Watching My 600 pound life- lymphedema

Kathleen W.
on 7/8/19 4:36 pm - Lancaster, PA


My heart goes out to those who have severe lymphedema. It makes the obesity problem even worse. I didn't realize that bmi over 50 was associated with it either. My bmi was 66 at the start of my process for wls. Like you, I'm grateful that I didn't develop it, either.

SW 327
GW 150
CW 126


on 7/8/19 10:51 pm
VSG on 02/13/19

I remember when I first learned about lymphedema in the early 2000's. Before all the major TLC specials came out about Morbid obesity. I was so shocked. And now because of shows like My600LbLife it seems so common. Mind Boggling..I also remember in the special that they said you couldnt just cut away the Lymphedema masses because they would just grow back. And that there was no cure for it. Fast forward to the my600lblife era and Dr. N cuts away the masses all the time. Amazing. I too feel like I dodged a bullet. When I was at my highest in the 400s I was definitely scared I was going to be one of the ones to develop it. Thank god I didn't.



Day of Surgery-347


on 7/10/19 11:36 pm - CA
RNY on 10/07/13

I think you are confusing lymphedema with lipedema. Lymphedema is a buildup of fluid, such as lymph, that doesn't drain properly. This can be treated with diuretics and pressure garments to help the fluid drain out of the extremities such as legs and arms. Lipedema is a buildup of fat cells and that's what you're talking about that has to be cut out. It's weird because with lipedema deposits, you can reduce your calories, but you won't lose that fat--it's like the body doesn't recognize it as regular fat to burn. I have to wonder if it's a sort of autoimmune thing. Lipedema can lead to lymphedema since the extra weight and such can lead to a compromised lymphatic system.


on 7/11/19 12:08 am
VSG on 02/13/19

Thanks for this Jen. I didn't realize there was a difference.



Day of Surgery-347


on 7/13/19 7:19 pm, edited 7/13/19 12:22 pm - Garland, TX

Correct, except that in extreme LE situations sometimes, probably out of desperation more than anything else, an attempt is made to remove the excess tissues when the swelling is so massive as to substantially interfere with functioning of a limb or quality of life. Sometimes that method does in fact result in a less "onerous" limb or more manageable one, but it does little to improve lymphatic drainage in that area. Bottom result is that swelling eventually returns to that area over time. Again, the only real hope for us LEers is stem cell therapy, and until and unless the U.S. embraces it we're doomed to a life of computerized pumps, MLDT massage sessions and specialized compression bandages/garments.

Frank talk about the DS / "All I ever wanted to be was thin, like that Rolling Stones dude ... " 

 HW/461  LW/251 GW187 CW/315 (yep, a DS semi-failure - it happens  :-(    )

on 7/15/19 6:59 am
VSG on 05/28/19

Thanks for clearing that up I didn't realize there was a difference.

H.A.L.A B.
on 7/9/19 7:02 am

Thanks for posting that info.

BTW- I am also little bit obsessed with that show. What was and still is mind blowing for me is how fast some people start gaining weight if they don't follow "the eating plan".

Some take months, and / or a hospital stay to lose 50- 60 lbs, but even after WLS some of them could gain 40-50- or even 60 lbs in 2-3 months. And they were relatively fresh post op. That is something I never seen before. I get that overtime post op WLS, we can gain weight if we are not careful, but just a year or even less post op, what and how much of that food they are to gain such a massive amount of weight.

From my own experience, year 1-2 post op, I was losing weight, and year 2 I was trying to eat enough to stop losing. It was hard for me to eat enough.

I can't even imagine being able to eat enough to gain 40-60 lbs in 2 months. I honestly didn't think it was possible. I guess I was wrong.

Hala. RNY 5/14/2008; Happy At Goal =HAG

"I can eat or do anything I want to - as long as I am willing to deal with the consequences"

"Failure is not falling down, It is not getting up once you fell... So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again...."

Laura in Texas
on 7/9/19 8:00 am
RNY on 09/17/08 with

I thought the lymphedema was only associated with people over 500 pounds, but for me, a BMI of 50 is 319 pounds. At that weight, I moved around slower, but basically thought I was still fairly "healthy".

I am going to tell my PCP to spread this information to his overweight patients. It may help some people realize they need to do something before serious permanent damage is done.

I am also shocked at how quickly people on that show can gain back the weight. They all swear they are doing everything right. I wonder how many really believe that (complete denial) or if they are knowingly lying. Maybe a little of both?

Laura in Texas

53 years old; 5'7" tall; HW: 339 (BMI=53); GW: 140 CW: 167 (BMI=26)

RNY: 09-17-08 Dr. Garth Davis

brachioplasty: 12-18-09 Dr. Wainwright; lbl/bl: 06-28-11 Dr. LoMonaco

"If what you're doing doesn't work, change what you're doing - don't complain that it doesn't work."

H.A.L.A B.
on 7/9/19 8:45 am, edited 7/9/19 1:45 am

I think the ones who started gaining so fast - I believe they still followed part of the diet but may have 2-3 meals in a day outside of that. They still felt they had limitations, and we're on a diet, but their completely destroyed metabolism maked them gain a lot of weight on less than 1/2 of calories they ate before the WLS.

BTW: one way I would be worry to tell someone who is SMO about the lymphedema - I wonder how many would start blaming all the weight gain on that. I thought people with lymphedema are predisposed to a very rapid weight gain when they are not following "proper" diet.

I wonder if some people who don't get lymphedema even when they are bigger are those who were still physically active. Exercise is known to be the lymphatic system "motor". When some get immobile- like in case of some injury (accident, spine issues, etc) the weight, plus lack of mobility increase their chances of "getting" lymphedema. If that is the case - advising people who are over 50 bmi to move and be as active as they can be, could lower their chances to get that.

Maybe that's why some of our OH members who were 50 BMI or more did not experienced severe lymphedema because they were more active?. Y

You- became a mother and you were chasing after your 2 daughters. Maybe having them contributed to your ability to lose weight and keep being active after having WLS?

I was constantly on a diet or gaining, but even at my highest I would get stuck at BMI of 30-35. The year before my RNY- I would be stuck at 35-40 and that was the year that I really couldn't lose weight. I would lose 3-5 lbs, then just turned around and gained it back. my back issues, steroids injections, plus peri- menopause, all odds were against me. And I was active, hiking, swimming, horseback riding, etc.

Beside my back I was a fat - healthy person. But also because of my back, I no longer could exercise or stay active as I was before my back injuries. And NSAIDs and steroids injections were really causing a change in a way my body craved and digested carbs.

Hala. RNY 5/14/2008; Happy At Goal =HAG

"I can eat or do anything I want to - as long as I am willing to deal with the consequences"

"Failure is not falling down, It is not getting up once you fell... So pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again...."

Citizen Kim
on 7/9/19 8:02 am - Castle Rock, CO

It's like when we see people post that they've gained 10 or 20lbs in a month and someone does the 3500 calories per lbs calculation and says, that's impossible.

I dont think it is and I don't think people with a crappy metabolism need 3500 extra calories to gain a lb!!!! I know I don't at this stage of my life.

Proud Feminist, Atheist, LGBT friend, and Democratic Socialist

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