Weight Loss Surgery - Anyone have words of wisdom for me?

03-20-2005, 12:44 AM
Hi all! Iím greatly concerned for my sister and Iím hoping that you guys can give me any advice you may have. My sister got gastric bypass 3 months ago. Sheís lost a great deal of weight and Iím really proud of her. But Iím a little scared by whatís happening. Most of the time after she eats sheíll throw it back up. The strange thing is that itís not right after, itís hours after, like 3-6 hours later. I canít believe that this can be good for her. While she looks great, she always looks pale and sleeps more then she used to. She tells me this is normal and that it will eventually stop but itís been 3 months, how much longer can she go on like this? Iím a little worried that sheís not telling her doctor the whole truth about the throwing up because I think maybe in her mind she thinks thatís the only reason sheís losing the weight.

Her behavior is also changing. I canít say how exactly as its her personal life and I donít want to splash it on the Internet for all to see, but I will say that while she hasnít crossed a line, sheís getting close to it in regards to her personal safety. I can understand that this was such a huge change and that of course itís opening up a whole new world but itís like sheís becoming a teenager again. :(
So, should I be concerned about the throwing up? And any advice or words of wisdom you could give me about how to handle the behavior change. :?:

03-20-2005, 03:38 AM
Wow, that kind of thing is not ormal by any means. I am 7 weeks and some change post op and I have never thrown up after eating. What is she eating, when you see her do this? You have every right to be worried. I hate telling people how to handle things, BUT, if I were you, I would call her doctor/surgeon and tell their staff what's going on. Can you gaive a brief but not so revealing description of her changed behavior? Is it about agression, self-deprivation, depression, anything like that? Becoming like a teenager again.... I would definitely call her doctor, if you can find out who it is. I can't tell you enough how bad vomiting is. If she's throwing up actual food 3 to 6 hours later, it means it's not making it to her intestines and not being digested. This is EXTREMELY dangerous. Maybe a sign of intestinal blockage, or inflammatory infection in the bowels. I don't want to scare you, but this is serious stuff. She might be eating the wrong this, also. As far as sleeping goes, I sleep more now than I used to, but I usually sleep no more than 10 or 11 hours. Is she sleeping more than that? The healing process puts a toll on our bodies, so we are tired more often. how much weight has she lost? As far as her behavior goes, it sounds like she needs professional help. Especially if she thinks the vomiting is ok and is helping her lose weight. Ya, I'd call her doc myself. Good luck. Let us know if there is anything else you'd like to ask us, about us or otherwise.


03-20-2005, 12:37 PM
Well, I live in a different state then she does so I can only give you my observations from her recent visit and what my mom has told me. From my observations her throwing up is totally random, one day she could throw up after having a chicken finger and the next keep it down. Could it be possible that sheís eating too fast and thatís causing her to throw up? My mom and I didnít think she was but weíre not sure exactly how slow she should be eating. And also if she was eating too fast wouldnít that cause her to throw up soon after, not hours after? Maybe sheís not chewing as well as she should? :?:
As for her behavior itís more a boy crazy thing. Sheís recently divorced so maybe itís just that. But she has done things like giving her phone number to someone she meant online. She has three kids and there is a lot he can find out about her from her phone number. Sheís also made some ďjokingĒ comments that really didnít sit well with me. She was pretty wild as a teenager and thatís why I say it seems like sheís turning back into one.

These things I can handle itís her throwing up that really has me concerned.
Ok, her sleeping seems normal. And sheís not depressed. Sheís on cloud nine.
Iíll talk to my mom about calling the doctor, which is something we thought about doing before but we donít want her to think weíre not supporting her, or jealous or anything of the sort. But if her health is in serious danger I will live with her being mad at me.
I appreciate your insight in this. I knew the best sources for me would be people who are going through what she is.

03-20-2005, 05:02 PM
wow. seldom... this is an issue. angie is right. if she's throwing up hours after eating, there's a blockage. now, whether it's an intestinal blockage or the fact that the outlet is temporarily blocked [even mine - i threw up for 4 hours friday night until 3 am saturday because of some sugar snap peas!!!!!]. but this should not be happening on a regular basis.

if she's not chewing thoroughly or she's eating too fast, the results are almost immediate - certainly within an hour. so these delayed reactions need some attention.

also, if she's throwing up so much, she's probably not getting the nutrition she should out of her food. blood work is indicated to check her vitamin levels. very very important...

as for the boy crazy - i've heard of this happening, and it's really sad. but we get part of our lives back and some of us feel that we're 'owed' a good time. or something. that's one of the many many reasons so many of us find therapists at some point after surgery. we have to figure out how to live normally.

come back!!! keep us posted!!

03-20-2005, 06:49 PM
The "boy crazy" phase isn't unheard of, but it's typically happening to people who should have failed the psych eval for the surgery. It's also connected to the sudden change in image. It's almost like a freedom to totally reinvent yourself in terms of how someone might find us attractive. It's a real head trip, having this surgery done. You really have to pay attention to how you treat yourself.

Try writing your sister a letter and explain to her your concerns. When you write something down instead of a confrontational phone call or face to face talk, it takes all the emotion out of it and feelings don't usually get hurt.

The vomiting issue is very serious. If it is because she's eating too much or too fast, it would come back up within an hour. More like within 20 minutes for most people. As far as how fast she is supposed to eat, as a good rule of thumb, it should take her 20 to 30 minutes to eat 4 ounces total, and possibly longer for 8 ounces. We are not supposed to eat more than 8 ounces in an hour, generally. Also, if she's eating foods that are high in fat, she will be more inclined to vomit. But she would also have stomach cramps and loose BM's. But this would happen rather quickly. She should see a doctor immediately. I also recommend that maybe your mother or another family member "in the know" go with her to make sure she's getting the proper attention, or giving the doc all the info. Or just maybe make that call. If she chooses to believe that ya'll are doing it out of jealousy, then she really does have bigger problems. It sounds like ya'll are extremely worried about what you're seeing. I hope you're less concerned about why she thinks you guys are doing what you're doing. Sooner or later, she will see that you did it out of fear and concern for her well-being. Good luck.


03-20-2005, 11:45 PM
I just want to thank you all for offering your words of advice and support. I remember her saying that she had to go in to get her levels checked, Iím not sure when but I just emailed her and asked. But Iím still going to talk to my mom because my sister could tell us itís ok when itís not. I hate not being able to trust her 100% about this but Iím sure she knows that throwing up like this isnít normal even though sheís telling us it is. :( I know that after I tell my mom what you all said she will call my sisters surgeon and talk to him.

I think why this is especially hard for me is that 4 years ago I lost 115 pounds (I still would like to lose 20 more but thatís a whole other thing :D ) and she was so supportive of me. I wanted so much to be there for her 100% but when I know that maybe sheís lying to me and not taking care of herself itís hard for me to be there 100%. I guess Iím being selfish and egotistical for thinking that she should act like I did. I think that itís harder for her now then it was for me since I could take a day off and pig out so I guess thatís why I didnít really change. I could still be me and in some ways she canít still be her. Iíve never been unable to trust her before. :( Do you think she doesnít know that this isnít serious? My husband said that maybe sheís becoming bulimic. Has anyone ever heard of this?

Iím sorry my thoughts are all over the place. Itís just so nice to have people here who can offer help, and who know what my sister is going through. I just want to thank you all again, it means a lot to me that you all are taking time out of your day to help. :)

03-21-2005, 01:48 AM
I would consider bulimia, based on some of her behavior you're described. It's not unheard of, I'm sure. I just haven't heard of it yet.
I can see why you hesitate to step in, having lost so much weight yourself. But in doing so, you've set yourself up to be her biggest supporter. And when you support someone, you are also there to catch them when they fall, if they need it. Sometimes, we can't tell that we're falling, until we've hit the bottom. That's what our families and friends are for.
Try not to think of it as not being able to trust her, but think of it as not trusting her [possibly (very likely)] clouded judgement. She could be in a state where she believes everything she is telling everyone, if things aren't as they should be and she just doesn't see what she's doing to herself. And that's the hardest type of person to get through to. In any case, we're here for you.


03-21-2005, 11:11 AM
ya know.. there's something else i've noticed about SOME folks who've had WLS. we often discuss the people who literally mourn the loss of their previous lifestyle, but we rarely talk about the people who seem to be on cloud nine - the ones who are just so elated about their experience that they can't seem to hear or see if something's not quite right with themselves.

i've been in support group meetings with some of these people, and they say things like 'yeah, i'm throwing up 7 times a day but i'm losing weight so NOTHING IS WRONG.'

'my vitamin levels are so low my doc is yelling at me, but i'm losing weight and i'm still alive so IT'S ALL OK.'

and they need to wake up... they're living in the land of denial, just a different neighborhood than before the surgery. one of the biggest issues we all face is being in touch with our bodies, and taking care of them. it's one of our weakest points.

and i know first hand that things can go wrong, no matter how careful you are. i threw up for a solid 6 weeks at least twice a day. [and it was within 30 minutes of eating, not like your sister]. and after 3 weeks of this, i talked to the doc - he said it would stop. and it did. i know of some people who called the doc every time it happened and received the same answer i did - and made themselves and the doc crazy about this - but there were also a few who completely ignored it because 'they were losing weight so it was all ok.'

dangerous from either perspective...