My 600 lb. Sister-in-Law

on 5/19/16 10:05 am
RNY on 02/29/16

My SIL is probably at least 600 lbs.  She cannot walk more than about 5 steps at a time.  She somehow makes it to the bathroom and gets out of bed and to her couch.  She is quite mentally ill (and has been most of her life) and lives in a studio apartment in supervised housing for disabled adults.  She does have an aide come in to help her bathe, do laundry, etc.  She is not an easily likable person.  She's oppositional/defiant/obsessive and does not accept help easily unless it clearly is something she wants, and she believes she is a victim of just about everything.  I doubt there is much hope for her future and honestly, her family is surprised she's still alive.  She's 45 yrs. old and has been SMO most of her life and she's continued to get heavier the last 10 yrs.  She has asked about my WLS and I've told her the basics and how one has to be willing to change.  I don't really want her to contact my surgeon because she is so argumentative and angry and I'd bet a donut she'd be non-compliant while insisting she's not getting nearly enough help and they'd done everything wrong.  Besides Dr. Now and the Cleveland Clinic I'm not sure there are many surgeons who would be willing to consider working with someone like this anyway.

I'm not exactly sure why I'm writing this except it is so sad to have to witness and I feel so utterly helpless and frustrated.  I wish I could help somehow, but I know I really cannot.  Her situation is getting worse in that her dad was just diagnosed with cancer (he's 83) and will be starting daily radiation treatment soon.  He's been her enabler, supporter, and fiduciary.  Her mom walks a fine line between trying to be helpful while not enabling.  For a variety of reasons her parents have refused to have her declared incompetent and become her guardian.  My DH will talk with her on the phone sometimes, and will help her get her cat to the vet, but he refuses to enable her and challenges her negative behaviors and vile talk all the time.  I try to stay out of the loop as much as possible.  I suspect all hell is about to break loose in her life once her parents are unable to be there for her as much as usual due to the cancer, and DH and I are not willing to step into any type of caregiver role for her.  She's an obsessive phone caller - she calls our house at least 5 times a day and she knows that if she wants something she has to leave a message.  I know the police have gone to her house to tell her not to dial 911 all the time too.  She's a frequent flyer with a platinum card at the hospital psych ward too, and likes to talk at people, but it's just a monologue, not a conversation.  

I think I just needed to get this out in hopes that OH folks might understand and maybe have some new insights for me, or just send a hug.  Maybe if the prayerful people here would just say a prayer for her, and the rest of us just send some hopeful vibes into the world.  Thanks everybody - I'm glad to have a group that can at least understand a little bit of what this is like.  I think I need a nap.  

Age: 55.  5' 8" SW 345 lbs.  RNY on 2/29/16 at UVA w/ Dr. Hallowell.     
Month 1 - 3/29/16: 319 (25 lbs. lost) | Month 2 - 4/27/16: 314 (5 lbs. lost) | 
Month 3 - 5/29/16: 303 (12 lbs. lost) | Month 4 - 6/28/16:  293 (10 lbs. lost)
Month 5 - 7/28/16: 289 (4 lbs lost) | Month 6 - 8/28/16: 282 (7 lbs. lost) |
Month 7 - 9/27/16: 278 (4 lbs lost)

T Hagalicious Rebel

on 5/19/16 10:36 am - Brooklyn
VSG on 04/25/14 with

I have no advice, just sorry that you can't really do anything for her & have to stand by & watch her slowly kill herself. She has to help herself, not much you can do unless she changes her attitude.

Maybe she can join the online version of OA? Maybe if she talked with people who are not her family/Drs, they can call her out on her bs. Strangers probably won't put up with the nonsense that family/friends are willing to put up with.

No one surgery is better than the other, what works for one may not work for another. T-Rebel

on 5/19/16 10:50 am
RNY on 02/29/16

Thanks!  She doesn't know how to use a computer and isn't willing to learn (which I cannot even imagine!).  She does have neighbors in her apartment building, and in the 2 years she's been there, she's alienated at least 1 that I know of.  It is hard to watch and accept the truth.  I tried to suggest that she'd be able to get around and do more things if she got a wheeled scooter, and she told me that would be admitting defeat, so she's pretty much homebound since she's too big for the seats in the handicapped public transportation available in town.  I said if you had your own chair that fit you, you could get around more - they'd just strap the chair down for the ride.  Boy, was that a mistake.  I can't offer ideas to her - I'm wrong, no matter what she's got a reason why her way is better.  So frustrating.

Age: 55.  5' 8" SW 345 lbs.  RNY on 2/29/16 at UVA w/ Dr. Hallowell.     
Month 1 - 3/29/16: 319 (25 lbs. lost) | Month 2 - 4/27/16: 314 (5 lbs. lost) | 
Month 3 - 5/29/16: 303 (12 lbs. lost) | Month 4 - 6/28/16:  293 (10 lbs. lost)
Month 5 - 7/28/16: 289 (4 lbs lost) | Month 6 - 8/28/16: 282 (7 lbs. lost) |
Month 7 - 9/27/16: 278 (4 lbs lost)

Kathy S.
on 5/19/16 11:15 am - InTheBurbs, XX
RNY on 08/29/04 with

I agree with T, sadly she has to want it and take the steps to do it!  You are a very special person to want to help her.  Suggest she join OH and maybe with reaching out she will be willing to take the next step.  Have her contact me or anyone here on OH and we will do what we can to help her.


HW:330 - GW:150 - MW:118-125

RW:190 - CW:130

on 5/19/16 10:51 am
RNY on 11/21/14

One of the terrible tragedies of mental health disorders is that the disease itself often interferes with getting the medical help that is needed.  I am so sorry that you have to deal with this.  You and your husband have done the right thing by setting boundaries for your SIL.  As much as it is natural for you to want to help her, you are not a mental health professional, and cannot provide her the help that she needs.  You have to look out for your health and your family's well being first, and you seem to be doing that.  Hugs to you and your family.  

 Height: 5'7".  HW: 299, Program starting weight: 290, SW: 238, CW 138 - 12 pounds under goal!  


White Dove
on 5/19/16 11:32 am - Warren, OH

People have to hit the bottom before they will help themselves.  When her parents are no longer there, it may inspire her to get the chair that she needs and then get herself to OA or other help.

Real life begins where your comfort zone ends

Sharon SW-267
GW-165 CW-167 S.

on 5/19/16 12:34 pm - PA
RNY on 12/22/14

If I were you, my number 1 job would be making sure that her behavior did not derail me.  It would be easy to get drug into to something that is not your problem and that you cannot fix.  You and your husband seem to have good boundaries.  Stay focused on you goals.


Texas Girl
on 5/19/16 2:31 pm

Heavens2Betsey, all I can say is:

It is difficult when someone in your family is in such horrible shape.  I would not know what to do if I was in your shoes.  Prayer will make life better... I agree..  I wonder if she realizes her downward spiral to her demise?  The mentally ill can not make decisions, but in your and DH world, I can see that becoming her caregiver is a decision that is not easily made.  Sounds exhausting.  Hopeful she will get better, and you get some rest.


God Bless you.

Texas girl.

on 5/19/16 2:57 pm

You are a very nice person however right now you have to take care of yourself and get healthy. 


CerealKiller Kat71
on 5/19/16 3:49 pm
RNY on 12/31/13

No advice.  I am sorry that mental illness has such a hold on her.

I am just sorry for the situation. 

"What you eat in private, you wear in public." --- Kat

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