I’m Having Bariatric Surgery
Today I met with the doctor who will perform a sleeve gastrectomy for me. I have decided to have bariatric surgery since I am unable to lose weight on my own and keep it off for any amount of time. I am just beginning a two year bariatric weight loss program and while a lot of it is overwhelming (because of insurance companies) I know it will be a decision I won’t regret.
“It was the best decision”
I made the decision to have bariatric surgery after talking with several friends who had one of the procedures including Roux en Y and sleeve gastrectomy. Everyone I’ve talked to about their choice to have the surgery has said they have no regrets except that they wish they hadn’t waited so long. Even when they have complications (complications because they didn’t follow the meal plan, not because of issues with the actual procedure) they didn’t wish they hadn’t had the surgery. They just wished they hadn’t tried to cheat.
My Journey Starts Now
I will be documenting my journey (I hate that word even if it is accurate, it’s just overused in my book) here for anyone who is interested in learning about the process. I found a lot of information about the various procedures but didn’t find much information about what to expect during the process. I’ll do my best to document it here even though it will be different for everyone based on their insurance.
I made the decision to have the surgery last month when I attended an informative event at the hospital. I’ve chosen United Hospital Bariatric Center in St. Paul for many reasons, they are considered a clinic of excellence, something my insurance insists and I used to work in a practice that was associated with the hospital (in fact, it was in the same office space I visited today, though not the same practice). I’ve had most of my surgeries at United Hospital, my father was a surgeon there and when both of my kids were born the nurses were absolutely wonderful. It’s also very conveniently located. I probably wouldn’t go anywhere else. I feel confident that this clinic is the one for me.
How to Begin the Weight Loss Surgery Process
The informative event was an hour long class meant to educate people about the procedures out there and to shed a little light on what is expected during the process as well as what needs to be done to be accepted into the program. If you’re interested in attending one of these events you can see their schedule here. I am not sure if it is a required class from the insurance point of view but it was very enlightening and I recommend it for anyone even contemplating weight loss surgery in the Twin Cities.
The class was presided over by a nurse who assisted both doctors in the clinic. She was also a bariatric surgery patient so she wasn’t just repeating information she was sharing her struggles as well. She did a wonderful job explaining the surgery, why it works and why diets don’t.
What to expect at the First Visit
Today, I met with the doctor, nurse and dietician. I filled out a ton of paperwork and made sure before I arrived for the appointment, that my insurance company would pay for the office visits and the procedure. It was a two hour appointment where they took “before” pictures and then went through both weight loss surgeries in great detail.
My insurance company insists that I have 6 months of documented weight loss effort before they will approve the surgery. I have one month under my belt because I met with my family physician last summer when I started to look into if I wanted the surgery or not. If I had gone back to my doctor each month I would not have to wait. The attempts at weight loss have to be with a doctor or clinic and it has to be documented. I wish I had known that last summer even if I didn’t make the decision to do the surgery until last month.
Because I can’t have the surgery for five more months, I’m a little disappointed. I wanted to lose a lot of weight fast. However, meeting with a dietician monthly to learn about proper nutrition is a really good thing. I know about dieting, but proper nutrition is a little confusing. Especially because I’ve tried every crazy diet out there. I know the basics of nutrition but I am sure I also know a lot of bullshit about nutrition. I’m looking forward to getting good information that is helpful and knowledgeable.
I’m also glad I have to wait for the surgery because I can lose some weight on my own. A little more slowly than after I have the surgery. I am not too concerned about excess skin but it’s going to shrink back a little better if the weight comes off slowly. Even if I lose 30 pounds before the surgery I still qualify for it. My BMI is currently 41. If I lose 30 pounds it will be 35 but because I have high cholesterol, possible sleep apnea (something I get tested for next week), hypothyroidism and vitamin D deficiency, I will still qualify at a BMI of 35. Of course I haven’t been able to lose weight on my own for almost 10 years so I probably have nothing to worry about.
Tomorrow I have my first appointment with the dietician, I’ll let you know how it goes.