Where are the others? 

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Neva Coyle regained over 100 pounds after writing the bestselling Free to Be Thin and founding Overeaters Victorious. She now had an added motivation to lose weight: not only would it please God and her husband, but her career depended on it as well—an obese woman would not have much success hawking a dieting program. But Coyle was also fighting "a severe health crisis": her doctors told her she would have to reverse the stomach-stapling procedure she had undergone years before. "I was faced with the realization," says Coyle, "that it was my weight or my life." After some hesitation, she chose life and had the gastric bypass reversed.

Fifteen years later, Coyle has moved away from her earlier obsession with slenderness, and her book Loved on a Grander Scale (Servant) reminds readers that God loves them no matter what their size. She urges them to ask Jesus: "Forgive me for putting my body size before you. For spending so much time on how I look, how much I weigh, and caring more about pleasing others than I cared about pleasing you."

(Christianity Today, Sept 4, 2000)

It seems that no one these days is neutral on Weight Loss Surgery. Those who admit they had the procedure either understate the side effects and daily inconveniences - some even go around wearing pins and proselyting new converts, targeting every candidate they see in the course of a day. Or they get discovered as having had the procedure because they get bad results or even life threatening side effects.

But no one seems to know just how many are in the silent group i.e. those who get surgery and never mention it again, merging in with the general population as merely a 'thin person'.

What is upsetting about the "Christianity Today" story is that Coyle scammed the world, (and made a lot of money) giving the impression that she lost the weight on her program when in fact, she lost the weight due to a gastric bypass. How many more of the so called 'weight loss gurus' can actually attribute their weight loss to surgery rather than their own program?

Talk show comedienne, Roseanne Barr waited 8 months to let her audience know that her weight loss this time was due to a Fobi Pouch and not a diet and even now, she doesn't talk much about her surgery (except to say that she, even with no digestive system left, is only about 15 lbs lighter than she was before surgery).

Carnie Wilson who was almost the gastric bypass poster child a few years ago, is now the spokesperson for Optifast, a liquid diet which she is on, to lose the large weight gain she experienced during pregnancy.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people are going into surgery, apprehensive, because they really don't know the long term outcome.

The American Medical Assn isn't of much help - they guarantee NOTHING about long term results:

" Short-term outcomes are impressive-patients undergoing bariatric surgery maintain more weight loss compared with diet and exercise. Comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes can be reversed. But long-term consequences remain uncertain. Issues such as whether weight loss is maintained and the long-term effects of altering nutrient absorption remain unresolved."

1762 JAMA, April 9, 2003-VoL 289, No. 14

In the same article, the AMA tells doctors to warn patients that gastric bypass surgery is experimental and results in each patient may differ.

The (visible) Weight Loss surgery community, composed mostly of new ops and recent ops (less than 10 years, post op) insists that the more longer term patients have merged into society but few patients OR surgeons know more than a couple of longer termers.   And most studies which have tried to identify long termers come up with a percentage of them, missing.  Often a death which is related to surgical repercussions may not recorded as a death related to surgery.

If there ARE long term patients who can speak up, I would hope they would consider doing so. Because at present no one knows whether many people DO live past 20 years after surgery because perhaps those who ARE STILL among the living are not speaking out.

The confusion and controversy about Weight Loss surgery will continue until people start being honest about it. They can begin by admitting when they've had the procedure and what they are actually dealing with in their daily lives.