(LOS ANGELES) -- Rebecca Blair, a veterinarian from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., got a dreaded diagnosis back in 2007: type 2 diabetes.
"I was on four different oral medications and injections, but my diabetes was very bad and nowhere near controlled," said Blair.
She ate healthy foods and did everything she could to lose weight, but wasn't successful at either dropping the pounds or bringing her blood sugar under control.
Blair said she watched a lot of health-related television programs and learned about overweight people who had a gastric bypass surgery that actually helped their diabetes in addition to helping them lose weight.
"That sparked my interest, and I did some more research," said Blair. After that, she was convinced she wanted to have a gastric bypass.
But the bariatric surgeon she saw, Dr. Theodore Khalili of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, dashed Blair's hopes.
"Her BMI [body mass index] was too low to do a gastric bypass, because we follow the guidelines set by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]," said Khalili. Those guidelines, he said, recommend against doing bariatric surgery on diabetics with a BMI less than 35. Blair's was only around 24.
Blair was undeterred.
"I did more research, then I tried to find a clinical trial, and then I decided to gain weight," she said.
Blair hoped to gain enough weight to qualify for a bypass -- and eventually she did. She gained about 85 pounds over a two-year period by eating a lot of fat.
"When she came back, she qualified for surgery," said Khalili, who by then had founded the Khalili Center for Bariatric Care in Beverly Hills. "She underwent the surgery, and is now down to one diabetes medication that she can probably discontinue soon."
But Khalili and other surgeons say that while gastric bypass seems to work wonders for diabetics by resolving their condition and helping them lose weight, they would never recommend that any patient deliberately gain weight in order to meet criteria for weight loss surgery.
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