Saturday, April 12, 2008

The great surgery debate

I'm trying to get some perspective on this, but I'm still finding myself seethingly angry about what my friend said yesterday. I should say that she's a lovely person, and I'm guessing that she'd be horrified to know exactly how angry I am (and I don't get angry easily). And I know that part of what she says is because I think I offended her, too.

So let me say this right off. I think that bariatric surgery is a wonderful thing. I think it's a lifesaver for a great number of people. I think that it works for some number of people where nothing else can. I think it's a hugely difficult and frightening choice, as any voluntary surgery is, and most people who do this should be applauded and supported.

But I also don't think it's a band-aid solution that can be applied to everyone, and I don't think it should be. It's a last resort, as any surgery should be. And especially the gastric bypass, which is both greatly invasive and permanent, should be used with the greatest of care. But I don't think that's the way that the U.S. medical establishment is using it. I think in many cases, it's a moneymaker, and so it's pushed for people who haven't reached that "last alternative" point. In one of the only stories I know personally, a 24 year old semi-relative of mine in California had this operation, despite being not really all that overweight and certainly before trying anything like, say, working on learning something about nutrition. I think that's inappropriate at best. I was pushed to have this surgery years ago, when I was probably in the best shape of my life and maybe 40 lbs. overweight (and very fit). I don't think that's appropriate, either. I have an internet friend who just went through this surgery, and has had about every complication in the book plus mostly has not lost weight... and you only have to look at what she's gone through to recognize what a courageous choice this is for some people.

But I don't want to do it, not now; I don't want Michael to do it, not now, and I believe that we can do this together and without surgery. And I am angry as hell at the idea that it might not be true, that I'm naive to think that. I am so angry. We have come so far in the last two years, and I know that no one knows that, no one can see it the way that we can, but still. Everything has changed. Well, ok, not everything... but enough things, enough so the whole "relationship with food" thing feels different. Enough that I can see down the road to this being different. Enough that I'm not willing to give up on being able to do this, not yet. Enough that I resent like hell having someone tell me that her way is the only way, or that I'm being a fool to think something else.

Sigh. I know, get over it, move on. And life just does that... today I managed to pull my laptop onto the floor and kill the hard drive; I'm working from the last backup, in early February. Not too much loss really, mostly annoying rather than a huge disaster, but the thing I am really sorry to lose? The detailed weight statistics I've kept since the beginning of the year... months of data, just gone. Oh, well. There's nothing really to do except shrug, be glad there was a February backup, and be sorry that you didn't back up more frequently.

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