Post Op: How did you tell those around you?
Beyond your support circle, how did you handle telling people you interact with about your WLS? Did you tell them prior or after? How did you handle your workplace situation? Did you tell them at all?
In the beginning, I only told a select few and have gradually told the people I feel need to know. Some are supportive and others ask why I don't try to do it without the surgery. When they ask me that, I tell them I have done that too many times to count and every time have gained the weight and then some back. They are not always receptive to that answer but for the most part, the people I work closest to are very supportive, not to mention my family. I hope I helped by giving you my situation.
I work for the insurance company that paid for my surgery and several co workers have had the surgery as well, so I had no problem telling my immediate co workers. Others in the company (we are 500+) I just told I am watching my portions!! High protein, low carb--hey it is the truth, right!!
We eat like pigs in my office, lol!! so I either pass (especially in the beginning) Now, if it something I can have, I nibble a bit--pick and choose. Today one of the sales reps bought us lunch. I got a flat bread pizza. It is on really thin whole wheat crust, with feta cheese, spinach and bits of chicken. I ate one slice and gave the rest to another co worker to bring home to her brood.
You just have to feel comfortable. In the beginning, I wasn't;t telling a soul. But, we are a close knit group and felt that my assistant would be put on the spot if I did not fess up.
Tell them what you feel comfortable with and if not, tell them you have changed your eating habits to smaller, healthier portions!
There really is no right or wrong way to handle this issue. It's a very personal decision and choice. I was like the poster that proceeded me. I told a select few that I trusted before and told more with time. Whenever I'm asked, I am frank about it. I let them know that this is considered decision made with my health care providers. That said, honestly, it's no one's business but your own. While you do need to let your HR department and management know that you will be out of the office for a surgical procedure, they do not NEED to know why. It is my experience, both personally and hearing the comments of many in my support group, that while some my 'disapprove' many, many more are supportive. Many people that they find support that they never knew that they would have after they let people know of their WLS.
Most people are concerned about sharing this information because they are concerned that people with have negative bias against it. You also need to know that there will be a certain number of people that knew someone else who did this and 'failed' (i.e., regained) or had complications. You need to know that a percentage of WLS patients experience regain and complications. The percentage that experience regain, generally have behavioral issues that are unresolved, but if you let your friends and coworkers know you may find that they will provide you with additional support. Regarding complications, there are possible complications that come any surgery, but gastric bypass doesn't have a higher complication rate than those who have had their gall bladder removed. All in all, the public perception of failures and complications is generally widely exaggerated.
This is your journey and your own private business, so do what you are most comfortable doing and understand that what you are comfortable with now may change with time and experience... and that is okay too.
Wishing you all the best,
ObesityHelp Coach and Support Group Leader
High-264, Current-148, Goal-145
I was doing volunteer work with the juvenile court at the time of my WLS so I told the people I was working with that I needed a little time off because I was having surgery. Two people asked what kind of surgery, so I told them. The others didn't ask what kind of surgery so I just left it at that. that's pretty much the same thing I did when I had my gall bladder removed. People close to me knew I was having surgery and what for but I didn't make a point of telling casual aquaintences unless the subject came up.
Now, after surgery, I do pretty much the same thing. I mention it if it's relavent to a conversation and don't mention it if it's not. I don't treat it like it's a big deal. I treat it like it's a medical treatment I needed to resolve a serious medical problem.
Please note: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. If you want medical advice, talk to your doctor. Whatever I post, there is probably some surgeon or other health care provider somewhere that disagrees with me. If you want to know what your surgeon thinks, then ask him or her. Check out my blog.
Throughout this whole thing (Pre and Post) I've never had one single person say anything negative to me. How can they, when I explain how I got my life back and how happy and healthy I am now.
If they say anything at all- they say very kind and supportive things, so I keep telling anyone who wants to know!
:Danni >>>AIDS/LifeCycle 10 & 11 Finisher: 545miles on the bike in 7 days <<<
From there on out, I was a little nervous telling people early on. At first I told my self "they dont need to know" and at times I felt a little embarassed if someone brought it up. As the early months post op passed, and With the weight coming off so quickly I figured it probably wasnt much of a secret anymore, so I started sharing with family and close friends. Now, I'm not afraid to tell anyone, I'm actually proud that this worked and I am no longer worried at all what others think anymore. 3 girls I know ended up having the surgery because they saw how well it helped me. There are still people I wouldnt just blurt it out to, but if they ask I'll tell I'm not embarassed anymore. I've been surprised by the reactions too, most people say "wow you look great!" or they dont believe I was ever that heavy.
Even my husband, whom I met post op told me shortly after we met "your so different and much nicer than any of the other pretty girls" And even though I was afraid of his reaction I told him "Well, maybe it's because I grew up fat". He couldnt believe the difference when I showed him my before picture. I am glad I blurted it out, because from that moment on he was so supportive and understanding with everything. He makes a point to tell me I'm beautiful, and it helps me continue on the right track.
Tell only who you feel comfortable telling, and eventually you may feel okay with being more open about it. Just do what you feel is right for you.
on 9/13/11 5:22 am
I'm finding it a little strange that people I've met since the weight loss don't know I was ever morbidly obese. And even if I tell them about the RNY, they don't get the magnitude of the change unless I show them photos.
It's still a mind **** to be described as the tall, thin woman with dark hair. Me?
I can see my toes, that's all that matters!