In our Weight Loss surgery (WLS) informed consent online community (and support for ill long term WLS patients) we lost another former member. She died suddenly - probably sudden heart attack which seems to haunt those who keep their weight off with their bypasses, more than the many who re-gain the weight. She was an extremely talented woman and much beloved by her family including husband, children and grandkids. She was in her early 50's. In my opinion, she died way too early..
Which brings to light the fact, that if people survive their first year after a gastric bypass (4-9 percent do not survive the first year post op according to studies which looked at actual patient records), this does not mean they are "out of danger". I've seen plenty of patients die after a few years. It's often a sudden heart attack and never gets connected with the bypass but one wonders...
Yesterday I watched a very disturbing show about two young men, one who is 19 and the other who was 16, both very obese (over 800 lbs) who got weight loss surgery. The title of the show was "SURVIVAL OF THE HALF TON TEEN".
The 16 year old fared better at least a few months after surgery but the disturbing patient was a 19 year old named Billy Robbins, the only son of parents who had lost their first son after 19 months of life. I'm sure he was or is addicted to food and perhaps mother was something of an enabler however, there is also, a huge genetic factor going on with someone who gets that large and until someone has walked a mile in the mother's shoes, I don't think anyone should judge her.
This surgeon they had, did two major surgeries on this kid in 4 months - the first was cutting about 90 lbs of fat off of him which is very risky and generally not done in the medical community because of the risks involved.
And the second was a sleeve gastrectomy (a surgery in which most of the stomach is cut and removed out of the body - it's not reversible). The surgeon who cut him, told the camera that he was planning "the rest of the gastric bypass" when he's lost another 100 lbs or so. But the fact remains, he's not talking about a gastric bypass because that just bypasses the stomach and does not remove it from the body.
After 2 major, risky surgeries in 4 months, this 19 year old was expected to get up and walk for an hour every day (he still weighed over 500 lbs at the end of the show) and when he was reluctant, the psychologist (apparently the one working for the surgeon) tore into the mother on camera, blaming her for all her son's problems.
Everyone ignored that even a normal sized person after two major surgeries is not up dancing the jig!
Talk about abusive? In my opinion, this surgical group was not only abusive of that poor young man for doing so much risky surgery on him but also of the parents who paid him in good faith.
The surgeon talked about getting that young man down to 200 lbs which is too low for him because he looks like he's around 6'2".
Sadly, the way he looked and considering that the fat removing surgery left him with an incision across his entire abdomen and that he no longer has much of a stomach, I frankly do not expect him to survive. (he vomits frequently... the psychologist also blames that on him being "unwilling to get better" and of course, on his mother) His drastic gastrectomy which removed most of his stomach has repercussions in so much that he doesn't digest food well and also doesn't probably digest some vitamins like B12 - contrary to popular belief the stomach is a critical digestive organ and not just a storage place. As Dr Paul Ernsberger (who teaches nutrition in Case Western Medical School) has written:
"All of the operations, old and new, are based on an incorrect assumption: that the stomach is no more than a passive sac for receiving food. In fact, it is a critical digestive organ and cannot be cut away or bypassed without compromising the digestive process."
The "half ton teen" would have, likely, survived longer without surgery. And of course, when he dies, his death will be blamed on "obesity" and not the so called "life giving" surgery that his parents bought in good faith. And they will probably re-run the show again and again with only a short note at the end (maybe) "in memory of Billy Robbins" which many viewers won't notice.
As for Billy's Mom after dealing with her son's early demise, she will have to watch the psychologist condemning her for just loving her son and trying to do the best for him.
A sad note upon which to end this year.
Addenda: a search for an update on him, pulled up one item - this stated that latest news (about 11 months ago) was that he was getting ready to move to a rehab center and that he had had the "second part of the gastric bypass" (probably some kind of intestinal bypass i.e. the third major surgery) and that he now weighed 420 lbs. This article also blamed Billy's situation on his mother, echoing the judgmental psychologist. Doesn't anyone think for themselves these days?