Posts categorized "WLS Deaths." Feed


It, fits?  OH COME ON.  


You can do better!


Apollo Endosurgery, Inc., the leader in minimally invasive endoscopic surgical products for bariatric and gastrointestinal procedures, today announced the launch of the “It Fits” campaign, aimed at rejuvenating the LAP-BAND® System and educating a broad range of patients about the benefits of the minimally-invasive weight loss procedure.

“It Fits” supports the company’s decision to place greater emphasis on the unique advantage of the LAP-BAND® System – the only FDA approved device for weight reduction for people with at least one weight-related health problem, and having a BMI of 30 or greater.

Read more:

The new ad spot - from Apollo - tugs right there at your heart, don't it?  I might be tearing up over all of the completely stereotypical situations right here in this here commercial!  OMG I CAN FIT IN THE AEROPLANE SEATBELT WITHOUT AN EXTENDER COULD YOU PLEASE PUT ME IN A COMMERCIAL ALTHOUGH I WAS NEVER SUPER MORBIDLY OBESE I AM JUST AN ACTOR!

Until this and my tears dry up!

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Because of course we will ignore the patient histories of thousands -- to have a procedure to lose how much weight?  

Just as a frame of reference, that makes me qualify in a few BMI points.  Confession:  when I reached my high weight about the same time the new BMI-qualifications for the Allergan-owned lap-band came around, I decided THAT WAS IT.  I could not possibly do it again, my butt was not revising band-over-bypass for that much weight, not after watching this weight loss community for 12 years.  Nope.


Dietary Supplements cause 20% of liver injury

The terrifying issue about diet supplements and liver failure -- is that those of us who have bariatric surgery are already at a slightly higher risk for liver concerns.   (Go ahead and look it up.)

Some bariatric patients have a history of fatty liver disease, had WLS to help it, and unknowingly make themselves sick again by taking in high levels of toxins!

It's not just diet pills -- you can kill your liver with too much alcohol -- acetaminophen -- but this is scary guys.

Save your liver.  Please.

Continue reading "Dietary Supplements cause 20% of liver injury" »

No long-term cost savings with weight loss surgery

Weight loss surgery does not lower health costs over the long run for people who are obese, according to a new study.   Shocking?  Meh.  No.

Pre-op patients don't want to know this sticky business, so maybe you should close your eyes or click away.  NOW.  I don't want to pop your bubbles.  I am not in the biz of selling weight loss surgery up in heah.

I don't think it would come as a surprise to many long-term post bariatric patients.  I know you understand.  We live it.

But that is just me, consider my stance as a nine year gastric bypass post op, married to a nine year gastric bypass post op, with a mother in law and sister in law who are both gastric bypass post ops.  Collectively we have about 30 years of missed "obesity" costs, but we have increased our health-care costs in other areas.  (*Looks at my current tally at the hospital.*)

Tumblr_lwj43hxcbD1ql141xo1_400The four of US (yes, this is totally biased because it is my immediate circle and what I know...this is understood, I am not arguing, I do not care to sell WLS nor unsell it!) are currently all maintaining a normal or slightly overweight body weight 6-9 years post bariatric surgery, however between us, we have created some seriously HUGE bills and other health conditions since having weight loss surgery.  (I have not shared much of it because I'm already TMI and HIPPA cries.)

Imagine now if any of us have a full and complete regain - which is a totally and absolutely typical pattern.  What then of our health?  What if we have the comorbids of obesity come back?  (Some of which don't always go away.... have you met my legs?)  Just saying.  I know we have made it this far, but it has NOT been cheap.

Reuters -

Some researchers had suggested that the initial costs of surgery may pay off down the road, when people who've dropped the extra weight need fewer medications and less care in general.

The new report joins other recent studies challenging that theory (see Reuters Health story of Jul 16, 2012 here:

"No way does this study say you shouldn't do bariatric surgery," said Jonathan Weiner from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, who led the new research.

But, he added, "We need to view this as the serious, expensive surgery that it is, that for some people can almost save their lives, but for others is a more complex decision."

According to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, about 200,000 people have weight loss surgery every year.

Surgery is typically recommended for people with a body mass index (BMI) - a measure of weight in relation to height - of at least 40, or at least 35 if they also have co-occurring health problems such as diabetes or severe sleep apnea.

A five-foot, eight-inch person weighing 263 pounds has a BMI of 40, for example.

For their study, Weiner and his colleagues tracked health insurance claims for almost 30,000 people who underwent weight loss surgery between 2002 and 2008. They compared those with claims from an equal number of obese people who had a similar set of health problems but didn't get surgery.

As expected, the surgery group had a higher up-front cost of care, with the average procedure running about $29,500.

In each of the six years after that, health care costs were either the same among people who had or hadn't had surgery or slightly higher in the bariatric surgery group, according to findings published Wednesday in JAMA Surgery.

Average annual claims ranged between $8,700 and $9,900 per patient.

Weiner's team did see a drop in medication costs for surgery patients in the years following their procedures. But those people also received more inpatient care during that span - cancelling out any financial benefits tied to weight loss surgery.

One limitation of the study was that only a small proportion of the patients - less than seven percent - were tracked for a full six years. Others had their procedures more recently.

The study was partially funded by surgical product manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies, including Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. Claims data came from BlueCross BlueShield.

It's clear that surgery can help people lose weight and sometimes even cures diabetes, Weiner told Reuters Health. But it might not be worthwhile, or cost-effective, for everyone who is obese.

That means policymakers and companies will have to decide who should get insurance coverage for the procedure and who shouldn't.

"It's showing that bariatric surgery is not reducing overall health care costs, in at least a three- to six-year time frame," said Matthew Maciejewski, who has studied that topic at the Center for Health Services Research in Primary Care at the Durham VA Medical Center in North Carolina, but wasn't involved in the new study.

"What is unknown is whether there's some subgroup of patients who seem to have cost reductions," he told Reuters Health.

In the meantime, whether or not to have weight loss surgery is still a personal decision for people who are very obese, Weiner said.

"Every patient needs to talk it through with their doctor," he said. "It obviously shouldn't be taken lightly, but shouldn't be avoided either."

SOURCE: JAMA Surgery, online February 20, 2013.

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Importance  Bariatric surgery is a well-documented treatment for obesity, but there are uncertainties about the degree to which such surgery is associated with health care cost reductions that are sustained over time.

Objective  To provide a comprehensive, multiyear analysis of health care costs by type of procedure within a large cohort of privately insured persons who underwent bariatric surgery compared with a matched nonsurgical cohort.

Design  Longitudinal analysis of 2002-2008 claims data comparing a bariatric surgery cohort with a matched nonsurgical cohort.

Setting  Seven BlueCross BlueShield health insurance plans with a total enrollment of more than 18 million persons.

Participants  A total of 29 820 plan members who underwent bariatric surgery between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2008, and a 1:1 matched comparison group of persons not undergoing surgery but with diagnoses closely associated with obesity.

Main Outcome Measures  Standardized costs (overall and by type of care) and adjusted ratios of the surgical group's costs relative to those of the comparison group.

Results  Total costs were greater in the bariatric surgery group during the second and third years following surgery but were similar in the later years. However, the bariatric group's prescription and office visit costs were lower and their inpatient costs were higher. Those undergoing laparoscopic surgery had lower costs in the first few years after surgery, but these differences did not persist.

Conclusions and Relevance  Bariatric surgery does not reduce overall health care costs in the long term. Also, there is no evidence that any one type of surgery is more likely to reduce long-term health care costs. To assess the value of bariatric surgery, future studies should focus on the potential benefit of improved health and well-being of persons undergoing the procedure rather than on cost savings.


25% Drink 16% Calories Via Alcohol Daily.

About 25% of you drink alcohol every day -- given the normal non-weight loss surgical population according to a new CDC study.  And about 16% of your daily calories come from alcohol.  

PS.  Give this study to bariatric patients -- I would say from my very non-professional standpoint that results would be higher vs. calorie intake given our higher rates of addictions to All The Things.  

That is some scary daily nutrition math.




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The U.S. population consumes an average of 100 calories a day from alcoholic beverages. Men, 150 calories; women, 53.

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“If you are drinking an extra 150 calories more than you need a day, those extra calories could end up on your waist or your hips,” said Joan Salge Blake, a clinical associate professor in the nutrition program at Boston University and a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. â€œThose excess daily calories could cause you to put on a pound monthly and would add up to over 10 pounds in a year,” Blake said.

Specifically for a gastric bypass patient -- it can lead to all sorts of damage.  Play in the Google.  

Bariatric Surgery Most Common Elective Surgical Procedure - and safer!

Bariatric Surgery Most Common Elective Surgical Procedure-

Within the setting of academic medical centers, bariatric surgery is the most common elective general surgical operation and it has the highest use of laparoscopy.  In addition, the in-hospital mortality rate of laparoscopic bariatric surgery is now comparable to those of laparoscopic appendectomy and antireflux surgery, and is currently lower than that of laparoscopic cholecystectomy."

Nice.  Go bariatric surgery, way to get safer.  Check it out -

Alcohol + WLS - We are not coping well - Las Vegas is a Sparkly Transfer Addiction, Revisited.

“I drink because I’m lonesome, I’m lonesome ‘cause I drink.”

This song just came up on CMT whilst I wrote this post.  Timely.

Two years ago I wrote a post about Las Vegas after I arrived home from a trip there for a professional bariatric conference.  I titled it Las Vegas is a GIANT SPARKLY TRANSFER ADDICTION.

And I meant it.  Vegas is full of 489230 reasons why post weight loss surgery patients are tempted and could be tempted and often fail to dissuade temptation and need to be careful about temptation. 

Bacchus-full-sizejpg-fe0341ca55021c17_largeI went back to Las Vegas last spring for another bariatric-related event.  It is likely that I wrote a very similar post or re-posted the original, but angrier as situations were fresh in my mind.  I tend to do that with blog posts.  It is possible that I also deleted any post that referred to last year’s event.

This year brought another event in Las Vegas.  When I first read about the event scheduled for Vegas again, I cringed.

This time, this particular event brought more than five hundred pre and post operative bariatric patients together in one place.  While not the one thousand patients once expected to come, this was a very large turnout for a bariatric event.  It was impressive.

Prior to the event, it was discussed that removing the temptation of having a cash bar from the event might be a smart idea.  There were videos made – discussions started – and attendees sounded a bit miffed that there might not be easy access to cash alcohol bars.  In the end, we did have bars at the nighttime social parts of the event.  The compromise (or close to it...) was to halve the bars, and only have access to half of what the hotel might offer at each event.  Even with just one bar, attendees came prepared.  Some brought their own drinks in, some drank pre-event and brought drinks in, and some found the bar and some did all.

I heard that the bar drinks were terrible and watered down, but it was obvious that the majority of us were drinking something, regardless of where it came from.  I drank as well.

I had one drink at both social events during the meet and greet, a light beer.  Light beer is my go-to choice, mostly because it doesn't make me very tipsy, because tipsy for me is no good. 

 I am eight years and two months post op, and tipsy for me is still no good.  It takes just few sips of hard liquor or wine to make me shit-balls drunk at eight years post gastric bypass.  I have learned what works for me.  And that is pretty much, abstaining from anything with liquor in it unless I am ready to get rolled home. Because being rolled home (or in this case, to your Vegas hotel room... gross!) is neither attractive nor memorable.

And yes, many of you (us... you are my people even if you don't want to admit that!) were rolled, carried, pushed, and shoved back to your rooms last weekend at the event we attended together. Collective "Gasp! Say it isn’t so, Beth!  Tell me that bariatric patients do not drink alcohol nor drink to… excess?”  They do.  And it’s often hushed.  (Among most other things.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Do not kid yourself.)


Estimates on the prevalence of new addictions after weight-loss surgery vary widely. Philip Schauer, director of bariatric surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and current president of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, estimates that only about 5 percent of bariatric-surgery patients develop a new compulsive behavior after surgery, such as alcoholism, compulsive shopping or smoking. He adds there is no evidence that the new addictions have any direct link to the surgery.

At U.S. Bariatric, a weight-loss surgery center with offices in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., therapists estimate that roughly 20 percent of patients acquire new addictive behaviors. Melodie Moorehead, a psychologist who spoke at a session during the American Society for Bariatric Surgery Association annual meeting last month, cited preliminary data suggesting that roughly 30 percent of bariatric-surgery patients struggle with new addictions after surgery. But she says the issue requires further study.

One possible reason for the disparity in estimates is that alcohol problems can surface several years after the surgery, when surgeons are no longer tracking patients as closely. And some patients may not see a link between their drinking and the surgery, or report their problem to a surgeon. Roughly 140,000 bariatric surgeries are performed in this country each year.

MM says in her totally un-professional opinion that no one should listen to -- the rates of addiction post WLS are much higher.  My non-pro opinion almost everyone develops some type of addiction after weight loss surgery, it's just not obvious to everyone else.  Yes, compulsive gum chewing, mint eating, crotcheting/knitting, crafting, internet use, water-loading, calorie counting, exercise... ANYTHING can be an obsession or addiction when it takes over your life and keeps you from taking care of your personal business.  "Hi, my name is Beth and I am addicted to caffeine, probably simple carbohydrates and I abuse the internet."

*hangs head in no shame*

"I didn't see any of that.  Nah.  I was drinking, but I didn't notice anyone else drunk. I deserve some fun... I was taking opiates or painkillers but I didn't see anyone else doing it.  I took sleeping pills, someone gave me sleeping pills or muscle relaxants... I was shopping a lot, but... I gambled a lot, but..."

There's a lot of buts in our community, did you notice?  "But..."  I need, I want, I have to... I ... deserve to.

<--- not guilty party of one.  I figure I should lay that out before I get called out on my "eating a mini Gigi's cupcake and having a beer," because I did. Oh, and the most expensive Beef Wellington, ever.


I am the same as everyone else.

WLSFA Las Vegas 2012

It happens every single time, at every single event – conference – get together (for every topic, this is not something unique to the bariatric community) people are human, humans like to drink. We have all been affected in some way by alcohol (and other things...) at events.  

However, what IS unique about our particular community is the intensity of the reactions to addictive behaviors.  A group of typical people without the “benefit” of weight loss surgery will include individuals with addiction issues, and those without, and those who like to just have a drink in a social situation.  It’s normal and typical to see a whole range of reactions to alcohol in a varied group. 

 But in our community full of people who have had weight loss surgery – there is often so much more history behind why someone might drink, drug, gamble, or even EAT. 

Not everyone becomes a statistic, not everyone develops what is often called a “transfer addiction” after bariatric surgery; but too many DO struggle with addictions.  The rates of abused children or those with addict parents who grow up to be morbidly obese individuals who go on to have bariatric surgery are staggering.  Why?  The way I see it, when someone’s coping skills and emotional self-soothing are stunted by weight loss surgery  “I can’t eat anymore,” they HAVE TO FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO FILL THAT SPACE.  

Post ops who fail to find a healthy substitution for stuffing food to stuff feelings down will find other, often entirely self-destructive ways to self-soothe. 

Theories abound for how childhood abuse relates to adult obesity

• Abused children may eat as a form of coping, a pattern that continues into adulthood.

• Increasing size by gaining weight may offer protection from physical threats.

• Weight gain may repel sexual abusers, and help adults avoid sexual advances.

• People may believe that being fat is socially protective, that society will expect less from and think less of someone who is obese.

• The emotions associated with abuse are thought to lead to higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the bloodstream. This can increase appetite.

A study in the Obesity Journal stated that extremely obese bariatric surgery candidates reported rates of maltreatment comparable with those reported by clinical groups and roughly two to three times higher than normative community samples. 

Yes, I am fully aware that “not everyone is a food addict,” nor is everyone abused.  I am one of the lucky ones.  But, I still struggle with the same "stuff it down" issues as many of you.  I guarantee that when I get angry hater comments on this post, I will be compelled to get up and go find a snack.  I might not follow through, but somewhere deep inside, I am triggered to do just that.

I consider the greatest portion of those of us who have weight loss surgery -- Emotional Eaters, and Emotional Eaters can cause serious caloric damage in many ways.  (Do you remember eating a pint of ice cream or a half-bag of potato chips?  Do you remember why you were prompted to eat that much at one time?  How did you feel?)  “We” often move from abusing food (which is what it was… there’s no other way to describe it, honestly…) to abusing other substances or even moving into unhealthy behavior patterns that are just as destructive as food once was. 

Certainly, pre-op psychological exams are meant to weed “us” out if we are engaged in self-harmful behaviors prior to having weight loss surgery, but post-ops know how easy it is to get shoved through the process without being psychologically prepared for a starvation diet.  Many of us were ill prepared to deal with WLS for-EVER.

Once you arrive, as a post surgical weight loss patient, all if not most of your baggage comes back and falls at your feet. “But, I thought the surgery would make everything okay and make me win at life.”  No.  If you’re lucky, this crash/burn/reality doesn’t happen until after your “honeymoon” period of weight loss.  Many post ops get hit with life issues much sooner – and fail to reach weight loss goals because they can’t get past themselves, their history, and often people give up.  It is what it is, and I am sitting here at eight years plus post op, and clearly one of the only ones in this community that is willing to call it out

As weight loss surgery patients – having given up what was probably our number one self-soothing method; we are LIKE SPONGES and ready to ABSORB whatever New Thing comes our way.  That might be alcohol, and often is.  It could be something else – just as addictive – or even behaviors that we do not even realize as dangerous.  (I do NOT have a problem with coffee or Internet overuse.  I. do. not.  I am serious.  insert link here…)   These things can take over – and how.  Alcohol, drugs, sexual promiscuity directly effect the WLS community, as does gambling, shopping to extraordinary excess, over-exercise, eating disorder behaviors, and the list goes on and on. 

But alcohol in particular is a huge component of post weight loss surgery drama. 

It can directly impact you, your family and every part of your life.  I hear too many sad stories, likely because I watch this community and probably get the concentrated sad story juice of our peers.  I am thankful every damned day that I haven’t had any disastrous addiction issues, nor has my post op spouse picked it up, because we could.   Something I have learned in this community – never say never.  Both of us have addiction issues in our extended families – and it was highly likely that we would also deal with one or ten of them.  I am thankful, but I worry about you.  I worry about this same WLS community – because post op addiction issues are rampant.  Every so often there’s a study posted – that warns us of the dangers of Too Much Alcohol – and then another comes out that says that It’s No Big Deal.  I am telling you – where I sit – it’s a big deal. 

It isn’t just alcohol – and I suppose that since we were in Las Vegas – the issues were magnified by the simple fact that anything you WANT to medicate with is available.  If you are addicted to something or have a behavior issue – you can get it in Vegas and get it in bulk.  Personally, my coffee addiction gets stunted in Vegas because it costs too much to continue my habit.  I do not know if that makes me less addicted, because I still sought out coffee.  As for food, I gave up and decided that next time I will live on beef jerky.  I think that just makes me cheap, not addicted.  But if I did have a food problem, Vegas would feed it.  But had I a sex addiction, not just one hired hand, I could get five!  If I had a shopping addiction, Vegas offered anything I could want.  Gambling, don’t even discuss the options.  I gave up pretty quickly since my husband and I ran out of cash without really eating, shopping, or gambling.  We could not maintain addictions in Vegas if we wanted to.

But it happens at every social event we have as a community.  This was just more intensified due to locale and sheer number of attendees.

I worry that many of the WLS community find themselves “having their first…” everything post surgery surrounded by others who have recently started having their firsts too. 

It’s a super-scary situation.  If I am drinking, I cannot possibly help YOU.   Post op drunks are not pretty.  We are sloppy, nasty and often rotten.

The biggest clue I saw at this last event was the sheer number of people who noted that they had to Have Drinks to deal with other people.  Had to.  The pre-loading and constant level of buzzed-to-drunk was interestingly higher than I remember at other events. 

It’s not new, of course, many attendees at events often note how they have to pre-medicate with anti-anxiety medications to even get into the room with other people.  (I cannot judge this, as I had to take a double dose of Ativan to fly home.  That, dear readers, is another post.)  What I can concern myself with – is that there are SO. MANY. OF. “US” doing the same thing. 

It’s clearly an indication of the lack of coping.  As a community, we are not coping.






Bariatric Surgery = increased likelihood of ALCOHOLISM.

Timely, as nearly one thousand of us descend upon Las Vegas today through the weekend for a weight loss surgery related event.

I am already seeing the alcohol posts on Facebook IN. THE. AIRPORTS.

Hello, my name is Beth, and I don't have a problem with alcohol (...and I thank my lucky stars every single day...) however, I AM SURROUNDED BY ALCOHOLICS AND OTHER ADDICTS POST WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY.

In full, from Medscape -

May 15, 2012 (Lyon, France) — Bariatric surgery is associated with an increased likelihood that patients will report and be diagnosed with problems related to alcohol consumption. Different levels of risk are associated with different gastric surgery procedures, Per-Arne Svensson, PhD, from the Sahlgrenska Center for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, reported here at the 19th European Congress on Obesity.

Continue reading "Bariatric Surgery = increased likelihood of ALCOHOLISM." »

Rare Genetic Disorder After WLS

I have copied and pasted this article in full, because I think we need to see all the details of this story.  I have never heard of this issue before, "Urea Cycle Disorder" in gastric bypass patients.  Hilary Lane,  a young vibrant music teacher passed several years after her gastric bypass surgery due to this rare genetic disorder.

I do not post this to frighten anyone, it's just somethng that interests me greatly since I am also a medical mystery since my gastric bypass.

Continue reading "Rare Genetic Disorder After WLS" »

ABC 20/20 Losing It: The Big Fat Trap - Full Episode - The Greatest Scams Goin'!

Pamela R Davis Bariatric Program Director of the Centennial Center for the Treatment of Obesity writes 

    "I am completely disappointed, irritated and flat out disgusted at the so called "journalism" that went into this ABC 20/20 episode. They completely and totally missed the opportunity to focus on legitimate, successful medically [and surgically] appropriate treatment for obesity and severe obesity. Instead I felt like I was watching a rogue episode of Entertainment Tonight.

    When I first heard they were pulling the segment with Dr. Robin Blackstone and Melting Mama, I thought it was so they could dedicate an entire episode to bariatric and metabolic surgery and how it is a life saving treatment for so many. Instead we got a 60 minute long sensationalistic expose on practices those of us who are healthcare professionals working diligently to help those with obesity and severe obesity would never support!

    Not good ABC, not good-shame on you."

Thank-you Pamela, you echo my feelings that I was not able to accurately share last night, and surely not before I saw the episode.

I watched it, I did.

This is what I got out of it... and I am full of the snark right now.  (I just started a new anti-seizure medication with a big fat black box warning, so hey!)

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I learned a few things from the 20/20 episode!  

  • It's important to have cute boobs.  NUMBER ONE.
  • And Charles Barkley's Vegabuls! 
  • If you want to make some fast cash, get famous, really really famous?  Gain weight on purpose to get sponsored by a diet or supplement company.  Celebrity, Inc.: How Famous People Make Money
  • This works better if you are Jessica Simpson and have a beautiful frame to start with, because selling diet plans is about selling the IDEA THAT A DESPERATE DIETER MIGHT BE ABLE TO LOOK LIKE JESSICA SIMPSON *WILL LOOK LIKE IN ABOUT 9-12 MONTHS FROM THIS PHOTO-

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And, when you are finished messing around with all of these weight loss methods and you are more desperate than you've ever been AND morbidly obese?

Come talk to me, talk to all of us, because then?  

...You will have a safe and effective weight loss procedure with a Reputable Bariatric Surgeon.

Don't say I didn't tell you so.

That time MM was on 20/20.

American Broadcasting CompanyAmerican Broadcasting Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I'm going to be on TV.

I'm going to New York City next week to film an interview with ABC's 20/20.    

Then, because of the way things go:  I am going to the neurology inpatient unit for 7-10 days for video EEG monitoring, coming home, and flying to Vegas for the WLSFA Event.  Because.  It's all or nothing for me. 

PS.  Send clothes.  OMG.  I have nothing to wear.  And I need a haircut.  Save me. 


Yes.  I agreed to go.  You know I am terrified of Such Things as Being On Camera, and I have said no a couple times before to things like this.  There are people in my life who feel that I can't possibly have stage fright because "REALLY, YOU!?  Attention WHORE!"  But I am typically scared shitless, you just don't know that.

But this opportunity feels different.  It's 20/20.

I WATCH THIS SHOW.  OMG.  I'm going to speak with Deborah Roberts.  OMG. 

I spent one and a half hours on the phone today with a ABC producer, and I taped it.

Why did you TAPE yourself, Beth?  For one thing, I have had more than one seizure during Important Phone Calls that I do not remember HAVING.  (Sorry, Chike Protein, and whomever else I've done it to.)  Knowing the call would be long, I figured it was a possibility and I wanted to remember what I said.  It didn't happen, but now I have this record of my half of the conversation, I figured I would share it.

This is completely unscripted, random and much of my off the cuff thoughts.  Please do not judge too harshly.  I did not prepare anything because I had no idea what she was going to ask and what the topic was.  As for the actual show topic, I figure it will be loosely connected to the things she asked in this interview:


Bariatric Surgery maintains --- and slows.

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The rates of weight loss surgery procedures have slowed.  

While it doesn't feel that way in the patient community -- I suppose it's because we don't track the numbers.  It seems surprising because we are surrounded by peers, but apparently the economy has made potential bariatric patients put off the decision to have surgery for ... now, at least.

Continue reading "Bariatric Surgery maintains --- and slows. " »

NPR - Bariatric Surgery: The Risks And Benefits


Two studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine show that bariatric surgery may treat, or even reverse, the effects of type 2 diabetes in overweight and obese patients with high blood sugar levels. Some fear that the risks of the operation overshadow the rewards.

1-800-Get-Thin President Quits - Oops

Robert Silverman, the marketing director and president of all of the 1-800-Get-Thin campaigns has resigned.  

Not surprising.

Hey, maybe bloggers won't be poked to remove posts anymore?  Heh.  


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LA Times - 

The president of the 1-800-GET-THIN marketing company, which has blanketed Southern California freeways and television and radio stations with ads for Lap-Band weight-loss surgery, said he has resigned "to pursue other career opportunities."

In a news release Thursday, Robert Silverman said that his resignation was effective Tuesday. He had served as the firm's president since February 2010, the release said.

"I believed in the mission and I believe that I was assisting individuals [to] overcome their battle with obesity, which has reached world-wide epidemic status," Silverman said in the release.

The 1-800-GET-THIN campaign had come under increasing scrutiny after the deaths of five Lap-Band patients since 2009.

In December, the Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to the marketing company and its affiliated surgery centers, saying the ads for Lap-Band weight-loss surgery were misleading because they did not adequately display warnings about risks of the surgery.

The California Department of Insurance also has confirmed it is investigating the surgery centers affiliated with 1-800-GET-THIN for possible insurance fraud. In February, Lap-Band manufacturerAllergan Inc.said it had halted sales of the weight-loss device to all firms affiliated with the marketing company.

In addition to his role as president of 1-800-GET-THIN, Silverman, a lawyer, had represented the firm and its affiliated surgery centers in several lawsuits. He said in an email to The Times that he no longer represents them.

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Allergan halts Lap-Band sales to 1-800-GET-THIN

And in this episode of The Band Turns:

LA Times -

The maker of the Lap-Band will no longer sell its product to clinics affiliated with the 1-800-GET-THIN marketing company — a blow to Southern California surgery centers that have built an empire implanting the weight-loss devices in people looking to shed pounds.

Allergan Inc. said in a statement that it has "made the decision to presently discontinue the sale of the Lap-Band … to all entities affiliated with 1-800-GET-THIN."

The Irvine company's action Thursday comes amid state and federal investigations of surgery centers affiliated with 1-800-GET-THIN, which touts the Lap-Band procedure on Southland freeway billboards and on TV, radio and the Internet.

Well, that took a while.   Am I safe from 1-800-Lap-Band's lawyers now?  (Yes, they asked me to cease and desist.)


Follow Up After Bariatric Surgery May Save Your Life - Suicide

If you, or someone you know, is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress please call

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Follow Up After Bariatric Surgery May Save Your Lifefrom Mary Jo Rapini

Suicide is one of those things you can never change your mind about. It is final, and it hurts everyone who ever loved or cared for the person who commits it. A recent study reports an increase in suicides two to three years after surgery.
Considering that about 225,000 Americans are now having bariatric surgery each year, according to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, this is a problem we cannot ignore.
The latest study, which tracked deaths among Pennsylvania residents who underwent bariatric surgery, examined a longer period than previous research — up to 10 years following the procedure. Among 16,683 who had bariatric surgery between 1995 and 2004, 31 committed suicide by the end of 2006, the researchers found. The data translate into a suicide rate of nearly 14 per 10,000 men per year, and five per 10,000 women each year. Those numbers are substantially higher than the suicide rates among Pennsylvanians in the same 35-to-64 age range, during the same period. Among all men in the state, the suicide rate in 2005 was 2.5 per 10,000, while the rate among women was 0.6 per 10,000. Overall, 30 percent of suicides in the surgery group occurred within two years of the procedure, and 70 percent occurred within three years.
Study author, Dr. Hilary A. Tindle of the University of Pittsburgh, reports that the reasons for the higher suicide rates are unclear. She was not able to examine the details surrounding the individual suicides. She does state that this study does not imply bariatric surgery itself leads to suicide, but it may be the emotional conditions the patients suffered prior to bariatric surgery or they may have developed after the surgery which leads to suicide.
Read the whole article at Obesity Help

Emotional Obstacles after Weight Loss Surgery

With the discussion of post WLS suicide, I've been looking at information abot the psychological care of WLS patient -

From Bariatric Times -

Discussion continues at conferences regarding the question, “What is success?” following bariatric surgery. The obvious answer would involve sufficient weight loss or improvement or resolution of serious comorbid conditions.

However, even if there is initial progress in these areas, the patient and surgeon may not recognize underlying psychological issues or emotional obstacles that may impede continued postoperative success.

The patient who initially loses the weight only to then later regain may not seek any professional help until it is too late or until the challenge for reversal becomes a daunting one.

Such underlying psychological issues or emotional obstacles may include the following:

• “Normal” depression with loss of the “familiar” body
• “Normal” depression and adjustments with a change in relationships
* As a result of jealousy from coworkers
* As a result of unsettling reactions from friends or family who cannot adjust to the new body or lifestyle of their loved one
* As a result of reactions by the spouse or partner due to feelings of jealousy or insecurity, particularly if the spouse is obese or has never known the patient at a lesser weight
• Anxiety as a result of increased attention from others
* Particularly from the opposite sex
* Especially if there is a history of sexual abuse
• Eating challenges related to “mind hunger” or loss of “comfort” eating.

But, beyond the "normal," what then?  What do you do? What if your obstacles are much bigger?  How do you AVOID desperation?  I think I'll be posting a lot about these topics, partly because I see a huge need, and because I was just asked to sweep it under the rug, for fear of "scaring a newbie." 

These things MUST be discussed, and although I might have laughed it off seven years ago, I get it now. 

State probes weight-loss deaths at NYU

This article seems, dramatic. Consider the source.  However, I am certain there are hundreds of other stories out there that do not get press.

New York Post -

The state is investigating NYU Medical Center's booming weight-loss surgery practice, after three patients perished -- including a young lawyer who may have died of thirst -- following bariatric procedures, the Post has learned.

Continue reading "State probes weight-loss deaths at NYU" »