I've got several life changing events happening right now and I thought why not talk about all of them here on the blog I started for my College Co-ed at 50 series. SO while I contemplate the next step in my academic endeavors, I thought I want to talk about another secret people try to keep hidden, Weight Loss Surgery.
I have decided to have what is called the Duodenal Switch surgery to help me regain my health and maintain my weightloss to prolong my life. This surgery has yet to become common but I have always been ahead of the curve.
For your education, there are several types of weight loss surgery. The Gastric Lapband, this is a band put around the top of the stomach to great resistance when eating and to give people the feeling of fullness. This surgery is not great and the data is finding that out. In the 90's it was the wave of the future. I didn't by it. Next we have the Vertical Sleeve, this is a much more common surgery currently. There are many advantages to having this type of surgery as it allows you to create a smaller stomach, remove the hunger hormones produced in your stomach, (called Grenlin) and still allows you the benefits of the untouched small intestine. You wouldn't suffer from malabsoption as the next two. Then we have what the medical community still calls the "gold standard" the Rou-en Y. In this procedure, the stomach is separated into two sections creating a smaller pouch to receive your intake and the second part just remains seperate, still producing gastric juices needed for digestion later down in the small intestine. This procedure is now being questioned in the research and data community but most surgeons will not discuss the alternative, Duodenal Switch with potential patients. The research shows, while RYN Surgery is an effective way to lose weight, it does not help much with maintaining weight loss long-term. Yes some patients continue to remain thinner but many people gain back up to 50% of weight loss and the medical community considers this a success(?). The evidence that many people with RYN are regaining more than 50% and now the comorbidities they had prior to the surgery have returned has been growing. But here is the rub. The Medical community understands that the weight regain is becoming a very real problem but they are still preforming this surgery without hesitation and telling patients its the best option. We, the patient, feel guided and protected that someone is understanding our struggle and willing to give us the best medical intervention available. They do not discuss with us the cutting edge surgery with the most medical research and data to date. This is the Duodenal Switch and for patients of a 45+ BMI it should be something that patients are being informed about prior to going under the knife.
(Lets say, it is up to the patient to do the research and yes we are responsible for our own health. That said, obese patients often have several dynamics that created the unhealthy form our bodies have come to. Taking care of ourselves medically and physically is high on the scale of tools we haven't master yet. I will get into the research in a future post but suffice to say its a complicated web of reasons obesity is an epidemic. )
SO I have decided to have the Duodenal Switch surgery and I am still struggling to tell anyone about this. Why? I'm ashamed. I understand logically why I shouldn't be but we try to create an environment of support in our lives and this only seems like another reason people will judge us negatively. The simple responses, just diet, (ok I want to punch you) try this exercise, up your protein stop eating white food, why would you want to deform your body, isn't it just lazy life style. Better yet, you just need to "decide" to change your life. So while I appreciate all the feedback, I've done all those things and yet I battle the weight up and down up and down. I understand why I should "decide" to change my life and I have but not in the way you might expect. I have changed my ideas of food, my mental understanding about self-care and what I want my future to look like. If my supporters would try to do research and learn about the complexity of obesity then I doubt they would think this was a matter of will power. I have plenty of that as proven by the life's hurdles and challenges I have overcome. Why do I have to debate with people over and over about why? The quick response from friends and family is, "we love you and don't want you to take the easy way out and maybe make it worse in the future." Huh? This has not been easy and I am thinking about my long term health plan. Obesity cuts all social and ethnic barriers, rich, poor, old, young, white, black, religious differences and if will power alone was the key we would have discovered this long ago. So my friends, just love and support me and either be willing to learn about the medical conditions I am dealing with now and the ones to come due to my morbid obesity and get on board the bus. Otherwise I can not share my journey with you and I need all the supportive people I can get.
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