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Time off work and telling co-workers?



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Hello all!

I’m at the very beginning of my path for WLS. I’m leaning toward gastric bypass but am not 100% decided.

I have a few questions:

1. How long should I expect to be off work? How long were you off?

2. What did you tell your boss when asking for time off?

3. What did you tell your co-workers?

Thank you! [emoji4]

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1. It depends. Some people seem OK to return after a few days (my surgeon mentioned they had someone who returned after 2 days!!!), others may need two weeks. This will vary according to whether you have any complications, what kind of job you have, how your body copes with the surgery (anesthesia makes me sick for days). Expect to take at least a week (I speak for sleeve, I don't know if bypass is longer).

2. I told my boss that I was having surgery and did not provide further details Legally you may not have to give any details (that is the law in Australia, speak to a medical practitioner about what information you are legally required to provide). I had my general practitioner doctor (I didn't want my boss googling my surgeon's name and seeing what they specialise in so I didn't get a note from them) prepare me a medical certificate that just said I would be unable to attend work because I was having surgery to treat a medical condition. This was the truth.

3. I just told colleagues that I had surgery. People shouldn't pry. If you don't want them knowing you had WLS, you can lie or imply it was something else. You could be vague and say it was a female problem and they will not ask anymore, there's also hernia and gallbladder removals which give you a similar recovery time.

What you tell people will depend on your personality (and in terms of your boss, maybe applicable workplace laws), but I'm a private person and it's nobody's damn business! Lol.

Where I am, WLS is pretty rare, I don't need people's judgement. I know this surgery is definitely not for everyone. It's not the easy way out. I'm not interested in people's uninformed opinions. I don't want anyone scrutinizing me to see what/how much I'm eating. I haven't been at my workplace long, and I don't want to be known as the person who had weight loss surgery. I don't want it defining me.

That said, people are different. You may want support, you may feel comfortable talking about it. You may just want to share your amazing adventure with everyone! That's totally cool! You may not want to lie about how you lost the weight. If someone who was obese asked me how I lost the weight, I would probably be honest about my WLS. But my colleagues are all (without exception) slim, fit attractive individuals. So I don't feel bad about lying. That's part of why I did lie. I don't expect slim people to understand how I got here. The pervasive view is that obesity is an issue of laziness or lacking personal responsibility. It's so much more complicated than that, our biochemistry, hormones, gut microbiome, neurology, psychology, family history, environment etc all contribute to how we became obese. How we deal with it is complex. I'm not going to defend myself to people. Lol. Rant over.

I think that it's totally up to you about what you tell people!

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Thank you LaLaDee!
I’m a pretty private person and am not sure I’m comfortable sharing about the surgery.
I am definitely the largest person on my team - everyone else is much thinner than I am and while they are really nice- I don’t really feel like explaining it to them.
I’m also the newest team member so sounds like you and I are in a very similar situation!!!

Thank you so much for your thoughts!


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I'm also in the very early stages, but I've been thinking about how much to say at work, too. I don't like to talk about my health at work, even though most of my coworkers don't think twice about updating the work calendar with details about the reason for their doctor's appointments, sending an e-mail that they are taking a sick day for diarrhea, etc. I am more of a "I'm out of the office on leave until..." kind of employee. I trust my manager not to gossip, so I will probably tell him that I'm having weight loss surgery when I ask him to approve my sick leave request. I will also ask him to please keep that private (would that offend him?), because I know how quickly word gets around in the office. Actually, I think I'll just tell him that I don't plan on telling anyone else. That ought to get the message across without implying that I feel I need to remind him to keep sensitive information private. As for everyone else, I do not plan to lie to anyone, but I'm also not going to volunteer anything unless asked. People are generally respectful and don't pry, so I really don't expect to confront any intrusive or uncomfortable questions. I realize that many people still think that WLS is a cop-out, and I just don't want to defend my decision to anyone.

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I love the idea of having your primary care doctor write the medical certification. Brilliant! There are a couple of other ways to keep your surgery type private, depending on employer policy and privacy law in your area. Where I work (US federal government), there is a 3rd-party that we can use optionally to "vet" our sick leave requests. The medical certification is sent to them, and they tell your manager only that you do or don't have a "qualifying condition" for FMLA or sick leave.

Another option, if you really don't want to divulge anything at all, is to simply take annual leave, comp time, or vacation time.

If all goes well, you might still face some questions when people eventually start to notice that you've lost 100+ pounds. :D

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I've been very open about my surgery. However, I did consider taking annual leave instead of sick leave so that I didn't have to provide any additional information. But, chose to just be open about it. I've asked for three weeks off, but I anticipate going back after two weeks. I just wanted to be on the safe side and err on the side of caution.

HW 241
SW 238
GW 130
Getting sleeved 3/1

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I am planning 2 weeks off. Can take more if needed.
I have told my closest friends at work but didn’t want my bosses to know. We have a small team and one person out with a baby. Didn’t want them to be judgey about me doing it now also. HR said I didn’t have to tell them and just approved my time off and told manager I was having a procedure.


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Im in the very beginning stages, too. I’m not sure how much time I’ll take. I’m thinking maybe 3 weeks, but I really don’t know. I’m not planning on telling my supervisors or co-workers what I’m having done. Debating about making something up, like gallbladder. IDK. I hate to lie, but this was a very private decision for me. I’m not even sure if I’m going to tell my parents. Is that bad? Lol.


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1. I took off 3 weeks. I had planned on 5 but I went back early because I was ready to be back in my routine. I have a very flexible desk job so my first week back I did work shorter days and I worked from home a few days here and there for several weeks. I felt totally fine physically but mentally I was exhausted for about 5-6 weeks. My job is also one where I'm in meetings for most of my day and so figuring out how to get in Water, Vitamins, and Protein did take some work.

2. I told my boss I was having surgery. I told my HR department that I was having major abdominal surgery - and that's how my surgeon fills out the medical leave/FMLA paperwork.

3. I told my co-workers that I was having major surgery. If anyone tried to pry further I told them crazy stories like a lobotomy, boob job, or having my parasitic twin removed. I only had one person really pushing to know and I finally just said it was private and walked away.

I will say that after surgery when I started to have noticeable weight loss I did end up telling more people. I just play it by ear and if it's a situation and person I feel comfortable telling then I do. But, I frequently just say I've lost weight through 'diet and exercise' which is true - I just have an extra tool to help me on the diet side of things.

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:780_sparkling_heart: Thank you all so very much for your feedback and your experiences! It is very helpful as I dive into this crazy world of WLS!
Thank you!!!

Edited by Livetothrive
typo
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Im in the very beginning stages, too. I’m not sure how much time I’ll take. I’m thinking maybe 3 weeks, but I really don’t know. I’m not planning on telling my supervisors or co-workers what I’m having done. Debating about making something up, like gallbladder. IDK. I hate to lie, but this was a very private decision for me. I’m not even sure if I’m going to tell my parents. Is that bad? Lol.




I didn’t tell anyone but my husband so I get it! Everyone else thinks I am dieting and exercising… Technically not lying 🤣


HW 242
SW 236- December 20, 2017
CW 199
GW 160

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Ive been thinking about this for a while, of whether or not to tell my coworkers and what to tell them. I thought about telling them once i was back at work, but today i realized that they don't seem like they'd be very supportive people, and they'd just be judgmental, i don't want that. So i think i might just go the "gallbladder surgery" route or something like that


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1 minute ago, Sleevedvee said:

Ive been thinking about this for a while, of whether or not to tell my coworkers and what to tell them. I thought about telling them once i was back at work, but today i realized that they don't seem like they'd be very supportive people, and they'd just be judgmental, i don't want that. So i think i might just go the "gallbladder surgery" route or something like that

Or you could tell them that you "had a growth removed." Then they'll see the pounds drop, the hair get thinner, and never guess the real reason you had surgery! :P

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Hello all!
I’m at the very beginning of my path for WLS. I’m leaning toward gastric bypass but am not 100% decided.
I have a few questions:
1. How long should I expect to be off work? How long were you off?
2. What did you tell your boss when asking for time off?
3. What did you tell your co-workers?
Thank you! [emoji4]



Just had RNY 2/7/18. I was very upfront with my closest co-workers when I first started this trip. They were very supportive. I know some people want to hide it. I feel no shame in what I have done and nothing about this is easy. It is a new chapter in my book and hopefully one to many more chapters. This has been the hardest and most emotional time of my life, but I love myself fat or skinny. I just did this for health concerns and to be a better role model to my child. Whether you decide to tell people or not, I would wait until you file for medical leave, FMLA, or not say anything until you come back. You want to have that secure before saying anything to reduce the risk of replacement. If you are not going to apply for a leave of absence and just use PTO, I would take a good 2 weeks off. I do not feel ready to head back to work. I do not feel like I could be successful at work if I haven’t been at home. I got approved 6 weeks, I don’t think I will need 6 weeks, but this is my transformation phase, so again I want to be as prepared as I can.

Good luck on your journey!!! Make sure this is what you want.


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Other than your personality and desire for privacy, it really does depend on your workplace. Is it a small, close collaborative environment or a snake pit? The kind of place where people talk about you behind your back and office gossip leans towards the mean spirited. By all means, if you want, tell your work friends but assume that everyone will eventually find out.

Also, while this is a big deal to us, does anyone else really give a crap? It’s not lying, you are losing weight through diet and exercise. Only if someone flat out asked you if you had WLS and you told them you didn’t, would it be lying. I’d be happy lying in those circumstances!

I don’t know if anyone else remembers that host on the tv show, the View, Star Jones who had a bypass, denied it, viewers started to hate her and then she got kicked off the show. If you host a tv show, you should definitely tell your viewers.

The other day, I was buying a salad and got to chatting with the girl behind me. She mentioned that she had had WLS. She was willing to tell a perfect stranger. By contrast, I haven’t even told my father and some of my siblings.

its really all about your personal comfort level. You do you!

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