melting mama -
realistic looks at life after wls

Broken WLS
posted 12/16/10 10:18 am

Broken WLS.

I am a fence sitter regarding weight loss surgery, still.   I've been on the fence forever.  My ass hurts.

Why?  

WLS worked for me.  It did what it was supposed to do.  "Hooray."  I could very well be your perky post op poster girl, go me.  I'd do a kick ass job at it as well.  I am a born saleswoman, as much as I hate it.

I am dealing every day with the aftermath of maybe-related complications that have left me homebound.  

 For the very concrete-minded me, I HAVE to know the answers to why my body is screwed up and playing tricks on me before I form a solid opinion one way or another about gastric bypass, yes, even at seven years post op.  Even then, I am not certain I would. 

I cannot logically say, "WLS IS A GIFT FROM GOD FOR THE OBESE!" if, in fact, it broke me.   I can see that it's a magical thing for those whom are dying from obesity.

There are times when weight loss surgery is absolutely the answer.  I do not doubt that.

It makes me twitch to read brand-new baby post ops describe weight loss surgery as, "The most precious gift,"+ "Thank you baby Jesus for guiding my surgeon's blessed hands and giving me this tool, I will never again be obese!" and several months later the same post ops are posting in tears about what happened to them and "Why didn't anyone tell me?" and they are "Regretting the surgery" and full of the drama. 

It also bothers me very much when people in our community paint such a positive picture of weight loss surgery and life thereafter that makes it seem like a storybook ending for everyone.  "And they lived happily ever after with vitamins in hand!"  Surgeons don't even go that far!  Those of us who speak more realistically, are called haters, or bullies because we choose to share what ACTUALLY happens, as opposed to the cotton-candy coated life sold to you.  I don't begin to understand WHY one patient feels the need to sell this lifestyle to other potential patients.  

I mean, are YOU... Living The Lifestyle?  Were you living it for a while at least?  Is it over yet?  Can we talk now?  You have to admit, you were pretty unlivable for a while there.  Phew.

People change, very quickly, when something happens to ...them.   

They become outsiders.  Misfits!  They don't want to be outsiders. 

Not wanted.  Shushed.  Shoo-ed out.  "Stop talking."  Outsiders aren't looked upon favorably at support group, or in forums.  

"Be quiet about your issues, someone might get upset if you talk about it.  You don't want someone to think they might get the bowel obstruction  you know."

Yes, that was asked of me, and it's a large part of why I am not involved with a local support group.  I have a hard time sitting in a large group setting and not getting involved at all, or keeping it perfectly positive.  I have extended family that is super involved in a local group, but I think she'd implode if I went to the group, because "I have problems."  The most obvious issue now, is that my "issue" also keeps me from GETTING to a support group. 

This methodical "shushing" started happening to me long ago -- back before I even had seizures and still had a brain that functioned -- as I was posting realistic issues about things that I was going through as a post op.  I was banned from a message board forum:  the reasoning was "You're too negative about The Surgery, and you link to an anti-WLS website."  (This site.  Um, okay.)  Obviously I got over it -- and never shut up -- ironically my issues increased 100%.

The misfits, those who have "broken their surgery" somehow, either because it physically did not function correctly or for any other reason -- are shunned by their community.  

Add here the regainers.  You guys, totally fit in the misfit category, because you "broke your surgery" too.  Oh, and revision patients!  

And, and... those of you who develop eating disorders! And, transfer addictions.  You all are at fault. (Next post.) 

It's your fault.   You know that, don't you?  (As your intestines are imploding, you're getting a transfusion, diagnosed with OMG, etc...)  

 It's implied that -

  • You did this.  
  • You didn't take your vitamins.
  • You didn't take your _____.
  • You ate too much.
  • You ate too little.
  • You ate ______.
  • You did this too soon.
  • You took a NSAID.
  • You broke your tool.
  • You disregarded your doctor's advise.
  • You didn't listen!

It kills me to see the reaction of some of my peers on forums and face-to-face when confronted with someone who has either regained, revised, reversed, developed disorders, addictions or had a life-altering complication or ten.  

Somehow these patients aren't as good as you anymore?  

Honey, "I AM YOU."   

"Well, you should have listened, then maybe you'd have..."  

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?   This person is being TUBE-FED.  She might DIE OF MALNUTRITION.  We are concerned if she'd been compliant 5-10 years ago, NOW?  

People. Get. Sick.  Sometimes even without the benefit of non-compliance.  Wrap your head around THAT.

These post ops might have been dealt a crappy hand and maybe they don't get the chance to lose the weight  (or maybe they have, maybe they get to be 85 lbs... isn't that so sexy?) and be fabulous like you and you can't support them anymore?   "But, they are rare, don't listen to her, people don't usually get sick."  I know.  It is rare for life-altering issues to actually occur.  But, they do. 

 I have many WLS'er friends that fall into this category.  Many that started their weight loss surgery journey with huge goals and plans that have had even bigger complications.  I seem to have a dramatically high number of people with problems -- is it because I write more about them -- or because they feel comfortable SHARING? 

These people still deserve your support, even if they end up UN-ALTERED.   Even after complications, or more surgeries, some might have the wonderful benefit of dealing with the initial issues that the WLS caused PLUS! more issues that crop up.  Sometimes the fixes do not work.

Don't most of us start out with the same basic goals anyway?

Wouldn't you expect the same of us -- support from people who DO understand at least the most basic of what you're going through?  WLS can break people.  Broken people exist in droves here.  They are in your support communities looking for support.  Deal with it.

 

 

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