By Glenn Goldberg (reprinted by permission of the
author) 10. It's very expensive.
insurance companies don't pay for the surgery, and even when they
do, co-payments and other costs add up quickly. Also, it can become very
costly to constantly replenish wardrobes as the weight comes off.
9. Recovery can be very painful.
Besides the pain from the
surgery wound, patients may experience nausea or severe gastric distress.
Patients with sleep apnea may become sleep-deprived, with all of the
associated adverse affects, when they must discontinue use of their CPAP
machines to avoid disturbing the staples creating their tiny new stomach
8. Recuperation can take a long time.
Patients may be “out of
commission” and absent from work for a prolonged period of recovery time.
In some cases, patients may not be able to return to work or normal
pursuits for up to 10 – 12 weeks.
7. It's hard work and a major time commitment.
results, patients should engage in aerobic exercise for up to an hour
daily. For bodies unaccustomed to vigorous exercise, this can be very
hard. It's also a real challenge for WLS patients to learn all they must
about nutrition so they can assure that their food and vitamins are
sustaining their body. Finally, it can be exhausting to consciously,
carefully and painstakingly chew every bit of food that enters your mouth. 6. Vomiting isn't fun. Nor is diarrhea.
It may take patients
many months (and frequent episodes of vomiting or diarrhea) to identify
incompatible foods and to learn the practical limits of their newly
reduced stomachs or digestive systems.
5. It takes extraordinary courage to consciously limit food choices
for the rest of your life
(and potentially limit social opportunities
built around meals). For many patients, life after WLS means treating food
as a fuel, not as a source of drama, excitement, comfort or a central life
focus: i.e. eating to live rather than living to eat. While some
procedures may be reversible, for most patients WLS is a lifetime
commitment, requiring a lifetime of major lifestyle changes.
4. Weight loss surgery can be dangerous.
As many as .5% of
surgery patients may die from the procedure, and up to 5% may experience
debilitating medical complications (especially if they listen to their
peers' advice more carefully than their doctor's.)
3. It takes great bravery and strength to deflect other people's
judgments and society's myths about obesity.
Fat people are often
blamed and shamed by family and friends with simplistic advice,
unrealistic solutions, and uninformed prejudices. Whether it's for genetic
or metabolic reasons, diet and exercise, willpower and discipline have
never, by themselves, been enough. Our appetite regulators simply don't
work. Without WLS, we don't know when we're full!
2. What gives anyone the right to judge which path is right for
Is a person who runs a 10K taking a “better” or “tougher”
route to wellness than the person who walks vigorously every day? Is
working with weights better than water aerobics? Different strokes for
different folks. Each of us finds our own right way, and how dare others
judge our path to health and longevity! By their reckoning, the most
courageous thing would be for us to suck it up and die young.
1. For many morbidly obese people, WLS may be the ONLY
realistic alternative for achieving a long, healthy life.
research provides irrefutable evidence that body weight is largely a
function of genes — just like height or a family propensity for cancer.
These genes help regulate appetite and metabolism. People prone to obesity
seem to gain excessive weight easily, while finding it difficult or
impossible to lose it. That's why diets almost always fail and why WLS is
currently the only viable weight loss option for many morbidly obese
people, according to endocrinologist David Cummings of the Veterans
Affairs Puget Sound Health Care System. Most people can lose no more than
5-10% off their "natural" body weight by exercising and eating wisely.
Decades of diet studies show that more than 90% of people who lose weight
by dieting gain it all back within 5 years. "There are exceptions, but
when you are speaking of general rules, the only people who are able to
lose more than 10 percent of their body weight and keep it off are people
who have had gastric-bypass or other bariatric surgery," Cummings
Glenn Note: Glenn died suddenly from a heart attack about 3
years after his Weight Loss surgery. He had had a pacemaker inserted
about 3 months before his death and his autopsy showed advanced stage 4