I’ve been on this journey towards weight loss all of my life. I’ve been on the journey towards bariatric surgery for six months. I know others who has experienced it, I’ve talked to people on Facebook and even joined some bariatric weight loss surgery support groups online and locally. I feel pretty well-educated and informed on most positives and negatives relating to bariatric surgery.
Many, many post-op patients have commented the same revelation over and over: when they share the news of their surgery decision and experience, the person they tell (usually a good friend or family) comes back with “What? You took the easy way out?” And with that disrespectful and awful statement, they often crush the patient’s dreams and ambitions to lose weight and move towards being healthy. With just that one statement they also show their own ignorance
So, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the “ease” it takes to have bariatric surgery, and live the completely new life afterwards, let me give you a quick taste of what it’s like.
Before ever going under the knife, you need to find out if your insurance will pay for such a surgery, and what part they will play. If you don’t have insurance or money in the bank, you may opt to head to Mexico to have it done – reportedly less expensive by thousands of dollars. Then you need to find an accredited bariatric surgeon in your area – they most often come as a “group” with their own nutritionist, psychiatrist, labs, access to special testing. It’s an all-in-one adventure if you’re lucky. Don’t forget to find out if they accept your insurance… or back to Square One.
Got your doctor in mind? Go to one of his/her info-sessions, and once you decide, the process begins. Now, the process can take anywhere from three or four months to over a year, depending on what state or country you live in. For those in countries with unified health care, it’s usually well over a year of waiting. Typically it’s around 6-8 months from info-session to recovery room. Again, different states/countries have different results. You will be asked to see a nutritionist multiple times, a psychiatrist multiple times, extensive blood work, an endoscopy, a cardiologist, and possibly be tested for sleep apnea, go to required surgery support group meetings and several visits just to the surgeon. You need to have your primary care physician’s clearance and approval in writing that they support this choice. Chances are good that you will also be required to lose some weight “on your own” prior to surgery – some insurance companies require it, some surgeons require it. Once you jump through all of these hoops, the surgeon’s office will submit your paperwork to the insurance company. Then the wait begins for the approval… usually takes 3-4 weeks.
Once approved, more tests, pre-op education and surgeon visits as well as nutritionist visits. The insurance company may give you a “window” of 2-4 weeks to get everything wrapped up and the surgery DONE. If you can’t accomplish all in that time span, you start over. But usually you are good to go, and you feel elated that it’s finally going to happen. It didn’t seem real until approval was received and the final hurdles scheduled.
Still think this is the “easy way out”? More to come in my next post.
Thanks for stopping by and taking a look.