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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"Why Are We So Misinformed?".

I read a post on a board this morning and it was entitled "Why Are We So Misinformed?". Here's what the poster said:

The more I read the more I get bothered for us all about how much we dont know before and after surgery.

I, myself, dont even know when my surgery is(I had to put in a date when I listed my surgeon?), I dont even know who to ask since it seems we all meet many different people throughout all this.

It really is getting frustrating. There are so many people on here that dont know what to eat when they get home, what to do, or even before WLS, they have many unanswered questions.

Is anyone else frustrated and bothered by how little we dont know, and how noone even tells us who to ask???

And I'll be honest. The post IRKED me to no end. Basically this person is EXPECTING other people to tell her about surgery. I find this is often the case in my support group too. People come in with no information. They don't want to be advocates for themselves. They go strictly by the information given by the doctors and are like sheep just following the masses, waiting to be told things on a need to know basis.

While I realize that there are some people that perhaps don't have a skill set that may allow them to access information (perhaps not online, illiterate etc) I believe that most people should have the skill set needed to investigate, to ask, to research, or in the very least, to read a couple of books about Weight Loss Surgery. I believe that everyone should at least own a copy of a book or two. I always suggest Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies as a good beginner tool. I know that most people are not going to be as crazy as me and read study after study, but I do think that with a life changing surgery, everyone should be doing some reading to learn and study their surgery.

There should almost be a test on terms, basic ideas of surgery, basic complications. I shudder when I hear people, 3 weeks out say "What's a stricture?". In this day and age there is SO MUCH out there. All one has to do is LOOK FOR IT!! To Google it for goodness sakes.

This topic reminds me of the conversation that I had last night with my friend and walking buddy from my support group. She is a quiet gal, who doesn't always say much at our meetings  but here's the thing, she had surgery 11 flippin years ago.

11 years ago!!!

I can tell you that five years ago, information wasn't as easily available as it is today to come across. Back then, when I had surgery, there were literally a handful of books to buy and some sites - not a ton of personal ones though - about bariatric surgery. Thank goodness for because that one at the time was the best (and still is in my opinion!).

Anyway, when my friend had her surgery 11 years ago, she got nothing in the way of information. Basically the information was to stay away from "Sugar, fatty foods and pop". She had no instruction on post op care, no information of complications (she had no idea of strictures until she came to our group many, many years later). They did not tell her to stay away from NSAIDS. They did not tell her to take any vitamins. There was very little information given to her.

And yet, she did amazingly well. 11 years out and she'd like to lose a few more pounds but she is still in a good place with her weight and eating. She was a success DESPITE her program and I'd venture to say that probably a lot of patients back then were not as successful.

She's amazed by how much information newbies get. She wishes she'd had the supportive network that they have. She never had any kind of follow up care. She's envious that there are so many great resources for newbies to have now when she didn't get any. Not even a support group in her area when she was out. She was like an "island" and the only person that she knew after surgery that her surgery was HERSELF!

I'm in awe of the woman for this reason.

But this day and age, no one has a reason to be uninformed. It is now a choice. This is the INFORMATION AGE. Use it. Study your surgery, know it inside and out. Know every term from strictures to foamies to NSAIDS. Learn about reactive hypoglycemia (so you can catch it if you get it), all complications (especially those that are common), vitamins, exercise, strength training and all things to do with physical fitness (basal metabolism, learn about the different types of surgery and what is covered in your area because some surgeries are better for different people than others. YOU MUST BE AN ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF.

Don't assume that your doctor is going to remember the "no nsaid" rule everytime s/he gives you an NSAID.

Don't assume that doctors are going to procedures that are in your best interest. (Like the lady who 2 weeks out was going to get a scope had she not stood up to her emergency room doctor and said, "I can't have one this early out!".

LEARN, READ and learn some more ;)

So my only response to the lady who asked the question "Why are we so misinformed?".
is very simple.

It's a choice. I wasn't. Are you?


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