Weight Loss Surgery - Is it to early to consider WLS?




View Full Version : Is it to early to consider WLS?


possiblesuccess
12-22-2009, 12:12 AM
Hi everyone! I don't usually post in this forum. However with a recent discussion with my mom, I decided that I would love to hear from all of you. I am 19 almost 20. When I started my weight loss journey, I was 18. I was 317 pounds with high blood pressure. I Have lost 37 pounds ( I had lost 50) but thats for a different discussion. Last week (the 14th) I had a diagnoistic arthroscopic surgery on my right knee. I had a small tear in the miniscus. However my biggest problems are: arthriitis (3 bones spurs already) and the cartilege in my knee is way to soft...apparently it is like pushing on a a feather bed... its not supposed to be like that. So I was told that I would have a knee replacement in the next 20 years... Anyway...on Saturday I was with my mom...in tears due to frustration. I was so sure that the knee surgery could fix whatever was wrong wiht my knee, and I would be free to get into my exercise again...I love to run...but with my knee the way it is, I'm not sure that its an option anymore... I have my first post op appointment this wednesday. And I will be asking the doctor about what kind of exercise I can do on it... Getting back to the point... I was sure that I would be able to run, and I would be free to run a 5k this summer, and then get into a 10k, not right after, but work up to it. And so on... you know hald and full marathons. We shall see. But my mom mentioned that the surgeon had told my grandma that me knee issues would make me a possible candidate for WLS... I'm sure that I have other things that would also make me a candidate. I'm not sure if I want to go to having surgery to alieviate the knee pain... But there are so many reasons to have this kind of surgery done. I guess my question is, at 19, is WLS even an option? How will it affect my ablilty to have kids when I grow up? And with having kids, would pregnancy have a ngeative impact on the surgery? Should I just keep plugging away at losing weight the way I have been and find things that are just as good as running? Or do I consider the surgery now to head off health problems later down the road? Trust me, I am going to ask doctos all of these questions. But in my mind, its good to get answers from people who have experienced what you want to experiece (does that make sense, cause it made sense in my head)...And I'm sorry if this isn't the kind of thing that is talked about on this specific forum.. Thank you for any advice you can give.


chickybird
12-22-2009, 12:29 AM
Whew! You need a :hug: !
I would definitely talk to your dr. before making any decisions. I've heard of younger people having WLS, but you seem to be a very determined young person and you are making great progress! I am not an expert on WLS, but maybe your dr. will want you to keep doing what you are doing a for a while longer. Maybe you can do water aerobics or swimming until your knee is up to par?

missangelaks
12-22-2009, 12:39 AM
research everything you can...online...talk to a dr....come here and read, read, read!

WLS is not a magic pill, it doesn't fix the brain and the reasons I ate in the first place...it just makes the stomach smaller...you still have to diet and exercise! It's NOT fail safe.

You could speak to a counselor and see if you can resolve some of the emotional issues that might have contributed to the weight gain (if there are any). It's a tool, like running, that helped me to change years of bad choices.

I don't recommend surgery to anyone...it's a life changing decision. But I will say, you have more then just knee surgery that would qualify you for WLS. The blood pressure issue you're having is also what they call a co-morbidity.

You may have a hard time finding a doctor that will do the surgery on such a young person (there are some that refuse to) and though pregnancy is NOT recommended for at least a year after surgery (because of the food restriction in the months following say...Gastric Bypass) you can, down the line, safely get pregnant as long as there are no complications to the surgery...Or so my surgeon said before I had my GBP.

If you seriously decide that this is the route you want to take, this IS, most definitely, the forum for these kinds of questions!

Good luck honey, :hug:

Angela


jillybean720
12-22-2009, 08:50 AM
First things first: :hug:

Now, I had my WLS when I was 26. I did this because I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at 25. I was less than 300 pounds at the time of diagnosis, so I spent about a week crying about how unfair it was, how I knew so many people who were older than me and heavier than me who didn't have such major issues as diabetes, blah blah blah. Then I pulled up my big girl pants and decided to fight back. I did my research (LOTS of research - I cannot stress this enough!), and I was in the OR for surgery less than a year after my diabetes diagnosis.

If I'd had surgery a few years earlier, the diabetes likely could have been completely avoided. I had already lost from my high of 324 down to the 280s (had been down as low as 264), but the diabetes didn't care.

So, yes, I believe there is something to be said for being proactive and having surgery BEFORE having major health issues.

I know multiple people who have had WLS prior to the age of 22. Some opt for the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy since it does not include any malabsorption, and they are honest enough with themselves at that young age to know they will not be strictly compliant with the vitamin regimen necessary after the Roux-en-Y (RNY) gastric bypass or the Duodenal Switch (DS). At the same time, I know some very mature people in their late teens and early 20s who got the DS (the surgery with the most malabsorption) because that procedure has the best statistics for keeping the weight off long term. So, you just have to be REALLY honest with yourself and what you are going to be able to handle for the rest of your life.

As for pregnancy, not a problem at all if you opt for a procedure with no malabsorption. Me, I opted for the DS (didn't quite get what I went in for but that's another story), and I plan on having kids in the next couple of years. That's actually another big reason I chose surgery - I wanted to be healthier for my future pregnancies. I know a healthy pregnancy while obese is possible, but with my medical history, I knew it was likely a bad idea.

I know people who have had TWINS after having a DS. As long as you are compliant with your supplements and have a doctor who understands you need to have your vitamin levels checked more frequently than your average soon-to-be mother, healthy pregnancies after any of the major WLS procedures is absolutely possible.

I know someone else has already mentioned it, but I also highly recommend counseling prior to surgery. I know personally, I changed a LOT as a person between the ages of 18 and 25.

Feel free to PM me if you'd like for me to put you in touch with some of the other 18-25 WLS crowd. Also, if you aren't tired of my babbling by now, I have some other info/opinions I'd like to share with you that would likely not be well-received here on the public forum.

jiffypop
12-22-2009, 09:37 AM
Jilly and Angela are right on target - as usual!!! and here comes my two cents!

you are smart, no- make that BRILLIANT - for addressing these issues NOW, when you're so young.

work on making your knees as healthy as possible - even if that means NOT doing marathons or half marathons [believe me - those are FABULOUS goals, but if your knees won't be able to take it ...]

and deal with the eating habits/issues that you have. they don't disappear after the surgery, and, in fact, some of them get worse because we don't have our comfort strategy of choice any more.

having said all that, there is NOTHING standing in the way of you having WLS at your age. except, perhaps, finding a PCP and a surgeon who truly believe that you have hit the dieting wall and will NEVER lose weight and KEEP IT OFF.

no matter which surgery you have, you can have healthy, happy pregnancies. if you have a malabsorption procedure [gastric bypass, DS], your vitamin levels and such will have to be monitored, but everything can be dealt with. one of my bypass friends just had her second little girl - her first was 8 years post-op, and this one is 10 years post-op. she had her surgery when she was about 25 or so, and has done VERY VERY WELL.

you'll have to think very very carefully about how you're willing to live the rest of your life - vitamins and other supplements, tolerating throwing up on occasion, getting fills or not, taking it step by step [a restrictive procedure first, leaving the door open for adding the malabsorption later], whatever.

the only way you'll be able to make the right decision for YOU is to look at yourself very very carefully, and to talk with your doc - honestly and openly - and do your research!!!!!!