Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Importance of Support...

For those of you who don't know me or may not have read my blog until today, let me take a brief moment and introduce myself. My name is Rachel aka Rachelena aka Sleeve Pixie, depending on where you know me from. I am an almost 3 year post op and a revision patient which I guess makes me only a 2.5 month post-op yet again. I am a wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt and a Social Worker. I have run a small tight knit bariatric support group for almost two years now and I love every moment of it. I am a strong believer in support.

We always here the term "support" in the WLS community and how important it is, but NO ONE ever takes the time to define what support actually means. According to

SUPPORT –verb (used with object); 

to undergo or endure, esp. with patience or submission.
to sustain (a person, the mind, spirits, courage, etc.) under trial or affliction: 
to maintain (a person, family, establishment, institution, etc.) by supplying with things necessary to existence; provide for.
to uphold (a person, cause, policy, etc.) by aid. 

This is what we are supposed to do, right? To undergo with patience; to help sustain a person mentally or physically when they are down and to help a person maintain by providing education, ideas, love, support, friendship mutual aid etc...
I define a support group as a group of people that share a similar experience or situation. These people are able to motivate each other through the hard times and laugh with them through the good times. They do not judge them for the things they do that may not equate with the cultural norms and by culture I mean the group culture, in our case WLS. This system will generally share similar values and ideals about their situation. This is my idea of what a support group SHOULD be. 
There are 4 support groups I am active in. One, the one I run, Post-Ops Supporting Each other on  Long Island. POSE is a live support group that meets every other week. We share about our victories both on the scale and off and discuss our perceived failures. The group has a strong bond and trust one another enough to be able to motivate each other and confront each other when needed. While this is not by any means an educational group, it does serve its purpose to the members. 

The second group I participate in more of a social group. We are a bunch of people who get together for dinner once a month and enjoy the comfort of food in the presence of others who get it.

The third group I participate in is my surgeons support group. While I have only been going a short time, and I don't really appreciate surgeon run support groups, I believe it is important to give back. We have many pre-ops in this meeting and they look to us for advice. 

Lastly, the BBGC or Bariatric Bad Girls Club is an online support group with hundreds of people. The reason I cal myself a proud member of this group is because we share very similar values. Values I have not found anywhere else. The BBGC believes in reality. In the idea that THIS is now our life. Not some permanent diet we have to be on for the next 60 years. Yes you will notice our symbol involves a cupcake, the ultimate bad food... sugar, carbs and fat all rolled into one miniature cake. This does not symbolize a "badness" it symbolizes an awareness. An awareness of our food addiction, of what it took to get us here, of the reality that we all must live with on a daily basis. Some not nearly as rosy as mine or yours. 

The BBGC has been getting a lot of flack lately from all different sources because we believe its ok to eat a cupcake once in a blue or whatever your issue is with us. But for us, this is working. This lifestyle is what keeps us from being a suicide statistic or from regaining our weight. Many people don't believe its ok to make bariatric friendly "bad" food like donuts for example... but this is what keeps me away from the Dunkin Donuts drive through so WHY THE HELL NOT?

So if this is not for you, thats ok! Go find a group that is... and if there isn't one... do what I did and START ONE! There is plenty of room for all of us. 

There are many support groups in my local area and online that I do not and could not call myself a member of. Why? Because I cannot stand for the things they do or believe in or the message they put out as a group. Does that make them horrible... not necessarily. It makes them different. It makes them not for me. But maybe, for someone else, that is EXACTLY what they need. 

I hope in the year 2K11 you find yourself a group that meets your needs and that we can all start realizing that each post-op is an individual with individual needs and we need to stop prescribing a general condition for the needs of ALL bariatric patients on an emotional level.
In love and support,
Sleeve Pixie


  1. Great post! We all need support from time to time. And I know that having a "less than optimal" band expeience like we have had, makes it even more crucial.

    Unfortunatly there's always drama online (Drama on the WLS Forums: ) in one way or another.

    If we were all perfect WLS'ers we wouldn't need support now would we?

  2. Wow.. just wow! I just became an instant fan of your blog. You have explained in simple words that I don't have, WHY BBGC is legit. Anyone who does not 'get it' never will.

  3. Laurel, thank you so much for the compliment! I feel very strongly about support and had it not been for many members of the BBGC I would have lost my mind a long time ago. Their message just aligns with the very fibers of my being. It is just that simple. Some people, in order to reform need to go to the complete polar opposite and be a radical, never touch a carb never touch a cookie bc heaven forbid they will fall off the wagon... some people need balance. To each their own and for us BBGC!

  4. Absolutely AWESOME... Your now on my to read list daily.

  5. Each posting is better than the last. Lovely.

  6. Thank you Annie! I appreciate it very very much!

  7. Whelm, you are a doll! I hope to continue to live up to that expectation :-)

  8. Thank you for saying what many of us feel. I'm now a supporter for Sleeve Pixie!
    I love BBGC and what they stand for.
    Keep posting, I'll be sure to keep reading!

  9. Okay, looks like I'll have to make another google email since it shows up as "John or Toni"! This is our joint account. For some reason it wouldn't let me post as Anonymous.
    Although I'm sure that John would back me up in anything I post. lol



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