I started my journey to weight loss surgery with a team that came recommended to me by a friend. I went to the seminar, went to my first appointment with the nutritionist and surgeon, and stopped there. I did not like them. They were cold and seemed uncaring. I couldn’t go forward with such a major decision with a team that seemed like they didn’t want to be at work, never mind help me on this journey.
After some research, I went to a different hospital’s seminar and really liked the surgical team. They were knowledgeable, caring, and the surgeon I picked was cute (bonus points!). If I’m going to have someone digging inside my body, she might as well be easy on the eyes. She had me choose from a number of psychiatrists and nutritionists to work with, and I lucked out with my choices. The psych gave me his blessing for the surgery right away, which was great because I wasn’t sure what the visits would entail. I had to spend 6 months with the nutritionist to fill an insurance requirement. Next week, my 6th visit happens!
I had 3 sleep studies – I could not fall asleep during the first two, so an at-home sleep study was scheduled for me and completed. Now, I don’t ever have a problem falling asleep at home. I hit the pillow, and within in moments I am out like a light. So to not complete two sleep studies was not fun. I am a belly sleeper (I know, unusual for an obese person) and the sleep techs would not allow me to sleep on my belly during the studies. Also, I tend to toss and turn a few times while getting comfortable, and that is impossible to do with the amazing quantity of wires hooked up to my body. Seriously, I don’t know how anyone can finish a sleep study.
I spoke to nurse case-manager at my insurance company, and she told me that the only thing I needed was a request for the surgery from the surgeon. That was the missing puzzle piece that I didn’t see as obtainable. My surgeon (the cute, caring one) needed me to lose 100 pounds before she would consider me for surgery. My weight when I saw her was 533 pounds. She wanted me down to 420 pounds. Um…I have an issue losing weight, hence why I’m at her office, right?
When I made the decision to get weight loss surgery, I was ready to go. I don’t like waiting, I like instant-gratification. Six months with the nutritionist seemed like an eternity. But, I wanted this, so I’ll do it. I have to.
I joined a couple of online support groups for weight loss surgery patients, and I asked them if it was normal to have to lose 100 pounds before having surgery. The general answer was “NO” and that I should shop for a new surgeon.
One morning, I had the news on, and I saw a commercial for an area hospital’s weight loss surgery center that advertised “we give hope to the sickest and heaviest patients”. I instantly rewound the TV, watched it again, and again, and then went to their website to find out more.
The next new patient seminar was the following night, so I went. I was excited – the mentors, surgeon and staff were all welcoming, genuinely cared, and answered all my questions. More importantly, they wouldn’t require me to lose 100 pounds in order to get on the table. YES!
I met with the weight loss team – I have been cleared by their psychiatrist, had a great visit with the nutritionist, and was told by the surgeon that if I play along, don’t gain weight, and as long as no other issues pop up, that I would have the surgery in October.
So today I write this with a new found sense of hope – I can see the surgery and my new life now – it’s not far off.