We get letters....

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The following are reprinted by permission of the authors:

Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2002 3:13 PM
Subject: if only...

> oh, sue, I just found your site re: RNY GBP
> if only...
> if only the tears would stop
> if only I knew then half of what I know now
> if only I knew how to turn back the clock
> if only I had not trusted so blindly
> if only I had my life and my love of life back
> if only doctors understood and respected the value of living vs. the lack of value in existing
> if only the effects of malnutrition and slowly starving to death were not so bizarre that people assume and treat me as if I were terrifyingly contagious
> if only I knew someone who could/would reverse, not merely modify, this hell in which I exist
> if only I could hide from that emaciated creature who peeks at me in such a terrified manner when I glance at her reflection
> if only I had not learned so much about medical "error" and the resulting retaliation from the medical world if you dare to whisper those words
> if only I didn't have to hide from the world out of shame and fear
> if only I didn't know so much about PTSD as I do now
> if only I could ever trust another medical care provider
> if only I didn't spend every moment wishing I could die or regretting I did not
> if only I knew how to protect others from the incompetent/unethical animal who did this to me
> if only
> if only
> if only


(Note: I get many letters of this type - no one thinks of the patient's issues as they age)



B.J. of Florida


Dear Sue,

D.H. Replied to a letter I had written to her and told me about you. I just wrote back to her today in more detail of almost everything I have gone through so I wanted to send it to you also.

I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you for your time.I will try not to bore you.

I just turned 29 on the 21st of July and I was born in eastern Kentucky. My Mom and my grandmother were both morbidly obese at one time in their lives. My grandmother actually had a full stomach bypass in 1978 at UK Medical Center but almost died so they undid that and then she had the gastric bypass with just the stomach pouch. After she had such a success with it my Mom had the same thing done in 1980. My grandmother adopted me and I was always her little girl so she always made sure I ate everything and I was always overweight but I was healthy. After my great-grandmother passed away we moved to Florida and it was hard to make friends because I was the fat new kid so I ate a lot. I was an emotional eater. I went on every diet in the world and I always yo-yo dieted. I would lose 80lbs and gain back 160 lbs.

At my highest weight and in the end of my 11th grade year of school I was 420lbs. I was having a hard time with everything. My legs hurt, it was hard to breath and I could barely fit in my car. My grandmother told me about the operation and by this time in my life she and my real Mom had both gained most of their weight back but I thought it would be great just to be thin for little while and if I did get fat again at least I could say I was thin once in my life. So we found a doctor in Miami at AMI Kendall Medical Center and I went for the consult and they did every test under the sun on me to prove to the insurance company that I would die if I DIDN'T have the operation. So they approved it and in May of 1991 just before my 16th birthday I had the operation. I had the Gastric Bypass with the esophageal ring. Just over the summer I lost over 120 lbs. that was only like 4 months. When I went back to school everything changed and I thought everything was great. After some time I found my self choking on food as I ate and I would always throw up. In 1993 I was put in the hospital because of dehydration and malnutrition. I was diagnosed as a person who has bulimia but I did not make myself do it the ring would prevent my food from going down so it just came back up. After a week there a year or so went by and I had emergency gallstone operation. They said I got them because of the rapid weight loss. From there I just got used to eating things high in sugar so I had energy and I always kept snacks in my purse because I also had developed hypoglycemia and my blood sugar would drop low all the time.

I suffered all the time and now my body was showing physical signs of it. My teeth enamel all came off and all of my teeth have now pretty much rotted out from the acid reflux disorder. A friend of mine a dentist I met when I was working at the local blood bank donated time to me to fix some of them but today they are worse than ever. I always kept working but my dreams of finishing college and becoming a doctor was gone because I never had the energy to do anything. I worked in medicine as long as I could but in 1996 I took a job in a law firm because it wasn't physically demanding. In November of 1997 I met a man and it was love at first site. Less than 4 weeks later I was put in the hospital again and this time they told me I had Herpes in my stomach (how crazy is that)? The pathologist at the same hospital I did my clinical hours at was now sending tissue samples of my stomach to a Navel Lab because they had never seen anything like it before in their lives. They told me at the rate I was losing weight I would be dead in 6 months or less and that man asked me to marry him and in February we were married. All the time he was right by my side fighting for my life with me. I went back to AMI Kendall and the doctor who had done my operation had now retired and no one wanted to touch me in Palm Beach County because I was such a high death risk but each day that passed I was getting sicker and losing more weight. Picture I am almost 6 feet tall and I got down to 107lbs.

Finally I was in St. Mary's which is our trauma hospital here and after a few weeks and the first misdiagnosis they were going to life flight me to Miami Jackson were they were more experienced but the day I was going to leave my surgeon called me from the operating room and told me he had just done an operation with a friend of his and that he wanted to meet me. Another BIG problem was I had NO MEDICAL INSURANCE because of all of the problems and the 1st operation NO INSURANCE COMPANIES would cover me BUT thank God this doctor just wanted to save my life. His name is DR. DAVID KURTZ, he is a gastric specialist and in school he had seen the different procedures for weight loss but he did not do then but he was willing to undo mine if it would save my life. He donated all of his time to me for free and finally the hospital convinced the county I was dying and I needed stated assistance. So in May of 1998, 7 years after the operation was done to save my life it was being undone to save me once again.

He had to take out all of the esophagus because the ring had imbedded itself into the tissue and was all infected. He also took more than 1/2 of my stomach out and then he used my small intestine to recreate a digestive track so I could eat again.

Now I still suffer from DUMPING SYNDROME, HYPOGLYCEMIA, LOW IRON AND I could go on forever but I would not be able to list them all. Basically I am 29 and my body is well over 75. I thank God everyday I am here and my husband for giving me the strength to fight for my life. We have been together almost 6 years now and even though everyday I still have problems I want to tell everyone my story because this operation is not the answer and so many famous people are praising it but they do not mention the problems ever and to many doctors are rich from doing this operation and here I am I almost died and I still can't get health insurance and I cry every time I see doctors saying how wonderful it is. They seem to forget about us the patients who they get rich from when we need their help the most to save our lives.

I am sorry if I have gone on forever but I still have so much I could say but I know youhave been there too. Time is short as well and I know I do not always have strength to get out of bed but I know I have something left to do here on earth because if not God would have taken me long ago.

When I asked for permission for reprint:

Hi Sue!

I got your last reply and I am sorry I haven't Gotten back to you sooner. I had told Dani I suffered from a seizure a few weeks ago and I west to the doctor on July 28th and my H&H was low so I had to go back into the hospital for some blood.

Just one of the great things the operation has given to me besides the weight loss. Just a little sarcasm! If only others could see the big picture before they went under the knife. I joined the OSSG web site and I have been reading some of the commits from others and I cry for them because it is like I see the future for them and is so much more than weight loss! There was one from last week a younger girl is like 4 1/2 weeks post-op and she was fine the first 2 weeks but now everything she eats she is throwing up or it goes right through her. I wish I could make it better for her!

Any ways sorry for going on like that! If you would like to use my story please do and also you may post my E- mail address if anyone has questions.

Thank You Again I am so happy to have found someone I can talk to who knows what it is like to live like this.

Love & Prayers,
Rebecca R.


Love & Prayers,
Rebecca R.


Why are so many people SO MAD at you for telling the truth...I wrote recently of my having a WLS and it wasn't the answer to everything...As a matter of fact, it has caused me many more problems than I had before surgery...Many more....

People that want the magic life do believe and add to everything a physician (WLS guy) says...and forgets all the negative and side effects and life changes, and medical changes and all the complications NOW and LATER

I think what people who get WLS forget that in the beginning, if all goes Right - there is a honeymoon period..

Everything is going ok (not including throwing up, body not accepting beef, learning to chew everything 40 times before you swallow (the roux en y) eating sugar and going into a sugar reaction which makes you sweat profusely, you think you are going to die, you MUST lie down,(you become so weak you can't move) your heart beats through your chest)......

Or when you throw up and tear the staple lines so you are going to have more surgery again and again. Or you throw up so much, even with the reversal of the WLS, it does not stop the violent throwing up... Or the blood transfusions, total break down of intestines, etc.etc.etc...I'm sure there are many more side effects of these types of surgeries...

There was a gal that appeared on the Roseanne show a year or two ago AGAINST WLS...She is a reporter for the big paper in Denver or the other big city in Colorado..I had her name and e mail but when my hard drive had to be redone I lost her name...She has kept a file(at last measuring it was 3-4 foot high of people's casualties and side effects of WLS. This was right at the time Roseanne was paying for the Fobi pouch surgery, a few other guests that were overweight on her show. This gal was there to talk against the WLS...but didn't get to talk much..

Since having her WLS, Roseanne has stopped her show because of low ratings. She looks terrible...Hair dull, thin. Her skin dull, full of sags and lines. A far cry from the robust, full [figured] Roseanne. I saw her on another show and she says she has NO energy and no libido at all. Now this is a woman who made her fame and fortune by being fat. I feel she has lost her edge...My opinion..

But anyway..WLS is not the way to go...There is ALWAYS side effects sooner or later. As I said before my big friend S____ has started gaining as early as one year after surgery...He lost not even near his HIGH goal weight...(he was a two time Optifast person) I think he lost maybe 150 or so from his high weight of 600-650+..

My gal friend in Washington state (an RN) had the gastric banding lost ONLY 60 [lbs] , has since regained it ALL and now has severe GERD reflux and it ulcerates her esophagus.

My mother's friend a year and a half ago, after having the J.I. bypass in place for 16-17 years died...Her liver had broken down so much over the years, it was useless. Her physical state did NOT allow her to have a transplant. She had worshipped the J.I. bypass because she was always afraid some woman would get her husband. She said she would rather die than have it taken down. In the end, she said she wished she had never done the J.I. bypass and would give up all her years at a lower weight, so as not to die....Well, she died and another WOMAN does have her husband....anyway...

The answer is (and most people don't like this answer) is FULL body acceptance. We are who we are. Weight loss, hair color, eye color, all pretty much set by genetics and we all know how hard it is to change brown eyes to blue...It just can't be done. I guess that explains the dismal failure of dieting...98 percent gain it all back plus...and I suspect the people that keep it off do it by laxatives, starving, diuretics, or exercising neurotically..

WE are all in a lot of doo doo. I just don't want my daughter to do to herself what I have done with the dieting since 10 years old, starving, bingeing, fasting, counting calories, grams, measuring myself by what I weigh...and one doesn't have anything to do with the other... I don't know....hard for me to even think about weight

Weight Loss Surgery does NOT bring a knight on a shining stead, a million dollars in your account, a beautiful mansion with servants at every door, wonderful kids that are all honor students and will never touch alcohol or drugs, in laws that worship you, crowds of adoring fans that hang on to your very word, a career than includes a private jet and helicopter on your own landing pad.......or anything near the above description.. Everything is the same ol' same ol'...Except now or awhile later, there are many side effects to deal with.. Maybe, just maybe you might have to buy smaller clothes I remember a few shows that had Dr. Fobi ... And I think he even said that his surgery could be overridden by not following what he said to be successful...All the docs I have ever talked to about WLS said the same thing.. (with the J.I. bypass it was sugar that put weight right on)...(and of course, what does one crave??? Sugar..) People that have the gastric banding (where eating is restrictive) make themselves PUKE a lot, after every meal...I know one older gal that sticks her finger down her throat (her gag reflex does not work at all now)...She has thrown up for 15 years....(and has had 3 repair surgeries (needs another one) from torn staple lines)..This gal can't get 3 words together for a sentence. Can't remember what she's talking about and is just dizzy most of the time. But weighs 140 ...and looks TERRIBLE ..like the walking dead. She came to my house once in the fall, wind was blowing her long grey hair around and I didn't recognize her...

I don't know the answer...but unless someone is SEVERELY obese and on their way out....WLS doesn't make our world brighter or fuller.

With this kind of horror stories, and after effects and severe medical problems ,,,how is it that WLS is still almost an over the counter surgery??????????????????????

A.N. of Illinois