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Keeping surgery a secret? What did you tell others?



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Me personally, I made a private group on FB and invited the people I wanted to share my journey with especially since I knew I was going to get a lot of stigma from people because I'm having my surgery in Mexico. Luckily I haven't had too many issues.

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I also only told my immediate family, sister, parents and best friend. I have a friend at work who was sleeved six months before me so she is my support buddy. I work from home at this point due to Covid so no one from work knows except my supervisor (unless she shared my private medical information; HIPPA issue then). I had my procedure Dec 14 so I took "PTO" on the schedule to "get ready for Christmas" with a staycation although it is really FMLA related.

At this point, 61 pounds less in total I do look smaller and may or may not share depending on how I asked about my appearance.

I am so happy I did this and last week was the first time that my husband stated "you are so small" now and I shared with him how much this meant to me. He was just more concerned if I was eating my Protein, feeling good and able to exercise.

Life is really good and I am happy so that is important.

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On 2/14/2021 at 7:50 PM, Circus321 said:

I’m getting a sleeve and haven’t had surgery yet but when I put in for leave at work I told my boss and coworkers that I was having part of my stomach removed due to ulcers (not entirely a lie, I do need it for that reason as well). I joked about how “at least I’ll lose weight as a side effect” and everyone was supportive and called me “lucky” to be losing weight as a side effect of a “legitimate medical procedure”. And then they all trash talked getting a bariatric procedure solely for weight loss 🙄. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing with anyone you certainly don’t have to, but if you want to maybe stretching the truth a bit will help it be easier to swallow for others. It’s so sad that weight loss procedures are shamed. We’re looked down on for being fat and then looked down on for doing the things we have to do to lose weight. It’s not fair

This is a great idea. Addresses leave and weight loss and, special diet in coming months. I whole heartedly agree with your last few sentences!!!

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Just to be clear, employers cannot require you to provide a reason for any leave time. Just say peace out, see you in a few weeks. I am aware that many friendly bosses or HR people will ask where you are going on vacation or if everything is OK. But the answers to those questions are up to you.

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On 02/18/2021 at 20:33, Orig Ironman said:



Just to be clear, employers cannot require you to provide a reason for any leave time. Just say peace out, see you in a few weeks. I am aware that many friendly bosses or HR people will ask where you are going on vacation or if everything is OK. But the answers to those questions are up to you.


That’s good to know. Even though they can’t legally require a reason for my leave, the company I work for is pretty close knit so it would’ve been weird if I had flat-out refused to give my boss or coworkers an answer. I get the vibe that most people on here have a similar working environment so the problem isn’t legal but social. But it’s good to know the legal aspect too!

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I had surgery in November and just told people I was going to rent a house a few hours away with my family for two weeks. It was true, but I was also getting surgery as well. At first nobody commented on weight loss, probably because I had been dieting since July so it’s not like anything dramatically changed. Suddenly this last week I have had multiple comments per day from coworkers and i appreciate the sentiment but I work with hundreds of people and to be honest I’m getting tired of it. I just hit 100 lbs lost, but I have another 70 or so to go.

I told my husband, and one coworker actually ran into me at the bariatric class so she knows. I just told one of my good friends a few days ago, because she’s overweight as well and if she’s interested in the surgery then I feel she deserves to know. Other than that, it’s my business and unless I’m very close to someone and I think they might benefit from knowing about the surgery, I’m not going to share it.

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12 hours ago, Orig Ironman said:

Just to be clear, employers cannot require you to provide a reason for any leave time. Just say peace out, see you in a few weeks. I am aware that many friendly bosses or HR people will ask where you are going on vacation or if everything is OK. But the answers to those questions are up to you.

Not true if you want to use FMLA. You have to have a signed document with reason of leave listed from the physician. I had to provide to HR and to then it must be approved by my boss since VSG was considered an elective surgery. Because I am an RN, they do not want to be short which would be worse for our patients especially during COVID times.

I would guess if you request your time off as PTO of course no more information will be needed and not necessary to divulge.

In the world we live in, people are too judgmental and feel they have the right to be condescending. That is why these groups are so important for people to feel safe and gain supportive words.

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I chose not to tell my bosses as I wasnt taking FMLA, just employer medical leave.

I am open about my sleeve and have no shame in telling anyone. I am of the mindset that SWL as a whole needs to be normalized and brought to the light. I mean I don't walk up to random strangers but if someone asks, I tell them

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My surgeons office filled out paperwork for my husbands work, and they just listed laparoscopic surgery and recovery for the reason. They wouldn’t let him have a week off work unless it was FMLA. 🙄

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I decided at 60yrs old I shouldn’t need to defend my decisions, so I told everyone. I was no longer ashamed of not being able to control my weight by diet and exercise. I know it’s nothing to do with willpower and or intelligence, obesity is a medical condition, and we all try different methods to manage or cure it.

Everyone’s journey is different and we get to choose who we share it with.

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On 2/17/2021 at 9:27 AM, MissSmartyPants said:

I just didn't like the idea of someone discussing me, my body, or my eating habits.

This! Only my husband knows (I’m pre-op still going through ins reqs) and this is why I won’t tell anyone else. I am a very private person and prefer to keep information about my body private for the most part. I don’t think it’s anyone’s business and don’t want to be the ongoing topic of conversation for my very nosy and gossipy family - we live in a very small town to boot. They all share EVERYTHiNG and my preference for privacy has been a point of contention before, so it might be tough because this is a physical change but worth it.

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On 2/15/2021 at 5:02 PM, Jnfinney said:

Oh wow. I never thought about that. Thank you for sharing.

I think it stems from the same bias I had . That weight loss is simply about discipline with diet and exercise. But it was only recently I began to believe something more is at play, explained by some good doctors who actually understand and expressed compassion instead of making me feel shame. Like others here, I don’t want my decision to be a topic of conversation, or to be defined by it. But I also agree with the comment that at some point, I hope, I will be so happy with my decision that I will not care about anyone who might judge how I did it. (Love this site BTW. - love hearing everyone’s own thoughts and ideas ).

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I'm on the fence and have thought about this topic a lot. My husband knows, of course. I'll probably tell my kids when it's near surgery time. Other than that, I don't think I'm telling anyone. Possibly if they asked - but most people wouldn't I don't think. There is one exception though. I have a family member who asks a million detail-oriented questions. She's seriously like an interrogator!! (and if she knows, everyone knows) And actually, as I'm typing this, I'm thinking no matter what I say, she'll question it. If I say Portion Control, I'll get a million questions on that. If I say WLS, she'll ask a million questions about that. So I guess it'll depend on which questions I want to answer~ LOL

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3 hours ago, TinDE said:

I'm on the fence and have thought about this topic a lot. My husband knows, of course. I'll probably tell my kids when it's near surgery time. Other than that, I don't think I'm telling anyone. Possibly if they asked - but most people wouldn't I don't think. There is one exception though. I have a family member who asks a million detail-oriented questions. She's seriously like an interrogator!! (and if she knows, everyone knows) And actually, as I'm typing this, I'm thinking no matter what I say, she'll question it. If I say Portion Control, I'll get a million questions on that. If I say WLS, she'll ask a million questions about that. So I guess it'll depend on which questions I want to answer~ LOL

I absolutely understand. I have a sister in law that is the same. She feels she has the right since she has a Master's in counseling. I know when I see her she will be drilling for information. I just might tell her I had a stomach surgery and now exercise and log everything I eat into my Fitbit app. Or just smile and say I am working hard to make a change to take back my health.

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1 hour ago, kunkelgw said:

I absolutely understand. I have a sister in law that is the same. She feels she has the right since she has a Master's in counseling. I know when I see her she will be drilling for information. I just might tell her I had a stomach surgery and now exercise and log everything I eat into my Fitbit app. Or just smile and say I am working hard to make a change to take back my health.

Thankfully mine doesn’t have a masters in counseling, but she is an expert on all subjects 😏. I actually thought something similar. I do have Barrett’s esophagus and was going to say I was undergoing treatment for that and changed my eating habits etc. I guess it depends on timing of surgery, when I seen her, etc.

Thanks for understanding!

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