July 2008 - Guiding Light

Full confession…I don’t watch soap opera’s, but I suspect some of you do!  If you are a fan of “Guiding Light” then you are probably aware of a recent plot line involving character Ashlee Wolfe.  Sheis one of the few plus size characters in daytime television and since2006 she has been portrayed by actress Caitlin VanZandt.
During the April 9th episode the character announced she was going to have weight loss surgery.  Indialogue I suspect many of my patients can relate to, Ashlee told herboyfriend during the scene, “It will change me for the better, so myoutside will match what’s on the inside.”
Apparentlythe internet message boards have been buzzing with rumors and questionsabout the actual actress, has she had the surgery or not?  According to a recent People Magazine article (May 26th).  The actress revealed that on February 29th of this year she did indeed undergo gastric banding surgery…full disclosure, I did not do the surgery. 
Mypoint in all of this is not to discuss the various ups and downs ofdaytime soap opera star’s it was to discuss the reaction she has gottensince having the surgery.  In another situation that I suspect many of you can relate to the reaction has not been all positive!  Why would that be?
All of us, regardless of our situation in life, have a community around us and that community may see us a particular way.  A drastic and sudden change maybe interpreted as threatening by some members of that community.  So,for example, one member of the community loses 150 pounds other peoplemay react harshly…”You took the easy way out” or “You couldn’t acceptyourself the way you are.”  I am sure many of you have heard this and far worse.  Quite frankly, I would say that the way people react to your weight loss says far more about them than it does about you. 
In addition to what it says about people there are two specific points about weight loss surgery I would like to make.  Oneis that this surgery is about your long term health, as any regularreaders of this newsletter know the health benefits of this surgery areoverwhelming and very well documented in the medical literature.  As more evidence accumulates I will bring it to your attention.
The second point is that you may need a new community!  Acommunity that doesn’t have the “baggage” of who you used to be, oneplace you can find that is in the support groups we have set up for allpost op patients.  At a minimum the support groups are a place where you can find like-minded individuals who have gone thru something similar.  In addition the support groups are run by quite knowledgeable people who have a great deal of wisdom to share.  Thepurpose of the support group is really two fold: One is disseminatingpractical advice the other is to create a supportive environment.
 So with all of that background we have three different support groups:  the first is for the “newbie’s”… patients who have had gastric bypass less than one year ago.  Thesecond is for the gastric banding patients (“bandies”??), and the thirdis for patients who have had surgery over one year ago.(“veterans”…you thought I was going to say “oldies” didn’t you?)
In July all three groups will meet on the same night which is Wednesday July 16th at 8pm.  The meeting is held at 200 South Livingston Ave (The ACC) in Livingston, NJ.  This month we will have a plastic surgeon,Dr. Lalla, talking to the group, so anyone interested in plasticsurgery (or who thinks they will be interested in the future) shouldsave the date.
Thanks for reading and trusting me with your healthcare,
Michael Bilof
drbilof@gsbwc.com Contact Information

web site address: https://www.gsbwc.com
phone: (973) 736-8300

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