Friday, February 8, 2008

Follow-Up WLS Life Sucks

First let me thank my online friends for their support and concern. I appreciate all of your support and encouragement.

With all this junk going on with me, I did what I normally do....research.

Do you know how really difficult it is to find long term research on WLS? It doesn't exist. Most I could find was for 5 years tops.

Surgery for Weight Loss: Comparison of Risk and Benefit- Ernsberger

Well, the gold standard in medicine is the controlled clinical trial. We don’t go subjecting 100,000 people to a surgical procedure without doing a controlled clinical trial or dozens of clinical trials, and then looking at the results. Do you know how many clinical trials have been published on weight-loss surgery or gastric bypass? Zero. None of them have compared it to clinical conservative treatment and found it to be superior for life expectancy or for anything else other than, you know, risk factors. A number of trials have been started, and the final results have never been reported. We have to ask, you know, why haven’t we seen the final results? I think it’s because it’s bad news. (Paul Ernsberger on Donahue, 2002)

Surgery for Obesity

Edward Mason (MD, PhD - inventor of the gastric bypass) wrote this in an article in 1999:

Bariatric surgery still does not have sufficient data from enough patients with any procedure to say which operation is best. I am concerned about the goals of surgeons and patients and their level of interest in what really goes on inside the body after alterations of the anatomy. I am concerned about the focus on the superficial and results from the first year with a lack of concern about how life will be affected when patients are 10 and 20 years older.

For the vast majority of patients today, there is no operation that will control weight to a "normal" level without introducing risks and side effects that over a lifetime may raise questions about its use for surgical treatment of obesity.

There is plenty out there to read now, but it is pages back when you start doing research on WLS. People don't want to know the bad stuff. Besides bariatric surgery is big business now.

Here's some things you to read through before contemplating WLS.

As for me and my problems, the most recent thing going on is I have a fistula and a 4cm ulceration in my pouch. Yipee, huh....

The treatment right now is a lovely med called Zegerid. Not covered by my insurance and costs over $300. Lucky for me the insurance company appears to be understanding about the complications following WLS and after the GI doc puts in the paperwork they will approve it. The GI doc gave me plenty of samples. This same lovely GI doc did everything but outright call me a liar when he handed me my discharge papers. They detailed a soft diet(useless because it was super high carb) and a medication list of NO NO's---NSAIDS. When I told him I had never taken any type of NSAID since my surgery, he politely said well you just may not know what all that entails....blah, blah, blah....In other words he didn't believe me.

Being who I am.... and the Versed probably had something to do with it too....I let him know in no uncertain terms that I know what the hell an NSAID is and have never used them. I've resigned myself to live in constant pain because I don't want to be dependent on narcotics and the Tylenol doesn't help, rather than take NSAIDS.

This is only the most recent of things wrong with me all because of having WLS. All the others, I have just looked over because they are deemed "normal" after WLS. I've since come to realize that ill health is not normal whatever the cause.

  • Severe anemia---requiring IV iron
  • Severe malnutrition---requiring multiple doses of mega supplements
  • Osteoporosis---really no acceptable treatment, the meds for this can not be taken
  • Multiple fractures in my spine---2 broken ribs---several broken toes
  • Severe tooth loss---I'll soon have all my teeth gone and be wearing dentures
  • Gall Bladder removed
  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Reactive hypoglycemia
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Dry Skin
  • Hair loss--still going on despite supplements
  • Chronic pain

These are just the things off the top of my head. I still don't know what route I am going to go right now. I'm looking at all my options.

Hindsight is 20/20 as they say. Would I go through surgery again knowing what I know now? Who knows, the nearly 400 lb me probably would. The sick and tired 155lb me doesn't know.

I have joined a yahoo support group. I'm learning alot from others who are going through the same things I am. Tons of great info there from those who have been there done that.


OhYeahBabe said...

Fortunately, you will find solutions to the issues you're facing. Imagine all the patients who don't have the skills you do and just blindly follow doctors who are so egotistical that they'll accuse a patient of lying rather than admit they don't know it all. Doctors like that are more common than they should be, and I'm sorry your doctor is one of them! I've fired doctors for accusing me of lying, either to them or to myself, but once you're roped in with a surgeon you're sort of stuck with them for the follow up, I guess.

Best wishes - I hope you're feeling better soon.
My blog: Kimorexia

Amy B said...

I found your blog and took some time to read it. I am sorry that you are having such hard after effcts your WLS. I had no idea. I had spent years wishing I could find a way to afford the opration.
I just had no idea.
I hope you can find something to help you feel better and recover soon.
Amy B

Anonymous said...

Hi BamaGal!

I'm so sorry to read what a hard time you're having. I can't even begin to imagine the frustration.

I understand your comment about not wanting to take pain meds out of concern for possible addiction, but one thing I learned when I first started needing to take pain meds for my chronic pain is that if you don't take the pills except when you really need them and take them only as prescribed by your doctor, the odds of becoming addicted - even over the long term - are fairly low.

Most often, addiction occurs when someone is given narcotic pain relievers for a short-term pain like a broken bone or recovering from surgery and winds up taking them even when they're not having a lot of pain; takes more during a day than the doctors has prescribed; keeps taking the pills until the prescription has run out, even if their pain has receded before then or any combination of the above. And that's where the problem comes in - taken them even when you're not in pain.

I hope you don't mind my writing about this to you - I just hate to see someone suffering from pain if they don't have to. And really, someone who's concerned about the possibility of addiction is someone who's going to take care not to over-use the medication and that's really the key.

In any event, I hope that you find some kind of relief! I'll keep you on my prayer list.