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Why I Will Never Advocate WLS.

[TW: This post mentions dieting, weight loss, surgical procedures and my state of mind prior to discovering fat acceptance. Please skip reading if you feel this may be triggering for you and I hope the next post will be better.]


This post on WLS has been swimming around in my head for quite a while. I have begun to write it many times before discarding it and walking away from my computer. I have considered never letting it see light, but as a fat activist I feel as though I am keeping a shameful secret.


WLS for those that don’t know stands for Weight Loss Surgery. The two most common types of WLS are:

- Gastric by-pass Surgery (cutting or sectioning off the stomach to create a smaller “pouch” and reattaching the small intestine, bypassing the majority of the stomach)

- Lap Band Surgery (often praised as being the “less invasive” alternative, lap banding creates the smaller stomach pouch by placing a silicone ring around the top of the stomach.)

Both are designed to restrict the amount of food you are able to eat.


I had Lap Band Surgery in October of 2007, at the age of 23.


I have always been fat and have never really let it bother me too much. What did bother me, and what I couldn’t ignore, was the way everybody else felt about my body. I remember being taken to Weight Watchers meetings in the fifth grade (I was 11). I grew up having to count calories and account for every piece of food I put in my mouth. I developed very unhealthy attitudes towards food, I loved food but felt I needed to hide it. I would eat when I got home from school because I was ashamed to eat lunch in front of the other kids. I hid sugary snacks around my room because I wasn’t allowed to have them. I felt judged depending on the food I ate when I was given the choice (say between an apple or a cookie), like I’d been tested and failed. I learned quickly to never speak up for what I wanted, but to accept that other’s knew better.


This learning stays with you as you grow up. In my late teens I was easily manipulated into doing what others wanted because I didn’t want to displease them by saying no. I accepted criticism of my body from people I called family. I dieted not because I wanted necessarily to lose weight, but because I wanted to make people happy. So they could see that I was trying to be acceptable enough to deserve their approval. This is why I agreed to see a doctor about WLS.


Seeing the doctor was a bit of an underwhelming experience. I was weighed and at 172kg (351lbs) I more than met the qualifications to undergo lap band surgery. To add to that, given my young age I was bumped up the waiting list for Medicare funded surgeries. So, rather than having two years to consider my options, I had three months. I was handed a pamphlet briefly outlining the procedure, told to read it and to ask any questions I had, only I didn’t know what to ask. I was focusing on finally making everybody happy and silencing the fat-shaming commentary that had become the background noise of my life. The carrot had been dangled in front of my nose and I wanted it.


Cut to three months later. I’ve been living on three low calorie, dietary supplement shakes a day and a cup of steamed vegetables at dinner for four weeks (minus the day I caved in to starvation and ate that burger and fries) to lose as much weight as possible before the surgery (am now 168kg),  and, armed with next to no information about what I’m about to go through, I undergo lap band surgery. It is a success (spoiler alert: I didn’t die), I wake up to excited family and friends telling me how proud they are, that it’s going to make such a difference to my life. The pain in my stomach is mild but I am on some form of pain medication. There are five small incisions across my stomach, the largest of which is about an inch and a half wide (I forgot to mention they weren’t sure whether it could be done via keyhole or not so that scar was going to be a surprise when I woke up!) and all in all, the surgery itself was not so distressing in my personal experience.


They tell you that you almost certainly will lose a great amount of weight in the first few weeks of having WLS. Let me tell you why this is. Week one is a clear fluid diet. After they make sure you are awake, able to walk and swallow a small sip of water, you are free to go home and live on water, low calorie jell-o, boiled water with a stock cube dissolved in it (if you feel like spoiling yourself). Week two you can incorporate milk or yoghurt. Week three is pureed food week, never was I so excited to see baby food in my entire life. Week four you can let loose and slowly start to add soft foods. So it’s a month of having very little to eat, living with being absolutely starving but not able to rush it because you’ll just throw up if you try to eat anything.


I’ll sum up the rest of the time between then and now by saying this. I was 172kg (351lbs) before going through with WLS. I lost a grand total of 10kg in the first month or so, and gained it back within the first year. It is now 2012, and five years later at 28, I am still 172kg (351lbs). I know that is a remarkably unremarkable result, and many have lost far more weight than I. But there is a lot I have learned about WLS.


Five years later I am still unable to eat bread. I cannot eat red meat unless it comes out of a slow cooker and even then, I have to be careful. Pasta is touch and go and I throw up regularly because my body has learned to fear certain textures of food, they get “stuck” and it is completely involuntary when I bring them back up. Whenever I go out to eat, I make sure I know where the bathroom is first in case I have to run. I have to take multivitamins because I do not get enough from the food I am able to digest. I was losing my hair at one point from malnutrition, thankfully it’s growing back now. I have also developed an intolerance to gluten, which is a side effect of many weight loss surgeries that nobody warned me about, or fully understands why it happens.


I am deteriorating slowly, unable to process the nutrients my body needs because I have mutilated my digestive system in the effort to be thin. I have looked into having it removed, but while they were more than willing to put the band in, they will not cover the far riskier procedure to take it out. It will only be removed once it causes “complications” or begins to deteriorate. I have to wait it out while it may potentially kill me. This is why I will never advocate weight loss surgery. I’ve been through it, and there is far too little information given to individuals considering it as an option. I don’t sit here saying DON’T DO IT because I am bitter that it didn’t work and I’m still fat. I have made peace with my fat. I don’t want anybody else to regret their decision.


Truths that nobody will tell you about WLS are:

- That people die during the procedure.

- That your body may slowly starve to death.

- That it doesn’t cure you of your desire to eat, or stop the disordered way you think about food. If anything, it makes you consciously aware of everything you eat 24/7, the second you forget it’s there, you throw up what you’re eating.

- People will congratulate you if you tell them you have it, but nobody can see it and those you don’t tell will still think you are a worthless fatty until you lose weight.

- Your body is amazingly resistant to losing weight and will no longer trust you if you starve it. It will hold onto any fat it finds and store it because it cannot rely on you for nourishment.

- If you DO lose weight, you will be left with excess skin that no amount of exercise will remove and you will not feel any better about yourself when you look in the mirror. Excess skin will rub, sweat, make you believe you are still fat and require painful surgery (at your own cost) to remove.

- You may lose your hair.

- You may have no energy.


People die having this procedure.


People die from complications following this procedure.




If the laundry list of complications is worth being thin for you, then I won’t stop you. Your choices are your own to make. But I urge you to look online, read EVERYTHING you can find. Ask every question that pops into your head. Be informed about what you’re about to put your body through. I was healthy at 23, just fat. Now I am still fat and worry constantly that I have made myself sick. Even though I felt pressured to undergo this procedure, and was too scared to speak up, I made the call. I chose to do this to my body and I wish I had asked more questions. I wish I had been brave enough to put my foot down and say NO. I wish I had been able to see that I was enough, exactly as I was.


I’m not outing myself for sympathy. I live with my decision and I make the most of the way it is. I work around my body’s limitations and do as much as possible to limit the negative impacts my choices have upon it. In sharing my story, I am not saying that everybody who has had weight loss surgery (be it “successful” or no) needs to speak up and tell the world. Bodies are intensely personal things and you do not need to defend your body to anyone.


This is my horrible secret. I wasn’t always a fat activist (there’s a lot of hard work that goes into loving your fat and appreciating your body for what it is) but I believe many of us have all gone through a period of hating ourselves, listening to people who told us we deserved to die, believing we were worthless. We work on how we feel about ourselves rather than listening to the voices that tell us we’re second class citizens because we are fat. My hope is to spread awareness. Weight loss surgery is not a miracle cure for fat, it is dangerous and potentially harmful body mutilation disguised as hope for desperately unhappy people. Whether you lose weight or not, it is not the answer to all your body issues. Harming your body to make it thin does not make you any less ashamed of being fat. It doesn’t stop the fear that one day that fat will all come back (and it very likely will). How can you expect to properly care for your body if you hate it? The only thing that will stop you being ashamed of your fat is accepting it, embracing it, and eventually learning to love it.

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About Fat Additives

Fat activist.

45 responses »

  1. Late to the party, but…

    Thanks to you and everyone who commented for telling your stories! I need to bookmark this for all those who keep telling me that the magic bullet is wls.. I’m glad when I was sent for consultation I read all of the fine print and was scared off by the descriptions of side effects that weren’t even as bad as those listed here. Some people think that I’m hampered in my weight loss by the fact that I learned to love myself as I am (long before the consultation), but I feel like I made the better choice for my health.. especially my mental health!


  2. Amazing issues here. I’m very happy to peer your article. Thanks a lot and I am having a look ahead to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?

  3. My friend had a bypass op more than … 5 years ago, I believe. Prior to that, she fought with her insurance to pay her a stay at a dietary clinic for almost two years and eventually lost in court.
    The bypass was her last hope then.
    While she has lost about half her initial weight and, so far, has been spared from rebounds, (Well, she put on a few kilos after her marriage, but who doesn’t…?) it hasn’t done her any good otherwise.
    There’s only a limited range of food left she is able to eat without feeling or being sick, and, believe it or not, ‘healthy’ food appears to be more problematic than the so called junk food. Likewise, there’s only a limited number of drinks she can consume safely.
    When we went out to have some food and drinks, she would have to ‘disappear’ because the contents of her stomach urgently wanted to come out from either end. Not cool.
    So far she still has horrible pains sometimes and had to have gastric ulcer removed.
    I cannot understand her insurance (but, hey, it’s the general health insurance everyone in Germany has unless they earn enough to have a private insurance, and its motto seems to be ‘Don’t let them die, but don’t cure them any more than necessairy’. There recently was the case of some guy successfully undergoing some special, non standard cancer treatment and the insurace refused to pay because he could have stuck to the normal, less costy, palliative treatment and put up with dying….), refusing a guided diet that does no harm (and I really belive that would have help her a lot. She knew nothing about nutrition when I met her), but being fast in offering a non reversible ‘cure’ (In my eyes, that’s not a cure, more some kind of workaround).
    Well, you know, while I wish my friend all the best, I’d also like to see her insurance having to spend more money on the side-effects of her bypass than the dietary clinic would’ve cost. (German schadenfreude, I guess….)

    My mom was offered WLS to help her with her diabetes, but chose to pay a nutritionist herself instead and it worked, too. I also think that, nearing 60, maybe it’s just time to put up with having diabetes.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story with us. My hopes is there is some way for you to get the band removed. My heart goes out to you. I have gastric problems for other reasons and I know they are hellish. In fact, I am in the middle of trying to get them fixed. My two new doctors acknowledged I have serious digestive problems and STILL the very first thing out of both their mouths (at separate appointments no less!) was a sales pitch for weight loss surgery. It is only because of the courage of people like yourself sharing your story that I have the courage to continue to tell them no even when they put considerable pressure on me to say yes.

  5. I wish I had seen this before my friend (and coworker) had gastric bypass. Who am I kidding… she wouldn’t have read this like she didn’t read any of the other articles and blogs about the negative effects of WLS. It’s been 7 weeks since her surgery so she’s in the “honeymoon” phase and delirious with her 60+ pound weight loss. However she’s still on Metformin and her legs are still swollen (making it painful to walk) despite her primary care doctor’s promises that those issues would go away once she had surgery. I hope she sees the results she is looking for because I’d hate to see her go through any problems and complications.

  6. This blew my mind.
    Although I’ve never researched the topic, I had never considered that there might be real, actual damaging side-effects from WLS. Now that I think that, it seems silly to me that I’ve never thought about it, but I just assumed this was something safe that people did.
    I’ve not had much cause to think about it since afaik I wouldn’t be eligible in my country, but holy crap!

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s a terrible story and I’m so sorry that it happened to you, and to others, and am even sorrier that this is the first I’ve heard about WLS going badly. (Not that I want it to go badly for people, but the possible consequences should be wider known).

  7. Many thanks to everyone who has shared their story (here and across the internet). I know the pressure is huge to be a “good fatty” and say WLS is the best thing that ever happened to you or to blame yourself for the failings of the surgery. The side effects are terrifying and it’s unbelievable to me how often the media presents it as the cure all for everyone. If it wasn’t for the bravery of everyone who has told their story, I could easily have fallen for the hype. Every time I read another account, it reinforces my belief in fat acceptance. I hope all of you know that talking about your experience has saved lives. Thank you.

  8. Fantastic post, kudos to you for getting your story out there – because mostly we only hear the glossed over versions of people in the “honeymoon phase” or those trying to sell us something.

    What really bothers me is how young you were when you were pressured into having WLS. I bet the same people who pressured you into it would say 23 was too young to make most other life changing decisions – yet this one, which is going to affect your life in a massive way for the rest of your life, was considered perfectly acceptable.

    Gastric mutilation as a topic is close to my heart. I know SO many people who have had it. None of them are thin (the last bastion has recently regained the weight after telling all and sundry that she was “thin for life”). All of them have some kind of illness borne of the mutilation. Some of them are frighteningly sick and undoubtedly their lives will be shortened by this. Most heartbreaking of all is that a beloved friend is now dead, died at 32 of complications after WLS less than 2 years after she had the surgery. A beautiful, vibrant, funny, kind-hearted young woman wasted because of the lies she was told about WLS. And I know of two other people who have died because of WLS.

    I believe there will be a time in the future that WLS is considered as barbaric as frontal lobotomies. I just wish that time would hurry up and get here.

  9. Pingback: WLS: What a Load of Shit « Tutus And Tiny Hats

  10. Reblogged this on Cutting Out Counting Calories and commented:
    My stepmother had a gastric bypass several years ago. I’m not close to her but I know she hasn’t lost the weight she was promised she’d lose. Now I wonder if she has horrible side-effects like this.

  11. I had a lap band inserted in February 2007 at the age of 36. I have Multiple Sclerosis, and I feel now that I was pressured to do something about my weight.
    The day my band was put in I weighed 119 kgs.
    I suffered four long years of horrific complications from the band, until I decided that I could no longer take it anymore.
    I had no quality of life, and I was miserable.
    Luckily I had private health insurance and was able to have the band removed in May of 2011.
    It is now December of 2012 and I weigh 159 kilos.
    This is no quick fix, and it is my contention that WLS is actually dangerous.
    I am sure we will look back in thirty years time and be horrified that we sanctioned the mutilation of people’s bodies in the name of weight loss.

    • I’m so glad that you took a positive step towards your own personal health, Shosh. It’s a courageous thing to do, as I’m certain of the pressure from others that removal would do more to compromise your health.
      Hope you’re enjoying your stay in Canada.

  12. I am so terribly sorry for the litany of health complications you’ve had as a result of this horrific surgery. The fact that WLS is recommended as casually as a tooth filling fills me with bile and disgust, and I sincerely believe the medical community is mostly corrupt and beholden to pharmaceutical companies. Best of luck to you <3

  13. When you said of your motives for getting the surgery, “finally making everybody happy and silencing the fat-shaming commentary that had become the background noise of my life” I just wanted to reach through the screen and give you a big fat hug. That feeling is very familiar to me.

  14. Pingback: Friday Links, 12/14/12 « Tutus And Tiny Hats

  15. It’s really sobering to read these kinds of stories about what people go through after having WLS.

    My own personal experience is scarier now that I’m older. I was almost forced into having the Lap Band done when I was 12. Yes, you read that correctly, twelve. Both my parents and doctor were on board since I weighed about 240 lbs. I knew that something wasn’t quite right, so I did my research, was appalled by what could happen, and threw a hissy fit to get my way.

    Lo and behold, I was diagnosed with PCOS not a year later and 50 lbs heavier (I had gained about 100 lbs in two years). I’m not entirely sure what would have happened if I hadn’t stood up for myself.

    I wish you the best of luck with your health. <3

    • Kaitlin

      This is certainly a case where I am very happy that a CHILD threw a hissy-fit to get their way. I too have PCOS and know that it is a fairly complicated health issue that would not have been helped by WLS. I am very happy to hear that you “escaped” your fate!!

  16. Thanks SO MUCH for this post. I’ve been struggling with the idea of WLS lately – a close friend had surgery earlier this year, and all we can talk about now is her latest weight loss and how she’s so happy she finally had WLS. I find it tough to be around her now – I get the sense that she looks at my partner and I and wonders why we aren’t jumping on the WLS bandwagon with her. I attended the WLS “Information Session” with her prior to her surgery, and was very disturbed by the lack of research to back up the company’s claims, and the fact hat they told people they could be in Mexico to have their surgery as soon as ONE WEEK from that day!! Our friend wanted the surgery, regardless of the risks, and did basically NO research. Now I think my partner is considering WLS – she’s asked me about it a few times, and has wondered if it would cure her diabetes. I can totally relate to Vesta44’s comment – I have severe arthritis (was diagnosed as a young child), and constantly am told that my weight is causing the damage to my knees and hips, and that if I lost weighty arthritis could be “cured”. I really want to be able to just accept myself as I am, but find myself actually considering if WLS might help. Posts like this remind me that no, I’m on the right track.

  17. You know, it strikes me that if a drug therapy of some kind had the kind of increased mortality and severe complications that are often described (even by proponents of WLS) that the FDA would issue a black box warning, at the very least, but would also strongly recommend a discontinuation of the therapy.

    I wonder if there is some surgical board equivalent? I honestly don’t know.

    The other thing I was thinking about as I was reading this post and comments was that it is likely that surgeons who see deaths of their patients in their practices after the surgery would likely think that it was a complication of their obesity and not the surgery. It’s maddening.

    Thank you so much for your bravery in telling your story. The fat acceptance community needs to work hard to embrace and hold our survivors so more stories can come through.

  18. Wow I am so thankful for everyone’s stories! I told myself long ago that I would never do lap band because I’ve never seen anyone successfully lose weight with it and I would never do gastric bypass because of the literal laundry list of complications and all of the people I know who deal with them, I have though found myself considering vertical sleeve gastrectomy (lol wow Google Chrome doesn’t even consider gastrectomy a word!) after hearing and seeing a couple of people’s major weight loss success with that surgery. For now, the thought of possibly having to live on pureed food while never losing a significant amount of weight and the fact that I know people who ‘look’ like the surgery worked probably have stories of complications that they won’t/don’t tell have stopped me from pursuing it. Thank you to everyone for telling the truth and reminding me to focus on self-love first!

  19. Thank you for sharing. HUGS!

  20. I also have another friend who had lap band.
    She has had nothing but trouble since her surgery and has lost 6 lbs along with her
    Health, joy, and energy. Boo. Now she has to Pay for it to be removed. She is very sick.

  21. I lost a friend to WLS, he died on the table.
    He was a happy guy who could get around fairly easily at 350 lbs. He had the surgery ” to live a longer life and to be there for his nieces and nephews.”

  22. This was a really powerful post. People have asked me for information about WLS, and I’ve always just had to say that I don’t know anything about it. Honestly, I’ve been afraid to look into it. People seem very cheerleader about it, and the subject just kind of weirds me out. When people are considering it and go searching for information, I hope they find stories like yours along with the other kinds of info, because it seems so very fraught. I’ll never begrudge someone what they want to do with their own body, but I do wish them the ability to choose with eyes wide open.

  23. Thanks for your honesty. WLS is promoted as the answer for every problem a fat person has. This is promoted by doctors who claim to be acting in the patients best interest. Much of the research material is created by those who benefit financially from WLS. Yes research is important but the information needs to be accurate and unbiased. It is hard to make an informed decision when the facts are skewed and doctors aggressively promote the surgery.

  24. Susan Christiano

    I have heard many horror stories too. I have had doctors tell me that I will never have to have a pill again if I have WLS. (Right now I weigh about 285–my top adult weight being 320). I won’t ever do it. This most current weight loss is a result of loving myself and not eating to cure sadness or loneliness….I hope you do okay and brava for being so brave to post this!

  25. A year and a half ago I lost a very dear freind because of complications to WLS.Three weeks after sugery she died in her sleep.This was the second surgery WLS surgery she had.The doctor said it would cure her diabetes . Yeah she’s cured all right she doesn’t have diabetes because she is DEAD!

  26. Thank you so much for sharing your story. My mom thought about getting WLS and I really hope I can convince her not to do it with your story.
    So this is quite important to me.

    I always find myself in part of your stories and it really makes me thoughtful (but in a good way) ..thank you.
    I really love this blog! <3

  27. Thank you for sharing your story. The other night I saw an ad for bariatric surgery that promised freedom from type 2 diabetes. Such bullshit. I know or have met several people who have done it. The first two did lose weight in the first year after the surgery, but I don’t know about the long-term outcome. The second did die of complications. She also needed knee surgery and was told she couldn’t have it unless she lost weight. The third did it lose weight in order to get pregnant. As far as I can tell, she hasn’t lost must weight and is struggling with anemia. I understand the desire to fit in, I really do. I understand the desire to protect yourself from things like diabetes. This is not a solution. *HUGS* and good luck to all of you dealing with the aftermath of this surgery.

  28. Thank you for your story. It’s very much like my own. Looking back, I think I needed counseling and support, not surgery. I had gastric bypass at the age of 22. Now, at 47, I’ve experienced 25 years of fragile health, random vomiting, and extreme diarrhea. My net weight loss is about 25 lbs, and truthfully, I think it’s more because of how hard I have to work to just stay healthy, alive and decently well nourished. It’s not something I would wish on anyone.

  29. Crikey, if lap banding is the so-called less invasive option, I’d hate to think of what the gastric bypass type does to one’s body. Thank you very much for the information and I sincerely wish you every success in managing the effects WLS has had on your health.

  30. I also think these terrible stories are the norm, unfortunately. My cousin who underwent lap band surgery also had problems getting enough nutrients and was throwing up everything if she tried to eat because she was starving. The constant vomiting ruined her teeth as well and now she cannot get insurance to pay to take the band out and doesn’t want to spend the money on her teeth even though it causes her self esteem issues because she knows she will continue to vomit and cause damage to her teeth. She also did not appear to lose any significant weight from the procedure, although I have never asked her what she weighed before or after. All I know is that all of her family that loves her never cared about her size in the first place, only wanted her to be happy, and is very distressed at the health problems and self esteem problems this surgery has caused her.

  31. Thank you for writing this. I think that the people who have had terrible complications & many health issues need to keep telling their stories about this butchery. From all the researching & reading I have done, I believe that people who have poor health & who gain all the weight back or gain to a higher weight than they were before, who lose quality of life & who lose years off their lives, are in the majority. This is the deadliest, highest risk surgery there is & it makes me furious that these greedy bastards will tell a fat person that he or she cannot have some other needed surgery which is much less risky & much more likely to give improved quality of life, but will fall over themselves in their eagerness to get yet another opportunity to kill another fat person. After all, it is a gold mine, & fat people are apparently expendable. If we die, won’t be missed…right? Wrong. I cannot speak from personal experience, as I have always been an in-betweenie to a smaller fat, but I passionately believe that NO ONE should have any kind of WLS, that it is barbaric & does nothing but destroy people’s lives & health, & that these so-called ‘surgeons’ should be put out of business. And I do all I can to support & encourage people in loving & accepting their bodies, believing in their own worth as human beings, knowing that they are worth so much more than that, & that being fat in & of itself does not cause them to have health problems or die younger, so they should be strong & not listen to all those voices.

    I send hugs & best wishes to all of you. I hope that sharing your stories can prevent someone else from making the same mistake. Take care.

  32. Thanks to everyone who has shared personal experiences.

  33. Your story is almost the same as mine. I was 35 when I had my lap band surgery 4 years ago. I was 129kg and the lowest I got (which was within 3 months) was 114kg. I am now 135kg. I had to have my gall bladder removed a month after the banding. I also now have a hiatus hernia. I can’t eat a lot of things and my surgeon refuses to see me because I gained weight.

    This is the link to my blog post about my banding

    Please feel free to contact me if you ever want to talk to someone in Fat Acceptance who also personally understands the banding experience.


  34. I am severly overweight and has doctors have constantly tried to pressure me to do WLS, I have fully researched the two types of surgeries and decided that I do not want to undergo either option. For about a year and a half I have made a pact to myself that I will loose weight the safest way. I rather do it my way than go under a knife. I have been fortunate to loose 87 lbs within the year and a half. It has not been easy and I have had my ups and downs with my weight but I feel proud that I did not conform to what society wanted me to do. I love myself..whether I am thin or not. It is unfortunate that you had to go through hell, but it does give an insider advice on what you experience. I wish you the best and thanks for sharing!

    • Hi LuckiLuci,
      While I greatly admire your decision to put your foot down against the barrage of pressure coming at you and NOT undergo weight loss surgery, I wanted to point out that this blog really isn’t the place to congratulate you on your weight loss and I hope that doesn’t offend you. It’s not my intention. This blog promotes Fat Acceptance, and is a place for people to read and share stories about accepting themselves as they are.
      Thank you for your well wishes, I am glad you are happy and wish you the best of luck in learning to love your body.

  35. Been there done that – I had a VBG done 15 years ago and it didn’t work either. I thought I’d be like my best friend, who had it done – she went from 400 lbs down to 160 lbs in less than a year (and then had to have another VBG when she started regaining her weight). I didn’t think I’d end up dead like she did, I didn’t have all the other problems she had before she had her surgery the first time around (she had a massive ventral hernia and her intestines ended up getting entangled in the mesh used to repair it – she ended up losing over half of her intestines from that). But I didn’t lose near the weight that she did – I went from 350 to 270 and back up to 375 (and now that I don’t have my thyroid anymore, I’ve gone up to 400 lbs). I had it done because I was told that my arthritis was going to require knee replacements eventually and that no surgeon would replace my knees at my then-weight of 350 lbs (and the nurse practitioner who told me that lied to me). I wasn’t completely disabled at the time, I could still walk through a mall when shopping, didn’t need to use mobility carts or a walker, but now I’m totally and permanently disabled. I can’t walk more than 20 feet without being in excrutiating pain, I can’t stand for more than a couple of minutes at a time without being in pain, and I have to take vitamins and supplements in order to get close to most of the nutrients I need because I can’t eat a wide enough variety of foods to stay halfway healthy. The really sad thing is that I’ve been between 325/400 lbs for 37 of my 59 years of life and that whole time? My blood pressure/blood sugar/cholesterol have been normal.
    This surgery was supposedly going to improve my quality of life and all it’s done is ruin my quality of life. Sure, I manage to cope with all the complications, but if I had been smart enough to tell my NP to shove her suggestion for WLS where the sun doesn’t shine, I very much doubt that I’d be nearly as bad off as I am today. I highly resent my stupidity for not researching this and I really resent all the WLS cheerleaders that my surgeon had touting this surgery. According to those cheerleaders, there are no complications to WLS, there are no problems with it, and anyone who has it is going to get thin and live happily ever after (tell that to my best friend, who’s dead from this surgery and to every other person who’s died or wishes they had died because their life is hell from the complications). This is why I’m so adamantly against WLS of any kind. People can make their own decisions, but if I’m asked, I always tell them to research, research, and research some more – and don’t believe all the good things you hear about WLS, they aren’t necessarily true for everyone.

    • Vesta, I am truly sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. I thank you for sharing your story here and very clearly illustrating for us that it isn’t the bowl full of sunshine and skittles that wls advocates paint it to be. The dangers involved are real, the complications very serious and life-changing. And sometimes, horrifyingly enough, the struggle ends all too soon, leaving those that love you devastated.

  36. I thank Fat Acceptance that there were people out there telling me the truth about WLS during the period of Fat Depression that had before truly getting into Fat Acceptance.

  37. This is so important. Thank you for sharing your story!


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