Weight Loss Surgery - If your considering WLS or having doubts, read this, please

06-20-2009, 03:27 PM
I'm 6 months out from having a gastric band-lots of you know me here. I just want to offer encouragement to any of you who may be having doubts about having surgery or are considering it.

MY advice,if at all possible-DO IT!!! I wish I could have had it sooner, but I had it done about soon as possible in my life. If you are young and have struggled with weight, do it. I wish I could have done it when I was younger. I'm 52 but have been overweight my entire life. So far, I'm 100 lbs down form my highest weight, which I was not at when I had surgery.

I feel tons better!! It's amazing. I still have a way to go, but I've come so far. today, and I know this sounds stupid unless you've spent part of your life being restricted by your own body- I was able to bend down and reach under a table back to the wall to pick something off the floor. I remember when bending over was nearly impossible-when putting on socks and shoes was a chore.

I used to drink soda like crazy even though I knew it made me feel like crap. Now I drink mostly water or unsweetened teas. I'm sure that's one reason why I feel better. It's been worth giving up stuff to feel this good physically and mentally. When I was talking about WLS, my mom, who I love dearly, but taught me everything I know about eating, said, "you'll have to give up so much." I said, "yes, but look where food has gotten me."

So do your research and if you chose WLS, embrace the tool as a new life style and run with it. Follow the protocol. Feeling good is so worth it! Lots of you know I have cancer now. If I can feel this good with that, just think how good you can feel in your body and about yourself without cancer. YOU are worth it and don't spend a second thinking you're not.

PM me if you want to talk.

06-20-2009, 07:59 PM
wow terry - that's quite a statement!!!!! WLS has been a gift for many of us, and we're grateful but i gotta add that 'do your research and make the decision that's right for YOU.' statement.

however, i also have to add one of my favorite sayings: don't let fear stand in the way of progress!!!

06-24-2009, 03:58 AM
It's a quite a statement.

07-16-2009, 10:21 PM
Just have to say thanks for sharing.
I'm on the fence about the surgery. For many years I have been totally against it saying that I could lose weight on my own. Now here I sit 30 plus pounds heavier and feeling worse than ever thinking that this might be my answer.
I have to do something~because doing nothing is getting me no place.

07-17-2009, 12:42 AM
I am so glad for you that WLS has helped you so much, just as I am for all the others here that it has helped. If you are healthy & strong, and do your research, and find a good, reputable doctor with lots of success -- then I support you in the choice you make, and I also pray for you ...

Many years ago, when I researched this option, there wasn't as many as there are today and the success rates are much higher now too. My personal research (as that was the main option I had at the time) wasn't very positive. People who had the surgery that I knew, actually tried to talk me out of it, as did my own personal physician; and I respected their opinions and the information they gave me, which was quite dismal at the time.

Recently, someone on another thread said that they 'get annoyed' when anyone mentions that they know someone that died or has been sick after WLS. What do people want us to do? Deny the truth? Deny reality? How do I deny my good friend of only 37 y/o sitting in my home, crying her eyes out as her 12 y/o son watched on, telling me the doctors told her she was dying and they couldn't help her? Deny her passing only 6 months later? I didn't share that fact to discourage or scare anyone -- I was just telling the truth, when someone asked for it ...

When someone asks me for my opinion -- I tell them the truth. If you don't want the truth, then don't ask or read my posts. I come here and read your posts, becuz I am glad for you all, and I hope the best for you all. I wish I could have had some kind of option available to me when I was younger and stronger; that I felt good about at that time, but I couldn't find the assurances that I needed. And now, I do not qualify for WLS surgery, as my health is too bad and it is too risky for me.

I hope that they can perfect some of the newer procedures even more in the future; but I also think it is so sad that we have to go to such lengths and drastic measures to regain our health. I am finally learning, thru trial & error to discipline myself about what I put into my mouth and how I live. Yes, it is hard; and it is gonna take me a long time, but it is my only option ...

And I am sorry, that if by sharing that I lost my dear friend, that scares anyone; that was not my intention. I know that I get scared for others myself becuz of her passing, but I also know the facts -- that today, things are much better than back then. I also think, like others here have stated that you MUST DO LOTS OF RESEARCH FIRST, and the pre-op needs to be done very carefully, so that people know how to take better care of themselves post-op.

I have noticed that there has been a string of threads here lately to encourage those who have had WLS & those who are considering it, and that if fine with me; I wish you all well, but I just can't help wanting to pray for you anyways ... lol ... :hug:

07-21-2009, 06:15 PM
justwant -

i hear your pain. no matter which way we go, it's a difficult choice. and we urge people to look at the good, the bad, and the ugly. one size does NOT fit all, and there are many EXCELLENT reasons for NOT having the surgery.

but for some of us, it's been lifesaving, not a death sentence. and that's why people HAVE TO DO their homework and ask lots of questions. and read/hear about all experiences. no one wants to be in that 1-2%.

07-22-2009, 04:06 PM
I am in the jumping through insurance hoops part for WLS. I have one more weight management appointment end of august t, then they can submit to insurance. I am excited, I have done alot of research, and i am so glad I am doing this now. they have made so many advancements in the last 5 years :) I cant wait till I am on the other side of surgery, the waiting is torture!

07-22-2009, 05:06 PM
Those are encrougaing words to all thinking about getting WLS

07-24-2009, 01:10 PM
It's been worth giving up stuff to feel this good physically and mentally.
I don't get it. If you're willing to give up the stuff, why would you need surgery?

07-25-2009, 12:11 AM
Giving up stuff........hm?!?! Well, I'd given up carbs, fat, meat, dairy, veggies, nuts, etc. many times and the results... I was still morbidly obese, sick and immobile. But, wait, I'd given up all the stuff , right? Gee WLS or no quality of life.....hm.....So why do the surgery? Because I wanted LIFE instead of sugar, fats and large quantities of food. I wanted a chance to live the rest of my life with a smaller stomach and the inability to eat until I was sated, gorged, and sedated. I'm kind of being sarcastic here, but if everyone here was able to JUST GIVE IT UP, guess there wouldn't be any need for 3FAT CHICKS site or WLS. I'm with Terry and hundreds of others who researched, read, sweated, agonized on a chance for life with WLS or a slow, debilitating, morbid obesity life of pain and misery.

07-25-2009, 12:21 AM
I don't get it. If you're willing to give up the stuff, why would you need surgery?

What's not to get? WLS involves just as many sacrifices as traditional dieting, it just involves different sacrifices. Only an individual can decide WHICH sacrifices are worthwhile and the best way to make them.

There's nothing wrong with choosing to find ways that facilitate the sacrifices. It would be a lot like asking my husband and I why we donate to our church by automatic withdrawal. After all, if we're willing to make the sacrifice, why aren't we putting the money in the collection plate each Sunday like "most people?"

The answer is that we decided the best way to make the sacrifice was to take it out of our immediate control. We've taken advantage of our tendency towards "laziness." By making it necessary to make a conscious choice not to give (we'd have to cancel our auto withdrawal), we've made it easier for us to give (no more "forgetting" the envelope, the checkbook, or the wallet at home).

I've determined that wls is not for me, because of the sacrifices and risks I'm not willing to take, but I certainly do understand why some people would choose it. I have no problem with that at all, I just would hope that it be the best, most well-thought out and researched decision the person could make.

07-27-2009, 12:27 PM
2 years ago when I was doing the research and planning on getting the lap band surgery I found out I had diabetes. It really scared me as I only have one kidney and I was also diagnosed as being in renal failure! I was a month out from setting a date for the surgery but knew I couldn't wait for that to get started and I knew I had to do something NOW. I had the list of foods that one could eat after the surgery. The solid foods. I started out eating 3 cups of food a day with the help of the foods listed. Yes, I lost those 55 pounds with 3 cups a day. Yeah, I had to cut out a lot of foods but that was ok as those were the foods that sent me skyrocketing to 375 pounds to begin with!

As many others here I had been heavy most of my life. Since I was 18 and got married the pounds started adding up. Before that I was only 135 pounds. Now that I am 55, and my health is REALLY bad I need to start losing again. I was born with DDD (degenerative disc disease). Through the years it spread through out my whole spine. Makes doing normal things like house keeping very difficult. Walking is painful. I have problems just moving about the house. I'm at 336 now. My knees are royally messed up from falling way too many times on them in past years.

I get really frustrated not being able to do things. In the past 3-4 months the pain from my back and knees has caused me to basically do nothing. I sit at my comp for a few hours then have to lie down to rest my back and knees. Even that isn't easy to do.

I know losing the weight won't change the physical problems but I am hoping it will help to lower the pain I endure every day.

I want to go back on the diet that people eat after having LBS. Unfortunately I lost that paper a long time ago. I was thinking about doing research on the net for the high protein foods etc. so that my SO and I could both eat healthier and at the same time lose weight.

Oh, btw, once I lost 25 pounds using that solid food diet I called the surgery nurse and told them to cancel. She asked why and I told her what I said above about having to start NOW and felt that since I was losing the weight this way I didn't feel I needed to go through with the surgery. My SO still feels I should look into the LBS again but I don't really want to go through all the hoops again. I still feel that if we come up with a great way to lose weight without the surgery then that is the way for me to go.

I am very proud of those that have had the WLS because it takes a lot of will power to go through with something like that. And after the WLS, one still has to be very mindful of what they eat as if they hadn't had the WLS. Having the WLS isn't a cure all because one is still having to take control, they just have a little extra help in doing so. :)

Everyone that has had the WLS or is thinking about having it, I too pray for you as that is a VERY major step in one's life and any help I can provide in helping along the way I am all for it! LOL

I hope to start posting my weight loss success here as well in the near future! You have all given me the desire to make it happen!


07-27-2009, 01:22 PM
I appreciate that there are many different pathways to health. And we all have to find our own.
I was recommended for bariatric surgery at one time and elected not to have it.
Although there are many positive stories out there, it is important to recognize the risks. And I just can't get these stats out of my head:
http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2007/02/when-scares-become-deadly-weighing.html in particular:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers in the June 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that since 1999, the prevalence of obesity and extreme obesity, and hence any deaths “associated” with obesity and extreme obesity in our country, have increased in actual percentages only 0.1% and 0.4%, respectively, over the entire period (going from 30.5 to 30.6% and 4.7 to 5.1%). Significantly less than most people and probably most medical professionals realize.

By comparison, between 1999 and 2005, American deaths from bariatric surgeries have increased 607% (from an estimated 1,334 deaths in 1999 to 8,096 deaths in 2005, when about 176,000 surgeries were performed).

Clearly, the skyrocketing rate of deaths from bariatric surgeries compare extremely unfavorably to those of obesity.


http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2007/01/junkfood-science-weekend-special.html in particular:

In the more than forty years that bariatric surgeries have been performed, there have been no randomized, controlled clinical trials that have shown any long-term improvements to actual health or that lives are saved or extended by these surgeries — not any of the dozens of types and variations being performed, and certainly none of the new procedures claiming to be better and safer. According to obesity researcher, Dr. Ernsberger, Ph.D., of Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, several clinical studies to examine the long-term consequences and look for improved life expectancies have been started but the results were never released. “I think it’s because it’s bad news.”

The Mayo Clinic reported in 2000 that 20% to 25% of gastric bypass patients develop life-threatening complications, but the recent Lap-Band U.S. clinical trials done to earn FDA approval reported 89% of patients had at least one adverse event, one-third of them severe. Complications from lap bands are more likely to require surgery to correct and the bands result in so much more vomiting, they are known as “surgical-induced” bulimia among medical professionals. While many consumers believe the newer, less invasive laparoscopic bypasses and lap-band procedures (which tighten a constrictive band around the stomach to make it smaller) are safer, they merely have their own “unique set of complications,” according to surgeons Shanu N. Kothari, M.D., and Harvey J. Sugerman, M.D. writing in Healthy Weight Journal. Ulcerations and the bands eroding into the stomach can happen and usually are why the bands are not reversible or removable. A September 2003 and an August 2005 Blue Cross-Blue Shield TEC Assessment scientific review of the evidence on the newer procedures concluded they had also “not demonstrated improved net health outcomes.”

Weight loss is never an easy path to follow, and there are many choices we make along the way. If you are considering gastric bypass/banding, you really need to see all sides of the arguement.

Personal stories add that human, emotional touch, but they are also the most subjective and least reliable sources for information available. As we learned here, beliefs are powerful and can lead us to incorrectly interpret our experiences. And when someone has come to believe in and wants desperately for somethingto work, especially when surrounded by people talking about how wonderful the surgeries are, they may not admit the full reality of the negatives.



07-27-2009, 03:24 PM
JMHO - Kiramira: Thank you for the stats. BUT, I can show you a hundred others that will tell you that the benefit of WLS outweighs the risks of poor health and even death. There are hundreds more success stories than there are complications.

I researched WLS for two or more years before I actually had WLS. I would never recommend surgery to anyone unless they were knew all the risks and the hard road that follows WLS. We have had people or their loved ones on this board, that have had terrible responses to WLS, even death. When someone reports that they knew someone who had died from WLS, I want to know that person health status before their surgery, their doctor qualifications, their willingness to have been fully committed to doing everything that their doctor had told them to do after surgery.

I had a person in my life that went in for a minor surgery and never came out of the anesthetic and died. I can't quite put my finger on the person here on this site, but someone who was a military wife, and when I first came to this site and begin reading her story it was pure terror. I'm not being a smarty here....It is called personal choice, and sometimes it is the only choice left to that person. Does the risks of WLS outweigh the benefit of no longer being obese and having good health? Personally for me the answer was and will be yes. I know of very few people who have had the WLS and have followed the program faithfully, and still had some complications and most will tell you that they would still do it all over again.

I tried so many times to lose weight through diet plans, lifestyle changes, hypnosis, nutritionist and spend thousands of dollars to only be temporarily successful. I applaud and admire anyone who can even lose a pound and keep it off without WLS. I knew when this opportunity was given to me I wanted a LIFE and I grabbed it with both hands. I was 56 years old and want to spend the rest of my life, no matter how long I have left, living, not fading away in pain, discouragement, and an inability to take care of myself and family.

07-27-2009, 03:36 PM
Ms NanJ, I appreciate your story. As I said in my post, I appreciate that everyone has a different path.

The title of the post was IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING WLS, followed by a personal endorsement. Which is terrific that this path is productive for the OP.

Unfortuantely, if you die from the surgery, you won't be posting on this board any time soon. And it is important to realize that there are no long-term positive studies about bariatric surgery, and that the results you get from such a dramatic, body-altering permanent surgery may be NO BETTER than what you get from diet and exercise alone. And since you have to alter your diet, and start to exercise AFTER the surgery, you may just want to explore other equally effective options before altering your body in such a dramatic way.

We all have our own paths to follow. For some, bariatric surgery is their path. And this thread is to support those who have made that choice. BUT, there are others who are trying to figure out what path to take. They deserve to know the other side of the story so that they can make a better, more informed choice than they can make if they listen soley to personal testimonies from those happy with their choice and the marketers who sell bariatric surgery

The point of my post was to provide THOSE CONSIDERING THE SURGERY with some resources with which to make a more informed decision.
It isn't an indictment or judgement of those who have chosen this path and who have had a positive result.


07-27-2009, 04:12 PM
I agree with Kira.It is not the path for all, but diet and exercise certainly is the healthiest (and least invasive) way to go about weight loss.As a nurse I have seen some horrible and very sad complications from WLS.Some that did not appear for over 10 years after the procedures.I would not want to roll the dice on this one............

07-27-2009, 05:04 PM
Harrismm and Kira: Yes, diet and exercise are a very good way to go for a healthy lifestyle. I'll agree with that wholeheartedly. I too am a registered nurse. I have seen complications after many years of WLS: failed suture lines, adhesions, gangrened stomach, twisted bowels, neurological problems, nutritional,etc. Some of these were preventable some not. I have also seen complications from mobid obesity: diabetes, heart disease, joint problems, amputations, liver problems. You have chosen your path and some of us have chosen another path. I guess what it comes down to is that we are all in control of how we decide to get down the road of health. I've walked in your shoes and pray to God that you never have to walk in mine. Anyone who goes into WLS in this day and age and don't know the facts, the possible risks, and health, must live in LaLa land. People come here for support and knowledge, and I don't know a single person that has had WLS here that has told anyone that it is a bed of roses or you can have your cake and eat it too.

07-27-2009, 05:36 PM
I do have to agree with the linked article though, that the statistics are not being truthfully monitored and communicated. This shocked me when I began researching wls.

It is true that most patients and doctors say that the risk of wls is lower than that of obesity itself, which the statistics do not support. WLS is risk is more dangerous and more likely to result in severe health issues than obesity itself for many people (perhaps most, since the long-term consequences aren't being well-documented).

I believe that the reason that the risks from the surgeries are glossed over many times, is because of the cultural stereotype that obesity is a fate so much worse than death, that the death risk is not a significant deterrent.

The risks of death and/or debilitation from wls is by far the highest for any elective procedure. Liposuction in it's earliest days took a far-distant second place. The risk of death from wls (where stats are available) is most similar to emergency cardiac surgery (not at all an elective procedure).

Saying that, of course makes it seem that I am anti-wls for everyone, which isn't the case at all. I just believe that the information needs to be made available so that people truly can make the most informed decision possible, and that means knowing the risks. I find it unconscionable that better wls stats aren't available. There has not been consistent long-term follow-up, which I find rather odd. I can find more thorough information on gender-reassignment surgery than wls.

I think it's also a bit odd that there's a huge gap in weight loss therapy. It seems to jump from self-driven experimentation (dieting) to wls. When a person has struggled unsuccessfully with dieting, wls is often the next and sometimes only affordable option. Inpatient and outpatient treatments aren't covered by medical insurance, and it just seems rather strange to me that such therapies aren't covered.

Our hospital has an amazing weight loss clinic, but in the program's history, they've only had one patient who was able to get their medical insurance to cover the program. It would be cheaper for most of their patients to get wls than to enroll in the comprehensive program (you see a doctor and dietitian monthly, participate in weekly group sessions, have regular physical therapy and/or personal training sessions with a personal trainer, and a significantly discounted YMCA membership).

I strongly believe that wls should be an option. I just can't reconcile the fact that less invasive therapies aren't more available and affordable.

07-27-2009, 05:45 PM
For those of you who do not believe the surgery is the right course for you, i'm glad that you made the right decision for yourself.

For those of us who have had the surgery, we need to figure out how to live the healthiest life possible. We come together in this forum to support each other in doing it.

You who have chosen a different path are entitled to your opinions, and we welcome your concern, but kindly refrain from telling us that we were [are] uninformed about the risks and that we did not make a well-researched decision.

For some of us, the risks of NOT doing the surgery were far greater than the surgical risks. Please respect us for making a difficult choice.

Kaplods' post raises some excellent points about the lack of insurance coverage for losing weight the old-fashioned way.

07-27-2009, 05:48 PM
If those of you who appear to believe that we need YOUR guidance on making this decision continue to post in this vein, I will take moderator action.