Jump to content
×
Are you looking for the BariatricPal Store? Go now!

Choose NOT to tell people you had WLS



Recommended Posts

I know from reading posts that there are some who choose not to tell people that they had WLS, but instead answer any inquiries with some variation of, "eating less and exercising more". And, while I agree that this is true, the thought that occurred to me today is that in many ways this can serve to perpetuate the prevalent idea that "non-obese" society has which is that "if you just made good choices and ate less you'd lose all the weight you want"...and that is really a disservice to the community you've come from.

Imagine if someone had a cochlear implant and when asked why they seemed to be tracking conversations better answered that they'd just gotten good at reading lips!!

Now, I'm not saying I don't understand the inclination...or even that there aren't times when it can make sense to skirt the topic...but just acknowledge it for the tool that it is and tell the nay-sayers to step off!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While in theory I completely agree with you, we don't live in a theoretical world. There are a number of reasons why that level of honesty is not and should not be required of us, and it's not right to put the onus of "disservice to the community" on everyone who has had the surgery.

You seem to be a strong person, and very certain in your own decision, but that isn't really true of everyone. Telling people whom you suspect or know will be negative may have long-term stressful impacts for the sleever who isn't fully comfortable with admitting to the surgery, or who will have a lot of negative responses among their friends, family and acquaintances. Having to deal with the additional stress of battling negativity can be counterproductive for a number of reasons. For some of us, stress is a trigger for poor eating behaviors. Others are already battling heart issues, blood pressure, and other illnesses where additional stress may exacerbate their condition. Plus, chronic high stress can result in cortisol production, which interferes with weight loss.

Additionally, there are reasons why medical information is protected information. While I am not particularly private in some regards, I certainly don't choose to share my medical history, issues, and resolutions with each casual acquaintance with the temerity to ask an impudent and invasive question. If it's family or a close friend who asks, and whom I haven't shared the info with, I may very well go into it - it's worth the time, trouble, and invasion of my privacy to help someone close to me understand my reasoning, even if they don't ultimately agree. However, I don't necessarily feel the need to invest that much of myself in a casual acquaintance with no "need to know". There is no just saying "I had weight loss surgery". There will be follow-up questions that will likely involve details that I don't necessarily want to discuss with the general public, at the very least, and that's assuming a neutral or positive attitude about it. If the questioner is negative about it, it can end up very much like some of the threads here.

Now, if someone asks me point-blank if I had surgery, I'm not going to deny it, especially if they are honestly curious about the surgery or are looking for solutions for themselves or others. But just because someone asks something intrusive is no reason that I must answer, even for the good of the community. I don't have to take one for the team in this case. The info is already out there, in places like this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... the prevalent idea that "non-obese" society has which is that "if you just made good choices and ate less you'd lose all the weight you want."

In the end, after the surgically reduced stomach has healed, is this not entirely true?

Have you read of all the post-surgical VSG patients on these forums who, months and years after the surgery, gain back a good part of their weight because they started eating more and exercising less? Do we not lose weight after the surgery because we had no choice but to eat less? No matter how you slice it, it's still a number's game. It's not as if we had this surgery to correct some rare metabolic or absorption abnormality.

Your cochlear implant example is not an appropriate analogy. VSG patients are not receiving a medical apparatus to replace a defective organ. We are electing to have 75 to 80 percent of a perfectly healthy organ cut out of us so that we are forced—despite our worst intentions—to eat less. Most people, with or without a history of weight problems, are not going to understand or agree with this decision. It is a radical move. This is not the same thing at all as a deaf person receiving a cochlear implant so that he can function with greater ease in the hearing world.

For years my brother and sister-in-law could not have children. Finally they decided to get help from the doctors. Turned out that my brother had some sort of blockage in his seminal duct and two varicoceles. The varicoceles were removed and the seminal duct was re-sectioned. Nineteen months later, my nephew was born.

At work and throughout other areas of his life, every colleague and casual acquaintance later asked him why he and his wife decided to have kids so much later in life. Do you think he should have told relative strangers about his seminal duct re-sectioning or was it none of their business? Typically, they just smiled and avoided the question altogether.

... and that is really a disservice to the community you've come from.

Sorry, you have really lost me here. I am most definitely not a spokesman or representative of the “former semi-pro athlete who became injured and then became fat and then became thin again after VSG surgery” community. And if I was secretly nominated and elected to that position without anyone having informed me, I am respectfully declining that dubious honor. I represent only myself.

I've been reading these "should we or should we not tell" threads for over two years. Bottom-line is that if you were morbidly or super obese (BMI > 40) before the surgery, most people will accept and respond to your decision as a forced choice. On the other hand, based on the reactions I have received from the handful of family and non-bariatric healthcare professionals I have told, if your starting BMI was less than 40, most will think (whether or not they actually say so to your face) that you’ve taken the “easy way out”.

I’m not so sure I don’t agree with them.

If you are a particularly sensitive person or if you're expecting people to pat you on the back for finally doing something about your weight problem, I personally wouldn't tell a soul. If you don't care what other people think and you find it easier, simpler, or more morally correct to tell everyone who inquires about your weight loss the truth, then go ahead and tell the world but be prepared for the fact that not everyone is going to applaud your decision. My orthopedic surgeon, the same man who had been hocking me for a whole year to lose weight to relieve the pressure on my bum knee, replied with "What, are you crazy?" when I first told him about my decision to have surgery. That's a true story.

Besides my wife, only three other people know about my surgery and, two years after the fact, I wish they didn't. On the other hand, there are many here who did make a point of generally announcing it to anyone who might care to know and mostly do not regret that decision.

Either way, please don't think that anyone of us has a moral responsibility to announce our healthcare history to the world for the sake of fat people everywhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Space Dust, thanks for your reply. I do, definitely, agree that when we change from the theoretical world to the real world that things don't always unfold how we would have thought/liked.

I am at the beginning of my journey and already appreciate how complex and emotional it will be to navigate the world in the months and years following surgery. I will continue to learn from the experiences of others and will make adjustments myself, I am sure. Will be interesting to see where I stand on this topic in a year :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whenever I read posts from people who were made to feel awkward by others about their decision to have surgery or who are being asked constantly how much weight they have lost when they are experiencing a stall or plateau, I am so glad that I observed my right to medical privacy by being very selective in whom I have told.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I completely get what you're saying and that was even part of my reasoning for being so open about this with my family and friends, I do disagree with some of what you say.

I couldn't handle looking at the friends and family I have dieted with for years and imply that I just managed to do it with diet and exercise. I wouldn't want them to feel that I succeeded where they continue to fail. However, these are people I know and have struggled with. I feel no obligation to be that for the world. If people question the weight I've lost (both previously with my band and again after my sleeve) I am honest, but I likely wouldn't bring it up my experience in a conversation with a stranger (fat or thin), unless the conversation was about weight loss surgery.

But, I am a very open book an always have been. Hell, when people notice my recent 20lb drop, i tell them its because I'm preparing for surgery lol My sister on the other hand is very private and has told very few people about her lap band and she is far from ashamed or embarrassed about it. It's just the difference in how much we feel comfortable sharing with others about our lives.

It's very personal and no one has to be a champion for every fatty out there. The same way every gay celebrity is somehow expected to storm Washington and the talk show circuit for equality. Some people just want to live their lives, privately and quietly. Not me... Lol but plenty of normal people!! Haha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have decided I would tell the people close to me that I had vsg. Other than that, I am not walking around with a sign...but if someone asks I will be honest. I have known people that will stand there and lie to your face about having surgery, when you know darn well they did! Like I told my kids, it's not a secret, but it's not everyone's business!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I TOTALLY get what you're saying.. I WISH we didn't feel the need not to tell people... but I do understand why people choose not to tell.

I'll tell people after the fact, but I don't need anyone breathing down my neck saying I am losing too much.. not losing fast enough.. look sickly, etc.... I'll tell them after they've already admitted to me how fabulous and healthy I look!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I TOTALLY get what you're saying.. I WISH we didn't feel the need not to tell people... but I do understand why people choose not to tell.

I'll tell people after the fact' date=' but I don't need anyone breathing down my neck saying I am losing too much.. not losing fast enough.. look sickly, etc.... I'll tell them after they've already admitted to me how fabulous and healthy I look![/quote']

I know exactly what you mean Serendipity! That's how I was when I had my lap band. I was quiet with most people until I finally felt comfortable in my own skin. In some ways I was still too delicate and new in my journey to deal with the observations and opinions of others, even though I am normally such an open book. Once I finally got to where I felt good about my weight/health (even though I still had more to lose) I started telling more people about how I lost and eventually it was common knowledge about me. I was the "friend who had WLS" that people would send their other friends to who were considering it. Lol I was happy to share my experience and my success with people who wanted to know and even consider it for themselves.

And then I went through a bunch of complications. And was glad to have all that support to lean on when I needed it, instead of going through it alone. When replacing my band, I even posted it on my MySpace (how cool were we back then?! Lol). And when that band never really worked, I had times where I wished I hadn't been so open about it. But as I look back, I'm so glad I was. If one person I know avoided the band because they saw all my struggles with it, then it's all worth my shame/embarrassment over not succeeding with it.

With my revision, I'm in the middle. All of my family and friends know I'm revising, but I'm not announcing it on my Facebook to all my acquaintances either. Though if this is as successful as I'm praying it will be, I would happily answer publicly how I did it, if asked. (But I am with many in the thought, "who the hell asks someone if they've had WLS?!" Lol)

For me, letting everyone know this time around is not in spite of my failure before, but BECAUSE of it. Part of my failure with my band was making poor choices and eating around it. Yes, it was insanely difficult to eat healthy with a band, but I ultimately used that as an excuse to enjoy old habits. I don't want everyone around me acting as the food police and have no problem telling any of my (very) loved ones to butt out lol, but I know that I thrive with the accountability, it helps to keep me on track. It also helps me to have people around me aware of my diet so that I can make sure there are options for me wherever I am, without feeling weird about pulling a Protein shake out of my purse at poker night!!! Lol

I am so very respectful and understanding of not sharing though. For some, it does come from a place of embarrassment or shame, but I do believe that for a lot of people, they really are just private people and want to keep their business, THEIR business!! :)

Sorry for yet another novel... At this point I think it's my trademark here at VST! Lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love this post. Thank you for your honesty and convictions. While we don't live in an idealistic, kind world it takes very strong courageous people to stand up to society and shut them up! I was wishy washy at first about telling people. #1 because I was so ashamed I had gotten to the point of needing it. #2 out of fear of what people would say/think about me.

The night before surgery I "came out" on Facebook. I felt an outpouring of positive feedback. If there were negative comments, nobody posted them. I've had to face too many adversities in life to back down now. There are so many stigmas and stereotypes associated with obesity and WLS but if we boldly press on we can break the stereotypes. We can help others form new opinions and an awareness of the vicious disease that is obesity.

I've had to face stigmas associated with bipolar disorder being diagnosed in 2007 and now obesity and WLS. I'm here to kick my fat @$$ into shape and take names. I'm so thankful for my sleeve. It's the best friend I've made in a long time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is an individual, personal decision. There are potential advantages and disadvantages to either choice. We don't need to convince one another that our choice is the right one. There is no right or wrong choice, do what makes you comfortable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found myself telling a few people. First it was a couple people at work. (Because I will be off 2 weeks minimum). Then I started telling a couple friends. Then I started telling a couple general acquaintances. I really don't mind it too much as I'm so big at 375lbs that I could not see anyone "not" seeing this as a benefit.

Now I can't speak of the female side of things. I doubt if I would get offended that someone complimented me about loosing weight and my looks. (I was grilled in some other forum here about this subject so please cut me a break on this, its not meant as offensive, judgmental, or insensitive.)

I had a neighbor loose so much weight that in 5 months I didn't recognize her. Finally one day, I asked her "what are you doing to loose so much weight, you look great" and she then told me she had a "new" procedure weight loss called "VSG". After feeling like I had to beg her, she finally gave me her experiance (this was 3 yrs ago)....... Unfortunately she left her husband and went all guy crazy, but still....she did great with her weight. I'm glad she told "me".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Trending Products

  • Trending Topics

  • Recent Status Updates

    • Hesitant but hopeful

      Hey October Surgery friends...how are you doing? I've lost 15 lbs since surgery on 18th.42 lbs overall. Wearing clothes that feel great. Had a bout of cold and stomach flu and still having some nausea off and on after that but getting better, I think. 
      Seems like I fill up and have minor pain quicker when I eat hot foods rather than cold. Anyone else notice this?
      Still sooo glad I did this.
      · 1 reply
      1. Bettyboop56

        I had surgery Oct 29. Lost 35#. Plateau now. But seeing what clothes fit now is encouraging.

    • Merri Beth  »  SamaLotus

      Hi I just saw that you are in Las Vegas too. We are going to the same center. Dr Laduc in same office as Dr Atkinson, is doing my sleeve on Nov. 28th.  I wish you the best!
      · 0 replies
      1. This update has no replies.
    • Jessica100858

      24 days and counting down til surgery 
      · 0 replies
      1. This update has no replies.
    • Bunny78

      Just over 2 weeks post-op….I’m getting there
      · 0 replies
      1. This update has no replies.
    • Voogs  »  KimA-GA

      always look forward to your updates, Hope you are well.
      · 0 replies
      1. This update has no replies.
  • Recent Topics

  • Hot Products

  • Sign Up For
    Our Newsletter

    Follow us for the latest news
    and special product offers!
  • Together, we have lost...
      lbs

    PatchAid Vitamin Patches

    ×