I’ve known of a number of people over the years who’ve had bariatric surgery to help combat their growing obesity issues. While I’m definitely all in support of anyone looking to reduce their weight to help make them a healthier person, I’ve had growing concerns around the fact that bariatric surgery is fast becoming THE “go-to thing” to make that happen as quick as possible.
My biggest and immediate concern comes from the several I’ve known to have died from complications from this surgery over the years. Recently, I thought a close friend of mine was going to be another one to add to that list, as the day after his procedure was over, his sutures opened up within him, causing body fluids to leak into his system, which led to almost catastrophic failure of his entire being. It’s scary things like this that make me wonder if people seeking this surgery realize just how serious and invasive of a surgery it really is. I often think people aren’t worrying about it as much anymore because it’s being done so frequently these days.
Just as much of a concern of mine beyond the surgical complications of the procedure itself, is the change of life that I’ve learned comes immediately after the procedure is complete. With the stomach having been shrunk to an infinitesimally small size compared to what it was before, eating habits have to change dramatically right away. But, for most of the people I’ve known who’ve gone through this procedure, eating habits up until just before their surgery remained out of control on most days. The hope for them was that the surgery would correct this. But, if there’s one thing I’ve absolutely learned when it comes to this surgery, it’s that it doesn’t correct that desire to overeat whatsoever. The desire is still there after the surgery is over, yet the body can’t eat like it did before because there isn’t much of a stomach left to put in all in. Honestly, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard from those who knew this post-surgery, but still overate anyway and found themselves sick and throwing up more than once.
Sadly, bariatric surgery isn’t necessarily a permanent solution either, because one can gain any of their drastic weight loss back over time given the remaining stomach has the ability to enormously expand all over again. Case in point, I had one friend who dropped from over 400 pounds to under 200 after his bariatric surgery, only to several years later be back close to his original weight.
With all this in mind, I’m actually thankful my partner Chris never had this surgery done. When I met him, he was around 360 pounds and had been considering doing it. I wasn’t in support of it one bit and honestly, I stand by that still to this day because the path Chris took after I expressed my concerns surrounding it was a far healthier one in my humble opinion. It was one that involved counseling to get to the root of why he was constantly overeating, one that involved 12 Step recovery and Weight Watchers to keep him accountable with others struggling with the same issue, one that involved making much healthier eating choices on a daily basis, and one that involved going to the gym two to three times a week as well. The result? Over the course of the past five years, Chris has lost around 100 pounds!
Nevertheless, if I were to make any type of judgment as to why so many people are pursuing bariatric surgery nowadays, regardless of knowing about the potential complications that can arise from it, it’s most likely because a path like the one Chris took to lose weight isn’t a quick and easy one. Rather, it’s a much longer one that dealt with facing himself and going within, making sacrifices, and pushing himself to move beyond various sedentary areas of living.
Don’t get me wrong, for someone who might be morbidly obese, doing bariatric surgery may indeed be necessarily right away. But, unfortunately, I’m seeing many who aren’t morbidly obese and are just overweight, going under the knife, hoping to become more fit without having to do any of the difficult spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical work that can be done to lose weight naturally and in a much more natural process.
So, in light of all this, this is why I remain concerned for all those who might be considering, seeking, or placing reliance on a surgery they hope is going make their life totally better and totally healthier. Because, in all reality, it may indeed make their life far worse and far sicker or quite possibly change nothing at all, other than temporarily removing their ability to eat to excess…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson