Why I won’t consider bariatric surgery

I am a member of several groups that are predominately women and guess what topic is always hot?

If you said weight loss you are 100% correct. This is followed by clothes, make-up, and who is being a bitch.

I tell ya that topic of having weight loss surgery comes up frequently and the prevalent reason that they want this surgery is to be thinner. They want to lose weight. I get that who doesn’t?

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I want to lose weight. Hell I’m probably more than a 100 pounds over weight but you’ll never hear me utter the words “Should I get weight loss surgery.” I can’t do it folks. Unless I am actually dying and my life depended on it leave my organs alone! I will continue on this road of slowly losing the weight. Thank you hypothyroidism!

So tell me something… Is it wrong that whenever I read about or hear someone ask if they should get weight loss surgery my first response is to try and talk them out of it? Just because it is not the right decision for me doesn’t mean that it won’t work out for someone else. My fears and dislike of unnecessary surgery is not a reflection on how other people view weight loss surgery. Likewise my definition of unnecessary may not be the same as someone else. Yet I get this sad feeling inside when I hear people talk about getting weight loss surgeries because they hate their bodies. I understand the struggle of being overweight. I understand that losing weight is difficult on various levels person to person. Yet I want to encourage people to not do it. Weight loss surgery is scary and unless it is absolutely necessary to continue living count me out.

Yes I am overweight. No need to tell me I have a mirror. I feel it when I move around. As of right now, knocking on all of the wood, I have no major health issues. I have hypothyroidism which I take medication for and fighting/recovering from depression and anxiety. My blood pressure is normal. I don’t have diabetes. My quality of life is pretty darn good. I can move even though sometimes my back hurts but it is not enough for me to consider weight loss surgery.

There was one point that it briefly crossed my mind because people have brought it up to me in the past. I went for an information session and by the end of it the deal was sealed. No way. Not happening. The instructor mentioned that there was a 3% chance of death and that was it for me. My aunt came with me and told me that I could walk outside and get hit by a bus. While that may be true it is not the same thing as consciously deciding to have weight loss surgery knowing that you could die.

 

I don’t remember how in depth the guy went with the complications but here is what I found on the page Minimally Invasive Bariatric Surgery Risks & Benefits

Here is a list of the benefits:

  • smaller incision
  • fewer wound complications
  • reduced hospital stay
  • shorter recovery period
  • less pain
  • decreased need for pain medication
  • cosmetic

Here is a screenshot of the risks and complications:

risks

This is a bit lopsided no? I have none of these issues. Why would I want to have an elective surgery that will likely cause any of these complications? I will also admit that I am afraid of death and just seeing that word among all the risks and complications is an immediate turn off. The following quote is only some of what I read on the devastating death statistics on weight loss surgery.

“American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, which represents the most optimistic picture, indicates that two to five out of every thousand individuals die within a month of gastric bypass, the most commonly conducted surgery. Reported results are likely to be deceptively low: One investigative report found that deaths directly attributed to gastric bypass surgery were recorded as deaths from other causes, resulting in many never being accounted for.” Bacon, Health at Every Size, p. 62

NO NO JUST NO! All for what? It is just no where near convincing me to damage a perfectly good functioning organ just because I am pushin some extra cushion! To look thinner because society says I am too fat! Being thinner may be other peoples ideal for everyone but that isn’t going to change how you feel as a person.

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“Patients are complimented on their weight loss after surgery. The increased social approval makes them unlikely to admit the painful side effects publicly or acknowledge that the quality of their lives is far worse.” Bacon, Health at Every Size, p. 65

Instead of trying to just fix obesity why don’t we also fix the idea that ANYONE has ANY right to treat you differently because you don’t fit the cookie cutter ideal of what a human should look like?? I shouldn’t be made to feel I can’t have a life until I am thin. That I can’t be happy until I am thin. Have people question why am I happy because I am fat. Live and let live! Yes I am fat and yes I am happy. Would I like to be a bit thinner so my back don’t hurt? Sure but weight loss surgery just isn’t an option.

That’s just my opinion anyway.

Lose hate not weight!

 

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24 thoughts on “Why I won’t consider bariatric surgery

  1. I agree with most of what you say, I think the first step should be self-love, the rest will fall into place. And if AFTER and WITH self-love one decides to gave surgery, it shouldn’t be a problem. But it shouldn’t be a go to solution.

    (BTW I feel the same about Botox. I have to shut my mouth very hard together when any if my friends mention it, after all its their body… but it’s hard not to say something so I totally get your conodrum)

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  2. I’ve known quite a few people who have had the surgery…maybe a higher percentage than is normal? 3 people who I personally know and 1 my brother knows and told me about. From those 4 people, there has only been 1 who has had serious complications with her surgery. The 3 that I know: 1 had her surgery in Japan (I think?) and the other 2 in Canada. In Canada, it’s free once your BMI reaches 40.0, BUT also you have to go through therapy and stuff for a long time before the doctors will sign off on it. They want to make sure you are in the correct mental state to handle it. And I’ve got to admit that I have considered it before. Especially after the first 2 had their surgeries and they were such an amazing success. One of the side affects is loosing hair since you’re not getting a lot of nutrition that first little bit, and that scared me (this was pre-alopecia confirmation) since my hair was already really thin. And I was actually right at 39.8 or 40.0 BMI so I was really considering it for a bit but never went to a doctor or anything. I finally decided that I needed to love me for me. Plus, the thought of all that extra skin after loosing weight so fast kind of creeps me out a little bit….

    Then my brother told me about this friend of his. She got married and had kids and stuff and then she had the surgery. And something went wrong – basically afterwards her part of her intestine died so it had to be removed. Now she gets all the nutrients she needs via IV cos she can’t actually eat anything since her intestine had to be removed. She basically just eats enough to make her stomach stop growling and feel like it has food in it or else she gets a lot of “hunger pains”. It’s really sad! She was so happy with her results and then she got sick.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here in the U.S you have to go through the same process. Lots of prep and tests before you can have the surgery. It just doesn’t seem worth it to me. Not to mention all the bull of the “BMI” number. It calculates nothing of your actual blood work in determining if you are healthy or not. I had 4 of my family members get the gastro bypass surgery… 2 of them are having complications and have been in and out of the hospital and 2 have regained some of the weight they lost. They are still significantly lower than they were. It just seems so much easier to love myself as I am and work on becoming healthier than to go through all that.

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  3. Oh phew, when you said you were going to post about weight loss surgery I was getting ready to sit you down for a concerned talk!

    I’m in the same place you are; I feel so terribly sad when people talk about mutilating their bodies just to fit into that one shape society says is acceptable, but at the same time I’m a firm believer in the Underpants Rule. If people really want to do that to themselves then who am I to stop them? But I do so wish we lived in a world where we weren’t brainwashed into thinking we must get thin or die trying.

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  4. The truth is, when a person has enough of an issue with weight that they are considering surgery to deal with it, the core issue is not the weight itself (as you know). When you heal the reason for the weight being there, it will go away. I know this and have been working on my own healing around food and my weight. Surgeons are not trained to help a person heal what is always a much deeper and complex issue.

    For me, and I suspect for you, life is more about being a whole person who is healthy in mind, body, and spirit, than anything else. And you are definitely on the right path for that.

    By the way, when doctors say that carrying around excess weight causes things like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, they are wrong. Yes, there can be correlations between the two, but one doesn’t cause the other. I had type two diabetes for a while. I healed the cause. It’s gone. I had high blood pressure for a while. It’s been healed and is gone. I am still very overweight at this point, although I have been healing things around my being so, and am making progress. For me, two huge measures of progress are that I now love myself, and have personal boundaries. Keep on doing what you’re doing!

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  5. I know 2 people who have had weight loss surgery, one being my mum and another being my cousin’s wife, both had complications when it comes to lungs. My mum has suffered less, but due to her lack of nutrients and weakened immune system she has had pneumonia 3 times since having it done. My cousin’s wife suffered more, pneumonia turned into severe lung deterioration and she had to have surgery to have a third of it removed. Currently, she is in intensive care as they couldn’t wake her up post surgery. I do see why some people go for it and it seems to work for them, but I always tell these stories when people mention it. Research it people! http://patient.info/health/weight-loss-surgery

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  6. I had the gastric bypass surgery. And, while still in the hospital, I had complications that required additional surgery to fix. Not a good way to start out. But as I approach the one year anniversary of my initial surgery and having lost 95 pounds. I have to state emphatically that my life is MUCH better. I no longer suffer from chronic pain in my knees, ankles, feet and back (and that alone made the surgery worth it) and my heart no longer races out of control because it was struggling so to support an enormous body. I have added so much to my life and back into my life: I can now paint for hours at a time, I can play on the floor with my grandchildren, I can work in my garden again, I can climb a ladder, I can easily go up a flight of stairs (probably several flights but don’t live anywhere with more than one), I can walk for miles, I can wear clothing that fits and doesn’t look like a tent, and my social life no longer revolves around food. I have about 20 more pounds to lose to reach a “normal” BMI but I may or may not go that low. The only real downside to having lost this much weight is that with less fat on my backside, it’s not easy to sit for hours and weave on a hard weaving bench. I probably would not like to sit for hours on anything hard, anymore actually… and yet before the surgery, sitting was about all I could do and I preferred hard things to sit upon because I could no longer lift that extra 120 pounds out of a soft chair or sofa. For me it was worth the risk and temporary discomfort to have a life. And I haven’t broken any furniture in a very long time now.

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    • I am very happy that it worked out for you! For some it is not a temporary discomfort and since I am still healthy I will opt to continue my average of 15 pounds lost a year. It is not for everyone. I am sure your grandchildren are loving play time with grammy!

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  7. Hm, Ok. I am a ‘convert’. I was anti-surgery, till I turned pro-surgery and got VSG done in July. Why was I anti-surgery? Because I thought it’s thought it’s escapism, or it would mean that I ‘give up because I’m not strong enough to lose the weight on my own’. And what turned me into pro-surgery? My failing health, the unhealthy path that was leading me to diabetes, heart trouble, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, unhappiness due to social anxiety, not being able to live the life I want to (I want to travel and explore as many places as possible). My family has a strong history of these lifestyle disorders and I’ve seen people suffer because of them. By suffer, I don’t only mean lose their life, but more importantly, live lives that are a struggle every day. We all will kick the bucket, there is no denying that. But what about this journey called life? That needs to be enjoyed every single day. And it can be done once you’re healthier – speaking from my personal experience here. I’m glad I got the surgery done because health is happiness, and though there are no guarantees, this is pure science.

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    • Like I said it is not for everyone. I am happy that you found it beneficial and that you are doing well from it. As of now I have no health problems that would justify me doing it. The risk of developing health problems that I didn’t have for the sake of being thinner is just not something I am willing to risk. I have seen two people close to me suffer problems they didn’t have before the surgery. Right now I am on a steady pace of losing an average of 15 pounds a year.

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  8. My mom is a recovery nurse so she helps people recover from surgeries. She knew another nurse who was PURPOSELY trying to gain enough weight so that she would qualify to get it. Then she also knew another nurse who got the surgery and had a massive amount of complications. HER STOMACH KEPT LEAKING. At one point she was stuck in the hospital and couldn’t leave. One surgery led to another. She works with. Nurse who can barely keep food down. Good for you!! Losing weight is hard but I have faith in you.

    Katie

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  9. this blog is EVERYTHING! I know first hand that weight loss does not lead to happiness!
    I run a blog predominantly about quitting sugar and for me it’s about being healthier, being about to run around after my dogs and having the energy to get through the day, I don’t care what size I am, my pursuit is happiness!

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  10. I really enjoyed your post! While I did have the weight loss surgery (I am 1.5 years out) and I love my results…my dad had it 8 years ago and he has kept his weight off too. It is a daily struggle to make good decisions about food. Your words are absolutely right! This is certainly not a “magic” fix and anyone who thinks that is crazy! I think thats why so many people gain their weight back. Why go through ALL of that (complications or not) to just gain it all back. Some days (especially at the beginning) I wish I hadn’t done it but now I’m glad I did. I agree with you 100%, this is certainly not for everyone.
    Thank you so much for your words!

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  11. Stephanie and others: you sound like you would LOVE the body acceptance movement! I have listened in on the podcast FOOD PSYCH where intuitive eating, positive body image is the order of the day! The registered dietician has a very well produced podcast and conducts interesting interviews on these topics.

    I am having VGS in 2 weeks. No apologies or attempting converts here. It has been a long, long decision in the making and I have felt just like you for many, many years.

    I am older. I can tell you what my body has suffered but it won’t matter a hill of beans. Diabetes, high BP, hypothyroid, joint replacements. Girls…I wish each of the very, very best! You do not need to hate your weight! You are not a pariah if you are overweight. Fixing weight does not fix the mind.

    Much goes into a decision to have surgery. God bless all of us!

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