AspireAssist! Because regular old bulimia is hard. (Sad face)
Yeah. I’m going to talk about AspireAssist. I don’t really want to. Every time I think about it I get a little queasy. But it’s my eating disorder blog, and it’s too relevant to ignore.
If you don’t know, AspireAssist is a device where you have a port installed through your abdomen directly into your stomach, and after you eat, you attach a drain to the port, and you drain about a third of the contents of your stomach directly into the toilet.
No, I did not make this up. And yes, the FDA has approved it.
When I talk about my own short stint with the kind of bulimia where you make yourself vomit, I explain that bulimia is hard. And I was bad at it. It’s not like you eat whatever you want and then go make yourself throw up. It’s difficult to puke on demand. It matters what you eat. It matters how long you wait to make yourself throw up. It matters how many liquids you have consumed. And even if you are successful, it’s not like vomiting gets all of the food out of you. Bulimia did not make me skinny. It really only made me crazy.
So when I see that the FDA has approved AspireAssist, I’m floored, terrified, disgusted, and sad. Because AspireAssist is absolutely bulimia. Government sanctioned and doctor assisted bulimia.
Below is a quote from the press release the FDA put out this week:
“The AspireAssist device should not be used on patients with eating disorders, and it is not intended to be used for short durations in those who are moderately overweight. It is intended to assist in weight loss in patients aged 22 and older who are obese, with a body mass index of 35 to 55, and who have failed to achieve and maintain weight loss through non-surgical weight-loss therapy.”
If we use the example of a woman who is 5’5″, a BMI of 35-55 means she weighs between 210 and 330 pounds. How can you talk about someone who is between 65 and 185 pounds overweight as not having an eating disorder? And how can you talk about someone who needs to implant a foreign object into their body to eliminate food directly from their stomach because they cannot stop eating, and not be talking about a person with an eating disorder? What does the FDA think bulimia is?
And we are also only talking about 12% reduction in weight. That means instead of being 330 pounds, you could be 290 pounds. So still morbidly obese, and now, with a dangerous hole in your body. A hole that may leak, cause nausea, get infected, etc.
What the FDA has done is make bulimia easy. Terrible and gross. And maybe even more dangerous than before. But easy.
The truth is, if bulimia had been easy in the first place, I may never have found peace around my food addiction. If it had been enough of a fix, I may never have looked for something better. But it sucked and was hard, so I found a solution that gives me peace around food.
I cannot stop people from choosing this option. I wish I could, but I can’t. So I’m just going to tell you that bulimia never did help me, or anyone I know. And I promise that AspireAssist is just bulimia, no matter what the FDA says. Take it from someone who knows bulimia intimately.