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Thinking of WLS? Both of my nurse friends warned me not to do this

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I didn't tell many people before I got my sleeve.  I've told just about everyone after the fact, with a predictable range of reactions, but I'd done my research, made my decision, and didn't want to b

Thanks, guys.  It was heartfelt.  I recently private messaged my cousin to let her know I had the surgery.  My cousin has always been a solid 100 pounds more than me.  Over the years she sometimes men

Dorky, love this post more than my luggage.     I guess I'll come out and say I'm a nurse as well.  I can say two things- if your friends *did* happen to work in the bariatric field ( I know you sai

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Interesting and good for you!!!

The nurse who did my preop at the hospital was scheduled for the same surgery with my doc the day after i was there. In the hospital I met four nurses who had surgery and one doctor whose hubby had surgery. I recently told my podiatrist and he said he's been trying to get his brother to do it for years!! I guess it's just a lesson on how opinions vary and we have to know we have made the best choice for us!!

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Great post and beautifully written.  Send it to the New York Times!  BTW my gynecologist had gastric bypass and is doing very well as am I.

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Thanks, guys.  It was heartfelt.  I recently private messaged my cousin to let her know I had the surgery.  My cousin has always been a solid 100 pounds more than me.  Over the years she sometimes mentioned getting gastric bypass, and although I wasn't considering it for myself, I encouraged her to do it.  She had 4 kids -- I told her to go for it.  But she never did.  Now she's raising 4 grandkids and has a benign brain tumor and a myriad of other health problems, and I don't even know if she could get the surgery now if she decided to.  I don't know if she'll get the last of the kids to adulthood, and I love her so dearly.   Anyway, when I told her, she ended the conversation very abruptly.  I'm sure she's upset.  Possibly she's upset me but we'll get past that, but I wish I'd known the right words to say.  


When I reach goal weight I want to wear a t-shirt with a  before and after picture, so that poor man who sits in the bench in front of the grocery store will ask me about it and I can tell him how he can get help.  We have a miracle here!   And humans are slipping through the cracks right and left!


Anyway  . . . tired, so I guess I'm getting a little impassioned.  Luckily I chat to strangers constantly anyway, so I guess I'll get the word out.  :-)

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Great stuff!  I had strong endorsements from:

~my pre-surgery, insurance-based, diabetic coach/nurse (in that role even pre-SUGGESTION of WLS; mine, not hers)

~an NP

~my internist

~my endocrinologist (fab doc whom I gleefully "fired"--at her suggestion--after 6 mos. of clean sugars & A1cs post WLS)

~my breast surgeon (cancer, not plastics)

~my oncologist (because obesity is a precursor, to breast cancer/return/metastasis)

~my rheumatologist

~my ortho surgeon (shoulder, working w/ non-surgical methods to fix)

~mt phys therapist, a sports med PhD (ditto)

~my psychiatrist

~my therapist


I also had congrats/enthusiasm from these WLS patients, all medical professionals with long-term success themselves:

~my ophthalmologist (b/c it could help keep my glaucoma in check)

~my WL Ctr NP

~my main charge nurse in hosp.


As well as my DH & a couple of friends.


Guess I was lucky that almost everyone who discouraged it were "civilians":

~fam & friends, to whom I raised the idea coupla years before actually taking the plunge.  All due to jealousy, "cheater" mentality, folks who are horrified at the idea of surgery in general, esp. elective.


~And one old/bad internist who said it doesn't work, all his pts. gained it back--but "won't stand in [my] way" (thanks a bunch).


I'd had a bunch of previous surgery, done a bunch of research, assessed pros/cons of all the types of WLS--even considered clinical trials--& felt confident about the risks, recovery--plus I totally trusted my surgeon & his team.


Post WLS, I *have* told folks who need to know, for one reason or another:

~dentist & hygienist (meds changes, incl the short-term actigall)

~pharmacist, ditto

~hairdresser (hair loss)


Anyone else who comments on my weight loss, to reassure/forestall illness concern (which have actually been expressed by neighbors): "Workin' on it/medically supervised/high protein, low carb"--all true.


I do feel bad about friends & family struggling weight loss themselves--to whom I also say that stuff--because unless they also undertake at least non-surgical, medically supervised WL, they're unlikely to have similar results. At the same time, their attitude/lack of support = their loss (pun intended).


That being said, if I ever do run into an acquaintance (or stranger) who notices, comments & laments on their struggles, I'll mention it. Ain't happened yet...


Again, thanks for posting your powerful reflections.

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excellent post! 

Edited by PatriciaAnn
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I have had 2 brain surgeries and still have 2 tumors and scarring which is causing me to have seizures. I had an enlarged heart and I have a tumor in my lungs and on my thyroid gland. My doctors call me a hot mess. Since I,ve lost weight I now have a normal heart but will forever ,(how ever long that is have the brain issues) I have a rare disease called Von heppal Lyndau disease.I went through 3 clinics to find a doctor who would take me on but I found One In Columbia, SC At Lexington medical center who said no problem and I came out of it with flying colors. Tell your cousin not to give up. It,s possible to have WLS with the health issues. Doctors know their Jobs and they all work together to make it safe and to bring us through it with flying colors. Losing the weight will help a lot of the health issues and give her a better life and probably prolong it immensely. I am considered terminally Ill and it means a lot to me to go back in the hospital when I have too not fat. It gives a person a little more dignity hospitals seem to take away. Good Luck to her and to you. She is lucky to have a caring person like you to stand by her. By going through this first you can help her. :)

Edited by Dorothykirton
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Great post. Thanks for sharing. Every day gets a little easier. Things that are taking a lot of emotion and thought right now (what can I eat, when can I eat, is this going to make me sick) will become easier over time. Some things won't but you'll adapt to your new norm. A positive attitude is half the battle- you've got that one in the bag.

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Thanks all of you for your comments.  This forum is so essential to me getting through this.  I'm feeling normal enough to be afraid that I'll go back to my old ways, but I try to check in every day and it gives me an accountability.


Dorothy, thank you!!  When I talk to my cousin, I'll be able to share your amazing story, and maybe it will be the thing she needs to hear.


I really -- I know we've not met -- but I just love all of you guys.  It feels like a team.  A fierce team.  I'm so grateful you're here.

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Honestly, it was my background in medicine that sent me the route of surgery in the first place.  Where I had my procedure done, at least half of the nurses had had the procedure themselves.  They worked it because they also lived it and believed it.  Outside of surgery, the fundamental foundation for losing weight and getting healthy is diet and exercise.  When I fought that battle for three long years, and the weight never budged AND the HA1c kept creeping up, I was done fighting what wasn't working and what evidence based medicine told me wasn't GOING to work by that point in time.  I spent weeks pouring over the evidence, the research studies, the recommendations and I made a choice.  But, I don't tell even other medical professionals that I went this route all of the time, because the bias is still very real.  Any doctor or nurse who has NOT evaluated the research for themselves does not hold an actual evidence based professional opinion.  They have the tools to evaluate it from that perspective if they WANT to, but they still either have to live it, have to work it, or have to want to research to actually know what they are talking about. 

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Beautifully written, DorkyCool. I have no doubt that you'll succeed!

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Dorky, love this post more than my luggage.  


I guess I'll come out and say I'm a nurse as well.  I can say two things- if your friends *did* happen to work in the bariatric field ( I know you said they don't) , then of course they're going to see all the complications. I can tell you that I was a social worker before I was a nurse.  When it's your world, it's hard not to think worst case scenario all the time. It's what you see, it's your job that you live a breathe.  


I thought about taking weight loss medications (the prescribed kind, nothing over the counter) before my husband and I talked about it and decided that even if the meds worked, I'd have to be on them for life, and they have some pretty bad side effects (higher blood pressure, anger, higher heart rate, etc).  


Then my thought process started to move to the same direction as yours.  What you wrote up there, those words.....perfectly surmise my feelings about WLS.  I could go back to weight watchers, sure.  But at my age, is it going to get easier or harder to maintain the weight loss? I have a husband who longs for my former vibrant self. I have small kids that I'm not active enough with.  If I listen to the naysayers (however well meaning) I will lose this precious time.  i won't get healthier, I'll go from pre diabetes to diabetic.  my borderline hypertension will cross the finish line.  My depression will worsen, my fear and shame and avoiding people will get worse.  Most of all, my husband and my kids will continue to live with only a piece of me while i merely exist, waiting for bedtime so I can just sleep. 


Your beautiful words will continue to touch so many of us.  I suspect there'll be those of us who will print it out and hand it to our detractors.  Thank you so much for this post.  And congratulations on following your heart.  You're awesome. 

Edited by bellamoma
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I was thinking the same thing Bella, nurses do see the complications, because of their work and to where people come for care.

I am an RN and in my opinion, the surgery has prolonged my life expectancy and enhanced my current quality of life.

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Thank you so much for writing this.


I just had the gastric sleeve done last 8/19/15, and I have never felt so optimistic.    Physically doing very well too.


Although I'm new to this, I firmly believe, from all I've read from a medical perspective, this next 18 months is critical, the "sweet spot" for my weight loss.  At that point, my body will have a new 'set point', as my starting weight was right before surgery.  For this time, it will be vital to stay away from negative thoughts, naysayers, horror stories, etc.


I love that your blog so clearly expresses the resistance we get from people we trust.  Casual friends and acquaintances are not worth the negativity they may bring.


We all need to remember to only let those we really trust and believe want the best for us, into our inner circles.

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luv!  beautifully said.  cant believe I just noticed it.  thanks for writing it. 

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I really thought I only surrounded myself with people who supported me.  I am still genuinely STUNNED at the friends I thought were friends who became beyond nasty and ugly and accusatory because I have been successful.  I continue to remove those non-friends from my life, but this journey was never about anyone else, positive OR negative.  Its insane to me that there are those who take my journey VERY personally.  I have been called sick and a narcissist and other ugliness simply because I have fought for MY health and MY journey and I have talked about it. 


At the same time, this journey to fight for myself, and to accept ALL of myself the way I am has been incredible for me.  So much so that I am able to see those who flip out and get hostile and anger its completely about them and not me at all.  And the friends who have been safe and supportive have been a lifeline for me in this journey.  I couldn't change those friendships for anything in the world.  The others created a perfect opportunity to weed toxic people out of my life and move onward.

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Bellamomma, you too, have echoed what is in my heart. My husband, dear man that he is, has always been fit and has always loved me despite my inability to enjoy life with him. (What I just said doesn't give him the high praise he deserves...let me try again...)

I have always been the fat kid. Horribly teased and surrounded by self-hatred. Even when we got married I was about 180...and when we got married, my wedding dress did not fit. We had planned to elope...but my whole life I regret not wearing that dress on our wedding day, and I have never posted pictures of our wedding day in my dark blue day dress.

My DH takes our 3 kids to the beach and watches the, swim because I dont even own a swim suit. I am pale, because I dont want to "make other people" have to see my flab

I dreaded what I imputed to my husband as blame, but it was not there. This was all me. I exercise fiercely-between 4-5 miles every day before 8, (I teach at night, so it works), i go to a trainer 1 or two times a week (getting ready to change from 1:1 training to a class next week, and that is 2x per week) and I ride my bike about 7-10 miles a day....but I do it alone.

I want to fully participate in life with him.

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Excellent post!! I'm an RN and I heard the "worst" stories ever pre-op. My co-workers PLEADING for me NOT to do it. They all 'knew' someone....etc.... Well, I'm super glad I went ahead with this. I had uncontrolled Diabetes. I have been in complete remission since before hospital discharge. Talk about the bad things I've seen in 30 years of Nursing related to Diabetes!!! I honestly, have only seen 1 complication from RNY and it was fixed with surgery. I can't even count how many tragic situations I have seen that were contributed to Diabetes. I'm still not sure what all the stigma is about.

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