Community Criticism

On May 5, 2010, in Uncategorized, by Andrea

Mirror mirror on the wall..

“Failure is a part of life. The most important part. It’s the part that teaches us things, and it’s the part that hurts.”  – Marshall Mann

In just a few days’ time, I’ve been reminded of the power of our community criticism and how much it can hinder others along the same path.

The first hint was a post in which an early-out is criticizing the food quantity of a long-term post-op (and thus adding the superior “and she wonders why her tool isn’t working for her?” comment).  Another fairly early-out joined the bandwagon.

I let it mull, and sat on my hands in the end.  Better part of valor and all that.

But then.  Last night.  Beth, aka Melting Mama, got a smack down by a complete and moronic idiot who’s parting shot was that she needed a “Thorazine Big Gulp” for all of her bitter and sarcastic whining for calling her WLS a failure on  Beth’s own personal blog.  I suppose Beth should have known better since, you know, there are people that might not have the ability to be adults and click the little “X” up in the top right corner of the screen and she should learn how to temper her “voice” about her opinion on her OWN PERSONAL BLOG just in case there are idiots who can’t figure out how to, you know, be adults.

Straw.  Camel.  Back.

But heeding husband’s advice, I did sit on hands for an entire couple of hours and did not post in immediate upset.

Instead, I let it fester.  And blister.  And slow boil.

Let’s face some inaccuracies in Miss Thorazine’s argument (in case, you know, that you’re reading MY personal blog):

  1. Only roughly 30% of RNYers dump on sugar or fats.  Combined.  Most of that is on sugars, but the number is a combined total.  That means that 70% can tolerate sugar with no ill effects.  So the following “when you have a stomach that only holds a couple ounces and cant handle sugar it is impossible to regain…..” is bullshit.
  2. Adding to that little bit of only holding a couple of ounces?  Listen up boys and girls — if you did not know this before, you’re going to hear it now:  Your pouch will not stay at 1-2oz for life.  It will grow to 8-10 oz over the course of 12-18 months.  End of story.  You WILL be able to eat a hamburger, some fries, and drink again.  You WILL be able to have a few slices of pizza.  You WILL be able to eat at a restaurant without the wait staff asking you if the food was bad.  You will NOT always look like a surgically-altered freak when you eat.  If you can’t handle this now?  Go to therapy.
  3. You will be hungry again.  Period.  And you will want to eat.  And you WILL eat carbs again.  Saying you will NEVER have sugar, or bread, or whatever again?  Sure you will.  We all will.  We were fat for a reason and you will have it at least once more.  End of story.
  4. Saying you’ve lost x amount of weight forever?  Sets you up for failure in both your mind and others.  I love the enthusiasm, but regain is VERY possible, even probable in many people.  So if it happens, how are you going to feel if that scale creeps up?  It sucks.  I’ve been there.  And it’s likely that someone who’s reading this right now will also have a regain.  It’s a statistical thing.

So let me tell you — this judgement?  From our own community?  Is probably the worst thing.

It’s one thing for the outsiders to say “See?  I knew she couldn’t do it even with a stapled stomach.  What a fat loser.”  Yeah, it hurts.  Sure it does.  Who wouldn’t it hurt?  Yeah, we make jokes, cover it up, pretend that it doesn’t.  At least I have.  At least I do.

But in our own community?  These people — people who have walked the same walk that you’ve walked, had the same problems that you’ve had?  And now rather than help you are now laughing at you?  Pointing their fingers at you?  Telling you about how horrible you are for failing?  For, you know, being human?  Many of which are baby post-ops who have not had the first hunger pangs post-op yet, are still riding high on the euphoria of their massive “I’m losing weight just by blinking” stages, or haven’t had their first blood sugar crash yet.  These are people who, rather than say “What can I do to help you get back on track?” they point and say “What a loser, even stapling your stomach proves you are unable to even control your eating appropriately.”

Sometimes there are valid reasons for a regain — there are mechanical failures, medications that cause the feelings of insatiability,  severe emotional distress, or simply a lack of education.  Perhaps finding out what’s going on before making judgments would be wise — but then again, that would be too compassionate, wouldn’t it?

I honestly hope everyone has a successful WLS and that they don’t have the problems I’ve had, or that Beth has had.  Hypoglycemia blows, my NCS sucks ass, and the fact that Beth can’t drive due to her post-WLS seizure disorder makes me thankful I have it as easy as I do.  I wouldn’t wish these on ANY post-op.  But if we didn’t talk about these things, then people wouldn’t know they were possibilities because you know the docs aren’t even mentioning them as possible complications.

But if you do have one of these things happen, or God forbid a regain, I hope you find some more compassion than what I’ve seen exhibited of late.  Because eventually, you too might need some support.

As for that quote up at top, let me put some context behind it.  Miss Thorazine called Beth a WLS Failure because, I can only assume, Beth has had some regain.  So, by the same token, I can be a WLS failure as well.  However, statistically, we are not.  I can do the math if you want, but won’t right now.  Point is, she’s calling Beth a failure in light of everything that Beth has gone through and I laugh at that.  So there’s a funny there.  But!  We cannot grow and learn from something unless we fail at something.

I failed for YEARS at losing weight — and thus had the surgery.  I still fail at stuff every day.  And I still learn stuff everyday.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t grow, wouldn’t learn.  Failing, and thus learning, is how I continue to be me.

And if you don’t like being a failure?  Then you’re not looking at it the right way.

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17 Responses to “Community Criticism”

  1. Ruby Sue Robinson says:

    Lot of very good knowledge…

  2. MacMadame says:

    I get so frustrated at both the “X pounds gone forever” and “I’ll never be able to eat that much again” posts by newbies.

    The first seems to me to be tempting fate and also reminds me of people who close their eyes, stick their fingers in their ears and say “lalalala I can’t HEAR you” when the subject of regain comes up.

    The second seems like that person thinks their surgery is going to do ALL the work for them. I hope that’s not true and they are just being naive and they understand that they are going to have to make changes in order to maintain.

    But I know from experience that it’s quite possible to eat as much as I used to with my sleeve. That’s because I do eat as much as I used to. I’m a lot more active and now those same calories support a 115 lb. body instead of a 223 lb. body. But I’m still eating 2000 calories a day. I have friends with WLS who workout more than me (and are guys) who eat 3000 calories a day.

    So, if we can do it, Ms. Will Only Go to the Gym Until the Second she makes Goal, who is 3 months out and thinks she’ll never be able to eat more than 1200 calories a day again, can do it. Only she’ll gain on that amount of calories.

    People need to be aware of this and realize that getting surgery is not enough. It’s the first step, not the last step.

  3. Christina says:

    Excellent Post ! Should be required reading for everyone posting on a WLS forum or blog.

  4. Well said! I, too have been fighting the urge to post about this. The little “x” is a powerful tool that grown adults can use just as easily as children – I’ll be happy to provide a lesson on how to use the “x” button for any who don’t understand :) I find it a terrible thing to criticize anyone who gains weight (surgically altered freak or not). If you have to eat often to maintain a stable blood sugar (as I do), regain is very possible even when “following all the rules”. If obesity is the last “acceptable” form of discrimination and we want that to change, ALL of the members of the WLS community must be accepting and understanding of each other, use the “x” button and learn not to be so critical of others.

    I appreciate our sista in WLS (Beth/MM)’s candid honesty and enjoy her site – and her hubby is cute, too!

  5. Lisa says:

    Thanks for posting this.. I really wish people would read this and take it to heart- pre-op, newly post op, AND vets. I think there is a lot of valuable information here for all people regardless of where they are at in the process. I commend both you and Beth (aka MM) for “putting your business out there” and being real and honest with people about the lesser talked about side of WLS (complications, re-gain, etc).

  6. Dana (cajungirl) says:

    Well said Andrea! There are people in “our little world” that are still experiencing the euphoria of being new out of WLS. I see so many that either 1) have their head stuck up there *#%; OR 2) don’t want to consider where they will be further out.

    I’m thankful for people like Beth, you, Vitalady that share your experiences and knowledge with all of us.

    Knowledge is powerful, learning is necessary, post-op life is a continuous journey of learning…..when we stop gathering information I think we’ll be in a heap of trouble. In the 5 years I’ve been post-op I’ve learned a hell of a lot more than I knew going into this.

    Peeps better get their heads out of their asses before they eat crap later on.

  7. Diva Taunia says:

    A-freakin’ men.

    Absolutely appauling – the entire thing. And this is a continual theme that’s happening more and more within our community. (In fact, a few weeks ago I wrote a similiar post:

    It never ceases to amaze me how quickly some people are to pass judgement. Everyone screws up. Everyone cheats. Everyone gains at least a few lbs back. It would have been one thing if this girl wrote that review and then kept her mouth shut, but the shitstorm on Facebook? GOOD GOD.

  8. Lynnda @BTV says:

    Awesome post! Very timely and oh so true!

  9. nessa says:

    newbie here… but I am not sure I count… I can’t STAND the X pounds gone forever posts. I can’t stand the “I’ll never eat this again” posts. and I can’t stand the self righteous folks who scoff at my 130g of CARBS a day.

    I think that my experience with being a long term success will partially be from the knowledge I’ve gleaned from folks like YOU and BETH who paved the trenches for me, who support me, nurture me and hold my hand when I’m stupid….

  10. michelle.sluszka says:

    Andrea, you just have a magic way of saying things perfectly. Brava.
    And I’m seeing my new therapist tomorrow. :) So, I guess I’m a failure too.

  11. Rebecca says:

    Brava! And thank you so SO much for all you (and Beth) do every day for those of us following.

  12. BJ says:

    Very well put Andrea. I appreciate your informed and considerate view of WLS surgery and life. I consider myself a WLS success even as I’m sitting here eating a sweet roll with my Click laced coffee. I enjoy reading about the personal journeys of other WLSers good and bad, extremely successful or not so successful. Success itself is a very personal and individual thing. And failure, well failing at something still doesn’t define who I am or who anyone else is. As you said, it’s part of life.

    Thankfully, I’ve been able to maintain my weight loss of 100 lbs. within a 5-10 lb. range. And as you well know, EVERY day is a challenge. Dangit! I want it to be EASY again! I can eat “normal” sized portions and sometimes more, I very RARELY dump, although when I do, it’s usually not a surprise and probably well-deserved and serves as a reminder. I feel so fortunate not to have experienced the issues that Beth and many others are experiencing every day. Am I always in control of my eating and what goes in my mouth?? Ha, Ha, Ha, Ha (*(*$#)+++!!!!! (Sorry, my fingers are a little sticky from the huge sweet roll). I’m not sure how some of these people have the TIME or ENERGY to spend judging and evaluating everyone else’s journey. It’s all I can do to keep track of myself. Thank heaven for people like you and Beth who provide a candid and not always pleasant view of life, not only for WLSer’s but anyone who struggles with their weight. Darn, I just dropped my M&M’s on the floor.

    Thank you for your view of the world!

  13. jcwisor says:

    Well as a newbie I would like to apologize for the other newbies OBVIOUS ignorance. I would also like to state clearly and on the record that whenever I see your advice or melting mama’s advice that is when I stop and pay closer attention. You guys are awesome and even though I can understand your frustration and annoyance that person is an idiot and letting her get to you isn’t worthy of your time or energy. =)

  14. Andrea says:

    I don’t think you understand the life that these people have taken this on Facebook — including THREATS. It has gotten completely out of hand and beyond ridiculous. It’s very sad to see others treat their peers like this — especially when it is supposedly adults treating fellow adults in such a fashion. It is reminiscent of the playground bullies laughing at the fat kids back in my childhood — Welcome to Bariatric Kindergarten, where we can pull on your pigtails, call you names, and then threaten you all in the same breath!

  15. Becky Fen0gli0 says:

    Hi Andrea,
    I read this yesterday on MM’s blog. Very insightful and very real. I followed much of what was happening yesterday and it is truly shocking. Once again, well done on your well thought out and written.
    Today I “failed” and ate a whole plain bagel and cheese fries at Dennys.(I am only 3 moths out). However, for the most part of the day I did great and the last week was awesome. Stuff happens. I react the only way I know how. -

  16. Jennifer Mikkelson says:

    I have seen your posts on OH many times and always thought you were a smart and articulate woman…after reading your blog I am even more impressed! I agree with you 100% I am a newB :) But I do have the good sense to listen to you veterans out there and I want to thank you for being so helpful all the time. Terrific blog!

  17. Lady Lithia says:

    I always feel a twinge of uneasiness when someone says “gone forever”…. It’s especially mind-boggling because I see folks who had surgery AFTER me who are BACK and ‘fessing up that they’ve had massive regains. YIKES…. I must be one of the “lucky” ones because I’m sure not doing anything MAGICKAL to keep the weight OFF, and I’m guessing some of those people did a LOT more than me at every step of their journey. It’s a disease, and some have more thorough cures than others…. but that doesn’t make into heros those who have greater success…. they just got the good roll of the dice. Luck. Genetics. Now excuse me while I go polish off some Halloween candy and then dump afterwards.

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