Thursday, August 2, 2007

Star Jones-Reynolds WLS Controversy

I've had about enough of this. Who gives a rip. So what if she had WLS. My dear friend Kaye Bailey, from LivingAfterWLS, wrote an outstanding essay about this very thing. I am putting it up in it's entirety , with her permission for all to see.

In Praise of Star Jones Reynolds

by Kaye Bailey
August 1, 2007

Star Jones Reynolds has been taking a media and blog-lynching for years. First because she was fat, next because she did something to gain control of her weight and health, next for refusing to share her private medical information with the public. And now for publicly disclosing a very personal and private matter: she had gastric bypass surgery.

If you are looking for Star-Bashing then move along, you won’t find it here.

Star Jones Reynolds is more representative of the weight loss surgery community than one might think. Her predicament vs. the average desk-jockey-Jane is that of full public exposure. Granted, she elected a career in the public spotlight, but she is a person and deserves to protect her private life as much as you or me. When an average-Jane such as myself had gastric bypass and chose not to disclose it to my co-workers I did not have to see my big butt splashed on the tabloids with speculation and accusation. Oh sure, there were whispers behind my back as my ever-shrinking body told the tale of rapid weight loss. But I ignored it and stuck with my story, “changed my diet and I am exercising regularly.” Which actually is the truth – to this day – 8 years post-op.

You see, medical history is nobody’s damn business but your own. As far as I’m concerned there is too much disclosure of medical history. I don’t want to know about polyps in the president’s colon or kidney stones being passed by my co-worker down the hall. Details about Aunt Madge’s diverticulitis qualify as to much information.

Now, what would be the reason that Star or me would keep our little surgical solution secret? I don’t know about her but I felt ashamed that I needed help, drastic help to take control of my health. Plenty of times I heard the chants, “Eat less, move more.” No kidding, easy to say those words little miss skinny-minnie-eat-anything-you-want-and-don’t-gain weight. How about we strap a hundred pounds or so on your almighty back and see how much you move and how friggin’ hungry you get! I felt enough shame on my own and didn’t need anyone else to serve me a super-size portion of guilt. And that shame haunts me.

And another thing, talk about stomach stapling, gastric bypass or gastric banding to just about anyone and I guarantee they know “a friend of a friend who got that done and things went bad.” It’s tough enough to make the decision to have surgery, why add to the mental torment with stories of a friend of a friend?

People on the outside looking in say weight loss surgery (gastric bypass or gastric banding) patients take “the easy way out” of obesity. The obese are viewed as slothful, dumb and weak. Ms. Jones-Reynolds proves that theory wrong. She is an educated and ambitious black woman who created a perfect storm of stardom and success in a world where the odds were against her. Really, how many morbidly obese black (or white for that matter) women rise to the level of success she achieved? And so what if along the way she neglected her health, as so many of us do? And so what if she chose the best medically available option for her long-term success? Losing weight by any means is tough work. The easy way is staying fat.

Weight Loss Surgery Video Link Weight-Loss Surgery Myths Dispelled

As a celebrity she no-doubt observed the way other celebrity weight loss surgery patients shed their weight in the public fishbowl. Any public figure paying attention to that would think twice before “coming out” with the humiliating information, “I have an illness for which I am being medically treated for the sake of my health.” If her illness were something with a cause ribbon such as heart disease or cancer she would have been applauded and praised for taking advantage of state of the art medical science. But obesity, no, that’s a disease of shame and disgrace.

Weight Loss Surgery Video LinkObesity and Your Health: How WLS Can Help

And what if down the road she regains a few pounds? Most of us do, including the celebrities whose worth is measured by the scale. She will then face another public lynching as the bloggers and the press guesstimate her tragic rebound to the land of the binge-eating bulge. What is so skewed about this, a relapse with a “real” disease is cause of public empathy and humaneness. Regained weight, on the other hand, is a feather in the cap of those “I told you so” critiques who think someone else’s weight is their business.

It is no wonder Star Jones Reynolds, me, my brother and thousands of the weight loss surgery patients living amongst us keep (kept) our dirty little secret to ourselves for so long.

Kudos to you Ms.Jones-Reynolds. I wish you the best of health and happiness. You’ve earned it the hard way.

Well said, Kaye!!! I have nothing to add---you said it all.

Kaye is a fabulous writer. You can find more essays by her here. She also has over 100 articles here.


Lady Rose said...

You're right - she said it all so well nothing to add, just felt I need to add my **applause**

Awesome post!

Kaye Bailey said...

Thanks for publishing this post, Bama and Lady Rose thanks for your applause. This was one of those articles that HAD to be written. To have it appreciated means a lot to me. I wish the best to all in the WLS community.