What did you tell people instead of saying "WLS"

on 1/11/15 8:51 pm

I haven't told very many people that I'm going through this process.  I am going for Surgery on March 10, and need to set things up at work.  I do not want to tell my manager because she has a big mouth.  I don't need the whole office knowing my business.

I'm going to tell HR and ask them about how much I have to tell her, but thought I'd better be prepared for a plausible story for needing the leave of absence.

Is there anything I can say instead of saying I'm having WLS?

REFERRED: June 19, 2013, ORIENTATION: September 23, 2013,1st SURGEON (Dr. KLEIN) APPT. October 10, 2013 RN / SW / NUT: December 20, 2013 DR. GLAZER: January 7, 2014 2nd SW / NUT: February 14, 2013, 2nd SURGEON (Dr. KLEIN) APPT. March 31, 2014, 2nd APPT. DR. GLAZER: February 4, 2015   PATTS: February 19, 2015 SURGERY: March 13, 2015


Tracey 112205
on 1/11/15 9:13 pm - Bumfuknowhere, Canada

Just saying you are having surgery is all they need to know, they don't have a right to ask what type of surgery.

on 1/12/15 1:44 am - Canada
RNY on 01/05/15

This is a tough one.  I too agonized about this question once i decided to move forward with surgery. I agree with Tracy, that they don't have any right in law to know, however, the reality of WLS is that it's quite hard to keep the truth of it from becoming really obvious within a few months of you returning to work, so while technically you are fully within your rights to tell your manager nothing other than that you are having surgery, in reality that won't prevent your colleagues from speculating about why you are suddenly losing a lot of weight. Some of them will put 2+2 together and make 4.  Once they figure it out they'll still talk about it.  It's the unfortunate reality of an office environment - people gossip. I have no advice for you but I can tell you how I approached this situation.   I told my boss that I was having surgery and gave her the note from my centre that stipulated the amount of time I needed off for medical leave. The note itself had the Bariatric clinic's letterhead, so the cat was kinda out of the bag in any case.  I didn't discuss the substance of the surgery with my boss but I did explain that I would need to be on a liquid diet for 3 weeks before surgery (I was at work for the entirety of the Opti phase).  I told her this so that she would understand why my mental acuity might not be up to my normal standards during that period. 

I did tell the colleague that I work most closely with specifically what surgery I was having. We are fairly close and I consider him a friend, so I thought he should know what I was going through and what some of my challenges might be once I get back.  My other colleagues knew I was having surgery, knew I was on a liquid diet in preparation for it and I'm pretty sure many of them figured out what kind of surgery I was having. All concerned have been polite and respectful and quite kind about this. 

I've decided that when I return to the office, I will explain briefly to the colleagues I interact with the most that I've had RNY. I figure it's better that I tell them so they can ask any questions they might have. It also discourages speculation behind my back. It's not juicy gossip if everyone knows openly what's going on.  It will be quite noticeable that I've lost a lot of weight before I go back (I've already lost a lot and I don't go back for 5 more weeks).  Most people in my office are highly intelligent and professional individuals (I'm lucky) so it is possible you might encounter a different reaction, but I think most people will be really happy for you and supportive that you are losing weight and getting healthier, regardless of how that miracle was achieved.  I also feel that telling people, selectively of course, also helps to educate them about this procedure. Most people are sadly uninformed about this surgery.  Who knows, it may change someone else's life if that person has a conversation with a relative or friend who is also struggling with obesity.

i hope this helps?  I think everyone needs to make their own judgement call about who they tell and how much detail to share, but it is a good topic for the WLS community to discuss.

best of luck with your surgery!


 ~ Per aspera ad astra ☆彡 


on 1/12/15 2:35 am - Ottawa, Canada

I work in a small office and all my co-workers were well aware of my on-going struggle with my weight and health.  When I made the decision to have the surgery, I told them all individually when the time was right.  They have ALL been huge supporters and cheerleaders for me.  I'm very lucky that way.  

If you are not comfortable with certain people knowing, just tell them you're having surgery.  If someone is rude and pushes for what kind - just tell them its for a life-saving procedure.  And then let the speculation begin. ;)  You won't be lying - this is a life-saving procedure.  Just not the kind everyone will jump to conclusions about.


on 1/12/15 4:16 am - London, Canada
RNY on 06/25/12

You don't need to tell your manager or HR anything, beyond that you are having surgery. You will need to provide this info to your insurance (if you are claiming STD benefits), but they are separate from your workplace and this information is confidential. I told people at work and they were supportive, especially my boss. You might be surprised.

However, if you don't want people to know and don't want to make a big deal out of being off, just say you are having surgery to repair a hernia. I don't think there's anything wrong with a little white lie in this case. It's in the abdominal area and has a similar recovery time. Say it like it's no big deal and people will likely not ask follow up questions.


Keeping off 133 lbs since 2012!

Referral to Bariatric Registry: May 2011   /   Surgery (HRRH): June 25, 2012         

on 1/12/15 9:02 pm

Thank you all for your responses.  I'm meeting with HR and I will find out exactly how much I need to tell my manager.


And saying "life saving surgery" would be fantastic!  That made me laugh thanks!  But it's so true. That's exactly what this is.


Thanks again all!!

REFERRED: June 19, 2013, ORIENTATION: September 23, 2013,1st SURGEON (Dr. KLEIN) APPT. October 10, 2013 RN / SW / NUT: December 20, 2013 DR. GLAZER: January 7, 2014 2nd SW / NUT: February 14, 2013, 2nd SURGEON (Dr. KLEIN) APPT. March 31, 2014, 2nd APPT. DR. GLAZER: February 4, 2015   PATTS: February 19, 2015 SURGERY: March 13, 2015


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