By-(pass) & Bi-(polar)


Please note:  If you know of someone who has had gastric by-pass surgery and is having similar experiences as I’ve described, please share this post with them.  They can send a note to: questions@bypassandbipolar.info.

Fact:  We cannot predict the future.  Fact:  Life has no guarantees.  Fact:  New ideas can be both liberating and debilitating.  Fact:  Those offering a service resulting in permanent physical modification should fully understand the immediate impact as well as future consequences.

Myth:  The Medical Community at-large fully understands the alternative treatment options researched and developed by medical professionals specializing in gastric by-pass surgery due to the post-gastric by-pass patients insufficient absorption of oral medications.

It’s been ten years since I elected to undergo the radical Roux-en-Y gastric by-pass surgery and permanently remove most of my stomach and a length of my small intestine.  The alienation of these two components produces significant weight-loss because: 1) You can’t eat much; and, 2) You can’t absorb much.  Yes, there is a fair amount of adjustment, but the weight literally falls off and stays off with an average regain of ten percent.

Remnants of the “old you” are carted to resale shops or, in my case, high-end tent and boat sail manufacturers.  Everything is absolutely wonderful until you hit a bump in the road say, like a complete mental breakdown. Psychiatrist’s whip out the antipsychotics and antidepressants like they were six-shooters; their effects are hardly immediate; many take as long as six weeks to burrow into your blood stream; still crazy?  No problem, the psychiatrist’s reach for the tommy-gun and another six-weeks pass; nothing.  Up and up and up we go until finally the two of us are sitting in a missile silo and his finger hovers above the launch button.  Dabbing his ever-perspiring brow with a cotton kerchief he mutters repeatedly, “this is unnatural, this is unnatural. . .”

It is unnatural!  Post-gastric by-pass patients have been modified, re-engineered; fundamental human mechanics, basic organ responsibilities, broad physical and chemical hypothesis tested and tried and approved by the FDA have little (if any) effect; we’re the svelte yet queer abomination of opportunistic, profit seeking surgeons that prey on the desperate obese willing to do anything to permanently lose weight.  Malabsorption is the snake oil the surgeons are hawking.

If I sound particularly harsh toward the bariatric profession it’s because I firmly believe that they have abdicated a large chunk of their responsibility not only to their patients, but to their fellow medical colleagues as well.  In  the ten years since I had gastric by-pass surgery, I have learned from a very reputable source, a doctor of some notoriety in the field of obesity, that to his knowledge, no one is, nor anyone has bothered to explore and/or discover and educate the medical community as to an alternative method of transporting medications into the body when oral absorption is impossible or only 25% effective (as is my case).  Or perhaps they could propose a mathematical equation which other medical colleagues could use to increase a gastric by-pass patient’s daily dosing.

The only medication that provides any relief from my mental illness is dextroamphetamine salt prescribed in a volume that aroused the suspicion of local pharmacists who publicly (in the presence of their staff and other customers) strongly suggested that I was either A) An addict or B) A pusher, then flatly refused to honor my doctor’s authorized prescription.

I suffer from a mental illness that kills 40% of those diagnosed by suicide; the commonly practiced treatment of prescribing oral antipsychotics and/or antidepressants is impossible because I elected to undergo gastric by-pass surgery ten years ago; if I become one of those 40% because the doctor’s that promote, promise, and perform these procedures have abdicated their responsibility to provide an effective treatment alternative in ten years, do me a favor: file a class-action lawsuit against every last one of them for their gross negligence!

One thought on “By-(pass) & Bi-(polar)

  1. Harlan, having worked in the pharmacy profession for over 20 years I know that this is most certainly an underaddressed problem. You should consult with a good (hospital-based) Pharmacy doctorate to help you solve the problem. I am not a pharmacist but worked along side RPh’s in all sorts of settings, including psych hospital and outpatient clinics. There has to be some way to aid absorbtion, whether it mean compounding something for you or looking for another delivery system. You should not have to suffer!
    p.s. If you cannot find someone let me know. I have so many friends and connections I could try to impose on them to find a viable treatment method.

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