Thursday, April 30, 2009

WLS complications decline?

This article leaves a lot to be desired when talking about complications from WLS. From everything I've seen on the support groups for WLS survivors, it's not that complications aren't happening as often or aren't as horrendous as they've always been - a lot of surgeons are telling patients that their symptoms of those complications either aren't due to the WLS or are "all in your head".
The findings from a study by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality are based on an analysis of more than 9,500 patients under age 65 who had obesity surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, at 652 hospitals between 2001 and 2002 and between 2005 and 2006.

So, are the complications actually declining or is it just that doctors' reporting of those complications is declining? Honestly, I think it's the latter case. If complications aren't declining (and possibly even increasing in frequency, severity, and variety), then if/when fat people, who have been told that this is life-saving for them, hear about these complications and their severity, maybe they have second thoughts and decide not to have the surgery. Hit doctors in their pocketbooks and they have a very strong motive to quit reporting every complication that every patient has, and if they do report the complications, they have even more motive to make light of the effects of those complications on patients' quality of life.
The researchers found that the complication rate among obesity surgery patients dropped from 24 percent to about 15 percent. Contributing to that decrease were declines in post-surgical infection rates (58 percent lower), abdominal hernias, staple leakage, respiratory failure and pneumonia (29 percent to 50 percent lower).
There was little change in rates of other complications such as ulcers, dumping (involuntary vomiting or defecation), hemorrhage, wound re-opening, deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, heart attack and stroke, the researchers noted.

Yeah, the complications listed above? Those are just a small fraction of all the possible complications you can end up with from WLS, not to mention that if you have one of the complications, chances are you'll have several of them. So what about the incidences of all the complications they didn't list? What do you want to bet that they haven't declined any?
I don't care how much experience a doctor has doing WLS, there's still no guarantee that it's going to work perfectly or forever or without complications for every patient he has (case in point is mine and my best friend, Pat's, we had the same surgeon, the same surgery. She died from hers, mine didn't work and I'm worse off now than if I'd never had it done, and our surgeon is at the U of MN and teaches other doctors how to do this surgery. Yeah, no guarantees, people, none at fucking all).
It doesn't matter that WLS is now less invasive because of laparascopic procedures. Fucking with a working digestive system to make it less efficient and absorb less of the nutrients you eat is going to fuck with your health. If not immediately, then 1, 5, 10, 15, or 20 years down the road. And in the meantime, your quality of life sucks because you're dealing with life-altering, health-stealing complications.
As far as I'm concerned, I don't care what studies they're quoting, this is propaganda designed to keep fat people (and not even the "morbidly obese" fat people, they're doing this on smaller and smaller fatties all the time) coming in and giving their money (or their insurance company's money) to surgeons to butcher them, all in the name of "health" that isn't even a moral imperative.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Miscellaneous thoughts

I hadn't realized it had been quite a while since I last posted anything (blame it on DH bringing a cold home from his work and passing it on to me). I've been feeling under the weather, and that's what I get for congratulating myself that I hadn't gotten any colds/flu all winter long. So of course, now that winter is over, I have to have the cold from hell that is just kicking my ass and making me dopey as all get-out with medication.
I'm trying the no-shampoo route with my hair. It's so oily that I need to wash it every other day or it looks like I've dumped a bucket of cooking oil on it, no shampoo I've ever tried has ever worked to keep it clean, shiny, and grease-free for more than a day and a half. Today, I did the 1 tsp of baking soda in a cup of water to wash my hair (and I'm thinking I'm going to add a rinse of cider vinegar later on, I used to do that all the time and my hair looked pretty good).
I've been reading all the brouhaha about United Airlines' policy of charging fat people for two seats. Makes me damned glad I don't intend on going anywhere that I'll have to fly in order to get there in time. DH was in the Navy for 20 years, and had to be flown to a different ship a couple of times, when his assignments were changed, and he said even back then he didn't fit in the seats very well (he was 5' 10" and 210 lbs). He's been out of the Navy for 15 years (this July), so that's been anywhere from 20 to 30 years ago (so the airlines have had inadequate seating in their planes forever, seems to me). We have a ship's reunion to go to in 2010, and had thought about flying from MN to VA for that, but now, with all this bullshit going on with the airlines, I think we're going to rent a minivan and drive it instead. That will allow us time to sightsee along the way, and even stop to visit family and friends. We also won't have to worry about what we can and can't carry on the plane (try getting a letter from his doctor for anything, let alone his insulin and syringes), and we won't have to worry about luggage getting lost or damaged. Not to mention that minivan seats are a lot more comfortable than airline seats, you can stop at rest areas to use a roomy bathroom, and get out and walk around if you get tired of sitting and driving.
I've also been reading all the bullshit the media is putting out about how fat people are causing global warming (and this is the media that hypes all the nutcases who don't think global warming is even happening). So, yeah, MSM, you can't have it both ways. Either global warming is a fact, and everyone on this earth is contributing to it, or it isn't happening at all. Please make up your minds, will you? All those numbers those asshats put in their LETTER (not a study) were mostly guesses and estimates pulled out of their asses. There might have been a very small basis of fact behind those numbers, but they then exaggerated the hell out of everything to prove their hypothesis. All they did was convince me that they don't know what they're talking about and that I'm better off ignoring anything that has their names on it, since it probably won't be honest or factual.
Not much else is going on, at least not anything worth writing about. I haven't even felt good enough to read any more books (and if you want to know what I had been reading, take a gander at my library blog, linked in the sidebar over there somewhere).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday Fluff - VocaPeople

My aunt sent me this video (it was a forward that has been sent around the intarwebz quite a bit, I'd say, just from all the addresses on the email she sent me). According to the background information, there are no musical instruments used, just their voices. Lots of talent here, I'd say. So enjoy :)

If you can't get the video to play, you can see it here.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fat NHS staff to practice what they preach - get thin. ROFLMAO!

This cracks me up. No, really, it cracks me up.
Approximately 700,000 staff of the NHS (in the UK) are thought to be "overweight" or "obese", out of 1.2 million employed. Gee, that's about, what, 58%? I'd say that pretty much reflects the rest of the population, wouldn't you?
Overweight and obese midwives, health visitors and nurses will be encouraged to enrol in programmes to help them lose excess pounds.

And I'll bet those 700,000 fat employees (if they enroll and follow directions assiduously) will be just about as successful at losing and maintaining that weight loss as the rest of the fat population has been. Oh yeah, bitch that I am, I'm so looking forward to the doctors of these fat NHS employees reaming them new assholes for not being successful at weight loss maintenance, just like they ream the fat public who aren't successful. Let them get a taste of the medicine they dish out to the fat public and see how long it takes them to come up with excuses for why it doesn't work for them but should work for the rest of us.
"In addition, the credibility of health messages is also supported by the behaviour of health professionals, for example in the reduction and current low levels of smoking among doctors.
"Over the next year, we will develop bespoke programmes to support achieving and maintaining a healthy weight for key frontline staff who advise and interact with children and families on obesity, such as maternity staff, midwives, health visitors and school nurses."

Dudes, smoking and stopping smoking is a whole 'nother ball of wax from losing weight and keeping it off. Smoking is not something that will kill you if never do it ever again, but I can guarantee you that if you never eat another bite of food, your life is going to be very fucking short (and that's only if you can keep from eating, and the only ones I've seen who are successful with that are people with EDs and the enforced starvation of WLS patients).
Oh, and good luck with developing those programs to support achieving and maintaining a "healthy" weight for those staff. You've been just so successful at developing those same programs for the fat public and they just work so wonderfully well, dontchaknow? ROFLMAO!!!! I can hardly wait (what do y'all want to bet that when their success rates for fat employees aren't any better than their success rates for the fat public, this quietly gets dropped and we never hear another word about it?).

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cats are weird

FAT CAT (aka Scruffy)
I was vacuuming the loveseat today to get all the cat hair off it (Fat Cat lays on it a lot and he sheds like crazy, even when we brush him a couple of times a week). Vacuuming the loveseat was not an easy job either, Fat Cat decided he wanted to play with the hose to the vacuum cleaner (that cat isn't afraid of anything, I swear). So I thought while I was vacuuming up loose cat hair, I'd vacuum him too (thinking he'd run away and I could finish the love seat). No such luck, he loved it! Stupid cat. Took me half an hour to vacuum that damned loveseat because I had to do it around the cat. Every time I put him down on the floor and started the vacuum back up, he was right back up there, rubbing on the hose and the brush, trying to play with it, chasing it, and trying to chew on it. He moved more while I was vacuuming him/the loveseat than he normally does (unless he's playing with the stuffed mouse that squeaks when he bats it). This is the cat that is so lazy he has to lay down to eat his cat food, and lays down to drink water. If you put a plate of canned cat food down for him, he lays down and eats all the food on one side of the plate and then looks at you like "aren't you going to turn the plate for me so I can eat the food on the other side?"
I didn't have to worry about Slick, he runs and hides when I start the vacuum cleaner. He doesn't like it at all.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Same Sex Marriage now legal in Iowa - hip hip hooray!!!!

This is about damned time. Now it needs to spread to the other 47 states who haven't yet legalized same sex marriage. I just hope that Iowa's legislators don't cave to the religious wingnut pressure to put it to a vote to amend the Iowa State Constitution.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Neuropathy, gastric bypass linked

This should give people another reason not to have WLS.
Sami Harik did not think it was an accident that he was seeing neurological problems in patients who had had gastric bypass surgery.
Harik, chair of the department of neurology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, got some flak when he told a patient who'd had the weight-reduction procedure that her neurological symptoms were being caused by a vitamin deficiency brought on by the surgery. The patient reported what Harik said to her surgeon, and the surgeon sent Harik a “frosty letter,” challenging Harik to produce data.

This does not surprise me at all. From everything I've learned on the OSSG-gone_wrong group, most WLS surgeons refuse to acknowledge that any complications patients get are from the surgery (and if they do acknowledge complications, they say those complications aren't nearly as bad as what can happen to a patient if said patient stays fat). They want proof, but a lot of them don't do any follow-up for more than 6 months or a year with any of their patients (and if you have problems, they'll refuse to treat you).
Now, Harik and colleagues in the neurology department, including lead investigator Dr. Katalin Juhasz-Pocsine, have published a study based on patients who've been treated by the department for the last 10 years. The results, reported in the May 22 issue of the medical journal “Neurology”: Of the 150 patients who'd had the Roux-en-Y bypass surgery before being treated at UAMS' Neurology Clinic, the symptoms in 26 patients could be directly linked to the surgery.

26 out of 150 patients - that's 17% with neurological complications from WLS. That is not a number that is part of the "informed consent", and that's not a risk I would be willing to take (my VBG just shrank the size of my stomach, it didn't bypass any of my intestines).
It started, for Poscine, with a patient in her 30s who came in complaining of tingling in her feet. Poscine ruled out diabetes, which can cause neuropathy in the limbs. Poscine determined she was deficient in vitamin B12 and iron, and began giving her patient IV nutritional supplements and making sure that she was eating. But the patient declined; three months after her first visit, she could no longer walk and, bedridden, required complete care. Her body could not absorb what it needed to repair the problems.
Poscine persuaded the patient to agree to a partial reversal of her bariatric surgery. A section of bowl that had been bypassed was rejoined to the stomach so that more nutrients could be absorbed.
In three more months, she could get out of bed. A year out, she can walk again and is much improved.

This patient was lucky, not all reversals are that successful and show results that dramatic. Bariatric surgeons know that these surgeries can cause nutritional deficits, and supposedly tell their patients what vitamins and how much of them to take, and that they will have to take them for the rest of their lives. What they don't tell them is that all the vitamins recommended sometimes aren't enough and that the lab values that are considered normal for anyone who hasn't had WLS are not normal for someone who has had WLS and those "normal" values can, in fact, be dangerously low for them (and those patients don't find this out until they start having problems). Why do bariatric surgeons not know their patients are having these problems? Because these problems don't always show up right away. Sometimes they don't show up for years (5, 10, 15, or 20 years down the road) and these surgeons don't follow WLS patients for nearly that long.
“We are not saying patients should not get the surgery,” Poscine said, but that they need individualized supplementation and careful, lifetime follow-up. Harik estimated the percentage of bariatric patients who get into trouble as less than five percent of the population.

WLS patients need individualized supplementation and careful, lifetime follow-up all right and I can guarantee you that their surgeons aren't going to do that follow-up and they aren't going to refer patients to doctors who can, and will, do that kind of intense follow-up because if they have to tell patients this before they have the WLS, they just might have second thoughts about having this surgery.
What the WLS surgeons don't tell their patients is that most vitamins and supplements that they need to take don't always work if taken orally (surgically induced malabsorption doesn't just keep calories from being absorbed, ya know?), and that a lot of what they need to take will have to be done as injections or given by IV.
Still, bariatric surgery is growing exponentially, Poscine said, and doctors need to be vigilant to make sure their patients with intentionally compromised digestion get immediate treatment of neurological problems. She is particularly concerned that bariatric surgeons take to heart the results of the study, since, she said, few follow their patients over a long period — and many don't believe the study's premise anyway.

And this is the major problem with WLS - too many surgeons don't believe that the problems their patients are having are a result of their mutilated digestive tracts because they don't have to follow their patients long-term. After all, how much money can you make if you can't spend all your time in surgery? If you have to spend half of your time with follow-up care (which pays a lot less than surgery) you aren't going to make as much money as if you spent most of your time in surgery and a little bit of time convincing patients that you have the "magic cure" for all their ills in this one little life-altering surgery (too bad they don't tell you that the "life-altering" isn't always good, and can be fatal or debilitating).
These problems with WLS have been happening for more than 30 years and WLS surgeons don't give a shit. How many more fat people have to die, how many more fat people have to suffer debilitating complications and worsened quality of life before they figure out that being fat is not a fate worse than death?
I wish, by everything I hold dear, that I could have now the quality of life I had before I had my WLS, and I don't have nearly as many complications from my WLS as a lot of people do, and I'm still alive, unlike a lot of fat people who have gone through this shit. And I can guarantee you that my quality of life is worse now than it was 12 years ago. 12 years ago, I could do my shopping at Cub's or Wal-Mart without having to use an electric cart, I could walk through a mall for half the day shopping and not be in severe pain halfway through it, I could eat a meal at a restaurant and not have to be aware of where every bathroom was and make sure that one was within 50 feet of me at all times, just in case. I could climb stairs without having to use the handrail to pull myself up them (and I wasn't out of breath because I was in so much pain from climbing the stairs). Yeah, WLS sure did improve my life a lot.......NOT! And that's why this kind of thing pisses me off and why I blog about it and why I risk embarrassment from telling those TMI bits - because I don't want anyone else to suffer what I've been through, or to suffer even worse than what I've been through (just take a look at the complications list I've posted before, you'll see what I mean).