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  1. #1
    Gastric Sleeve Member VeryLargeBob's Avatar
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    Bob
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    Exclamation Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    Angst-filled article written by a 20-something sleever over at Salon.com on the horrors of bariatric surgery and how sleevers are oh-so-suicidal. Seems she was a tad mentally ill before her surgery and bein' thin has only made it worse.
    Height: 6'4""
    Highest Weight: 346
    Pre-Op: 330
    Day of Surgery: 318


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  4. #2
    Gastric Sleeve Member CharlieFarley's Avatar
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    07/08/2014
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    Mr Welbourn
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    That's pretty sad.

    From my non-expert, layman's perspective... I'm not altogether surprised to read that self-harm and suicide rates are higher for bariatric patients. The sample is, by definition, taken from a group of people who became very overweight - and that group already contains a higher percentage of people who had issues; those who's abuse of food was a symptom of psychological and emotional problems.

    I think a responsible surgical team should assess the emotional state of the potential bariatric patient. Reading this forum, I believe it to be common that many insurers in the US require it and I'm also fairly sure that it is a significant step on the way to having the UK National Health Service approve a patient for bariatric surgery. I paid for my own surgery in the UK and was not required to sit any kind of formal psychological assessment... except that I do believe various members of the team (dietician, anaesthetist, surgeon) were, during my 2-week pre-op appointments, all on the lookout for reasons to flag a more thorough psych profile if they thought it necessary.

    More than anything to do with surgical standards, this would probably be what would worry me most should a friend tell me they were headed off to have the surgery as a medical tourist; I don't know where even an informal assessment fits into the programme of having surgery the day after the patient lands in the country, nor the likelihood of a patient then being denied the surgery as a result of that assessment. As much as I believe in personal responsibility (and I do, strongly), this appears to be a situation where vulnerable people can fall through the cracks.

    Male, age 46, 6'1" tall. Starting BMI was 39 at 2 weeks pre-op. My weight loss chart.
    BMI=35 at 3 weeks post-op! BMI=30 at 15 weeks post-op! BMI=25 at 9 months post-op!
    Reached ultimate goal within 5 months of surgery: free of all prescription medicines! My blog.

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  6. #3
    Gastric Sleeve Member tinman's Avatar
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    08/23/2012
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    Dr. Mario Almanza
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    Like Charley, my perspective is non expert and layman. Having said that, I think that's it's the height of arrogance for any medical professional to feel as if they have the first and last word on an "elective" surgery. To analyze someone's mental state is, in a word, scattershot at best. Hell, just wading through the emotions is a mine field regardless if the elective surgery is VSG or a boob job. If someone wants to have the sleeve procedure, Roux-en-Y, boob job, nose job or a mommy make over, then they should be able to do it without red tape or hoop jumping. Period.

    My opinion of mental health professionals aside, to clinically diagnose someone as manic depressive, depressed, or psychotic is pretty straight forward. The symptoms of those mental illnesses present as plainly as do symptoms of cancer, strep throat or bronchitis. But, to think that anyone is equipped to decide if someone whom they have never met is mentally ready for this procedure is, again, arrogant. Especially if this "professional" has never had the procedure let alone been obese.

    The author of the original article is a pretty good example of today's stereotypical youth.



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  8. #4
    Gastric Sleeve Member CharlieFarley's Avatar
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    Mr Welbourn
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    Quote Originally Posted by tinman View Post
    I think that's it's the height of arrogance for any medical professional to feel as if they have the first and last word on an "elective" surgery.
    What if the surgeon genuinely felt that the patient was unprepared to face the consequences? A given surgeon is under no obligation to do something they feel is wrong for the patient..?

    In any industry, it is not unreasonable to hope that professionals advise against work if they think the client's plan is ill-advised. The client is always free to choose to find somebody else to provide the service.

    I wouldn't dispute a patient's right to look for another surgeon but I'd be happy enough for surgical teams to take a no-go decision based on any reason they thought was in the overall best interests of their patient. At least pending a more formal psychological assessment. I see that as using their education and experience (that we laypeople do not have), not a demonstration of arrogance.

    To me, an arrogant surgeon would be one who believes they can operate regardless that the overall best route for the patient might be to not have surgery at that time.

    Male, age 46, 6'1" tall. Starting BMI was 39 at 2 weeks pre-op. My weight loss chart.
    BMI=35 at 3 weeks post-op! BMI=30 at 15 weeks post-op! BMI=25 at 9 months post-op!
    Reached ultimate goal within 5 months of surgery: free of all prescription medicines! My blog.

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  10. #5
    Gastric Sleeve Member tinman's Avatar
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    08/23/2012
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    Dr. Mario Almanza
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    What if the surgeon genuinely felt that the patient was unprepared to face the consequences? A given surgeon is under no obligation to do something they feel is wrong for the patient..?


    I'm not saying that the surgeon is right or wrong for feeling the way the feel, but, I do think that the surgeon is arrogant for assuming that someone is or is not prepared for the "consequences" of an elective surgery. Elective is the key word here. Also, the consequences can be good as well as bad.

    The surgeon can't possibly be in tune with the patient to the point where they believe they can actually decide if the elective surgery is right for the patient or not. Now, they do have the right, and in some cases, the obligation to turn down a patients request, but, they are not, in my opinion, qualified to look into a patients eye and tell them that they know what's best for them....especially if the surgery isn't life or death and especially if the patient is the one seeking out the surgery.

    Here is an interesting scenario. What if the referring doctor is so against bariatric solutions that they will not, under any circumstances, refer one of their patients to a surgeon who does VSG? Who's right there? Well, I can certainly tell you who is wrong.

    I respect your opinion, but, in the end, neither of us is right, or wrong.



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  13. #6
    Gastric Sleeve Member mem222's Avatar
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    I understand both sides of this issue. Before surgery I had to be evaluated and approved by a psychiatrist whom I'd never met with a one hour visit. Ok, no big deal, sort of an interview, I knew how to answer the questions in order to be approved. No one said I had to tell the docs that I've been bulimic and anorexic in the past.
    I was very excited about the surgery - it would be a new start. That involved so many changes,and I couldn't chose to deal with them one at a time, it is what it is. I've lost 76 lbs and started going back to my old ways in July. I have had depression since my twenties and never thought that the surgery would "cure" it, but I now know that I must start therapy to deal with my weight issues. Wait, but I lost 76 lbs!!!! It is a tool, but now I have to do the "real" work. I've put it off until now but I know I must do it. Thankfully I can see the Dr. who has prescribed my antidepressants for 3 years so she already knows me. I think it is up to the individual to deal with the "after effects", whatever they are after weight loss.
    It was very sad to read that article, I hope the young woman looks for and finds help.



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  15. #7
    Gastric Sleeve Member Tammie.Slagle.12's Avatar
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    Tammie
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    Dr. Lee with Southern Indiana Surgery
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    My wonderful sleeved friends, although I am not an expert either, I am providing a female adult perspective. I had to go through a psychological evaluation before my procedure, not once but twice. The first I failed due to emotional eating issues and my docotrs stated I would have to go through therapy. The second time I passed. Mind you, between the two 300 question tests I gave birth to my 4th child and had about a year ofbself evaluation and preperation for this process.
    We are not overweight before surgery by complete choice, but the dramatic affects of the surgery, chemical changes in our hormone levels after, and the drmatic change in our appearance can weigh heavily on a persons mind and condition. Any body altering surgery can have a mental affect and if doctors can help discover issues before they happen then I think it is a good thing.
    I am almost 2 yrs post op and have had many struggles. It is hard to wrap your head around the many changes that you go throguh daily. I would rather my doctors stopped me and helped me psychologically than disregard the issue.



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  17. #8
    Gastric Sleeve Member
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    Dr Landerholm
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    So, I think the basic screening done for mental health issues is sufficient - let me tell you why - if a person passes the basic "I understand this, i can follow instructions and I can parrott back realistic expectations" then that is probably all you can really tell. Someone who has serious mental illness probably will fail one of those 3.

    Having said that - alot of emotional struggles happen AFTER the surgery, after losing the weight. I was a hot mess on my surgical consult (having failed at lapband, health failing etc) and yet the surgeon's didn't treat me like a crazy woman, they treatedme with compassion.

    I have been maintaining a massive weight loss since Feb 2013 and while there have been ups and downs, i am way way way better off.

    My "take" on this article is she blames everything on her weight loss - more specifically the surgery which I cannot understand. I betcha had she and her boyfriend had broken up and she still weighed 300# she would have felt lonely and depressed too. It is true that obesity and overeating help us bury alot of demons, and maybe more education up front about that would be helpful - but I don't think anyone can predict how any one person will react to the big changes.

    What the article fails to mention, is that by getting the weight off as a younger person she might skip some of the crap i now have to deal with - looking at a hip replacement in a few years and i am only 51!!! That is a direct result of decades of being morbidly obese. If I were still morbidly obese, that might not even be an option for me as i know that joint replacements are often "denied" to women who are twice their normal size...
    308# 12/1/2011 Start of Preop Diet
    300# 12/12/11 Lapband to Sleeve revision
    158# Feb 2013 - GOAL lost 150# 14 months post op
    150# 10/14/2013 - Plastics Dr Sauceda in Monterrey Mexico; removed 5.5# of skin
    140# Apr 2014 - maintaining 168# weight loss currently. Very happy with my sleeve and plastics results!

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  19. #9
    Gastric Sleeve Member bikrchk's Avatar
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    Heather
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    Dr.Selim
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    I read that a couple of days ago and thought the same thing. I guess I just can't understand because that is so polar opposite form my experience! I had a psych eval for insurance and it was mostly about, "do you understand that change is necessary on your part to succeed", "Is anyone coercing you into this, or are you doing it for your own reasons?", and "do you have the support you need in your life afterwards". I don't know that they can go super deep in an hour interview and 140 question paper test to determine who will REALLY react well and who's just saying what the interviewer needs to hear to rubber stamp them.



    Don't worry about hurting my feelings because I guarantee you not one bit of my self esteem is tied up in your acceptance.

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  21. #10
    Gastric Sleeve Member Kindle's Avatar
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    12/20/2013
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    Ariel Ortiz & Arturo Martinez
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    My best friend committed suicide 6 months ago. He was not overweight or a WLS patient. Since that time I have met dozens and dozens of other people that have lost loved ones to suicide. Not a single one of them were post WLS patients, either. The common factor is depression and mental illness, not WLS. I'm willing to bet that people that commit suicide after WLS had mental problems before surgery. They may have committed suicide anyways, maybe even sooner. Perhaps they thought being thin and healthy would make them happy and when that doesn't happen, they carry through with what path they were already on.

    I think it's utterly ridiculous to try and correlate a cause and effect between WLS and suicide.....mental illness is MUCH more complicated than that.




  22. #11
    Gastric Sleeve Member Ann2's Avatar
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    Ann2
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    I just know I will have strong opinions about this subject and can't wait to tell some of you you're flat-out wrong!

    But I haven't read the article yet and don't have time to do so now.

    Damnit! I'm so upset!

    P.S. Hey, Bob -- welcome back.



    Consult: 235 lbs
    My and doc's preop diet: 216 -19 lbs
    M1 postop 205 -30
    M2 193 -42
    M3 184 -51
    M4 174 -61
    M5 167 -68
    M6 162 -73
    M7 156 -79
    M8 151 -84
    M9 148 -87
    M10 146 -89
    M11 144 -91
    M12 143 -92
    M13 142 -93
    M14 140 -95
    M15 139 -96
    M16 137 -98
    M17 135 -100

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  23. #12
    Gastric Sleeve Member Ann2's Avatar
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    Ann2
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    OK, I read it.

    I have three very strong reactions to that article:

    1. First, what a load of drama llama, anecdotal, my-experience-must-be-everyone-else's-experience, misinterpretation of a study that wasn't well designed in the first place, wishy-washy-adjective-laden load of bullshit. Most of the WLS patients I'm in touch with online and in real life are over the moon happy with the benefits they've received in the form of improved health, happiness, lifestyle, career, emotional relationships, etc. So I'll see the author's miserable post-WLS experience and raise her my five-star, four thumbs-up rating of VSG surgery.

    2. Second, she was 21 freakin' years old when she had gastric bypass surgery. In our twenties, everyone goes through enormous challenges on many fronts -- sexual, career, lifestyle, financial, live-in and marital relationships, and have to learn how to make our way in the world as adults. It can be tough. So why in hell does she think WLS was the only cause / treatment / event in her young life that could have caused all of her difficulties? The author needs to look up the definition of "maturational phase."

    3. Finally -- yes, WLS doesn't work well for half the people who have WLS, including some who don't have the emotional or intellectual resources to navigate the lifestyle changes required to be successful long-term. It's understood (or I thought it would be understood to all obese people who were sick and miserable prior to WLS) that we would go through physical and emotional changes. In fact, anticipating these changes some of us have benefited from seeing professional counselors / therapists. I sought out a therapist on my own to understand better why I'd never been able to make my many prior weight losses stick. Clearly, the author would have benefited from some counseling as she was going through her WLS experience. I wish she'd figured that out, like I did.

    Do I think a lot of people who have WLS shouldn't have WLS? (sigh) Actually, I do. I think some don't have the intellectual or emotional or other resources to be successful. Some are terrible students and don't know how to research the things many of us can do well. Some are personally irresponsible and lazy. Some have zero support in their lives for the big changes they have to make, and some have people in their lives who actively sabotage them. Some have overwhelming medical, financial, family, career issues and even mental illness that mean the deck is terribly stacked against them.

    Should these people be denied WLS? I'm not even going to go there, because they will never be denied WLS, if they can pay for it.

    Like many of us, I do what I can to help those at this forum who need a little leg up at times. But there's nothing I can do to help anyone beyond that. Like the author of that article, my greatest value is to tell MY story, which is that I'm farting unicorns and rainbows. My sleeve is immaculate, and I've worked my ass off to get the maximum miles per cubic centimeter out of it, which I will continue to do.

    That's MY story, and I'm stickin' to it.



    Consult: 235 lbs
    My and doc's preop diet: 216 -19 lbs
    M1 postop 205 -30
    M2 193 -42
    M3 184 -51
    M4 174 -61
    M5 167 -68
    M6 162 -73
    M7 156 -79
    M8 151 -84
    M9 148 -87
    M10 146 -89
    M11 144 -91
    M12 143 -92
    M13 142 -93
    M14 140 -95
    M15 139 -96
    M16 137 -98
    M17 135 -100

    First Surgiversary post

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  24. #13
    Gastric Sleeve Member Ms. Jupiter's Avatar
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    I'm sticking to your story too. Thanks for sharing.


  25. #14
    Gastric Sleeve Member cathbas's Avatar
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    cathi
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    Dr Rantis
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    love your replies ann, who can say anything after that!!



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  27. #15
    Gastric Sleeve Member
    I have had a gastric sleeve.
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    Beth
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    02/02/2015
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    Dr. Noel Williams
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    Default Re: Those suicidal gastric sleevers!

    After all she's worked for and been through to get where she is now emotionally, and she's still blaming her surgeon's office? I don't know what she expected her surgeon's office could have done - there's no magic wand that fixes depression and self-image and eating issues. Maybe at 21 she wasn't quite aware that she had these issues and it caught her by surprise (fair enough) but, by her own story, she alerted folks she needed help. She sought out therapy. And she put in a lot of time and hard, raw, emotional work to get to a better place, just like lots of other folks who have these issues, surgery or not. There's no getting around the work you have to put in.

    And the dumping with the bypass caught her by surprise.....granted, her surgery was 8 years ago, but even accounting for better pre-op "training" now, I was looking at doing a bypass 8-10 years ago and it was precisely the dumping and potential stomach issues that scared me off. All of the information she needed was out there and I'd bet good money she was told all of it ahead of time. She's arguing that someone should have prepared her better, but I doubt it would have helped. It sounds like her biggest reason for getting surgery at the time was to be a size 6 and anything else, short of what she wanted to hear, she glossed over. There's some personal responsibility to be taken for that, too.



    Weight at 1st Doc's Appt: 290
    Weight the Day of Surgery: 267

    Post-Sleeve Weight Loss YR 1:
    Month 1: 17 lb
    M 2: 12 lb
    M 3: 11 lb
    M 4: 9 lb
    M 5: 6 lb
    M 6: 7 lb
    M 7: 5 lb
    M 8: 6 lb
    M 9: 5 lb
    M 10: 4 lb
    M 11: 6 lb
    M 12: 6 lb


    Total Weight Loss: 124 lb (101 lb post-sleeve)

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