Those of us who opt for bariatric surgery have gone through *before* we finally make the decision to go through surgery. It’s not a decision we take lightly. Hell, it’s not on the radar for most of us who have been struggling with our weight for years — we keep thinking if we just keep exercising, changing our diets, etc… we’ll lose the weight that everyone else says is so easy to lose. We often don’t consider that there are underlying reasons for why we have a hard time losing weight despite our own efforts.
And a lot of doctors get this.
And the ones who do are the ones who tell us that surgery is the best option for us.
Some doctors don’t get it.
But apparently not everyone who is a medical professional gets this.
This morning, I happened to log onto Facebook and see a post from a friend who happens to be a medical professional who implied that everyone would rather take pills or have surgery than make lifestyle changes and that post pissed me off to no end. Why? The person who posted it knows that I’ve struggled with my weight due to a lot of health reasons that have nothing to do with simply lifestyle changes.
For six years, I:
- took blood pressure and heart pills that made me feel worse
- went to a therapist because I was dealing with work-related stress and felt like shit
- worked out 3 days/week, at home and at the gym because of a knee injury and because I had a desk job and needed to move more
- made dietary changes
- found out I had a congenital heart problem that had gone undiagnosed since childhood
- was dealing with polycystic ovarian syndrome and Swedish gynaecologists who didn’t take it seriously — I even had one who told me it was all in my head and refused to give me a prescription for the medicine that I needed–which, according to my cardiologist, could have possibly exacerbated the undiagnosed heart problem–despite having a confirmed diagnosis from another gynaecologist who was an expert in the field
- was in the stroke/diabetes risk zone because of so many relatives on both sides of my family had had strokes and diabetes as well as dealing with long-term work-related stress
- was dealing with a work situation in which I had two managers who were making my work life hell
- was unable to sleep properly
- began self-medicating because I couldn’t figure out what else to do
For two years I met with a dietician and a physiotherapist to deal with my knee problem and that involved daily exercise and lifestyle changes. Did it help me magically lose weight?
Of course not.
I was also insulin resistant and, according to my dietician and my surgeon, everything I was doing that my previous dietician had prescribed was actually making things worse.
If I were Courtney Love, I’d say that someday you will ache like I ache but I wouldn’t wish the shit I had to deal with on *anyone*.
Stop being judgmental…because you’re wrong.
When I decided after thinking about it for close to five years to have bariatric surgery, one of my doctor friends tried to talk me out of it. She only pointed out the worst case scenarios and behaved as though I should just keep on struggling even though it wasn’t working.
I decided, instead to listen to several friends and relatives who’d had the same surgery, and I also listened to my surgeon who–after analysing all my blood tests and other results–assured me that this was the best option for me if I did NOT want to take medication for the rest of my life.
Stop telling us we cheated or took the easy way out.
If you knew what we go through in the year that we prepare for the surgery, you wouldn’t have the gall to imply that this is easy. It’s not.
I didn’t cheat or take the easy way out. None of us who are serious about this think we’re getting a shortcut. We know we have to make lifestyle changes and we do it. We know that we’re going to go through hell learning to eat again while we go through the healing process–whether it’s the pain or the complications that sometimes occur or just trying to get used to how fast or slow we can eat and drink and figuring out what food our new stomachs can actually tolerate.
But you don’t think about that. You just think we’re “cheating” because you never head to deal with this.
What you should do instead.
Instead of being judgmental, how about supporting your friends and patients who choose to make this decision. Listen to them when they tell you what they’re going through. Stop talking over them and actually open your ears and your mind to what they’re telling you. Not everyone who chooses this surgery is looking for an easy way out. Most of us have been suffering for years and felt that no one has listened to us or even been interested enough to hear what we’re saying.