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WLS blues

May 24, 2011

Trigger warning WLS

A while back I blogged about two of my married friends (we will call them Steve and Sue) undergoing weight loss surgery (WLS). I talked to them about the dangers, the side effects, and so on, but they both just brushed me aside, claiming that my stats were old and, besides, “our doctor knows what he’s doing.”

I blogged about my discomfort with the whole thing and how I best can support them. He got his surgery in September. She got hers in February. They did NOT get the reversible lap band or gastric sleeve. They got the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. So, they can’t just take it back. They can’t fix the problem they have created for themselves.

Why anybody would just CUT AWAY AN ORGAN just because they were fat is beyond me. But I digress.

Steve’s surgery went just fine. He’s not really experiencing any problems: no dumping, no puking, no ulcers. He’s lost over 100 pounds in 90 days and actually has enough energy to work and go to school. The problems started when she went for her surgery.

First off, Sue has polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), so she has insulin and absorption issues to start with. Three weeks after her surgery, she had to have ANOTHER surgery to fix an ulcer. Then she had ANOTHER surgery this week for stapling issues.

And while she was going through all of this, her husband, Steve was dealing with being 100 pounds lighter… and getting hit on and flirted with. Since he’s not over 400 pounds anymore, he’s more acceptable and, since they have a fairly open relationship, he was flirting back. Finally, he walked out on her two weeks ago.

Between 65% and 80% of relationships that go through WLS end in divorce. That’s WAY higher than the average of 50%. At the same time, how can you leave someone when they are at their lowest?

And HE talked her into it — that’s the kicker. It was all his idea. All the WLS boards say it’s because the new, skinny person had “settled”  for their former mate. Now that they are thin they think they “deserve better.”

Wow, so I guess deep down fatties are shallow too? I never, EVER settled for anyone I dated. And if I thought I was I stopped dating them.

She came to stay with us while he moved his stuff.  She was here three days. She ate exactly one soup at hand. In three days. That sounds like medically induced anorexia to me.

She’s too scared to eat. It hurts her to eat. She feels dumping (when your pouch empties all at once into her intestines and makes you feel like you are gonna die) if she swallows anything bigger than a pea. She can’t have anything acidic to drink, can’t drink milk either. She doesnt have the energy to get up and shower, let alone move her things out of their former apartment.

She claims the surgery saved her life. I think it ruined hers. She is now out a husband, a place to live, a car, and cant keep food down.

But hey, she’s 60 pounds skinnier.

And at least I get her clothes.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2011 7:34 am

    That is so terrible. I just don’t have the words, except *hugs* for your friend ’cause it really sounds like she needs them.

  2. Vitty10 permalink
    May 24, 2011 7:51 am

    How tragic!

  3. May 24, 2011 8:13 am

    So very sad that these folks were brainwashed this way. I feel especially sorry for her. I’m trying to refrain from calling him a few choice names. Poor woman.

  4. Mulberry permalink
    May 24, 2011 11:17 am

    Oh. My. Ghod.
    (While I read this, I see three ads for the gastric sleeve and one for revision surgery.)
    Still, how does a guy go from chunk-to-hunk (sarcasm there) when he’s still 300 pounds or so?
    Hugs to Sue. And it’s absolutely criminal if doctors didn’t at least try to treat the PCOS before this butchery took place.
    I wouldn’t say that “settling” and “doing better” are the operative terms here. People can be shallow at any weight – you just get more opportunity to act that way when you weigh less. The problem is that many of us use our fat as a jerk filter, a function at which it’s quite effective. When the weight gets lost, we may still be relying on a filter that isn’t there any more, and we can easily wind up with someone who’s a jerk in a pretty wrapper and who wouldn’t have given us the time of day before. But what other people see is the prettier wrapper and they call that “doing better”.

  5. May 24, 2011 11:18 am

    This post is in stark contrast to the two most recent posts over at Dr. Arya Sharma’s blog that deal with WLS.

    Sharma’s first post talked about the relative dangers of death from WLS as opposed to extreme obesity. Today’s is actually the first of two explaining why he’s in favour of the surgery. But it seems to me that his series is lacking in one, crucial post: the side-effects that many people suffer. That’s where your post comes in. OK, doctors hate anecdotal information like your post (he did great, she did horribly, they’re divorcing). For medical practitioners, you’ve just told a story and not provided statistical proof. Problem is, every statistic is also a real person and the story you tell shows the real consequences for these very real people.

    Sad, very sad.

  6. vesta44 permalink
    May 24, 2011 1:21 pm

    This is an old tale for people who have WLS, and one that doctors don’t warn them about and certainly don’t warn spouses about. As for Dr Sharma, he can continue to think WLS is the way to go for people who have a BMI of 50 or higher, but I can tell you that if he read the horror stories on OSSG-gone_wrong, he might change his tune.
    I hate the fact that doctors recommend WLS for patients because they are too fucking lazy to look beyond fat for true causes of problems. I hate the fact that doctors would rather mutilate fat patients than work with them to find solutions through HAES and counseling. It’s easier for a doctor to fault a fat patient for doing everything “wrong” or being “non-compliant” when the doctor is actually too fat-phobic to do their job properly. And it’s not doctors who suffer when their patients have debilitating complications, or their spouses leave them, or they die – it’s the patients and their families who have to deal with the consequences of these doctors and their shoddy practices.
    I am so sorry your friend is going through this, erylin. All I can say is that her husband had better enjoy his weight loss while he can because the odds are against him maintaining it for more than a couple of years. He’s still in the honeymoon phase and hasn’t had time for those long-term complications to show up yet (and they will).
    The RnY can be reversed, I know of quite a few people who have had RnY surgeries and ended up having reversals because the complications were so severe they would have died otherwise. It can be a battle, though, convincing a surgeon to do a reversal and getting insurance to pay for it.

  7. May 25, 2011 4:09 pm

    I’m at a loss for words. My heart and good thoughts and intentions go out to her. So glad she has a friend (you) to at least be there for her.

  8. FabAt54 permalink
    May 26, 2011 9:17 am

    I don’t know what to say. It’s all sad and absolutely tragic. Hug your friend for me, too.

  9. May 26, 2011 9:42 am

    Heartbreaking. And you know, if only someonce could’ve helped her to recognize her true beauty, helped her recognize the innate perfection she already possessed 60 pounds ago, she might also have recognized just how much SHE had settled for HIM, and kicked him to the curb before he had a chance to talk her into ruining her health and wellbeing. I’m wishing your friend rapid improvement.

  10. Katherine permalink
    May 26, 2011 10:12 pm

    I have nothing really to contribute, but I couldn’t read this and not post SOMETHING to say: wow. How awful. My heart goes out to her.

  11. MrsS permalink
    May 28, 2011 5:37 pm

    A couple of months ago, a friend said she was planning to have lap band surgery and on Friday night, she informed us (another friend and me) that her surgery was scheduled in June. She opted for surgery because she said that losing weight the normal way takes too long. She has been overweight since we have known her, so we were surprised because we had never thought her weight was an issue with her. She has always been confident and self-assured; she doesn’t have health problems; she didn’t grow up in a dysfunctional household; she is well educated and very intelligent; she is in a good-paying position and is respected. However, she said that she was tired of being “fat.” Those are her words, not mine. When I told my husband about her planned surgery, he said he thought of her as being “chunky,” not fat. When she mentioned her weight, I was surprised because she “wears it well.” I have no doubt that she studied the issue and her decision was not made lightly.

    I know her well enough that I am confident that she will succeed in losing the weight and in keeping it off. My other friend and I said that we would be supportive. By posting my comment, I’m not saying that I support lap band surgery or any other kind of body-reduction surgery. I guess that my friend didn’t have positive self-image that I always thought she had.

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