For years after my WLS I actively participated in the online support forums. They were my home away from, so to speak. These past months many changes have occurred in my life that have me wondering exactly where do I go from here. I no longer feel a connection with the WLS community as a whole. Some believe it is only because of the problems that I have been having lately that have colored my thinking.
That really is just a small part of it. The biggest part is the WLS community itself. They offered me support for a very long time. Yet looking back, I wonder if the support they give hurts more than it helps. Having suffered from an eating disorder for over 30 years, I see all the classic signs of disordered eating going on on the forums. As melting mama is so apt to say, gastric bypass is very much like a surgery-induced state of anorexia.
I'm not the only one feeling like this. A few others have removed their rose colored WLS glasses too. Here are just a couple of examples:
Rearranged: fitting in
"Then I look at the weight loss surgery community. I have so many mixed emotions on that one. Especially in regards to the online WLS community. They offered me much support for a long time- but the rational side of me looking back knows that much of that also fed my eating disorder in a very large way. It was a great big community of who can lose the most, the fastest. Who eats the least? Who gets in the most protein, and the fewest carbs? Who can bake the most beautiful sugar free desert? Don't ever drink diet soda again. Eat in a caloric range that any medical professional will tell you fits into the category of starvation.
For months and months, I ate my meals on a saucer. My body was literally in starvation mode. As Beth has said, gastric bypass is very much like a surgery-induced state of anorexia. Those first several months you can't eat a large ammount of calories, you just can't. You do have to eat a large ammount of protein, and you do have to watch your intake of sugar, fat, and carbs or you can get quite physically ill. I get this, I know this, I lived it. But for how long? My EDI team keeps insisting that now that I am 16+ months post-surgery, that I can, should, and have to get to a state of more 'normalized' eating."
Hot Fat 4 Sale: WLS vs. ED, Round One. Ding Ding!I see so many of my fellow WLSers caught up in the in the idea you have to be thin to be healthy. That is not the case. Look at many of those long term post ops with serious complications. All because they fell for the pressure to conform to societies ideals. There is the use of extreme scare tactics about the risk of obesity that make people choose WLS. Here again things are grossly over-stated.
"I don't really feel like a part of the WLS community anymore, mostly because WLS (for me) ended up being just another symptom of a nearly lifelong eating disorder.
I think I was brainwashed (and willingly so) by desperation, the WLS community, surgeon, etc. into accepting a nutritional rationale for my weird eating behaviors created by the 'onset' of a pouch. The WLS rules, both spoken and unspoken, are insidious in that we accept them as truth. Because we want to believe that it's all about the weight. Along the way, we forgot it was about the 'I' in each of us."
There is also the serious lack of information in the WLS community of the many, many complications associated with the surgery. You can do everything right post op and still end up with multiple health problems. Most WLSers will tell you they had the surgery to improve their health. The long term consequences of this decision show that health actually becomes worse after surgery, NOT better. Read these stories of several WLSers.
Weight Loss Surgery experience - in their own words
Here is a list of complications reported by WLSers from OSSG-gone_wrong .
These complications can happen to people without WLS but these have been confirmed by the patients doctors as related to WLS. Dehydration, Chronic Vomiting and Nausea, Stroke, Heart Attack, Arrhythmia, Kidney stones, Kidney Failure, Liver Failure, Anemia, Deficiencies (B-12,potassium, iron, B-1, B-6, etc.), Malabsorbtion of supplements(calcium, minerals, nutrients from food), Blurred Vision, Muscle and Bone Pain, Loss of Teeth, Bleeding Gums, Rotting Teeth Due to Vomiting Requiring Root Canals, Hypoglycemia, Headaches, Blackouts/Seizures, Lactose Intolerant, Injury to Spleen during surgery, Coma, Paralysis/Blindness after coma, Osteoporosis, Burst Pouch, Lupus, Auto-Immune Disease, Looped Intestines, Ruptured Esophagus from vomiting, Misfired Staper during surgery, Ulcers, Pneumonia/Lung Problems, Arthritis, Weakness and Fatigue from Malnutrition, Overall Pain, Metabolic Bone Disease, Food Blocking Stoma Causing Severe Pain, Stoma Needing Stretched Repeatedly, Neuropathy, Beri Beri, Put on Feeding Tubes/PICC Lines, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Fistulas, Atrophy of Muscles, Hair Loss, Hernias, Blood Clots, Leaks, Peritonitis, Heart Burn/Gerd/Acid Reflux, Bowel Obstructions, Gallstones and Gallbladder Removal, Severe Depression, Anxiety, Loss of Memory, Poor Concentration, Irregular Blood Pressure, Diarrhea, Constipation, Opening Of Outer Incision-Needing Packing Until Healed From The Inside Out, Insomnia/Sleep Disorders, Unforced Anorexia and Bulemia, Gas, Silent Stroke, Vertigo, Malnutrition which is the cause of many of the above problems, Many End Up Becoming Invalids, and then there is Death. This list continues to grow. These complications can happen right after surgery, days, weeks, months, many years, and even when taking all the required supplements. Besides physical complications there is financial hardship and families who are devastated.
So where do I go from here....I learn to live with the complications. I become very proactive in my own care to insure I am in optimal health. I do tons of Internet research. I caution people to learn the whole story on WLS. But most of all....I accept myself for who I am.