Was Bariatric Surgery the Right Decision?

Was Bariatric Surgery the Right Decision?

Many people, especially in our area, struggle with their weight. Weight loss is difficult for some, especially when all factors are considered. Not only is the food here delicious, but lots of people have hormonal issues that complicate weight loss. Time is a factor as well as ability. When considering all factors, weight loss surgery begins to look like a great option. But is it right for you?

There are lots of factors to consider when exploring bariatric surgery. What type of procedure would best suit you? Does my medical insurance cover it? How much will this cost me? What will it do to my body and my mind? Where can I find the right doctor? These are all legitimate questions and concerns.

I am going to share my experience and knowledge in hopes that it helps even one person to feel better about their thoughts and decisions.

At 26 years old, I was heavier than ever. I was miserable. I avoided the mirror. I had tried every exercise, every fad diet, every recommendation I heard to try to lose weight. It wouldn’t come off. I made my decision. I was going to have bariatric surgery.

Before I could even be considered for surgery, I had to jump through many hoops. I had to see a dietician for 6 consecutive months. I had to have a sleep study done. I had to be cleared by a cardiologist. I had to have a psychological evaluation. I didn’t understand all this at the time, but I definitely do now.

In 2012, I had my first bariatric procedure. I sought out a wonderful surgeon and scheduled a consult. I had so many questions. Which procedure was the right one? What are the specifics? And the biggest question: would my insurance cover it? The doctor answered everything he could. He had his office staff answer the rest. My insurance would cover most of the procedure. The doctor suggested I choose the Lap-Band procedure. He said it had the quickest recovery, and at the time, I had two small children.

The day came, and I went through with it.

I recovered quickly. I followed all the rules. I went to all my appointments. I joined a gym again. A little weight came off, but it was never enough to even see. The few pounds I lost never put a dent in the total. I almost immediately regretted having this procedure.

After about 8 years, I began having issues with the band. A Lap-Band requires a saline fill once a year to remain effective. I hadn’t had a fill in about 5 years at that point since I was so unhappy with the results. Even though I had not had a fill, I noticed I was able to eat less and less. It got to a point that I was unable to eat anything at all. After 10 years, I found out that my band was malfunctioning and needed to be removed.

At this point, I was once again the heaviest I had ever been, even heavier than before my previous surgery.

I was truly miserable. I had two more small children with whom I couldn’t even play. I was out of breath from walking. I was altogether unhappy with my quality of life.

Was Bariatric Surgery The Right Decision?This is when I decided to have a surgery revision. If I had to have a procedure to remove the band anyway, why not have another bariatric procedure at the same time? I had since moved away from the first doctor, so I found a new doctor in Lafayette. I scheduled a consultation. I asked many of the same questions I did the first time around. This time, the answers were a little different. A lot of things changed in ten years.

This time, my doctor suggested I have gastric sleeve surgery.

She said that typical weight loss with this procedure is 75-85 pounds. I knew I had more to lose than that, but she assured me that this was the correct route for me. This time around, my insurance did not cover the procedure. I would be paying completely out of pocket. I didn’t have to jump through the same hoops because of this.

My doctor did request a psychological evaluation. I now understand why. Weight loss by surgical means puts an abrupt end to the way the patient is currently living. Habits change over time. But surgery forces the patient to change their ways immediately. This can be very difficult. It takes a toll on the mind.

It has been right at one year since my gastric sleeve surgery.

I am proud to say that I have lost 112 pounds. I am very comfortable with my weight now. I have a “normal” BMI. I’m not miserable. I have made major lifestyle changes. Most importantly, I can play with my children again. I could not be happier!

Many people ask me what pushed me to decide surgery was the right route for me. I always answer with this: I was miserable. I was unhappy with me. I had tried everything I could think of to fix the problem. I was unable to even look at myself. My body made me sick. I hated what I had become, and I knew I had to change it. When someone tells me they are experiencing those same feelings, I tell them to schedule the consultation.

My next adventure: dealing with the extra skin I have now.


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