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The Reasons I Would Never Recommend This Surgery To Anyone Anymore.



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It makes me uncomfortable, and let me tell you why...

When I started this journey there was a series of events that triggered a shift in the way I thought about gastric surgery. A few years ago I had a friend who died from complications of Gastric Bypass. It turned me off to it completely. I lived with that for years and as I was creeping up above 360 pounds and I felt like I had been on some sort of a diet for the last 15 years of my life. I thought about my weight constantly. I was in deep DEEP denial of reality. The reality was that I was OBESE. I was 6'2 and 365 (my highest) pounds. It was an ongoing frustration where I would take 2 steps forward and 3 steps backwards when it came to food.

I simply could not find balance. I was lost in a sea of 'do this, do that, don't do this, don't do that' when it came to healthy food choices. I was like a tennis ball just bouncing back and forth on a very large court. Paleo, low carb, low fat, 5:2, vegetarian, vegan, rice and chicken breast, Healthy Choice meals everyday, multiple gym memberships over the years, $200 trips to Whole Foods for a WEEK of groceries, juicing... I'm sure some of you can relate.

Then one day, a coworker came back from a leave of absence and she looked amazing. I walked by her and whispered in her ear that she looked incredible. That innocent gesture would be the starting point that would change my life forever. About 6 months to a year after that another coworker came back from an extended leave (I work in a department with a lot of people so someone leaving for a while is not terribly noticeable until they come back) and she looked AMAZING. She had lost quite a bit of weight. What I didn't know was that these girls we're very close friends and they had both gone to the same surgeon. I approached her in the break room and asked her how she lost her weight and she told me she doesn't tell a lot of people but she had the Gastric Sleeve done. I had never heard of it before. I had only heard of the gastric band and RNY. She told me that she had an amazing surgeon and that she was the happiest she had ever been before in her entire life. It was yet another domino falling in my decision to get the surgery. So I thought about it some more, went through the normal "I'm gonna try to lose this weight on my own one last time" kind of thing and I gave myself a time frame of 4 months to lose 40 pounds due to a flight I was scheduled to take and I was petrified I wouldn't fit in the seat and be able to buckle the seat belt.

About 2 weeks before the trip I had only managed to lose 10 pounds and I made my decision to seriously start researching and initiating the process of my gastric sleeve. I actually had my partners approval and support which was SO IMPORTANT to me so I booked the seminar and the two surgeons who perform the surgery's came in and explained all of my options to a small group of us. I felt like I was in a room full of lost souls. The underlying sadness in the room was palpable but so was hope for a better future. Once that was over I waited to schedule the first consult with the surgeon till after my trip. Well I am happy to report that I was able to fit on the flight and not weigh the plane down to the runway, thankfully. And on that trip I started telling those that we're close to me.

Well to make this long story short when I got back it took me 3 months to finish the requirements for my insurance to get the surgery. In that time I discovered this forum (quite possibly the BEST resource I had for knowledge) and started mentally preparing myself for surgery. I knew there was complications but I also knew that I would be okay. I knew I was young and healthy and if I was ever going to get the surgery than getting it now at 33 was my best chance for a complication-less surgery. So I went for it. I trusted my surgeon and I bypassed my fear and jumped in head first. I was ready for change. At that time I had no idea what form that change would take.

I was very transparent about my decision to get the surgery. I didn't mind telling folks, especially if I thought it would help them. Well, when I came back from my leave (30 days), I had lost about 45 pounds since anyone had seen me. A coworker, not unlike myself started taking notice. She is a friend, a wonderful woman who was just so interested in the whole process. I explained to her that I had little to no complications and that I felt great. She was fascinated just like I was. She had another friend who worked in a surgeons office that performed these surgeries so she decided to go with them instead of my surgeon. They seemed to streamline the process much differently that my surgeons office did. It's like they pushed her through SO FAST. What took me 4 months only took her 1 month and her surgery was scheduled. She was so happy and even though I had some reservations about her process compared to mine I kept them to myself because once you get into that head space you have blinders on. I couldn't blame her, I did the same thing. I was happy for her.

Then she had the surgery.

I kept in contact with her through her surgery and stay in the hospital. The complications started almost immediately. She failed the upper GI because of the swelling, fluids would sit in her esophagus for a minute before it drained into her stomach. She was in a lot of pain. Almost 4 weeks out she is still in a lot of pain and can barely eat, fluids still taking their time going into her stomach because of the swelling which should have gone down weeks ago. I referred her to this group to check out the 'Complications' section and talk to folks who are having the same (or similar) issues. She can barely eat, drink and I am sure very scared and feeling isolated because of her complications. Plus she had issues with the company who handles our leave and she was only able to be out for 3 weeks. This is crazy because she IS NOT healed yet and her surgeons office didn't extend it. This makes me so mad. She has to WORK, in an office, and be productive while she can barely drink anything and is suffering and out of pain meds. I think I am going to fill my final 2 liquid pain meds that I didn't take for my own surgery and give them to her.

I will NEVER recommend this surgery to anyone ever again. It's a shot in the dark if you will recover the way you're supposed to. I will tell people I had this surgery and show them my very obvious progress but the phrase "you should look into it" will never cross my lips again.

Because the truth of the matter is, you never know. And I refuse to my the catalyst for someone ruining their life when my intentions were the complete opposite. Sorry this was so long. Your thoughts?

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My thoughts? You were right that was a long azz post!

But really are you are not glad that someone mentioned the surgery to you?? Is your life not improved because of it?

I am not a walking billboard I do not try and talk someone into surgery just because I had it..

But if someone asks I will tell them.

You are not responsible for someone going off half cocked and who they chose as a surgeon.

I would love to know the recent stats on how many people are choosing to have sleeve surgery because to me it seems to have tripled this last year..

With its popularity comes people not putting in time to research (and I mean more than just this site) and just think about what they think is the instant gratification like "girl I can't wait to rock some skinny jeans" of the surgery.

Also we have Drs by the truckload jumping on the bandwagon because of the profits to made of of all these people..

This is our fast food instant gratification nation!

THIS IS MAJOR SURGEY and should be the last resort after all avenues have been exhausted.

There are risks but if you are fat enough those risks are outweighed by the benefits...

How's that for a long post :P

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Endless great thoughtful post-another perspective that you don't hear often IMHO it's ok to tell people about your wls if you choose but just add the fact that there are risks associated with it incase they don't do enough research and are inspired by your progress

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My thoughts? You were right that was a long azz post!
But really are you are not glad that someone mentioned the surgery to you?? Is your life not improved because of it?
I am not a walking billboard I do not try and talk someone into surgery just because I had it..
But if someone asks I will tell them.
You are not responsible for someone going off half cocked and who they chose as a surgeon.
I would love to know the recent stats on how many people are choosing to have sleeve surgery because to me it seems to have tripled this last year..
With its popularity comes people not putting in time to research (and I mean more than just this site) and just think about what they think is the instant gratification like "girl I can't wait to rock some skinny jeans" of the surgery.
Also we have Drs by the truckload jumping on the bandwagon because of the profits to made of of all these people..
This is our fast food instant gratification nation!
THIS IS MAJOR SURGEY and should be the last resort after all avenues have been exhausted.
There are risks but if you are far enough those risks are outweighed by the benefits...
How's that for a long post :P

You always put things into perspective for me.

Yes, it was a long ass post but I was holding it in and I needed to purge a little. Maybe I should start a blog.

I felt like my process happened a little more organically. I am always willing to show people my progress and how this surgery has and is working very well for me because I now have a sense of balance in my life when it comes to food (even though I do eat crap sometimes) but I don't think I can, in good conscience, recommend to someone that this surgery is a good idea and that they should check it out. A lot of that is because I feel like I was lucky. I feel like everyone's experience is different and I'm just afraid that my recommendation could lead to someone making decisions that affects the rest of their lives negatively.

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You always put things into perspective for me. Yes, it was a long ass post but I was holding it in and I needed to purge a little. Maybe I should start a blog. I felt like my process happened a little more organically. I am always willing to show people my progress and how this surgery has and is working very well for me because I now have a sense of balance in my life when it comes to food (even though I do eat crap sometimes) but I don't think I can, in good conscience, recommend to someone that this surgery is a good idea and that they should check it out. A lot of that is because I feel like I was lucky. I feel like everyone's experience is different and I'm just afraid that my recommendation could lead to someone making decisions that affects the rest of their lives negatively.

We are all lucky everyday in some way..

If I ever get my lazy ass up today I will hop in my car and run some errands and if I make it home unscathed I will be "lucky" :)

It sounds like you really care about this co worker and feel a little responsible?

She did this because she wanted to try and get healthy. It sounds like that might be a bumpy road for her but she made it through the surgery that she of her own free will chose.

You did what you could (and what I would of done as a friend) you gave information and voiced your concerns. That's all you can do.

I will recommend this surgery if an obese friend asks about it, but I will also remind them that this is major surgery and it comes with risks (including death) so don't let the five cute little laparoscopic scars fool you..

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I'm scared to death of being the person with complications. I hope that doesn't happen to me but I'm going in prepared!

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Thank you for this post! This is a new feeling that I have been having lately myself. I'm 11 months out and have blown my EWL percentage out of the Water (I think I'm near 110% now). I have had great success with zero complications. I tell people if they ask how I lost weight, or if the timing is appropriate. I have been open about my surgery since I was pre-op, and I don't really have any regrets about that. Since I've had such success with no problems, I supported my boyfriend when he told me he was ready to do the surgery himself (in Mexico with Dr Alvarez). I had my surgery in the US. In the beginning when I was helping him plan everything (he is scheduled for January), I was excited for him. Now, I'm absolutely terrified. Of course I'm not telling him that though. I also feel that I was just lucky. That's all, just lucky. I'm so scared that he won't be as lucky and will have complications. I'm a nervous wreck about it honestly. Irrational as it may be, if he has problems, that will be on my conscience.

In the first 6-8 months or so, if someone had asked if I actually RECOMMENDED this surgery, I would say hands down absolutely yes. But I wouldn't say that now. I wouldn't actually recommend it to anyone now. I'll share my experiences and all of that, but I don't feel comfortable recommending this surgery to anyone. Not just because of possible complications, but not everyone has such success honestly, and many people regain weight after the sleeve. You have to literally change your life and the way you eat. This new stomach isn't going to do all the work for you, maybe 50%. So I'll share my journey, but do I recommend the surgery to others? Absolutely not.

Thank you for your post. :)

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I'm scared to death of being the person with complications. I hope that doesn't happen to me but I'm going in prepared!

I think a lot of it has to do with your mind set as well. It was strange because I just "knew" I would be okay. It was instinct for me. I had envisioned exactly how I was going to feel when I got out of surgery and how I was going to recover before I had it. I made up my mind that I was going to be successful before I even began and I think that is so important on this journey. Especially, and you'll understand what I mean when I say this about 3-5 weeks in, every single day can be different. You'll experience different things and feel different things. One week you'll be like "screw carbs!" and the next week you're calling people carb nazi's because the idea of not eating a sandwich again in life is disturbing (just do a search under my name.. it's tragic. Laura can vouch for that... lol).

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Thank you for this post! This is a new feeling that I have been having lately myself. I'm 11 months out and have blown my EWL percentage out of the Water (I think I'm near 110% now). I have had great success with zero complications. I tell people if they ask how I lost weight, or if the timing is appropriate. I have been open about my surgery since I was pre-op, and I don't really have any regrets about that. Since I've had such success with no problems, I supported my boyfriend when he told me he was ready to do the surgery himself (in Mexico with Dr Alvarez). I had my surgery in the US. In the beginning when I was helping him plan everything (he is scheduled for January), I was excited for him. Now, I'm absolutely terrified. Of course I'm not telling him that though. I also feel that I was just lucky. That's all, just lucky. I'm so scared that he won't be as lucky and will have complications. I'm a nervous wreck about it honestly. Irrational as it may be, if he has problems, that will be on my conscience.

In the first 6-8 months or so, if someone had asked if I actually RECOMMENDED this surgery, I would say hands down absolutely yes. But I wouldn't say that now. I wouldn't actually recommend it to anyone now. I'll share my experiences and all of that, but I don't feel comfortable recommending this surgery to anyone. Not just because of possible complications, but not everyone has such success honestly, and many people regain weight after the sleeve. You have to literally change your life and the way you eat. This new stomach isn't going to do all the work for you, maybe 50%. So I'll share my journey, but do I recommend the surgery to others? Absolutely not.

Thank you for your post. :)

Exactly! I feel the same way. In all honestly, I didn't start liking my sleeve till about a month and a half in. I got depressed after the surgery because this new way of life was hoist onto me so quickly and permanently. I had to adapt, and I did, and I will some more.

This is kind of the dark under belly of surgeries like this that a lot of people don't talk about. When someone asks me about it now I tell them my story (much briefer than above) and I also make sure I let them know that this surgery isn't for everyone and let me tell you why... x, y, z.

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You raise some interesting points. I have a friend who struggles with weight as I do. She knows I've had VSG. I've never recommended it to her because I feel that people have to come to the realization themselves and be prepared to make the huge changes that will be required. She asked me for help to lose weight, I said start by eating Protein first, then veggies and then carbs if you're still hungry (she lives on carbs).

She hasn't been able to make that change. I'm not judging, I'm just saying she wasn't ready to make a simple change like that. My younger son did it and lost a little baby fat super quick. She can't.

If she can't do that, I wonder if she could handle what the surgery brings?

People will come to it--or not--on their own. I am happy to share my story and my challenges and my knowledge. But I wouldn't "recommend" or even gently push anyone toward it.

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I appreciate this post so much. It's a bit easy to start feeling like a walking billboard for the surgery, especially when we sail right through without any major (or even minor) hiccups during/after surgery, then have nice steady weight loss that "speaks" for the procedure. I have a great friend who is just a few months from getting RNY and it's partly because I had VSG. She asks a lot of questions now that she is officially pre-op. I feel like I have to be so extremely cautious - I mean, it's 2 different surgeries (same surgeon though) and we aren't the same person. I am worried that she'll have an experience like your co-worker and she'll look to me for answers. I want her to sail through like I did, but it's not in my control. So, fingers crossed!

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I found this post really interesting because I still have not come up with an answer to "Are you glad you had the surgery done?". Even though I have had few complications and great results so far, my answer usually starts out with, "Wellll,...." But I have to say I felt this was the last resort for me to get some kind of normal life back. A friend of mine who is a recovering alcoholic and AA group leader has said that an alcoholic/addict will ask for help once they get to the point that they are willing to do anything to stop from feeling the way they do. That any other existence is better than the one they are living in. That is probably the closest description I have heard to what made my decision to have the surgery. I woke up one morning and was just sick and tired of being sick and tired, realizing that ANYTHING would be better than where I was at and I was willing to do anything to bring about that change. But I also know that nobody can make the decision for us. Countless doctors and well-meaning friends and family had tried for years to convince me. But I had to be ready and I was willing to accept all the risks that came with it. I think it is reasonable to assume that your co-worker went through a similar experience, so please don't feel responsible for her situation. I do hope that she gets through her challenges soon and her pain is abated. Please keep sharing your story, keeping in mind that it will be their decision. You may even save a life someday.

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I too have been very open about my surgery and I have no problem telling someone to look into it. But it's just that. Look into it. I also tell people that I researched it for two years and did carefull research on my surgeons and hospital because it is major surgery and I wanted to minimize the risks as much as possible. I let them know that pre and post op is extremely difficult but in order to avoid unnecessary complications I didn't cheat at all. And I let them know that I didn't let anyone, not even the surgeon sway me into having a surgery I didn't want to have it sooner than I was ready. If someone chooses to pick a surgeon because they "know" them, or because it worked for you and they don't truly do their own research and make informed choices then sorry to say but that's on them. And sometimes they do everything right and still have trouble. Things happen the way they are supposed to whether we do it all right or not. I don't feel lucky because I didn't have any complications. I was well informed, I chose the best surgeons and one of the best hospitals in the country. I followed my plan to the letter and I prayed. I was confident that I was in good hands. So yes, I would definitely recommend this surgery but with a couple of asterisks after my recommendation.

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First off I'm very open about my surgery. I was fortunate and had no complications and great success. My wife, sister and sil all had the surgery. So when we are all together someone will inevitably ask us about the surgery. I always tell them about my experience , I tell them people do have problems. Like all major surgeries do your research. I send people to this web site to get info. Follow dr and nut's plan and pray everything goes well. Nothing is guaranteed in life especially tomorrow when you are obese. For ne no high blood pressure and sleep apnea . No more daily meds (except vitamins). I fear that one day I might be in your shoes when someone I talked to about the surgery has complications. But if this was their chance to get healthy then I think I can handle it. I hope your co-worker is doing better.

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