Y’all asked, here it is – I’m sharing how my first visit with my bariatric surgeon went!
Over and over again this year, I am going to be talking about my word of intention: SELF. As an enneagram type 2, taking care of myself is one of my fatal flaws. I’m constantly putting myself on the backburner, whether that’s having a hard time saying no to people or not scheduling enough time in my day to take care of myself. It’s been a lifelong problem that has come with lifelong consequences.
Late last year, I wrote a blog about Why I’m Considering Weight Loss Surgery and I promised that I would share updates about the process. I got such a positive embrace from my community after I shared my blog, it was actually pretty unexpected. Dozens and dozens of women reached out to me, to either share their own weight loss surgery story, thank me for being vulnerable or to just support my journey. I was actually shook by how many of my friends have had weight loss surgery, quietly and in secret. So many of them said they wish they had the lady balls to be so open about what it’s like to be morbidly obese, and to be going through the process of having weight loss surgery.
The truth is: I don’t really have lady balls.
This isn’t courage speaking, I promise you. In reality, this is me being open and honest because I need the support. For so many years, I struggled silently and afraid of my mental health struggles and its taken me 20 years to come to terms with my diagnoses of anxiety and depression. I cannot stress how important it is to work with a psychiatrist, especially when dealing with medications (check out this blog article from BetterHelp to find out the different types of psychiatrists available!).
When I was deep in depression while I was pregnant and when my kids were babies, I felt so utterly alone that I often contemplated a world without me in it. And now that I’m closer to the other side of my mental health battle and in a stronger place, I don’t want to make that same mistake with my weight and health issues. I want to know that I’m not alone and equally important, for someone else reading this – I want you to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
So that said, here’s what happened at my first visit with my bariatric surgeon.
How My First Visit With My Bariatric Surgeon Went
My insurance requires that I go through a six month process of visits with my surgeon, a nutritionist and even a psychologist in order for the insurance to cover my procedure. I might be able to reduce my six months by a little bit because I’ve already been working with doctors and a nutritionist about my weight and health. They said I should find out more about the possibility of that happening at my next appointment! Also, I did my first weigh in, at 248.5 pounds and a BMI of 41.3. Eeeeeek.
First, I met with an intake nurse.
This part took the longest, because we had to go over all of my medical history, diagnoses, surgeries, past weight loss efforts and medications. My history includes thyroid disorder – first hypothyroidism, then Hashimotos, and finally cancer, which all led to my thyroid getting totally removed. I’ve had gallstones and emergency gallbladder surgery. History of anxiety and depression. I’ve had five miscarriages and four live births. I have fibromyalgia and IBS. Just got diagnosed with pre-diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea. I’m on medication for my mental health and thyroid. I take a shit-ton of supplements (vitamin C, vitamin D, apple cider vinegar, probiotics, fish oil, biotin, etc etc etc.).
Oh, and what diets have I tried? Let’s see, this list is pretty long, too. I’ve done Atkins, low carb and keto (which is what damaged my gallbladder in the first place). Weight Watchers? Yep. Juicing? Yep. I’ve gone to metabolic research centers and multiple boot camps. I tried the Mediterranean diet (which is gross, especially if you hate eating fish like I do). Vegan, Paleo, Whole 30, gluten-free? Yep, done it all. I’ve even been victim to eating disorders like binging and purging, especially when I was younger. I have an entire bookshelf of diet books, recipe books, magazines and e-books.
The nurse just nodded and looked at me and said, “yep, you’ve basically done it all.”
Then, I met with my surgeon.
This part took the least amount of time, not because he rushed out the door but because I honestly didn’t have any questions. We had just lost Dax a couple hours before my appointment and honestly, my mind was totally blank mush. I was really just trying not to start crying again. I couldn’t think of a single question to ask. The hospital wouldn’t let Randy come in for my visit, so I couldn’t even rely on him to think of questions to ask!
The surgeon did go over the two types of surgery options, and I’ve opted for the sleeve instead of the bypass. The reason for this is there’s much less risk with the sleeve, and less chance for malabsorption issues post-surgery. To say I’ll never have a bite of ice cream again or never enjoy guacamole again is just unrealistic, and with the bypass you have to super anal Type A OCD about every single bite you put in your mouth and I know myself enough to know that I would be miserable for the rest of my life. Not to mention, of the dozens of my friends who secretly had surgery and finally came out to me about it after my last blog, every single one recommended the sleeve over the bypass, too.
Between now and my next appointment, I’m going to start writing down questions in my phone for my surgeon. That way I’m not blindsided and forgetful again!
Finally, I met with my new nutritionist.
I have met with a handful of nutritionists and doctors over the years, and I’ve honestly gotten so many different opinions that it makes my eyes spin in opposite directions. One said high fiber and my GI doctor said absolutely not. Another said eat high carbs and low fat and another doctor said absolutely not. A different nutritionist said it was fine for me to eat gluten and dairy and my endocrinologist said better not.
Accurate depiction of me all day, every day:
So I mentioned this to my new nutritionist and she chuckled, because I’m guessing that’s not the first time that she’s heard a patient come in totally confused. We went over a typical day of meals for me, discussed fast food, and eating habits. The most important goal for her as my nutritionist is setting me up for success, and helping me take better care of my body.
Instead of giving me a strict list of things to do and not do, we are working on developing better habits to prepare for my new life after surgery. Each time we meet, we are setting achievable goals to work on each month. This month my goals are:
- to eat at least one fruit and vegetable every day
- drink 64 ounces of water daily
- to get 10-20 minutes of purposeful exercise in three times per week
Since my appointment on Friday, I’ve been working on all of these goals and have been doing good!
So, what’s next?
I go back for my next round of visits in about 3 weeks (first week of February). They’ve asked me to bring in the last 3 years of documented weights, a copy of my sleep study and colonoscopy, and records of my visits with the nutritionists.
I’ll keep y’all posted!