I got the first wave of bills from my health insurer yesterday for my vacation in the neurology unit at my hospital. We have a 90/10 plan, so, yeah... seven days. That's a lot of money. While I left the hospital and immediately enjoyed 15 days seizure-free on new medication, the seizures came BACK. I am now back in my regular pattern of complex partial seizures every 3-7 days, including this morning at 6am. "Yay."
I just emailed my neurologist to let him know, when I noted that my EEG results were online. I suppose you will believe me NOW?
I have said it for years -- as morbidly obese individuals -- we can be stunted, socially -- often at the age we became obese. Whatever the cause of the obesity -- things get STUCK. Some morbidly obese persons go through teenage-hood missing out on a lot of the social norms and live out these opportunities as an adult, after weight loss surgery. They lose the weight, and come out of their shells, literally. It can be an amazing time for some people! HELLO PUBERTY FOR THE SECOND TIME!
The blogger says,
"Thus, when people lose a lot of weight, they often go back and try to relive their high school experiences – and that means forming exclusive/non-inclusive cliques, gossiping, causing drama, putting others down, being promiscuous, dressing provocatively, being stuck-up, getting drunk, taking risks, or just being a rebel."
So we sort of agree. I suppose a few of those shoes fit. I'm a motherfucking rebel, yo. Look at me, avoiding my laundry pile. Rawr.
Though I did not experience the whole LIVE LIFE ALL OVER AGAIN myself, it's because I did not spend a long time at my largest size, and I do not feel that I was slighted any of my childhood or teenager hood and I have nothing to prove. I am simply pleased to be at a normal size, and I am the same exact person I was prior to losing weight.
I also don't feel compelled to GO TO MY PROM AND GET A BOYFRIEND OMGZ! I did all that. I did not miss out. I do not see the draw of doing it all again. I don't care if you missed out the first time, get over it and grow up.
I was not in any cliques in high school nor now. I was an anti-clique type of person, and I am still firmly planted there.
What is a clique -
A powerful, yet unstable social hierarchy structures interactions between Group Members in any given clique, always topped by the highest-status member, labeled by psychologists as the “Leader” or “Queen Bee.” In her now famous ethnography of adolescent cliques, ‘’Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends & Other Realities of Adolescence,’’ author Rosalind Wiseman explains the standard set of roles most frequently adopted by male and female clique members.
Sidekick – Lieutenant: invariably supports the Queen Bee’s opinions
Banker – Gossip: collects and employs information for her own gain
Floater – Similar to a Liaison; closely associated with multiple cliques
Pleaser – Can be in or out of clique: immediately adopts all of the Queen Bee and Sidekick’s opinions, yet never gains their approval
Target – Outside of the clique; regularly excluded and humiliated
Leader – Like the Queen Bee except well-respected: Athletic, tough, rich, & gets the girls.
Flunkie – Like the Pleaser, he does anything asked of him, but he also responds to any member. Inadvertently annoys others with his actions regularly.
Thug – Although often smarter than he lets on, the Thug communicates primarily through nonverbal bullying. He typically appears popular, but may not actually be well-liked or respected.
The Get Wits – Groupies of male clique: respected by adults as high-achieving “good kids,” but only unsought tagalongs to the clique.
I am a love-all, seek-all, exclude no one type of person. I still am.
My high-school friends were often on the fringes, sometimes they were oddball types and often very, very smart individuals. My friends were typically quite opposite of me - MENSA IQ type people with extraordinary brain skills and socially awkward, quiet and otherwise unlike me. To this day, I seem to attract these types of people. Some of the best friends I've had have been my opposites.
In high school, my friends came to me because they saw something in me that brought out the better parts of them. I was outwardly expressive and made them lighten up. I was funny, and fun to be with. I would like to think I am still the same. I would also hope they saw empathy and understanding.
In regards to the above blog post, if I take it literally (which I know isn't the way it was meant...) I *was a marching band geek, I was in Marketing/DECA (You are looking at the National Retail Management Delegate for 1994 and 1995 right. here, baby..) I was in Student Council, as a Marketing Delegate, wanted desperately to do Yearbook Work, etc. etc... and... I ... uh... hated the cheerleaders and jocks.
I... uh... still sort of do. Sorry. I loathe the cheerleader mentality.
Hey, give me a break here - many of them bitches were MEAN GIRLS.
Have you ever had spitballs thrown in your hair or pennies tossed at you just because of Who You Were? Well, it sucks. It hurts. And WHY on earth would we want to GO BACK THERE?
*think about it*
We'd never throw anything BACK, but hell if we didn't WANT TO.
I may have gotten a kid or two suspended for saying nasty things to me and I fought back once or twice. I admit my fails and I still fail all the time.
And, you know what?
I REFUSE TO RETURN TO THAT KIND OF THINKING OR BEHAVIOR.
We are adults, at least the last time I checked I was -- as my 14 year old reminds me daily that I Am. (Ask HER about Mean Girls. You have no idea how much better "we" had it, ladies. WE DIDN'T HAVE FACEBOOK! We had PAGERS. We passed PAPER. NOTES. Drama traveled sloooowly!) I LOATHE TEENAGE GIRL BEHAVIOR AND WANT NOTHING OF IT. Sorry, dear 14 year old daughter, but you are not the typical teenager, and I thank my lucky stars. (Seriously, go ask YOUR 13-16 year old daughter about girl-drama. Go. Ask her to log in to her Facebook and look at her friend-feed. It is DISGUSTING.)
Here I am an old 33 year old broad, a YouTuber, a blogger, a semi-decent "marketer," the founder of a group self-titled "Bariatric Bad Girls," in the very community the blogger above is lining up into classes and cliques and URLS.
I fit into almost every clique - class - category of that blog post.
Why do I feel like I need to classify myself now? I did not know that we had cliques, classes or labels.
I do not fit in any of the categories listed. Square peg here. Round hole. I break holes.
What about the group of 1060 individuals I chat with every single day, many of who fail to fit in ANY category?
What about many of those inviduals who have been EXCLUDED from other "social opportunities?"
Where do they go for, in this case, social support after bariatric surgery?
My particular online group contains such a wide variety of humans, seriously, we are the craziest high-school you've ever seen. We house 1060 bariatric patients, many who have been shunned by the mainstream or "popular" kids, and we are inclusive of any and all types of people in all kinds of situations.
Now, I do not want to assume the following is pointing a finger at my group, but ... the shoe.... feels bad... really sick to my gut ... bad. I don't know if it has got a thing to do with *us* but there aren't many big groups out there in this community, there are many small groups, countless very small ones, I'm just feeling the... post and it stabs -
Via Gastric Bypass Barbie - Bariatric Afterlife -
"All of the “glorious” parts of high school come roaring back in the Bariatric After Life, and that can be a slap in the face to witness for people just beginning their journeys. When they first set foot in the online WLS community, they can feel judged, put down and excluded…all over again, and when that happens, they sometimes latch onto the first group of people who pay them any kind of attention, regardless of whether it’s a good or healthy fit because (they reason), it’s better to belong to A GROUP, than NO GROUP – no matter how unhealthy that group might be. We’re human and desperately want to be accepted. It’s how we’re made!
Of course this makes me sad, because I want everyone to believe strongly enough in their own value that they make healthy choices in friendships and behaviors. I don’t want people to settle for what they can get. I want them to blaze their own trails and create their own successes.
Unfortunately, peer pressure is alive and well in our community and it is, perhaps, even more potent than it was when we were teens because, NOW, we are all adults…and that means it’s incredibly easy to justify bad behavior in the name of “choice.”"
I just said it in my group -- if you FEEL THAT WAY -- feel that we are AT ALL a bad fit, a bad influence? You do not belong in the group -- NO GROUP should make you feel that way. The door is open, please leave! Man. There's no need to feel bad!
Sadly enough, it's about being EXCLUDED, which feels like SHIT. It burns. It's another penny being thrown at the back of my head because We're Not Good Enough.
I'd have posted this to you on your page, butcha unfriended me.
I went to comment via Twitter, but you blocked me.
This is what burns. Stings.
We are all equals in the same community, we aren't the "bad kids" sitting in detention you know. We're often the kids that haven't got a clique to join. We are inclusive.
We are the unpopulars, the super-geeks, the girl who has to take meds, the kid who sneaks butts, the kid from horticulture class who grows weed on the side, the girl who is the prez of a fan club, the kid who has to watch his little siblings because mom is stoned every night, the kid who plays sports because his mom makes him, the freaky arty kid, the sick kid who left school half-way through the year, the kid who has seizures, the one with the crazy hair that you made fun of, the one who goes to church every day, the one with Aspergers Syndrome, the kid who leaves classes to meet with the School Psychologist, the kid who's mom and dad are from Iraq, the girl who goes home to an empty house everyday, the girl who goes to school in homemade clothes, or the one with no new clothes every year, the kid who has no food at home, the girl with the mom who drinks too much, the pregnant girl, the one who had a baby and you didn't know it, the stoner, that girl who only eats white foods, the one who had surgery when she was little and now has problems, the drinker, the one with the parents who beat the shit out of him, the fat girl, the really fat girl, the reformed bully, the bully who doesn't really admit to being in the group, the gay kid that doesn't know it yet, the girl who likes chicks, the one you heard who did that thing, the Jesus freak, the super freaky kid, the emo kid, the anorexic, the bulimic, the cutter, the kid who tried to commit suicide, etc..etc..so forth and so on... you know...
My friends who NEED SUPPORT because we are not mainstream. We are not popular. There may be some here and there who are super fucking popular in their own ways, in their social standings, or careers, but it's got JACK to do with their standing in a medical weight loss community.
Do people in the heart surgery or brain surgery CREATE CLIQUES? Because if so -- I'mma start me a group called Epileptic Excellents. Damn.
Haven't many of us spent the last 15-20 years of our lives trying to BREAK OUT of the ridiculous high-school categories? Haven't we been trying to come together as adults and beat a common cause? Doesn't it feel gross to be labeled?
But, I will take your advice, Barbie! "Love yourself enough to hang with the winners and risk being unpopular." I am. Fuck haters. I know I will never be "popular" and that is the risk I take for BEING MYSELF. I'm out.
Prior to the event, it was discussed that removing the temptation of having a cash bar from the event might be a smart idea. There were videos made – discussions started – and attendees sounded a bit miffed that there might not be easy access to cash alcohol bars. In the end, we did have bars at the nighttime social parts of the event. The compromise (or close to it...) was to halve the bars, and only have access to half of what the hotel might offer at each event. Even with just one bar, attendees came prepared. Some brought their own drinks in, some drank pre-event and brought drinks in, and some found the bar and some did all.
I heard that the bar drinks were terrible and watered down, but it was obvious that the majority of us were drinking something, regardless of where it came from. I drank as well.
I had one drink at both social events during the meet and greet, a light beer. Light beer is my go-to choice, mostly because it doesn't make me very tipsy, because tipsy for me is no good.
I am eight years and two months post op, and tipsy for me is still no good. It takes just few sips of hard liquor or wine to make me shit-balls drunk at eight years post gastric bypass. I have learned what works for me. And that is pretty much, abstaining from anything with liquor in it unless I am ready to get rolled home. Because being rolled home (or in this case, to your Vegas hotel room... gross!) is neither attractive nor memorable.
And yes, many of you (us... you are my people even if you don't want to admit that!) were rolled, carried, pushed, and shoved back to your rooms last weekend at the event we attended together. Collective "Gasp! Say it isn’t so, Beth! Tell me that bariatric patients do not drink alcohol nor drink to… excess?” They do. And it’s often hushed. (Among most other things. Out of sight, out of mind. Do not kid yourself.)
Estimates on the prevalence of new addictions after weight-loss surgery vary widely. Philip Schauer, director of bariatric surgery at the Cleveland Clinic and current president of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery, estimates that only about 5 percent of bariatric-surgery patients develop a new compulsive behavior after surgery, such as alcoholism, compulsive shopping or smoking. He adds there is no evidence that the new addictions have any direct link to the surgery.
At U.S. Bariatric, a weight-loss surgery center with offices in Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., therapists estimate that roughly 20 percent of patients acquire new addictive behaviors. Melodie Moorehead, a psychologist who spoke at a session during the American Society for Bariatric Surgery Association annual meeting last month, cited preliminary data suggesting that roughly 30 percent of bariatric-surgery patients struggle with new addictions after surgery. But she says the issue requires further study.
One possible reason for the disparity in estimates is that alcohol problems can surface several years after the surgery, when surgeons are no longer tracking patients as closely. And some patients may not see a link between their drinking and the surgery, or report their problem to a surgeon. Roughly 140,000 bariatric surgeries are performed in this country each year.
MM says in her totally un-professional opinion that no one should listen to -- the rates of addiction post WLS are much higher. My non-pro opinion almost everyone develops some type of addiction after weight loss surgery, it's just not obvious to everyone else. Yes, compulsive gum chewing, mint eating, crotcheting/knitting, crafting, internet use, water-loading, calorie counting, exercise... ANYTHING can be an obsession or addiction when it takes over your life and keeps you from taking care of your personal business. "Hi, my name is Beth and I am addicted to caffeine, probably simple carbohydrates and I abuse the internet."
*hangs head in no shame*
"I didn't see any of that. Nah. I was drinking, but I didn't notice anyone else drunk. I deserve some fun... I was taking opiates or painkillers but I didn't see anyone else doing it. I took sleeping pills, someone gave me sleeping pills or muscle relaxants... I was shopping a lot, but... I gambled a lot, but..."
There's a lot of buts in our community, did you notice? "But..." I need, I want, I have to... I ... deserve to.
<--- not guilty party of one. I figure I should lay that out before I get called out on my "eating a mini Gigi's cupcake and having a beer," because I did. Oh, and the most expensive Beef Wellington, ever.
I am the same as everyone else.
It happens every single time, at every single event – conference – get together (for every topic, this is not something unique to the bariatric community) people are human, humans like to drink. We have all been affected in some way by alcohol (and other things...) at events.
However, what IS unique about our particular community is the intensity of the reactions to addictive behaviors. A group of typical people without the “benefit” of weight loss surgery will include individuals with addiction issues, and those without, and those who like to just have a drink in a social situation. It’s normal and typical to see a whole range of reactions to alcohol in a varied group.
But in our community full of people who have had weight loss surgery – there is often so much more history behind why someone might drink, drug, gamble, or even EAT.
• Abused children may eat as a form of coping, a pattern that continues into adulthood.
• Increasing size by gaining weight may offer protection from physical threats.
• Weight gain may repel sexual abusers, and help adults avoid sexual advances.
• People may believe that being fat is socially protective, that society will expect less from and think less of someone who is obese.
• The emotions associated with abuse are thought to lead to higher levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the bloodstream. This can increase appetite.
A study in the Obesity Journal stated that extremely obese bariatric surgery candidates reported rates of maltreatment comparable with those reported by clinical groups and roughly two to three times higher than normative community samples.
Yes, I am fully aware that “not everyone is a food addict,” nor is everyone abused. I am one of the lucky ones. But, I still struggle with the same "stuff it down" issues as many of you. I guarantee that when I get angry hater comments on this post, I will be compelled to get up and go find a snack. I might not follow through, but somewhere deep inside, I am triggered to do just that.
I consider the greatest portion of those of us who have weight loss surgery -- Emotional Eaters, and Emotional Eaters can cause serious caloric damage in many ways. (Do you remember eating a pint of ice cream or a half-bag of potato chips? Do you remember why you were prompted to eat that much at one time? How did you feel?) “We” often move from abusing food (which is what it was… there’s no other way to describe it, honestly…) to abusing other substances or even moving into unhealthy behavior patterns that are just as destructive as food once was.
Certainly, pre-op psychological exams are meant to weed “us” out if we are engaged in self-harmful behaviors prior to having weight loss surgery, but post-ops know how easy it is to get shoved through the process without being psychologically prepared for a starvation diet. Many of us were ill prepared to deal with WLS for-EVER.
Once you arrive, as a post surgical weight loss patient, all if not most of your baggage comes back and falls at your feet. “But, I thought the surgery would make everything okay and make me win at life.” No. If you’re lucky, this crash/burn/reality doesn’t happen until after your “honeymoon” period of weight loss. Many post ops get hit with life issues much sooner – and fail to reach weight loss goals because they can’t get past themselves, their history, and often people give up. It is what it is, and I am sitting here at eight years plus post op, and clearly one of the only ones in this community that is willing to call it out.
As weight loss surgery patients – having given up what was probably our number one self-soothing method; we are LIKE SPONGES and ready to ABSORB whatever New Thing comes our way. That might be alcohol, and often is. It could be something else – just as addictive – or even behaviors that we do not even realize as dangerous. (I do NOT have a problem with coffee or Internet overuse. I. do. not. I am serious. insert link here…) These things can take over – and how. Alcohol, drugs, sexual promiscuity directly effect the WLS community, as does gambling, shopping to extraordinary excess, over-exercise, eating disorder behaviors, and the list goes on and on.
But alcohol in particular is a huge component of post weight loss surgery drama.
It can directly impact you, your family and every part of your life. I hear too many sad stories, likely because I watch this community and probably get the concentrated sad story juice of our peers. I am thankful every damned day that I haven’t had any disastrous addiction issues, nor has my post op spouse picked it up, because we could. Something I have learned in this community – never say never. Both of us have addiction issues in our extended families – and it was highly likely that we would also deal with one or ten of them. I am thankful, but I worry about you. I worry about this same WLS community – because post op addiction issues are rampant. Every so often there’s a study posted – that warns us of the dangers of Too Much Alcohol – and then another comes out that says that It’s No Big Deal. I am telling you – where I sit – it’s a big deal.
It isn’t just alcohol – and I suppose that since we were in Las Vegas – the issues were magnified by the simple fact that anything you WANT to medicate with is available. If you are addicted to something or have a behavior issue – you can get it in Vegas and get it in bulk. Personally, my coffee addiction gets stunted in Vegas because it costs too much to continue my habit. I do not know if that makes me less addicted, because I still sought out coffee. As for food, I gave up and decided that next time I will live on beef jerky. I think that just makes me cheap, not addicted. But if I did have a food problem, Vegas would feed it. But had I a sex addiction, not just one hired hand, I could get five! If I had a shopping addiction, Vegas offered anything I could want. Gambling, don’t even discuss the options. I gave up pretty quickly since my husband and I ran out of cash without really eating, shopping, or gambling. We could not maintain addictions in Vegas if we wanted to.
But it happens at every social event we have as a community. This was just more intensified due to locale and sheer number of attendees.
I worry that many of the WLS community find themselves “having their first…” everything post surgery surrounded by others who have recently started having their firsts too.
It’s a super-scary situation. If I am drinking, I cannot possibly help YOU. Post op drunks are not pretty. We are sloppy, nasty and often rotten.
The biggest clue I saw at this last event was the sheer number of people who noted that they had to Have Drinks to deal with other people. Had to. The pre-loading and constant level of buzzed-to-drunk was interestingly higher than I remember at other events.
It’s not new, of course, many attendees at events often note how they have to pre-medicate with anti-anxiety medications to even get into the room with other people. (I cannot judge this, as I had to take a double dose of Ativan to fly home. That, dear readers, is another post.) What I can concern myself with – is that there are SO. MANY. OF. “US” doing the same thing.
It’s clearly an indication of the lack of coping. As a community, we are not coping.
I tried the new Celebrate Vitamins Chewable Calcium Citrate, and it's amazing. I will do a proper review, but these are worth a try even without a review. Or I could just steal BTV's video. That too. We all love this stuff. Yum-o.
Celebrate says, "We are pleased to introduce our new Celebrate Soft Chew Calcium Citrate. You will be amazed by the great taste of these SUGAR FREE calcium citrate soft chews! Available in 3 great flavors with each chew providing 250 mg of calcium citrate and 250 IU of vitamin D3, you won't ask how many you have to take, you will be asking how many do I GET to take?!"
Behealthydrinks focuses on top quality protein drinks and easy blending powders. Pure quality, whey protein isolate, with natural ingredients. All our products are are regularly tested for purity and manufactured in GMP certified and organic facilities...
Except - they do not ship your purchases. Who really gives a fuck WHERE it comes from? I KNOW where it comes from and I can SELL THE SAME PRODUCT TO YOU.