WLS promises and how none of it came true for me by Sandra W of the UK
THE PROMISES OF WLS AND HOW NONE OF IT CAME TRUE FOR ME
WHAT I WAS TOLD;
My consultant told me back in 1989 the following;
I would never have to diet EVER again -
My health would be excellent and that I need have no fears of `weight-induced` illnesses -
I would be able to eat whatever I wanted but in smaller portions -
I would not have to take any supplements after the 6wk post-op period as I wouldn`t need them, I`d get everything I needed through my diet -
It was `easily reversible` surgery -
My life expectancy would be vastly greater than before surgery -
The benefits of surgery would greatly outweigh the `inconveniences` of being overweight -
The death rate from surgery was 1 in 2000 -
Everything in my life would improve. I would have increased energy levels and a much greater level of fitness -
There was very little that could go wrong and that results showed vast improvements in the quality of life of people having WLS.
MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE;
I did not have to diet for the first 6 yrs, because I did nothing but vomit, sometimes up to 20 times a day. On bad days I would even throw up water. The weight did indeed drop off due to this, but stabilized, despite not being able to eat properly, at way above what some people would consider a `normal` weight. After years of pain (and being told it was `all in my head`) I was told that the staple line had become disrupted. I was offered a gastric bypass but was too traumatized by what had been happening to me and I opted to have the original surgery `reversed`. Then I did put weight on again, over and above what I had been before surgery. I ate far less than I ever did before, and there was tremendous scar tissue damage. I was left fatter than before, with vitamin and mineral deficiencies, multiple food and chemical intolerances, two hernias and bowel problems, plus massively fluctuating sugar levels causing panic attacks and anxiety.
I was healthier before the surgery with rare visits to my doctor. See below* for weight loss surgery induced problems. I would like to add here that it is beginning to be proven that carrying extra weight does not automatically mean more illnesses, or that illnesses are more likely to develop. If that is true, then carrying it through to a logical conclusion means that ALL FAT PEOPLE WILL GET SICK. ALL SLIM PEOPLE WILL NEVER GET ILL.
I was not able to eat `normally but smaller portions`. I has bad reactions to almost every solid food there is, especially meat, cheese and anything high fibre. Some days I could not eat mashed potato. I could not then (and I am now unable to) eat `healthy` foods, like salads. But am left with the amazing ability to eat pure junk.
After many years of vomiting and my body going completely haywire, plus being told `you do not need supplements, just eat properly`, (and being unable to despite trying constantly) I now suffer intense malnutrition issues. I was eventually diagnosed with a long term lack of B12, which my stomach was now unable to process. In consequence I have peripheral neuropathy in all limbs. My stomach finds it difficult to tolerate most supplements, and micro nutrients are a real problem. My body is still in nutritional crisis.
The surgery was NOT easily reversible, it involved surgery of a much longer duration than the original, and a lot more risky. It is more likely people will die having surgery reversed due to previous scar tissue forming and long term malnutrition making the body less lightly to heal quickly or properly. I still have all the staples in, although the band was removed, because to remove the staples was nearly fatal for me. So I am left with organ damage and a stomach full of metal.
As far as I am concerned there were NO benefits, health or otherwise, having this surgery. I was weaker, suffering from malnutrition, and had numerous health problems DEVELOP due to WLS.
The death rate I was quoted was totally incorrect. In fact it is now usually quoted at one per thousand, but this is still not true. See works by Paul Ernsberger PhD for more details. Remember that a lot of deaths are NOT attributed to WLS, but to such things as heart failure or pneumonia. What they tend to fail to mention is that the person developed these problems (or other illnesses) after having had wls. Unless people actually die on the table during a WLS operation, death is often not attributed to it at all. Therefore the death rates are not conclusive, reliable or accurate.
Please see below for the ways in which my life has changed since having had WLS. My health has certainly not improved, and this surgery has actually shortened the odds on my life span being a good length.
The people I met before I had the surgery were only post op by a few months, anything up to a year, and still in the `honeymoon` period. And even in the 80`s the pressure was on that if anything was going wrong for anyone, they were either blamed for it (not chewing properly always seems to be quoted) or were cautioned to keep their problems `under wraps`. Feeling ashamed of any problems, for fear of being blamed for causing them themselves, or of feeling a failure, people did not tend to let others know what was really going on with them. No long term post ops were `available` - hardly surprising, given that long term research, then as now, is not generally being released. Lots of things are `going wrong` for people every day after WLS that may not be reported. It is an extremely dangerous operation, and many facts as to the exact function of the stomach are still only just starting to be found. It is not merely a receptacle for food. To take a perfectly healthy organ and staple it, cut it or `re-design it`, when the full nature and needs of the stomach are as yet not fully understood is irresponsible and foolhardy. Doctors are treating people desperate to lose weight as `guinea pigs` where WLS is concerned. They make out they have all the answers to the way the body functions, but really do not have a clear idea of what can happen and why. They do not have the answers of why some people are larger than others, why some people put on weight more easily than others, or even the complete picture of the workings of the stomach. One day people will look back and be horrified at the measures taken by surgeons to induce weight loss by what is basically surgically induced starvation, and the needs of society for everyone to of an `acceptable` size. It`s the same as requiring everyone to be the same height...impossible to achieve, and totally unnecessary.
HEALTH PROBLEMS BEFORE SURGERY; NONE
HEALTH PROBLEMS SINCE WLS;*
poor nails and quality (and quantity) of hair
fluctuating sugar levels/panic attacks
bone loss in spinal column, jaw, neck, legs, joints
chronic aching of muscles
adhesions clinging to other organs
erratic periods/menstrual problems
periods of intense body heat followed by intense cold
dizziness at times
intolerance to loud noises and bright light
compromised immune system
symptoms similar to MS
other symptoms emerging as time goes on