I buried a friend last week.

Elizabeth N.
on 10/8/11 3:39 am - Burlington County, NJ
This friend, a mother of four in her early 40's, was the first person I watched go through WLS. Well, actually one of two, because she and another lady went to NYC together and had their RNYs the same day.

My friend's primary, or possibly even ABSOLUTE, motivation for WLS was family. One, she wanted more than life itself to have a biological child. She and her husband adopted four children, but her longing for a bio child was still undimmed. She was a PCOS poster child with typical infertility and other female issues.

Two, she knew what the future held for her as she watched her MO parents become too crippled to enjoy their grandchildren. She needed to remain mobile, particularly since her children had some special needs and she didn't know if they would be at home well into adulthood or not.

She could have gone to Dr. Greenbaum but didn't because of her fears about Lourdes Willingboro. So she and her friend went to NYC. I never knew what surgeon they used.

Her insurance required an almost driveby surgery. She had to be discharged before 48 hours were up. The hospital kept her to the last minute, to their credit.

Within a couple days of her arrival home, she developed a leak. Back to NYC for treatment.

This was the beginning of over ten years of complications from hell. I have no idea how many hospitalizations, invasive nonsurgical procedures and surgeries she had. She nearly died of infection. Her life was saved by a nonbariatric surgeon who, in a series of procedures, took out pretty much all nonessential (and infected) tissue from her abdominal cavity, plus some portions of organs and a whole organ or three, like her spleen.

My friend, as you might imagine, developed horrific chronic abdominal pain. She was also cursed with the tolerance of an elephant for opioids. My friend also had some longstanding "issues." The combination of these things got her labeled a drug addict and her pain as imaginary. She did some regrettable things to try to treat her own pain, out of mostly sheer desperation.

Eventually, and very much the hard way, she got into something resembling appropriate pain management. Yours truly suggested it and advocated for it. The ******g doctors had NEVER EVER mentioned this speciality in medical treatment. Her fine fellow church people grabbed the 12-step idea and demanded that if she were a "real Christian," she'd go cold turkey and get into the Christian version of a 12 step program. The popular one of that moment was called Celebrate recovery.

I will not go into further detail of how she was alienated and annhilated from her church support system and every other form of support.

*ahem* I digress. My friend had other issues going into WLS about which NOBODY asked, including long term ED problems. If there was any psych clearance involved, it was easy enough to just lie her way through *sigh*.

Then there were the other food issues. She had some food issues, like a revulsion to meat, going in. But combine the food issues with the food intolerances from her complications and it was hell.

It took over ten years, but she died a couple weeks ago. Developed yet ANOTHER problem that became yet ANOTHER infection, and there was severe long term malnutrition involved, and there was nothing left to be done.

Those four children, now into young adulthood except for the youngest, buried their mother then, but they lost her ten years ago. Four children with issues went motherless through their adolescence, even though their mother was physically present.

My friend was in relatively good health when she was fat. Yeah, the time was coming when that would change, but it wasn't there yet by a long shot. And she ignored her issues, ones that desperately needed fixing before she considered WLS.

As her husband sobbed in my arms last week, I gave thanks that Mr. EN wasn't in that position....And I thought afterward about the many people who pass through this forum convinced that there is nothing worse than being fat.

Yeah folks, there are worse things than being fat.

You all know there is nobody more anti-diet and pro-surgery than I am. But surgery is NOT for everyone.

There is such a thing as wrong timing for surgery.

There is such a thing as wrong motivation for surgery.

There is such a thing as not being smart enough to have surgery.

There is such a thing as being too messed up in the head to have surgery.

Preops and revision seekers, you need to back WAY UP and examine yourselves and your cir****tances. What are you wanting here? What are the real risks involved? How much do you really KNOW about what you're contemplating?

I had an interesting visit with my gastro guy yesterday. He was bummed he had to rush off to the hospital for procedures. Why? Because he sees SO MANY WLS POSTOPS, and scarcely ANY of them know a damned thing about their guts, but I did and could talk intelligently about it. And by golly, the second I saw he was interested in talking you'd better believe I started picking his brain as fast as I could!

His last comment on the subject as we said goodbye was, "If only I could let WLS patients know in advance how important KNOWLEDGE is for them." I replied, "You're preaching to the choir on that one, doc."

Folks, you might not be ready for this. There's no crime in that. SLOW DOWN AND GET IT RIGHT. Don't orphan your children and widow your spouses. Don't turn into substance abusing, STD-ridden ******g machines. Don't let your psych conditions get out of control and then do diddly **** about it for years. Get them under control FIRST and then KEEP THEM UNDER CONTROL.

If these comments hurt, good. Maybe you'll know I'm thinking of you and wanting you to stay alive, keep custody of your children, stay out of jail, etc.

I've been to two WLS funerals in five years. I don't want to go to any more of them.

Hey Jules
on 10/8/11 3:47 am
 *hugs*

I am so sorry for your loss, Elizabeth.

                         brokenwings.jpg image by heyjules77

                          
                             
5'8", 150cm C.C. - HW 289/SW 275/CW 150/GW 164      I  my DS!!!

Sarah_Anne
on 10/8/11 3:54 am
Elizabeth,

I think you should post this on the main board.  Its a chillingly effective story.  In fact, I think you should post it every month so the newbies can see it too.  

I am sorry you lost your friend.  

s
 HW 315/ SW 297 /CW 173 /GW 150, size 8/10, 5'8 tall  (Updated December 1)
Elizabeth N.
on 10/8/11 4:02 am - Burlington County, NJ
I think I shall. I just put it on my profile, too.

I can't tell you how tired I am of watching stupid and mentally ill people (and she wasn't really either one, just THAT desperate for a child and unwilling to engage in resolving her personal issues) come through here wanting to be Hollywood Hawt or die trying.

Sarah_Anne
on 10/8/11 4:11 am
Its heartbreaking.  

It seems that our issues catch up with us.  If it is eating, emotional or mental.  There is nothing we can do BUT TO CONFRONT THEM HEAD ON.  The older I get the more true I see this is.   And I see it on the boards often.  Its so very sad, but its not exclusive to the WLS area of life.  
 HW 315/ SW 297 /CW 173 /GW 150, size 8/10, 5'8 tall  (Updated December 1)
Twyla S.
on 10/8/11 4:35 am - Chattanooga, TN
That must have been really hard to watch that all happen and be unable to stop it.  Alot of those very things you mentioned are what has held me off of surgery for years.  Sometimes I don't understand the mentality of people willing to do ANYTHING to be thin.  I am fat.  That's NOT the sum total of who I am however.  Thanks for posting this, it's really touched me and reinforced how seriously ALL aspects of having WLS, need to be considered.  I agree....KEEP POSTING IT!
butercup
on 10/8/11 4:42 am - Kennewick, WA
I am very sorry Elizabeth. I've lost a couple of friends from wls too. One, we all know about and we know why she died. The other was 8 years ago and it was due to not knowing the body cues of a blockage. He left behind a wife and two kids, he was 25.

I look up to you and take your advice and I'm better for it. Posting this in the main forum will be a great idea.

I hope her family and friends can find some sort of peace soon.
orangecrushed
on 10/8/11 5:33 am - Triad, NC
My condolences on the loss of your friend... it sounds like she had an extremely rough 10 years.  I feel for her family and friends.  Hopefully her unfortunate story will serve to help others make a well-informed decision when they think about WLS.  You're right, it's not for everyone.
Julie B.
on 10/8/11 5:58 am - OH
I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend.

SW - 373 / CW - 179 / GW - 160

    

KarenFlorida
on 10/8/11 6:18 am - Orlando, FL
Thanks for posting this, Elizabeth. Sorry for your loss.

Karen
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