03/25/2012 by Yvonne McCarthy • 16 Comments | Leave a Comment »
Carnie Wilson is the reason I had weight loss surgery. Some of us affectionately call each other Carnie babies. My surgery was about a year after hers. In 2000 there was no aftercare and maybe a couple of places you could even discuss it online. We forget how much ridicule Carnie had to endure going first and going so publicly. The moment I heard about gastric bypass I made the first available appointment for a consultation. I literally did fifteen minutes of research.
Now Carnie has decided to have a second surgery twelve years later and the comments under the online articles are so incredibly cruel. Not only from the “normies” (as I certainly expected) but also from the weight loss surgery community. Revisions are very common so we should be accustomed to those. Many of us regain so we should be accustomed to that too. At the very least if you don’t have something kind to say… don’t say it. We have enough problem fighting the stigma of WLS without our own community helping. Since I have been volunteering for many years I’ve noticed some particular circumstances that seem to cause regain. In no particular order:
1. Having babies. Almost every woman who has a baby after WLS fights regain.
2. Not being educated properly about the psychological aspects of our disease.
3. Being super morbidly obese before surgery. It’s just plain harder for those folks.
4. Being a woman. (Men have a far superior metabolism)
Carnie also has to do it in the public eye. How well would you do if after your surgery paparazzi was there every time you left your house to record every pound regained or lost? I would have crumbled. She went first so the process was a little easier for the rest of us and yet some of us pound her at the first opportunity.
She deserves to be happy with her decision. I don’t know anyone who is perfect enough to throw stones so let’s give her another chance to be healthy and avoid diabetes. I’ve never seen it in the “WLS life rules” that you don’t get another chance. I would really appreciate some support for her in the People magazine online article linked below. People Magazine has particularly not given us much of a chance because every time they publish the “Half Their Size” issue we are intentionally left out. The cover says “no surgery, no gimmicks”. Aren’t you happy to know we used a gimmick?
Thanks in advance for voicing your support.
Thanks in advance for not posting if you are against giving her support.
We are so strong when we pull together and nothing would make me happier than People Magazine hearing us roar!
03/18/2012 by Yvonne McCarthy • 9 Comments | Leave a Comment »
In December of 2010, I wrote about a very special friend of mine named Gina.
Many times I reference this blog post when someone asks for help with regain. I cannot even begin to count the times I’ve shared it and so often I wonder if it ever makes a difference. Maybe it does and I don’t find out. Yesterday someone told me it made a difference and I want to share what she said. Of course if you go to the post linked in the first sentence you will find all of the comments.
It’s lengthy but I think it’s worth the read because you see the light bulb come on. Oh….and then there’s the part where this helps both Gina and I in ways I can’t possibly explain. I hope you’ll read the original post and in particular I hope you’ll watch the video. Gina is a trip and she’ll make you laugh out loud!
“WOW!!! This was just what I needed!!! Thank you so much for directing me to your site and your friend Gina! I watched that video and read her story and saw myself! I was 300 lbs. before my surgery June 29, 2004. I lost 120 lbs that first year and another 20lbs the second year post op. I worked that program perfectly for 2 years and was like a new person… 140lbs down and wearing a size 10 from a 24/26! The attention I was getting from men was amazing! I actually had men holding the door for me and pouring coffee for me at the local 7-11! WHAT! At 300lbs I had been invisable! How you can be so large yet see through, unbelievable, but at 160lbs, all eyes were on me when I went out and the attention I was getting felt awesome for the first time in my life. The more confident I got, the more I slowly started to test the waters of my pouch. Hmmm, I can eat the cheese & sauce off the izza, lets see if I can handle the crust. WOW, it causes some discomfort, but not too bad. I just ate crust and cheese for a few months and then thought I’d test again! Lets add the rest of the slice. Not bad! Kept it down! Gradually testing for 3 years eventually led to being able to eat 2 full slices. I continued to play the “Lets see” game which resulted in a 42 pound weight gain and feeling inside me that were worse than before I had surgery. I did maintain a 100 lb loss, but I slowly watched that 42 pounds creep back on. I went from size 10 slowly back to buying 12s and now 14s which are tight!!! I refuse to buy a 16! Well, feeling totally out of control, addicted to carbs, snacking and grazing nonstop, and an emotional basket case, I felt it was too late. I had life threatening surgery & took advantage of that gift! I lost 140 pounds and took it for granted! I THOUGHT it was too late! A surgeon told me I needed another surgery… lap band over my gastric bypass pouch!! WHAT!!! No!!! I know in my heart & this is a quote from Gina that rang so true to me, “The only revision I need was revision of my mind!!!” With that said, last weekend I spent reaching out to anyone and everyone online who had experience with WLS weight regain. I spent the weekend preparing my house & fridge with everything I needed to get back on track. Well, I am happy to report that after only 5 days back on track, I have regained control and lost 6.2 pounds over the past 5 days! I know this is the beginning, but after reading about Gina and watching that interview, I KNOW it is possible to lose the weight I regained plus more to get to my goal! I am 8 years post-op, but thats ok. I CAN DO IT!!! With your support. Thanks so much!”
My response to her:
Denise I don’t know how I can thank you enough. There are days that aren’t pretty when I put all this information out there. I knew it would happen but the entire reason I do it is right here….today. You made me cry. I’m going to tell Gina to make sure and read your response too. I have used her quote so many times. Actually I use two of them. The other one is “a trained monkey can do the first year”. Do you realize that 6.2 pounds is getting close to 1/4 of your regain and you did that in a week! Keep your carbs under 100 grams a day and it will come off faster. Eat veggies and fruit too. Oh and the reason you weren’t invisible anymore is not because of your size. I’ll let you in a little secret. When we lose the weight and start feeling better about ourselves we become more approachable. When we feel badly about ourselves we give off an air of “leave me alone”. It’s not that you were invisible….it’s just that every cell in your body felt worthless and you didn’t want to be bothered or noticed by anyone you considered worthy. I’m so proud of you because you won’t buy an 18!! You’ve drawn your line in the sand. Welcome to Gina’s world!
“DENISE..okay..now I’M crying!!! I got a text from YVONNE, this morning, telling me to check my e-mail, but I am out of town, visiting our friends’ support group, 3 hrs away, and just now home, to the computer..and I am just blown away, that someone is getting something out the interviews Y and I did so long ago. To update you, I am now a little over a month shy of 10 year post op, and DID reach “goal” by my 9th surgiversary, and DID complete another half-marathon. Every day is a new struggle-adventure, but I am 200% HEALTHIER than I was 10 years ago. I am more impressed by YOUR efforts, and what you have described, in your post, than I can begin to tell you. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE keep in touch. You can find me on Facebook, thru Yvonne’s friends-or just look me up-Gina Derr Robinson–You CAN do this!!!!”
“OK, now you BOTH have me crying!!! I don’t even know you and you have both given me more than you can imagine… the hope and reassurance I desperately needed. THANK YOU SO MUCH! Congratulations Gina on reaching your goal!!! I can’t believe you have been running 1/2 marathons too. WOW YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION! I will be 8 years post op in June, so I hope that I can follow in your footsteps and be at my goal by my 9 year post op anniversary as well! My first goal is to lose the remaining 36 pounds I regained by my 45th birthday in September. I will keep you posted. Yvonne really made me feel a sense of relief with her statement that I have lost almost 1/4 of my regain in a week. Looking at it that way makes my first goal definately seem reachable! Thank you both again!”
I’m so glad you got that Denise! (about losing almost 1/4 of your regain). I constantly tell people to put it in perspective. Don’t make the regain into a monster you can’t fight. You just chopped off 1/4 of that monster in a week! Stay motivated and when you come up against a wall or slip down DO NOT FEEL SHAME! Shame sucks the life out of us. Put that in perspective too. I’ve done great for 30 days and I mess up one day. What can you do? You can beat yourself up about something that’s happened in the past (something you cannot change) or you can get back on the horse and start riding toward that place you want in life. No one is perfect.
I am told by some that I am an inspiration. I believe the people like Gina and you and the ones that turn around the regain are the inspiration. I’d love for you to read some other parts of my blog. I’ll send you a list of some. I’m so impressed you watched the video of Gina and I. She’s so smart and so funny and we’ve known each other for 7 years. I love her so much and I can’t thank her enough for putting her story out there so that people like you can be helped.
“DENISE-your additional comment could have been written by me-AGAIN..lol..Just yesterday I was telling peeps, at a support group, about when I FINALLY made up up my mind to get a handle on my “brain revision”. I had “kept off” over maybe 60 lbs, and needed to give myself POSITVIE CREDIT for that< so I put on my “surgery day” clothes, and had my sister take a pic of it. I used it as my screen saver, for a long time. Pictures can’t lie, the way our mirrors can. It helped to understand I was not a TOTAL FAILURE, and that all was not lost (pardon the pun!)..Also–I never want to misrepresent myself–so to calrify–I did not RUN all those miles–I walked/lurched/almost CRAWLED a few..but I did FINISH..I have a shirt that says “The winners are not only are at the FINISH line-they are also at the STARTING line”. I love that!!”
So thank you Denise.
Thank you Gina.
You both made my day and you reminded me of why I do what I do…
02/29/2012 by Yvonne McCarthy • 30 Comments | Leave a Comment »
Did she have weight loss surgery?
Will we ever know for sure?
I doubt it.
Here are the reasons I think she did. First of all she has diabetes. We all know that many post-ops are no longer diabetic before they leave the hospital and that would be an excellent reason for her to make this choice. Of course the only problem with that is her new gig for a diabetic drug. Can she represent a product she no longer needs? I don’t think so and that would be the primary reason I believe we will never truly find out.
The second and most obvious hint is the rapid weight loss. OK guys we’ve all done extreme diets and couldn’t get results like that. She attributes the thinner body to portion control. If I’m wrong about this I will apologize profusely….but I don’t think I’m wrong.
The third hint is that statement about “Oh I don’t know how much I’ve lost because there are no scales in the house”. She admits to losing two pant sizes. If she were to have to admit the exact amount of pounds we could put a pencil to it and say “yep that’s surgery”.
At first I was upset because I thought this was yet again another example of WLS shame. Star Jones tried so hard to hide her decision because she didn’t want to be a poster child and it failed miserably. We also hide it because we are afraid we will fail and the stigma is still so alive and well.
Paula has a bigger reason to hide it. She’s being paid the big bucks to promote a drug.
This is just food for thought but I’ve got a feeling we’ll find out where Jimmy Hoffa is buried before we find out the truth about Paula Deen.
01/24/2012 by Yvonne McCarthy • 27 Comments | Leave a Comment »
I think I’m dreaming.
Please don’t pinch me and wake me up!
Yesterday history was made when Dr. Oz did a positive show on gastric bypass surgery. Lap banders he did a show for you a few months ago and I posted about that here.
Of course I expected the very vocal anti-surgery types but I was a little surprised at how many pro-surgery people picked it apart. I had to remind myself that many post-ops are fairly new and don’t remember the years of abuse we have suffered from other talk show hosts. I’ve blogged many times about Oprah and even Dr. Phil who is kind of half and half on the subject (one of his nephews had the surgery). I’ve blogged about People magazine that won’t include us in “women half their size” because they say “no surgery, no gimmicks”. I’ve offered articles about great weight loss stories to many magazines but they don’t want weight loss surgery content. The list is endless. The stigma is alive and well.
When I read the description of the show I thought it was a trick. It was called The most under performed surgery you should be getting. A Dr. Oz special report on how to lose weight instantly, prevent heart disease, cancer and even reverse diabetes overnight with a surgical procedure. After reading it about ten times and peeling myself off the floor I was jazzed. Dr. Oz usually has a pro and con professional but this time he only had positive professionals. The only post-ops were one woman who was four years out and had done well and another who was ten years out that hadn’t. The woman that hadn’t done well had three children after surgery and said she gained with each pregnancy. I’d say that’s pretty common under any circumstances. More power to post-op women after pregnancy who keep the weight off because I’m not sure how well I would have done.
Let’s remember that just because he didn’t cover other surgeries, cross addiction, and the many other possibilities that it’s at least a beginning. He did cover lifestyle changes and vitamins. Instead of complaining about the show why don’t you write Dr. Oz and ask for specific subjects to be covered? I’m very close to many people in AA and one of my favorite sayings about addicts is “you could ask one of us to a birthday party the wrong way”. That translates to no matter what is said someone will find fault in it. This surgery basically cures diabetes and we will be paying for years treating the disease instead of stopping it or at least slowing it down. We all know post-ops that have had various levels of complications but they are in the minority and most of the post-ops I talk to say they would do it all over again. Having the surgery is a personal choice and I’m tired of being criticized for taking the easy way out. I’m healthy for the first time in my life and it shouldn’t matter how I did it as long as I didn’t damage myself.
I can’t convince you to like this show, the content, or Dr. Oz but I believe this is one great step for man and one great leap for mankind. (Thanks Neil Armstrong)
12/14/2011 by Yvonne McCarthy • 2 Comments | Leave a Comment »
Who is Bariatric Girl?
Musician, Artist, Photographer,computer geek and weight loss surgery aficionado. On March 30th, 2001, I had weight loss surgery weighing in at 260 pounds. Since that day I have lost and maintained a 130 pound loss. Yoga and walking my dog were the only exercise I was getting until I started with an instructor and creator of "Body Juggling". Click on the picture on the bottom of this page and it will take you to the site. Read More »