This makes me think that all the subclinical values needed full medical attention early on rather than ignored as "normal" (it generally isn't until lab values go below normal range that MDs get concerned).
Alas, not enough is known of symptoms post WLS, so the body, in its exquisite mandate to always be in life, gains wt unbridled in spite of exercise and diet.. Gail, I think you are highlighting a very important area for all of us to be aware of.Thank you again for your post. I, too, await some suggestions on this area if others are dealing with it... Wt gain may well not be because the surgery "failed" rather because not enough is known medically to help nuance the treatments to keep wt gain from happening against the many physical challenges life eventually brings to us all.
p.s....for accurate thyroid information, try the www.thyca.com website-it is what most of us in medical profession use as a reference for pt information- it has the most current and sound info on all aspects of thyroid issues.