I am wondering if anyone out there had any experience with this. I am not overweight nor have ever considered this surgery. I heard they might have improved it over the past few years, but I haven’t spoken to anyone who had it recently.
I do know the following:
Most will tell you they lost a ton of weight and were thankful they had the surgery. Everyone with whom I spoke said this, four or five years later, too.
However, most people I knew had “complications” from the surgery. Many of these were life-threatening. With some of these surgeries, there’s a staple in there that can come out. I cannot imagine the pain. I knew a few people who lost weight too fast or lost too much. These folks required hospitalization. One of these folks might not have made it, I am not sure. I also know others who have eventually gained weight again, though they didn’t gain back all they had lost. Still others, years later, still suffered from unending heartburn. Actually, not one person I know of didn’t have serious complications or gain a lot of weight back.
So when I spoke to these folks myself, in person, I’d hear something like, “I am suffering from the consequences of that surgery, but I am the exception. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I’m so glad I lost the weight.” Every single person said this. In other words, they were all going through terrible suffering, but either had been blamed for the negative consequences, or were blaming themselves or had concluded it was bad luck.
I am well aware, though, that some people are at very high risk if they remain obese. Not everyone is at equal risk, or any risk. Some people have aching backs that keep them out of work or cause them to take painkillers so they can function. Never mind risks to the heart, risk of diabetes and many health problems. So almost everyone told me, “I had to have it. My health was the most important factor.”
The only people who can get this surgery (or have it “covered”) are those that are above a certain BMI. I’m not sure where that is or if it has changed over the years. From what I recall, candidate$ are screened. I read somewhere a few years back that the doctor$ doing this surgery weren’t screening very well. I guess they wanted money more than they cared about long-term consequences. Were there staple mills doing this? I can imagine there must have been some out there.
My friend who had had this once confided in me that at the clinic where she’d gone, candidates who were just under the required BMI were “faking” their weight just to qualify. She also said people would stuff themselves just to gain and then get the operation. This, apparently, was no secret. From what I recall of the forced weigh-in for eating disorders care, I can only imagine the tricks these folks used. Were they weighed in paper johnnies? Did they get the “lecture” if someone wasn’t pleased with the number?
I can hear it now: “If you don’t gain one pound by Friday, then an ambulance will take you directly from the doctor’s office to the emergency room!” And if I didn’t show up? My therapist said she’d send the cops to my home. I will never forget living under that tyranny.
So I can imagine the pressure. Someone dying to get that surgery might have five or six pounds to gain. Or even more. Time to chow down, buddies!
Maybe they all get together and have a beer fest the night before. How many pounds would that put on? I’m not fond of beer and I can’t say it ever caused weight gain for me when I did drink it, but I suppose if you drank many cans then “held it” you’d weigh lots more.
Imagine: “Okay, I’m done weighing you. The bathroom’s over there.”
Either way, I wonder how these folks will turn out, decades from now. If they are alive. I know as soon as this surgery came out, many jumped on the bandwagon. Doctors were criticizing the clinics for offering the surgery too soon, before long-term consequences were known, and before the technique was well-developed. I’ll bet for the most part, the voices of those concerned went unheard.