Note: we have permission from the author to reprint this article, copyrighted 2008. For reprint permission please contact us
I had WLS [gastric bypass] 8 years ago, and did well with it. I lost over 200 lbs, got off the scooter I needed to get around, am no longer on diabetes meds, etc.
However, I always tell everyone about BOTH sides of the equation. I certainly DID trade one set of problems for another. In my case, so far at least, the trade has been an acceptable one. Will it be in a few years? That I don't know.
Yes, I have gained some weight back and am not happy about that. I have gained while still eating very little. I eat very little because I can't tolerate much meat, pasta, rice, breads, and many other things. Many days I get a couple of bites down, then the whole thing comes back up again. Other days the food stays down, but still only very little at a time.
8 years ago, pre-op, I had very dense bones (as shone on my DEXA scans). I have taken mega doses of calcium citrate, magnesium, and vit D ever since surgery, but still I now have osteopenia and was recently put on Actonel. My MRIs show extensive bone loss, despite all I have done to try to avoid it.
I am also on megadoses of Vit D3 (50,000IU per day-yes that is right, 50,000IU per DAY!)
I just found out that my blood pressure, which had been much much better since surgery, is now going up again. So, I had to have the very small dose of BP meds I have been on for 8 yrs increased. I am happy that I got 8 years, but unhappy that I now see it coming back.
Although I am not back on the scooter yet, my knees are giving me a lot of trouble again. I now need two knee braces, a walker, a series of shots in my knees every 6 months and on-going physical therapy.
What else? I now have hypothyroidism, eye problems, and rotting teeth also, despite being super diligent to take a long list of vitamins, B12 shots, 3-5 protein shakes per day, exercise daily (I am a certified aerobics instructor). I have had yearly DEXA scans, and 18 vials of lab-work done every six months. I have done everything RIGHT! Yet, I still must deal with the long-term complications (NORMAL complications, I might add), that go along with gastric bypass. I run both online and local WLS support groups and have done my college thesis last year on the complications of WLS, including an entire semester of research. I have seen for myself that the majority of WLS patients are eventually in the same boat that I am. And many are worse off. As I said in the beginning, I also have family members and many friends who have had WLS because they saw me lose weight. They are also showing the same process of degeneration that we all do after this surgery.
We all wanted to believe this was a miracle surgery, and that we would never have to deal with obesity again. But it is NOT a miracle surgery. It is only a trade of one set of symptoms and problems for another.
If anyone asks me if I think they should have this surgery, I don't say yes or no. I give them ALL the facts and tell them they have to decide what is "worth it" to them. So far, I am still glad I had it, although I admit that I do worry about what the future has in store for me because of it. I was given 8 good years, and I am very happy about that. Obviously you are happy too. I'm glad. But don't burn your bridges by being obnoxious to those who will be your support down the road. Your future will not necessarily be any different that the majority who have gone before you. There is a time (years) when you are on the top of the roller coaster having a wonderful time. But you WILL come back down. The more you pretend now that you will never be like the rest of us, the harder you will fall when that time comes.
Keep your mind open and listen to those who have gone before you, so you don't wake up with your big foot hanging out of your mouth.
(Chrissie is the owner-moderator of the "Gone Wrong" group )
return to Obesity surgery info center