Saturday, February 23, 2008

My Response to Anonymous

I moderate the comments on this blog to keep out spam. I'm not here to censor others comments. I recently had a comment that honestly I did not want to publish. It pissed me off and made me sad all at the same time. I've been trying to figure out how to respond. Here is the comment. My responses in red.

Why have your posts become so negative about WLS?

I will be the first to admit my present circumstances have been clouding some of my most recent posts. But if you have been a reader of my blog for very long, you will see I have always tried to post the negatives also. I am a firm believer that to be able to make an INFORMED decision about something you must have ALL the facts. WLS is a life changing surgery in many aspects. Before deciding to go that route, you MUST know what all it will entail. I have never professed to be a rah, rah , cheerleader for WLS. It has always been a matter of personal choice to me.

WLS saved my life and you have stated in earlier posts it saved yours too.

Yes, I do believe that at the time WLS was the only route for me. Given the knowledge I have now, would I do it again. In my analytical mind, that is a resounding HELL NO. In the mind of that insecure little fat girl who thinks life would be a bed of roses only if she was thin---yeah I probably would.

Is it what you are going through right now?

As I stated earlier, yes that probably colors my objectivity at this time. But only to a point.

You may be having some minor setbacks, but the over all picture is you have lost over 200 pounds. That is worth it in the long run. You no longer have a host of serious problems associated with morbid obesity. You should be thankful for that. Not trying hard to spread gloom and doom about obesity surgery.

Yes, I have lost over 200 pounds. How does that make everything I am facing and will face in the future worth it. You call them "minor setbacks". Others call them "side effects". I call them complications. These complications have seriously altered my life. Yes I no longer have diabetes or hypertension. But in having WLS I have just exchanged one set of medical complications for another. So no I am no thankful for that. The long term consequences associated with WLS are not clearly found anywhere. Who knows have bad my health will have suffer in 5, 10, 15 years down the road.

I do not feel like I'm spreading gloom and doom either. I am presenting facts as I know them so others may make their own decisions.

There are thousands of very satisfied people who have had WLS. Just look at the support forums on the web. Sure there are some things you just have to deal with, like taking your supplements and exercising. Following the rules. It is so worth the small sacrifices though.

Yes, you do find many people who feel WLS has drastically changed their lives. The support forums are full of them as you pointed out. But how many of them speak of things I deem complications on a regular basis. The threads are full of people who are speaking of ulcers, severe dumping, poor lab values, constant diarrhea, hair loss, etc. But they just chalk it up to what they have to live with after surgery. Excuse me if I don't think having to go several times a year for IV iron as being okay. I don't think having spend mega bucks each month on supplements just because my body won't absorb stuff anymore as a minor setback. Nor is having bones breaking at the drop of a hat and barely crawling out of the bed in the morning because of the osteoarthritis worth it all. All in the name for being thin. It boils down bottom line to everyone as basing their entire self-worth by the number on a scale. the would rather live through these complications than to go back to being fat.

I am 3 years post op and have had no complications whatsoever. I'm looking forward to a long and happy life. A whole lot longer than it would have been had I stayed obese.

I'm happy that you are not having any complications so far. I sincerely hope you never do. As for living longer after WLS than if you had stayed obese, don't think so. You won't, that has already been well established. WLS does not increase your life span. It actually shortens it.

I think some may have a few complications. But there are alot more of us who are doing just fine.

Here again, most of the "normal"things that people experience after WLS are really complications from the surgery. The hair loss, dumping, etc. so yes there are a ton more who are experiencing complications, but like you they don't view them that way.

Even if this research is true, I would rather die younger as a thin person, than live longer being fat.

Now this just makes me sad.....

I wonder how your family would feel if they knew this. I think they would rather have you here and fat. You are willing to give your life just to conform to societies ideal of what beauty is....sad....and wrong.

I had some more responses left---

Rachel said...

Even if this research is true, I would rather die younger as a thin person, than live longer being fat.

Hey anonymous: Given the long-term "success" rates around WLS, you just may very well get your wish.

I used to think the same way, too. Of course in my case, I didn't have WLS, I had anorexia. Yes, that is truly how fucked up your "logic" is.

vesta44 said...

anonymous #2 - not everyone is doing well post-WLS. I had a friend who died from it 10 years ago. She should never have been allowed to do it, she was a multiple personality and had more issues than I can list. She started regaining weight after her first VBG (she had gone from 400 lbs to 160 and had gone up to 175), so they went in and redid it (she had also had a massive ventral hernia repaired before her 1st VBG). When they did the 2nd VBG, they didn't remove the mesh that had repaired her hernia and her intestines got tangled in it and started to die. She had to go back in and have almost half of them removed. She ended up with short gut syndrome (you eat and you immediately shit it out), malnutrition, and myocarditis (which is what ultimately killed her). How she passed the psych test is beyond me, but maybe it was because she had been a nurse and had been dealing with the mental health system for so many years that she knew how to manipulate her answers to give them the results that would let her have the surgery.
I suffered from depression (I was on Prozac at the time) and they still let me have a VBG. Mine didn't work. I don't know if the staples came undone or my pouch stretched, but I lost weight for a while, then I started regaining. I'm currently 27 lbs heavier than I was when I had the VBG 10 years ago, and the mobility issues I had before the surgery are a lot worse now than they were then (and the 70 lbs I lost didn't improve those issues at all). I followed all the rules, did what I was told, and it still failed.
I've been fat all my life, just less fat at times than I am now (personally, I don't think 175 lbs at 5' 9" is fat, but that's what the BMI would have said back in 1975). And for me, I'll take being fat and happy and healthy (and I am healthy, other than arthritis and fibromyalgia, which aren't caused by being fat) over being thin and possibly plagued with more problems than I now have. I don't think I'm shortening my life any by staying fat since all of my grandparents were fat and lived into their late 80's/early 90's. My parents are fat and they're both still alive and kicking at 73 and 74. So being fat isn't an automatic death sentence, what the killer is is all the stress fat people have to deal with on a daily basis. Stress from being told our fat is going to kill us, from not being able to find decent, trendy clothes that fit properly, from being discriminated against in jobs/housing/schooling/etc/etc. Stress from being told we're worthless/ugly/stupid/smelly/gluttons just because we don't meet some asshat's idea of thin beauty.
If you'd rather be thin and die young than be fat and live a long life, that's your choice, no one is saying you can't do that. But WLS is not always a solution for the problems fat people face, and saying it is does a disservice to fat people who are pushed into this without being given all the information they need to make a decision on whether to have this surgery or not (I sure as hell wasn't told everything I needed to know 11 years ago, and I didn't have the internet back then to do any research, I had to rely on what the doctors told me).
WLS is not a magic bullet that will make you thin and cure all your ills, but that's how it's being marketed. It's a personal decision that each individual has to make, but I think it's important for those of us who have bad experiences with it to get the word out that things can go wrong, horribly wrong, and have for some people.


Melinda said...

I resented my wls after having my gallbladder out... it wasn't the wls that made all of my difficulties... it was the gallbladder problems (which WERE due to wls, but I was prone to them anyway since my mother had gallbladder removal).. Anway, yes your blogs will surely reflect what you feel at that moment... and today it might be wonderful, while tomorrow morning it might be negative... but you have the strength to say it how you feel it. You are surely entitled to that freedom! I applaud you.

riverbender said...

Reminds me of a joke which of course I forget - something about a guy getting robbed and given the choice between, "your money or your life" and he chooses money.

What good is being "thin" if you're dead?

Ya know what's sad to me is that I can understand why someone would say something like that. I've probably said it myself I'm sure.

I've quit smoking a few times over the past 15 years. I'd gain weight each time I quit. I got to the point where I was saying I'd rather die of cancer than die of obesity. Yes, I did finally quit. The subsequent severe depression and very fast 40lb gain nearly (literally) killed me anyway. I can't win lol.

It's just so really, REALLY hard to be overweight in this society. It's hard to be anything but the status quo/Stepford wife/citizen. I think especially as women, we are never quite good enough. And then, to top it off, we age and oh, don't get me going! ;)

Jenny said...

I really appreciate your blog and I have learned a lot reading it.

I just wanted to give you a heads up, though. Your blog is taking several minutes to load on my cable connection. It is so slow that if I suspect a lot of your visitors are never seeing the page. When it does first load the white background loads another minute later, so the print is impossible to read.

The things the page is waiting for while it doesn't respond are, and as well as photobucket.

I think this is all stuff on the right hand column. Consider losing it! Your blog content is too important to lose readers because of extremely slow response.

cleochatra said...

I don't know why folks are taking your personal experiences as an affront to their life choices.

So WLS worked for them-- great!

I have known too many people who are suffering due to WLS, and you're one of them.

Just because many of WLS patients have success doesn't mean we neglect or ask folks to politely shut up when their medical experiences are a nightmare as a result.

People need both sides of the coin when looking to make a decision like WLS.

It's a very serious change to the body, and I can't help but wonder if, in 200 years, we're going to look at Weight Loss surgery with the same shock and horror as we currently look at 'bleeding' as a response to melancholy.