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Gastric bypass for very sick, overweight mom?

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Old 07-11-2006, 10:49 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2006
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akaya6 HB User
Unhappy Gastric bypass for very sick, overweight mom?

My mother is 43-years-old and she's been overweight for much of her life, ever since she was about my age, 18 or 19. She used to be quite active when she was younger but during her late 30s she started getting sick. She's had chronic depression for decades but her mental health started to sabotage her physical health as she got older. Her weight only made everything even worse.

She hasn't been working for several years now and amongst her physical ailments she has arthiritis, joint pain, and just a lot of pain in general. She is extremely depressed all the time, even borderline suicidal I would say. The only thing that keeps her mind off of suicide (in my opinion) is religion. She is very religious.

Her health and her attitude is destroying our family. Actually, it's already more then half destroyed. Our home is broken. I want to stop caring but I can't. I feel so bad for my dad and my siblings. (I'm the oldest by the way.) I could leave home but I know that everyone will suffer even more then they already do if I leave. I constantly feel guilty and I have a lot of anger for my mom. It seems like she doesn't want to get better.

All she does is lay down and sleep and look like she's about to die any second. She acts like she is in her death bed. It nauseates me. People who are dying of cancer and AIDS aren't as dramatic as she is. Even if she is so sick she can at least try to smile once in a while instead of staring at you blankly like she has no idea who you are.

I've always thought that gastric bypass surgery was too extreme for most people, but I'm seriously thinking that maybe my mom should get it. She has considered it herself but she keeps changing her mind. She is about 240 lbs but she looks like she weighs more because she is short, she has very few muscles, and her body structure can't hold weight very well. Her legs are skinny but her stomach is really big. It's the worst body type to have if you're overweight. I don't even know how she is going to exercise even if she tried. Her legs hurt even when she drives the car. And also: she's 43-years-old. If she hasn't lost weight until now then what are the chances that she can do it on her own after 43?

I know that even if she does get gastric bypass it's not an easy ticket and that she still has to work hard to lose weight, but at this point I don't think she has any other options. She doesn't have enough willpower or strength to attempt losing weight herself but then I'm not so sure if she will be able to go through all the struggles of gastric bypass. I just think that she has to make a decision soon. Her illnesses are only going to get worse as she ages if she stays at her weight or gets heavier. She sometimes says "oh it's not my weight that's bothering me, it's my joints and my pain" but I don't think she really realizes that her illnesses (both physical and mental) are closely related to her weight. It is very difficult carrying an extra 100+ pounds on a frame that is meant to carry at the maximum, 140.

Anyway, I apologize for writing so much but this is really bothering me. Her illnesses are ruining my familys life and my life. I don't know what to do. I want her to talk to her doctor about gastric bypass. What does everyone here think about all of this? Has anyone here ever had gastric bypass surgery themselves or do they know someone who has?


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Old 07-12-2006, 11:31 AM   #2
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ladysoth HB User
Re: Gastric bypass for very sick, overweight mom?

Sounds like she needs to get her depression under control first in my opinion. If she is depressed and has no motivation then there really isn't any point in having the surgery.

Old 07-14-2006, 09:01 AM   #3
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PT6 HB User
Re: Gastric bypass for very sick, overweight mom?

Sounds like she needs to see her doctor. The odd weight distribution could indicate an endocrine disorder or some other medical problem.

Last edited by PT6; 07-14-2006 at 09:01 AM.

Old 07-15-2006, 09:55 AM   #4
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sarabellaefc HB User
Re: Gastric bypass for very sick, overweight mom?

I'd be surprised if a doctor would actually perform the surgery on her, given her condition. It's risky on a healthy person, and I imagine very few doctors would be willing to assume the risk for a person in your mother's mental state.

I agree with the others - treat the depression first.

Old 07-18-2006, 02:46 AM   #5
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ScreamingSoftly HB User
Re: Gastric bypass for very sick, overweight mom?

First of all, how do you expect to help your mom with your negativity and the thinking that "she cant" "I dont think she can do it" mantality. If you never have had depression yourself then you have no idea what it is like yourself. It is a disease and to dismiss it like it is no big deal is a huge mistake and quite naive. I wonder if she knows how you feel bout your whole thinking she is a burden on you and your family.. if she did.. that would only make her feel worse, wouldnt it? I think if she isnt seeing a psychiatrist, she should be and she should be on anti-depressants and be talking to someone. And surgery should always be a last resort, she is only 43, you act like her life is over and she cant lose any weight now because she is too old at this point in her life. If she were happier, she would be more motivated, then inturn may want to diet and do excercises that she would be capable of with her health conditions like water excercises or something. You sound like youre trying to help sort of, but you want the quick fix and you think it is a hell of a lot easier than it is and you have no faith in your mom at all, and that is very sad. I wish her luck and I wish you a better attitude towards it all.

Old 07-19-2006, 11:37 AM   #6
all things
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all things HB User
Re: Gastric bypass for very sick, overweight mom?

As someone with a similar story, let me tell you some of what I've learned. Your mother is in a never ending cycle of ill health - emotional and physical- and depression. She needs to see a good doctor that can help her mentally, yet attacking the physical symptoms will definitely help the mental. If she's a junk food eater, starting a whole foods, high vegetable, no sugar type diet, is essential. When she feels better, then the weight will be easier to deal with. A good anti-depressant will help, but that in itself is such a hit and miss proposition. Sometimes it takes several different attempts of various meds to find the right one.

You mention that she's religious. Does she feel she shouldn't take psych. meds because of her faith? Depression is as much a disease as diabetes. The neurotransmitters in the brain are not functioning correctly, and modern drugs help to get them straight again.

A bariatric surgeon would turn her down in her current mental state. You need to exercise, and eat correctly, and if your emotions and/or depression are till bothering you, the surgery will have been for nothing. You CAN gain all the weight back. The emotional problems have to be addressed.

The most important fact: She NEEDS someone to be on her side. She is profoundly depressed, and if everyone is acting like they want to scream at her to "snap out of it", she'll feel more depressed. There is a HUGE component of helpless and hopeless. You can't see past the heavy blanket that smothers you...almost to death. Believe it or not, but it takes courage to do activities of daily living when you are that down. I can't stress it, or her husband, or another sibling, or all of you must gather around her, love her, remember her when she was better, think of her as a sweet little girl that had a whole life ahead of her, but fell tragically sick. Yes, it makes you mad, and that's perfectly normal. You want a normal Mom. But believe me...she's very sick, and needs your help. She can't do it on her own right now. It IS up to you and your family to help her - right now.

I truly feel for her, but I feel for you and your family also. My thoughts and prayers are with you. This is a complex, multi-faceted issue but there IS plenty of help available.

Old 08-30-2006, 05:09 AM   #7
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Ipswich,Suffolk, England
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Smedley1 HB User
Re: Gastric bypass for very sick, overweight mom?

Hi, Your dear mum needs to get treatment for clinical depression, She cannot do anything to lose weight until she sees GP or psych doc to get some medication.
Please be gentle with you mum, she cannot just 'snap out of it'.
Depression is an illness.

Smed xx

Old 08-30-2006, 05:30 AM   #8
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Jacksonville, Fl. USA
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miper HB User
Re: Gastric bypass for very sick, overweight mom?

Another thing to consider is adjustable gastric banding instead of gastric bypass. I agree with the other posters about getting her depression under control before anything else, but just wanted to let you know there are other options for weight loss surgery besides re-arranging your insides. I had the lap-band done and it's the best thing I have ever done for myself.

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