Too bad I had to lose so much, to lose so much....

by Michele Burman
(Byron Center Michigan)

I had my WLS on 11/16/2005. Before that I was running a very profitable in-home daycare and my husband and I together made around 70k that year. Life was not easy with the extra weight and other conditions that I had so I chose to have weight loss surgery. The answer to my prayers I thought! I would be a better mom and wife, I would have the extra energy and mobility to run and play with my children like they wanted me to. (At the time of my surgery my children were 2,3 and 4.)

I was home from the hospital 2 days when I became severely dizzy, so dizzy that I was motion sick. It was terrible. I thought it was due to withdrawal from my antidepressant they had me stop taking after my surgery. I was taking my vitamins and eating and drinking like I was told to.

I was so tired but attributed it to the fact that my body was adjusting to eating less. I would fall asleep sitting at the table while people were talking to me, I just couldn't keep my eyes open. The yawning was terrible. They were deep yawns from the pit of my stomach and one right after the next. All the time I was running a daycare. Thankfully I knew I was not well so I was paying people to stay with me at all times.

I would drive places then realize that I didn't remember how I got there, like had I drove through red lights or did I stop for stop signs? It was very scary so I stopped driving. I was just not 'there'. I wouldn't realize it until months later but I have little memory of the months of January, Febuary, March, April and May of 2006.

I closed my Daycare on June of 2006. I had extreme dizziness, memory trouble, eye pain, pain in my back and shoulders like lightning was striking me, depression. I also had sores on my tongue that my weight loss doctor couldn't explain, my ferritin (a protein that stores iron) was 12 then dropped to 6. All the time my doctor couldn't explain why. I got a second opinion and was told Kwashiorkor (a form of malnutrition caused by inadequate protein intake despite fairly good caloric intake).

I applied for Disability in June and received it starting in September. I still suffer from memory loss, idiopathic hyposomnia/narcolepsy(extreme tiredness)and iron absorption problems. Because I closed my business due to my complications I eventually lost my home, my family ate at food pantries for months and my children had a 'toys for tots' Christmas since I had no money to buy them gifts. Now I receive my disability so things are better but for a while they stunk....

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The dangers of magical thinking
by: Suzette Kroll Barancik, RD)

Michele, I'm struck by the wisdom you've gained. In your last sentence, I read acceptance and appreciation in your words, despite what you've been through. I'm happy you've been able to get to that place.

I'm struck by something in your first paragraph as well, where you imagined weight loss surgery the answer to your prayers. I notice, as you must, how simple it all seemed to you.

I think we can agree there's nothing simple about WLS. Even if the surgery goes well - as yours didn't - people who have it are going to experience some rather extreme lifestyle changes.

If it were a miracle, there wouldn't be people standing over you in masks and cutting open your body!

Thanks for helping everyone see that no form of weight loss surgery is to be taken lightly.

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