Reflections On WLS Article

Recently, Kerri Smith of The Denver Post interviewed the Chair Person of RMNAAFA, Jean Marie Olivieri. The topic was Weight Loss Surgery (WLS). Here are some reflections on the article itself.

 This article represents my opinions alone, and not necessarily those of RMNAAFA. This article is not intended as medical advice.

 See the link for the article itself--I won't repeat it here.

 Overall, Kerri Smith is a pro, and puts together a lot of perspectives on this issue. This is much better than most of the press coverage on Carnie's surgery, which is all about how great she is doing. I feel like the WLS folks don't come off that good in the article, but I'm not really objective.

 Just some general rants:

 I always find it interesting that no one talks about what the actual success rate is for any of these weight loss procedures. That is, saying "many people loose only part of their excess weight, or regain within a few years" doesn't tell me how effective this procedure is. I suspect that the reason that the number isn't publicized is because it is dismal. I doubt that it varies much from the 95% failure rate for other weight loss methods.

 I especially believe this based upon the paragraph that says, basically, that Carnie will have to be on a diet her entire life, regardless of the surgery. So, the surgery accomplished what, exactly?

 OK, the one doctor says he has followed patients for 10 years, and has a 65% success rate. A doctor that is performing the surgery doing his own follow up analysis. If this was a mechanical or electronic product, you'd insist on an independent lab, wouldn't you? Then, his crap about people gaining weight because they "get depressed" is really infuriating.

 By the way, it also looks like he considers someone who yo yos after the surgery to be successful. Thus, his 65% number.

 I never heard cancer cited in the anti-obesity chant before. The only credible studies I have seen linking weight loss and cancer would indicate that your chances of surviving cancer are much better if you are heavy (because the disease itself, and many of the treatment methods involve depleting your body's energy reserves).

 Ooh, so what do we think about the loser who says he gets along better with his wife now that she lost weight?

 Lisha Gallegos had some very good points, and the plug for LYB Day was a good one.

I really like that Kerri interviewed someone who had lived with the effects of this mutilation for years, rather than just the person who just had it. Weight loss always works out great until the weight comes back. Drastic procedures like this are fine until complications set in. The diet brokers do everything they can to focus attention on the people who have just been through the plan, program, or surgery, and detract attention from the long term effects. The interview with this long-term survivor was one of the best parts of the article (except for JeanMarie's interview, of course).

 Then the fellow who heads the WLS league comes along and says the patient is better off not being able to eat a balanced diet, and vomiting blood. And he trots out excuses about fewer side effects with "surgeries since 1984". And, if you found someone with complications from 5 years ago, he'd claim there were fewer complications with surgeries done since 1994. Just sweep your failures under the rug, and trot out the rhetoric about how fat is unhealthy. All without proof.

Well, he does have numbers. Morbidity figures after 30 days. Where are the figures after 5 years, since what you have done is to induce a chronic digestive disorder? And the 7% figure of "bad side effects" does not cite any time frame. Later, the article states that the time frame for their stats is one year. Big whoop. Plus, the figures are compiled by the people selling the surgery. That makes me feel confident.

 I do feel sorry for the guy in Loveland who got a lawyer to get his insurance company to pay for butchering him. He's going to be really upset when the thing turns sour in a few months or years.

 But, the most chilling thing of all was the talk about cutting open teenagers. That's just scary.

Well, friends, this is a terrifying thing, and one of the reasons that supporting NAAFA is worthwhile. We can freely disagree about the wisdom of weight loss diets, but this horrifying mutilation is something almost everyone in fat acceptance has come to oppose. If by being around, and having web pages, and giving interviews, and participating in rallies, and giving speeches, we can keep just one person from going under the knife, we are doing a great thing.

Before Redux was pulled off the market, I had more than one person e-mail me to tell me that my web page was the last straw in their decision not to take that poison. It gives you a little charge to think that you may have kept someone from a potentially life-threatening situation.

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