Weight Loss Surgery - My brother is going to have a gastric bypass

07-10-2009, 10:46 AM
He is in the final stages now of getting approved. Its been a long process, but he thinks his surgery will take place in September.

I'm concerned about him for several reasons.

1) The doctors want him to lose weight before the surgery and during his last weigh in, he actually gained 8 pounds. They want his BMI under 50, and right now it is 53. He is going to have to lose 35-40 pounds on his own and I'm not sure if they will go ahead with the surgery if he doesn't.

2) My brother is a heavy drinker (to be honest, an alcoholic) and I don't see that changing after his surgery. My understanding is that the effects of alcohol are intensified after surgery and I'm concerned his drinking will lead to lots of complications.

3) He told me that for 30 days before surgery they will put him on a liquid diet. He said this was "so the organs will shrink giving the doctors room to operate" (thats what he said, don't know if its true..it certainly sounds fishy to me). Anyway, knowing my brother, I don't know how will he will be able to follow this.

4) He is under a tremendous amount of stress. Seriously incredible levels of stress (dealing with health issues of his wife, day to day issues with our elder parents, etc.).

Maybe I should just have trust in the doctors and that if he goes through with this, that everything will be okay. However, I'm worried that something might go wrong.

Any advice/ reassurance/ or other thoughts from someone that has gone through this? I want my brother to be healthy and I totally support him chosing WLS.

07-10-2009, 10:58 AM
Matt - I don't have any relevant advice, but sending you supportive thoughts as you try to figure out how to respond to his situation.

07-10-2009, 11:17 AM
I have no words of wisdom to share with you but my thoughts and prayers are with you and your brother.

07-10-2009, 11:18 AM
I have seen on tv that getting the patient to lose weight before surgery, really is done to to shrink the liver primarily. Even a modest weight loss can significantly reduce the size of the liver.

I would be concerned that the doctors do not know of his drinking. I think it's reasonable to expect the doctors to know what they're doing, only if they know the full situation. If your brother hasn't told them of his drinking (and my guess is that he has not), that's a significant piece of information that they need to have. Otherwise, it not only puts him at risk for post-op complications, it can also set him up for complications during the surgery itself.

I'm not sure I have any good advice, though if I were in the situation, I would talk to my brother and/or his doctors (a doctor can't talk to you about a patient, but they can listen).

07-10-2009, 11:31 AM
If your brother is still gaining weight what makes him think he will be able to keep the weight off after WLS? Does he think this is the "easy" way out? I'd suggest he get some therapy concerning his relationship with food.

I have seen many people go through WLS only to gain the weight all back eventually but NOW they have to deal with the complications of WLS the rest of their lives IN ADDITION to being overweight.

Not trying to be a downer or anything- just concerned :)

07-10-2009, 11:44 AM
beerab - sadly, I think too many people look at the advertisements that seem to be prevalent at the moment. They give the impression that it's simple and foolproof. I'd hope that any reputable doctor would eventually explain risks and the realities.

Matt - I agree with kaplods completely. I doubt that your brother has told the doctor about alcohol consumption, and it could be a major issue.

07-10-2009, 01:08 PM
I'm with the others that the primary issue I see here is the alcohol. Yes, alcohol effects hit more quickly after surgery, but that's not even the issue. The main issue is that rapid weight loss is HARD on the liver, so after surgery, the liver is already working extra hard. Drinking alcohol can cause some major liver problems even without surgery, but doing so when your liver is ALREADY stressed out by the rapid weight loss is insane.

On the topic of pre-op weight loss, has he actually been trying to follow a weight loss plan and ended up gaining those 8 pounds, or has he lied to his doctors and ignored the plan completely? Some people really do have trouble losing weight for lots of reasons - I sure didn't lose any weight before my surgery, but I've been doing well ever since my operation.

07-10-2009, 01:17 PM
Hi Matt,

Your a great Brother :hug: I don't blame you one bit for being worried.

One thing about WLS is it does not get rid of our addictions, in some cases it stirs up others. Your brother needs to be honest with the doctors as well as himself and he needs to realize wls is a tool, not a cure, you can still over eat and drink and gain weight.

Is there any way you could go with him when he see's his surgeon and bring up the subject (innocently of course) of drinking alcohol with GBP :D


07-10-2009, 03:33 PM

I agree with Jilly. I am not an alcoholic, however I am 2 1/2 years out, let me tell you, about 1/4 of one drink and I am drunk. He is going to have a real problem with it, cause you are not supposed to even drink one oz of alcohol until the 1 year anniversary.

07-13-2009, 06:36 PM
Wow. this is a big deal. has he ever been treated for alcoholism? no matter what - he's gotta come clean with the doc. not only do we become unbelievably cheap dates, the rewiring actually makes us more susceptible to stomach ulcers if we drink too much. not to mention that whole concept of NOT DRINKING YOUR CALORIES, and CUTTING DOWN ON THE CARBS.

also, the amount of stress he's under - has anyone recommended some counseling, coping strategies, stress management? once he has the surgery, his main coping mechanism - food - will be GONE. unless he chooses to out-eat it, but then, what's the point.

and then - a number of docs require a full month of liquid diet - in part to lose weight, in part to shrink the liver, in part to see if someone can stick to a program, to test motivation. just sitting here, miles away from both of you, i can almost guarantee you that if he doesn't lose weight on the liquid diet before the surgery, the doc will cancel it.

there's A LOT to focus on with your brother. elderly parents - any way some additional help could be arranged? paid caregivers? whatever? it's hard - from experience!

my vote - if i chose only ONE issue to raise with him, it'd be the drinking - that addictive personality that Leenie mentioned - the health risks - etc - that's huge.

keep us posted - and send him over here! we won't bite [will we? at least - maybe not just at first!!!! LOL!]